The method

Europe Wide Views on Sustainable Consumption is based on the World Wide Views (WWViews) method, which combines simultaneous national face-to-face citizen consultations worldwide with a web-based transnational comparison of national results. The overall objective of the method is to strengthen the engagement of citizens in political decision-making processes. Citizens have to live with the consequences of policies. For that reason, their views should be taken into consideration.

The WWVs method has been developed by the Danish Board of Technology Foundation and the WWVs Alliance. So far, WWVs citizen consultations have been organized twice. In 2009, 38 countries took part in a project about global warming, and in 2012, citizens from 25 countries discussed and voted on issues relating to biodiversity.

The core of the method is to have citizens at multiple national sites debate the same policy related questions, and thus making transnational, quantitative comparisons possible. The participating citizens are lay people, and they are recruited, so they collectively reflect the demographic diversity of their country.

The citizen consultations

All Europe Wide Views national citizen consultations follow the exact same format: A head facilitator and group moderators lead the participants through a programme divided into four sessions where the following themes were discussed:

  • Introduction to Sustainable Consumption
  • Shifting to More Sustainable Consumption
  • Reducing Consumption
  • Reducing Waste

Each thematic session is introduced by the head facilitator and an information video. After this introduction, the participants engage in moderated group discussions with the purpose of giving all participants time to reflect and listen to other opinions. Each thematic session is namely ended with a voting session, where citizens individually vote on alternative answers to a different number of questions. The voting results are instantly reported on this website, so that anyone with Internet access can compare answers to the various questions across countries.

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Making views heard

The World Wide Views method – or in this case the Europe Wide Views – doesn’t end with the citizen consultations. In order to make the citizens’ views heard, the organizers will disseminate the voting results to national as well as European policymakers and stakeholders. On a European scale, the project will be finalized with a transnational policy report.