GOALS AND POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
Each Task Force of the President's Council on Sustainable Development was asked to prepare
a set of goals and policy recommendations to submit to the Council. These recommendations were the foundation upon which the Council developed its more general goals and
policies for its report to the President. The discussion below reflects the seven goals and fourteen
policy recommendations that the Population and Consumption Task Force developed both for its
report, and for consideration by the entire Council.
The Population and Consumption Task Force developed the following goals,
which in turn
shaped the specific policy recommendations designed to implement the goals.
||Stabilize U.S. population as
early as possible in the next century as part of similar
worldwide efforts, by providing universal access to a broad range of information,
services, and opportunities so that individuals may plan responsibly and voluntarily
the number and spacing of their children. These include: high-quality family planning
and other basic and reproductive health services; equitable educational, economic,
social, and political opportunities, particularly for women; reduction of infant
mortality; and the increase of male responsibility for family planning and childrearing.
This goal also entails targeted actions to eradicate poverty. While fertility is the largest
contributor to U.S. population growth, responsible immigration policies that respect
American traditions of fairness, freedom, and asylum will also contribute to voluntary
population stabilization in the United States.|
||Achieve a geographic
distribution of U.S. population consistent with the long-term
ability of environmental, social, and economic systems to support those populations.
This requires policies which respect the right of individuals to live and work in the
community of their choice. It also requires that the private sector and government at
all levels take into account the symbiotic relationship of economic development
strategies and population distribution and movements.|
||Reduce the amount of
primary materials (including energy) used in the U.S. economy
by constantly and significantly improving the efficiency of materials use in extraction,
production, and manufacturing, while simultaneously reducing the environmental
risks associated with consumption of materials and the
generation of wastes.|
||Achieve patterns of
and investment that will contribute to long-term economic prosperity,
environmental protection, and greater social equity.|
with the information, services, and
opportunities they need to make informed choices in their selection and
use of goods and services, base
understanding of the environmental, economic, and social
implications of their choices.|
||Every American will contribute to sustainable
development by understanding and upholding ethical principles that
recognize each individual's ability and responsibility to conserve resources
while pursuing individual and societal goals. Public awareness
of the relationship between consumption and quality of life will be widespread,
acknowledging that while it is important that all Americans be able to meet their
needs, more is not always better. It should be understood that this is especially true
those at the upper end of the distribution of goods and services, and that non-mate
factors, particularly quality of life, are essential determinants of individual and
efficient technologies necessary to reduce material throughputs
achieve sustainable development will be commercially
available, competitively priced, and accessible to all
The Population and Consumption Task Force recommends that the following
policies be adopted to move the United States toward sustainability.
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 1|
|Information and Services to Prevent
Governments at all levels should increase
improve educational efforts and public outreach related to contraceptive
methods and reproductive health, and expand access to-and availability
of-the services individuals need to freely and responsibly decide the
number and spacing of their children.
ACTION 1: Title X of the Public Health Service Act.
Congress should fund Title X sufficiently so that funded
programs may enhance information, education, and
outreach capabilities, particularly for populations not
currently reached, such as men and rural residents.
Similarly, sufficient funding is needed to ensure that all
women and men, regardless of income, have physical
and financial access to the full range of contraceptive
options and related reproductive health care services.
ACTION 2: Medicaid Reform. Congress should reform
Medicaid requirements to ensure that recipients, like all
Americans, have access to the full range of safe, voluntary reproductive health care in a confidential manner. In
addition, Medicaid reform should allow women who
qualify as a result of pregnancy to receive family planning benefits for up to five years after birth, in contrast
to the current 60-day limit.
ACTION 3: Private Health Insurance Coverage of
Family Planning. The federal government should urge
private health insurance companies to cover all family
planning methods (surgical and nonsurgical) and related
reproductive health care services.
ACTION 4: Contraceptive Research. Congress should
fund, both in federal medical research laboratories and in
private-public partnerships and other innovative arrange-
, increased research in basic and applied reproduction-
health sciences, including research into alternative
birth control technologies, to expand the range of
medically safe contraceptives available to women and
men. Particular attention should be given to woman-
controlled barrier methods, methods that protect against
sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), post-ovulatory
methods, and improved male methods.
ACTION 5: New Contraceptive Technologies. The
federal government should develop procedures to ensure
expedited approval of all medically sound methods of contraception, such
as appropriate contraceptives for emergency post-coital use.
