March 2019

Dear SCORAI Community,

As springtime approaches, we have an abundance of announcements and news items to share. Please read on to learn about recent publications by members of this research community and for information about future conferences and events. 

-Liz and Halina

Noteworthy Resources

New and Improved Sustainable Consumption Toolkit for Cities

The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) is pleased to announce the release of its updated Sustainable Consumption Toolkit:

With a growing public awareness that our consumer society is increasingly at odds with a sustainable future, cities can draw inspiration from this a one-of-a-kind resource to address consumption in local policy, programs and projects. The updated content captures the latest research and on-the-ground innovation around the topic with two important additions:

CBEI Guidebook –Consumption is a key driver of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but it is often overlooked in climate action planning. This guidebook provides advice for local governments seeking to measure and manage their carbon footprint using consumption-based emissions inventories (CBEIs). This guidebook was written by Derik Broekhoff, Peter Erickson, and Georgia Piggot of the Stockholm Environment Institute, with support from Babe O’Sullivan and the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance.

Smart Shift – Given the pervasiveness of consumption in the culture and economy, communicating about the issue and gaining support within municipal governments is challenging. The Smart Shift report provides municipal leaders with analysis and guidance on how to frame the issue and engage stakeholders in shifting consumption patterns.

The Toolkit introduces the concept of sustainable consumption and highlights strategies that cities can take to advance it at the community level. The web-based resource is designed to meet two important needs: 1) provide a clear and concise framing of key concepts that reveals how consumption is at the heart of many of the sustainability challenges cities are facing, and 2) showcase specific examples of initiatives cities are already using to reduce the impacts of consumption and foster a new sense of individual and community prosperity.

Join over 8,000 sustainability professionals and researchers who have used the Toolkit since it was first launched in 2016. For more information, please contact Babe O’Sullivan at or (971) 212-2724.
Upcoming Conferences
Listed in chronological order, from coming-soon to farthest out on the horizon.

Sharing Economy: Research on Access, Technology, Equity and Applications
Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
March 21-22, 2019

Multiple aspects of our 21st century lives are touched by sharing economy platforms, which enable customer-to customer matching and transactions, more efficient infrastructure utilization, and actively lower market friction. These electronic platforms span a broad spectrum of sectors, practices and organizational structures. There are inherent tensions and contradictions related to the objectives, boundaries and environmental and societal impacts of the sharing economy.

Specific application areas to be explored at the conference include transportation, cloud computing, energy and healthcare. We aim to engage researchers, policy makers, and industry thinkers in thoughtful discussions about the social, economic and political context in which sharing economy platforms are emerging, approaches to collecting data and evaluating outcomes, and designing recommendations that that influence the real-world implementation of sharing economy platforms.

NESI Global Forum 2019
April 24-26, 2019
Malaga, Spain

SCORAI members are invited to join and enjoy a unique opportunity to: 
  • Share knowledge about how transitions to a new economy can lead to and be led by changing how we consume today;
  • Actively address solutions for conscious consumption, women empowerment and alliance building on the fields of food, energy, textiles, housing, finance and work together with representatives of various other sectors from all over the world; and,
  • Strengthen your research work through participatory design-thinking processes that you may have heard of but perhaps not experienced yet.
Stay tuned – a series of webinars will take place as the “Pre Forum” and you all are very welcomed to join. Please note that papers will be welcomed, they will be presented through different modalities during the entire event, you don’t need to submit an abstract in advance.

Should you have any questions, or if you are interested in participating as part of a "SCORAI team", please do not hesitate to approach Ginnie Guillen-Hanson ( ) from SCORAI or write directly to Alvaro Sanchez of the organizing team ( )

“Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable”                       --William Pollard


STS Conference Graz 2019, "Critical Issues in Science, Technology and Society Studies"
Graz, Austria
May 6-7, 2019

The STS Conference Graz 2019 is the joint Annual Conference of the Science Technology and Society Unit of the Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science of the Technical University of Graz, the Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture (IFZ) and the Institute for Advanced Studies of Science, Technology and Society (IAS-STS).

