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.

GOAL 1: 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.
GOAL 2: 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.
GOAL 3: 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.
GOAL 4: Achieve patterns of consumption, savings, and investment that will contribute to long-term economic prosperity, environmental protection, and greater social equity.
GOAL 5: Provide consumers 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.
GOAL 6: 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 national progress.
GOAL 7: Cleaner, more efficient technologies necessary to reduce material throughputs achieve sustainable development will be commercially available, competitively priced, and accessible to all Americans.


The Population and Consumption Task Force recommends that the following policies be adopted to move the United States toward sustainability.

Information and Services to Prevent Unintended Pregnancies
Governments at all levels should increase and 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 contraception.

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 parenthood.

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.

Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention
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 pregnancy.

Improve the Conditions Affecting Individual Decisions
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 uction efforts.

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.

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 increase.
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 population growth.

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 these factors.

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 countries.

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.

Population Distribution
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 live.
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 to:
  • Transportation Policy
  • Tax Policy
  • Standardization of Environmental Compliance
  • Development Policy
  • Land Use Policy
Shifting Taxes
The federal government should reorient fiscal policy to shift the tax burden from labor and investment toward consumption, particularly 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).

Reducing Inefficient and Environmentally Harmful Subsidies
Inefficient and environmentally harmful government subsidies, particularly those related to natural resource extraction and use, should be eliminated.
ACTION 1: Listing Existing Subsidies. The U.S. 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 the subsidy.

Environmental Labeling and Certification
A public-private partnership should be established to develop criteria, based on lifecycle analysis, for assigning environmentally superior labels for goods and services. An appropriate third-party, non-governmental entity should be supported with federal funds to certify, as a voluntary incentive program, environmentally superior 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.

Government Procurement
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 Protection Agency.

ACTION 3: Buy Only "Green." After the federal government has established 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.

Public Education and the Development of a Stewardship Ethic
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.

Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling of Packaging Materials
The federal government should find ways to encourage U.S. manufacturers to ensure the appropriate recycling, reuse, and disposal-outside 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 broader Extended 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.

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 these programs.
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 working group.

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 tires.
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.

Efficient and Clean Technologies
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 developments.

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 technologies.

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.

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