Organizations and educational institutions responsible for training
physicians, nurses, and
reproductive health providers should also educate these individuals in the use of new contraceptive technologies, including oral contraceptives and other methods for emergency
ACTION 6: Men's Participation. The U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services should set aside 20 percent, or
as much as is deemed appropriate, of Title X Service
Delivery Improvement Grant funds for research efforts that
will enhance the provision of contraceptives and family
planning information and services for men in settings they
will use. In addition, the federal government should encourage-
age and fund research and demonstration projects that study
how best to provide contraceptives and family planning
services for women and men.
ACTION 7: Professional Education and Curriculum.
The American Medical Association (AMA) and American
Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) should be
encouraged to increase their educational programs for
medical students at the undergraduate and graduate levels to
enhance the training of future health care providers in terms
of knowledge, skills, and attitudes for reproductive health,
family planning, and all contraceptive methods.
ACTION 8: Public Education Messages. The federal
government should fund public education efforts, including
the development and marketing of public service announcements (PSAs), to
create awareness and provide information
on sexual responsibility. These PSAs will be developed for
a broad audience-adults as well as adolescents-and
should therefore cover topics including abstinence, contraceptives, unintended pregnancy and STDS, the importance
of responsible sexual behavior, and the responsibilities of
ACTION 9: Entertainment and Advertising. The U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services should establish a
cooperative working group with representatives of all branches
of the entertainment and advertising industry to discuss opportunities and strategies for introducing appropriate messages and
story lines about responsible sexual behavior.
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 2
Education and services for adolescents should be
increased through various school-based, community-oriented, peer-based,
and adult mentoring programs.
ACTION 1: Parental Involvement. Programs should be
initiated to encourage parents to fulfill their role as the
primary provider of values and information that promote
responsible sexual behavior by young people.
ACTION 2: Community-Based Programs. The federal
government should continue to fund community-oriented,
peer-based, and adult-mentoring programs for young people at
the highest risk of pregnancy and STD and HIV infection, and
to fund research into the programs that are most effective in
preventing adolescent pregnancy.
ACTION 3: Educational Programs. All educational cunicula
and programs, including vocational education, should benefit both
boys and girls, and health education should emphasize the role
and responsibility of males in family planning. The federal
government should augment funding for local school districts to
develop comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education that
stresses abstinence, and age-appropriate, medically accurate information-
nation about family planning.
ACTION 4: Service Availability. The federal government
should sufficiently fund programs that provide family plan-
services to adolescents, including Title X.
ACTION 5: Educational Environment. Educational
providers should be encouraged to improve the educational
environment of adolescents through innovative partnerships
focusing on improving gender relations and on eliminating
violence, sexual harassment, and drugs in schools. In addition,
efforts should be undertaken to develop creative programs
where teens can continue their education during and after
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 3
|Improve the Conditions Affecting Individual
The public and private sectors should work in
partnership to reduce poverty and provide greater economic, social, and
political opportunities for all Americans, particularly women.
ACTION 1: Poverty Reduction. All levels of government;
philanthropic, charitable, and other nongovernmental organizations; and individuals should intensify efforts and work together to
reduce poverty in the United States. Family assistance, compensatory education programs, job training, health care, and should work in partnership to microlending for enterprise development, among other strategies, should be part of on-going poverty red
ACTION 2: Eliminate Discrimination in Public Policy. Evidence indicates that, with access to information, services, education, and equitable economic opportunities, women voluntarily have smaller families. Therefore, coercion (for example, forced
contraception) or punitive measures (such as conditioning financial resources like AMC on a particular family size) should not
be used to influence women's childbearing and contraceptive decisions.
ACTION 3: Increase Opportunities for Women. The public
and private sectors should work in partnership to ensure that
women are not penalized for childbearing decisions in terms of
their jobs and professional advancement. This partnership should
further progress toward ensuring equal pay for comparable work
among women and men. Similarly, child care
should be accessible, safe, and affordable enough to enable parents to maintain
employment. Lending institutions should also ensure that women
have opportunities equal to those of men.
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 4
The United States
should develop comprehensive and responsible immigration and foreign
policies that reduce illegal immigration and mitigate the factors that
encourage immigration. Research on linkages between demographic change,
including immigration factors, and sustainable development should also
ACTION 1: U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. The
U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform is encouraged to recognize the
connections among immigration, population, and sustainable development in their work and in their policy recommendations.
ACTION 2: Improve Information Technology. The technology
to collect data for empirical research on U.S. migration and the
environment should be improved.
