Sustainable Consumption and Production
San José, Costa Rica
Area of Study
Business, Environmental Studies, Ethics
Taught In English
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
Sustainable consumption (SC) and production is a holistic approach to minimizing the negative environmental impacts from consumption and production systems while promoting quality of life for all.
This course will help students acquire the knowledge, capacities and values to help them contribute to shaping a better tomorrow as more responsible consumers. It will trace the history and the justification for the focus on sustainable consumption.
The educational content will be provided through an examination of value systems and the life-cycle assessment of selected consumer items involving their economic, environmental and social aspects, the latter involving an introduction to product responsibility, labor practices, human rights and societal perspectives. These items will be chosen for their social, environmental and economic relevance and potential for critical reflection at different levels using an integrated, holistic framework to facilitate a clear understanding of impacts at local and global levels.
A range of cooperative processes and dynamics involved in researching, collecting, discussing, organizing and presenting information of relevance to individual students will contribute to their not only acquiring and developing capacities and skills to needed to contribute to sustainable consumption, but also eliciting favorable reactions and creating a desire to change enhancing self-concept and personal growth.
The use of progressive pedagogies will be incorporated in the course as part of the development sustainability competencies, cooperative learning relationships and the framework of understanding and world view, as called for in the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Learning Performance Framework. These pedagogies will take advantage of different learning styles: concrete experience (the sensing and feeling dimension), reflective observation (the watching dimension), abstract conceptualization (the thinking dimension), and active experimentation (the doing dimension), so as to ensure that every student feels that he or she has a key an important role to play as part of a team effort. They will also involve critical reflection and practice in problem solving; be student-centered, action/experience-oriented; produce knowledge through iterative interaction; involve life-long learning; and finally involve a cyclical process of collective/cooperative inquiry.
Students will also acquire an understanding of determiners of value and how the influence of society upon the individual determines the proliferation of values conveyed by the family and the home environment, school, religious authorities, the mass media, etc. They will participate in dynamics to assist in the clarification of values ? formed by a meld of closely aligned attitudes, a smaller aggregation of related beliefs that form the core of our likes and dislikes ? to help in understanding how decisions we take are based on value systems of which we are not necessarily aware and which are often contradictory. This process, to include an understanding of the difference between beliefs and attitudes, will contribute to the understanding of how physical and social realities form our belief systems.
This course will provide students with a) an understanding of our responsibilities as consumers to critically analyze the life-cycles of any consumer products in the face of marketing techniques that induce unsustainable consumption; b) an understanding of the need for innovative solutions to many of our unsustainable consumer habits; and c) hopefully, the desire to become proactive citizens in assuming more sustainable lifestyles.
- Sustainable consumption and production as a sustainable development goal
- Rights and responsibilities as consumers
- The nature of values and universal human values
- Lifecycle assessments from the economic, social and environmental perspectives
- Corporate social responsibility
- Introduction to relevant international conventions and agreements
- Understanding of personal value systems including attitudes and beliefs
- Learning styles and effective teamwork
a) The course will identify and build on the student?s perceptual abilities: abstract (through reason, emotion or intuition) or concrete (through the physical senses of hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch); and ordering abilities (the way information is arranged, systematized and disposed of).
b) It will also identify and take advantage of different aptitudes and interests regarding doing, watching, thinking, sensing and feeling contributing to a democratic classroom, with an emphasis on equal opportunity, interaction, participation and respect.
c) The student will have the opportunity to appreciate and build on his or her learning styles, considering that familiarity with these is considered to be an important aspect of self-awareness, crucial to developing and maintaining positive self-image.
d) Each class will provide a dynamic and fun learning experience involving a variety of activities and assignments that will take advantage of the different learning styles.
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.
Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.
Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations