Over the last years, mindfulness was successfully used to reduce chronical stress and increase well-being as well as the ability to concentrate. Education for Sustainable Consumption (ESC) and mindfulness training are combined in the BiNKA-project by focusing on the long-known problem of ESC, the discrepancy of individuals’ ecological attitude and their actual behavior. ESC aims at enabling people to consume more sustainably and is known as a crucial lever for the implementation of Sustainable Development. Overcoming the so called “attitude-behavior-gap” is one of the central challenges of ESC. Existing theories of the effects of mindfulness training suggest that practicing mindfulness strengthens awareness of one´s own core values, attitudes and behavior. Mindfulness might thus provide a tool to overcome the gap, potentially aligning values and behavior sustainably.
The main project goal is to strengthen the effectiveness of ESC. From a scientific point of view this will include conceptualizing and measuring the relationship between mindfulness and sustainable consumption. A mindfulness training, focused on fostering sustainable consumption will be developed (BiNKA-Training). The trainings will be conducted and analyzed with participants from corporate partners (2 companies, 2 schools and 2 universities).
Strengthening the cognitive, emotional and spiritual behavioral preconditions for sustainable consumption might enhance and deepen previous ESC approaches in a meaningful way.
The development of the new mindfulness training with consumption focus will be at the core of the project. As of now, a six-week course with weekly group meetings of 1.5 hours and one longer meeting of about 4 hours during the last two weeks is planned. Moreover, the participants will be trained and encouraged to practice at home individually on a daily basis for 20- to 30-minutes.
Short- and long-term effects of the training will be measured with adapted both qualitative and quantitative methods. The results will be used to further improve the ”BiNKA-Training”.
Fully funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, BiNKA started in March 2015 and will run for three years, until May 2018.
BiNKA is a joint project of the Technical University Berlin (Department of Economic Education and Sustainable Consumption) and the Leuphana University Lüneburg (Unesco Chair higher education for Sustainable Development), the European Center for Mindfulness (EfZA) as well as the Berlin Center for Mindfulness and Health (AGES). Contacts at the TU Berlin are:
Prof. Dr. Ulf Schrader (schrader(at)tu-berlin.de)
MSc in CSR Laura Sophie Stanszus (laura.stanszus(at)tu-berlin.de).