ACTION 3: Research. The federal government should fund
research into the environmental and economic effects of migration
to the United States-and of population growth in general-to
inform immigration and other demographic policies.
ACTION 4: Illegal Immigration. The U.S. Commission on
Immigration Reform is encouraged to pursue its work on illegal
immigration with due attention to the human rights and general
welfare of those affected.
ACTION 5: Legal Immigration. The U.S. Commission on
Immigration Reform should put legal immigration into a larger
demographic context, considering the effect of migration coupled
with natural increase and the impact on sustainability of continued
ACTION 6: Foreign Policy. The Task Force endorses the U.S.
Commission on Immigration Reform's recommendation that U.S.
foreign policy and international economic policy give greater
attention to the causes of migration to the United States, including
the push factors in countries of origin. People leave their home
countries for a variety of reasons, including lack of employment,
low wages, and poor working conditions; political, social and religous-
oppression; civil conflict; and other similar problems, and an
effective strategy to prevent unlawful migration must address
ACTION 7: Development Assistance. The United States should
adopt the United Nations' humanitarian aid target of 0.7 percent of
GNP/GDP each year, targeting these funds at long-term job
creation and income-generation activities. The focus should be on
women who would otherwise rely on remittances, and on men in
rural areas who would otherwise migrate to urban areas or other
ACTION 8: Trade Policy. Active measures should be adopted to
ensure that U.S. trade and investment policies result in a decrease,
not an increase, in rural poverty and landlessness, since these are
two factors that directly contribute to emigration.
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 5
The President and Congress should authorize and appoint a national
commission to develop a national strategy to address changes in national
population distribution that have negative impacts on sustainable
development, respecting individuals' freedom of choice in where to
Action: A National Commission. Comprised of federal, state, and
local entities should be appointed to develop a comprehensive national
strategy for mitigating the adverse impacts of settlement patterns within
the United States. Topics of inquiry should include, but not be limited
- Transportation Policy
- Tax Policy
- Standardization of Environmental Compliance
- Development Policy
- Land Use Policy
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 6
The federal government should
reorient fiscal policy to shift
the tax burden from labor and
consumption of natural
resources, virgin materials,
and goods and services that
pose significant environmental
risks. In this process, the
federal government should seek
replacement revenue measures
that encourage maximum
economic, energy, and
materials use efficiency.
Finally, in order to alleviate
concerns about regressivity,
and in fact to promote a more
progressive system of taxation,
the federal government should
offset consumption taxes at the
lower end of the economic scale
with corresponding reductions
in payroll taxes.
|ACTION 1: Reducing Taxes on "Goods."
Payroll, income, and corporate taxes should be reduced gradually.
ACTION 2: Imposing Taxes on "Bads." Simultaneously,
taxes on consumptive activities that diminish overall
economic welfare, especially activities that are disruptive of
environmental quality and sustainable resource use over the
long term, should be introduced in a revenue-neutral fashion.
ACTION 3: Progressivity. During the transition toward
consumption taxes, the progressivity of the tax system
should be enhanced by relaxing income and payroll taxes on
individuals at the lower end of the income scale.
ACTION 4: Investment Incentives. Investment patterns
that enhance prospects for sustainable development should
be encouraged, particularly through incentives for businesses
and investments with a long-range planning horizon (for
example, 20 years or more).
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 7
|Reducing Inefficient and Environmentally
Inefficient and environmentally
harmful government subsidies,
particularly those related to
natural resource extraction and
use, should be eliminated.
| ACTION 1: Listing Existing Subsidies.
Department of the Treasury should examine existing
federal subsidy programs related, but not limited to,
agricultural support programs, energy investment and
production, irrigation, transportation, timbering, mining,
public lands use, and federal insurance. The Treasury
Department should develop and publish a list, accessible
and understandable to the public, of existing federal
subsidies and their beneficiaries.
ACTION 2: Phasing Out Harmful Subsidies. The
President should propose phasing out subsidies with
aggregate effects that distort economic efficiency and
damage the environment, while preserving subsidies that
promote overall social welfare. Specifically, consideration
should be given to eliminating subsidies that cannot
clearly be shown to benefit society so much that the net
additional benefit is substantially greater than the cost of
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 8
|Environmental Labeling and
A public-private partnership
should be established to
develop criteria, based on lifecycle analysis, for assigning
labels for goods and services.
An appropriate third-party,
should be supported with
federal funds to certify, as a
voluntary incentive program,
products. After a necessary
development phase, the third- party entity will be self-financed.
| ACTION 1: Public-Private Initiative.
The U.S. Environ-
mental Protection Agency should establish a collaborative
initiative to define appropriate product categories and develop
criteria and standards for them, based on life-cycle analysis
and assessment. The initiative would involve government
experts (particularly those at the National Institute for
Standards and Technology), private industry representatives,
third-part entities (for example, Underwriter Laboratories and
Green Seal), and the public (including representatives of
environmental and consumer organizations).
ACTION 2: Third-Party Certification. The federal
government should support the development of a third-party
certification program capable of certifying that products meet
predetermined environmental standards and authorized to
award a national seal of approval.
ACTION 3: Preventing Deceptive Claims. The Federal
Trade Commission and other appropriate federal agencies
should establish the necessary means to prevent deceptive
environmental marketing claims and ensure the integrity of a
national eco-labeling program.
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 9
Government procurement procedures should be reformed to increase the
use of environmentally preferable products whose full life-cycle costs
are most economical. Consideration should be given to insuring that only
certified environmentally preferable products within product categories
for which standards/criteria have been established (and whose lifecycle
costs represent best value) will be available for purchase by the U.S.
government. In addition, the federal government should join with the
private sector in offering incentives, in the form guaranteed purchase
awards, to businesses that create new products exceeding the standards
for environmental superiority.
ACTION 1: Guidelines. The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency should accelerate the process of developing guidelines for products that are or can be made with recycled goods, pursuant to Section 6002 of
the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
ACTION 2: Recycled Products. Each agency of the federal government
should purchase, to the maximum extent practicable, recycled products in
the 26 categories already established by the U.S. Environmental
ACTION 3: Buy Only "Green." After the federal government has
criteria and standards for appropriate product categories, based on
life-cycle analysis and assessment, and a third-party entity has
certified environmentally superior products, the Federal Procurement
Council should take the necessary steps to prohibit the sale of products
that do not meet environmentally preferable standards.
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 10
|Public Education and the Development of a
Educate all sectors of society in numerous ways about consumer
practices and choices that will lead to sustainable consumption patterns
and lifestyles, and about living in accord with a stewardship ethic.
|ACTION 1: Formal Education. The U.S.
Department of Education should review curriculum requirements to
incorporate elements that
demonstrate how individual choices affect natural and community
environments and other elements of sustainability.
ACTION 2: Mass Media. The media industry-through innovative
partnerships with government, business, and the nonprofit sector-should be encouraged to incorporate
sustainable lifestyle practices into storylines and advertisements.
ACTION 3: Advertising Responsibility. To ensure that consumers
are receiving accurate information on which to make informed
sustainable choices, the print and television advertising community should
be encouraged to adopt an ethic that insures the accuracy
claims regarding the environmental impact of products.
ACTION 4: Financial Literacy. Education departments and educators
should reform their K- 12 home
economics and related curricula to place a greater emphasis on time and money
management, in order to help Americans better understand the
importance of saving and to give them
the tools for sound financial management and for living within their means.
ACTION 5: Work Patterns. The U.S. Department of Labor, in
cooperation with the U.S. Department of Commerce, should analyze
working trends in the United States and recommend options for
greater flexibility and reduced hours of work. The report should
explore ways that private industry could offer workers the option
wage increases in the form of time, rather than money.
ACTION 6: Community-Based Education. Municipal
governments, utility companies, local businesses, and community
based citizen groups should expand efforts to develop information, financial
incentives, educational materials, and programs to educate
citizens at the community level in recycling, composting, water
conservation, energy conservation, ride-sharing, and other aspects of
sustainable ways of living.
ACTION 7: Stewardship Ethic. Religious and cultural
organizations, consumer groups, environmental groups, and others
should investigate the nature, role, and application of a
stewardship ethic and highlight its importance in all their public education
materials and programs. In conjunction with representatives
of labor, business, academia, and philanthropy, these groups should be
bold in sparking a new national discussion about the "good life," affirming the many aspects of our economy and culture that are already
inherently satisfying while pointing to the need for greater balance in
the pursuit of material and non-material needs.
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 11
|Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling of
The federal government should find ways to encourage
U.S. manufacturers to ensure the appropriate recycling, reuse, and
the traditional municipal waste stream-of all packaging they produce.
Manufacturers, retailers, and distributors should work
together to make packaging materials returnable to
manufacturers. A public- private partnership financed by manufacturers should
certify packaging for sustainability.
|ACTION 1: Advisory Board. As part of a
Product Responsibility program, as outlined in the report of
the Eco-Efficiency Task Force of the PCSD, a
multistakeholder panel or advisory board should consider
packaging in its identification of high-priority products and
product waste streams for attention and action.
ACTION 2: Retail Return of Packaging. Policy options for
Extended Product Responsibility in the area of packaging
should include the collection by and return of packaging
materials to manufacturers and the ability of consumers to
return packaging to retail establishments.
ACTION 3: Packaging Certification. Policy options should
also include public-private partnerships, financed by
manufacturers, that certify manufacturers' packaging on the
basis that it is designed for materials efficiency, reuse,
recycling, and remanufacture. Once certified, a packaging
design could receive a "stamp of approval" akin to eco-
labeling that tells consumers the packaging is being handled
sustainably. Manufacturers should finance this partnership
through fees, graduated by material type to reflect the different
levels of reuse, recycling, and remanufacturing possible among
glass, paper, and plastics.
ACTION 4: Graduated Targets. Policy options should
establish graduated targets for: (a) the proportion of all
packaging of various kinds being recovered under the
program; (b) the proportion of all packaging material of
various kinds that is reused; and (c) the proportion recycled.
These targets should be designed to track with the
development of markets for each material, to avoid glutted
markets and illegal dumping of materials.
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 12
|Volume-Based Garbage Fees.
State and local governments should adopt volume-based household waste
collection systems and curbside recycling programs, with special
provisions to avoid undue burdens on those with low incomes. The federal
government should establish guidelines and models needed to initiate
| ACTION 1: Model Program
Development. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should build on its
experience and expertise in municipal solid waste management to develop a
model program for states and localities in volume-based garbage
collection fee systems that finance curbside recycling programs.
Guidelines accompanying this model should include its cost-effectiveness
compared with landfilling and incineration, based on costs in various
representative localities, and it should address the political costs of
interstate transport of waste. The fee structure of the model program
should take into account the impact that a graduated fee
for garbage collection would have on lower-income households and involve
a rebate or threshold mechanism to cushion that impact. This model
program should be available for states and localities to consider and
adopt within two years.
ACTION 2: Incentives. An interagency working group led
by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should explore
possible federal incentives to states and localities for adopting
the EPA's model program.
Possibilities include grants or tying
development of such programs to highway or other grants, or
to permission to export trash
out of state. The working group should submit a report to the EPA
within two years of its creation.
ACTION 3: Legislation. The Executive Branch should,
within one year of the submission of the working group
to the EPA, develop and propose to Congress, legislation
incorporates the best of the schemes explored by the interagency
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 13
|Disposal of Household Toxics
State and local governments
should adopt programs to
curb the flow of toxic
materials into municipal
waste streams, focusing on
incentives for recycling,
deposit or buyback systems,
procurement mandates, and
finding substitutes for the
most troublesome materials.
This policy aims to minimize
the contamination of waste
that goes to landfills and
incinerators, and of sewage, from the dumping of products,
including the following: batteries containing lead and mercury;
paints and solvents; motor oil; electrical appliances; and
|ACTION 1: Model Program.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should develop a model
program curbing household toxics for states and localities. The program
should aim at establishing deposit/return programs for problem
products including tires, used motor oil, lead and mercury
batteries, and paint and solvent containers. Guidelines
accompanying this model should underline the extent and
sources of these hidden polluters. The fee structures should
take into account the cost of avoided pollution and the
threshold level for motivating compliance. This model
program should be available for states and localities to
consider and adopt within a year of the program's initiation.
ACTION 2: Deposit/Return Program. As with existing
bottle bills, the deposit/return program would be implemented
throughout the marketplace, with manufacturers providing
incentives through prices and deposit/return systems and
distributors acting as agents to redeem the used toxic products.
|POLICY RECOMMENDATION 14
|Efficient and Clean
Civilian technology should be developed and promoted in
partnership with the federal government to provide new ways to
increase materials and energy efficiency and prevent pollution in
the first place.
ACTION 1: Research Funding. The federal research
establishment should assess its commitment to applied
environmental research to determine whether it is laying an
adequate basis for commercial technology and for assessing
the environmental and social impact of technological
ACTION 2: Research and Development Tax Credits. The
federal government should revise the federal tax code to allow
preferential tax credits to industry for research and
development activities targeted at environmentally sustainable
ACTION 3: Private-Public Research Consortia. The federal
government should support partnerships that bring private firms, federal
laboratories, and universities together to plan and carry our research
aimed at the development of environmentally sustainable technologies.