For submitting your abstract, please follow these directions:
Submission Deadline:  January 21, 2019 
Notification of selected abstracts: February 2019
For further details please visit:


EUGEO Congress 2019 in Conjunction with the 51st Conference of Irish Geographers
National University of Ireland Galway
May 15-18, 2019

The theme for the 2019 EUGEO Congress is ‘Re-Imagining Europe’s Future Society and Landscapes’ and we invite sessions on this theme (and beyond) from all areas of the Discipline.

The conference will take place at the National University of Ireland Galway from May 15th – 18th (inclusive) and will include a series of keynotes, networking and social events throughout the four-day period. Some highlights include a Welcome Reception on May 15th and conference dinner on May 17th. Galway is an ideal location for the Congress; a vibrant city, full of rich cultural heritage and a gateway to many sites of geographical significance (e.g. Connemara and the Burren). Further details are available on the conference website:
The conference will be chaired by Dr Frances Fahy and Dr Kathy Reilly (Geography, NUI Galway) and the theme reflects on the centrality of the concepts of society and landscape within the Discipline of Geography. EUGEO 2019 in conjunction with the 51st Conference of Irish Geographers will offer participants the opportunity to reflect on and re-imagine futures within the geographical boundary of Europe and beyond. We invite session proposals reflective of the over-arching theme with a view to attracting a wide variety of geographers with a range of interest and expertise representative of Geography’s diversity.

Informal queries relating to the submission of proposed sessions can be sent to and before Friday November 30th. We look forward to welcoming you all to Galway.

Business Opportunities in Advancing Sustainable Lifestyles in Greater Boston
University of Massachusetts, Boston
May 16, 2019

Join progressive companies, policy makers, NGOs and academics to identify key actions and indicators for promoting sustainable lifestyles in Greater Boston as key to reducing GHG emissions. This workshop organized by UMass Boston and SCORAI will focus on the business opportunities in advancing sustainable lifestyles in Greater Boston area..

The conference aims to bring together progressive companies, policy makers, NGOs and academics to identify key actions and indicators for promoting sustainable lifestyles as key to reducing GHG emissions. More information about the workshop and how to register is available at:
Rewriting the Rules: Designing an Economy for the 21st Century
Cleveland, Ohio
May 27-29, 2019

The Biodiversity Funders Group (BFG) will host a New Economy funders meeting to explore how to rewrite the rules in designing an economy for the 21st Century in Cleveland, Ohio, a model city for community wealth building and new economic thinking. The set of ideas and rules that have dominated western political economy for the past 40 years are rapidly losing legitimacy. An emerging confluence of people are concerned about the harm our economic system is causing – political threats to open democratic societies, climate change and environmental degradation, growing inequality, accelerating technology change – and understand that the economy is undergoing a significant transition. 

These problems have spawned a growing movement across academia, civil society and business to bring about a new economic paradigm. There is a hunger for new intellectual frameworks to make sense of these intertwined issues and help guide action. 
International Conference on Enhancing Consumer Awareness
Prospects for Advancing Consumer Rights Protection on Traditional and Digital Markets
Katowice, Poland
June 16-18, 2019

On June 6-18, 2019, University of Economics in Katowice, Poland, will host an International Conference on Enhancing Consumer Awareness. Sustainable Consumption is one of the topics in the call for abstracts. The conference organizers are extremely interested in including Sustainable Consumption as a session or a track in the conference program. SCORAI members are strongly encouraged to submit abstracts.

Halina Brown, SCORAI co-founder and board member will give a keynote address. The topic of sustainable consumption is rapidly emerging among researchers in Poland, and this conference is an opportunity to give it a stronger foundation.

Important deadlines:
March 10, 2019       –   registration 
March 10, 2019      –   abstract/special session proposal submission
March 15, 2019       –   confirmation of abstract/special session proposal acceptance
April 15, 2019         –   submission of full papers via conference website

Waterlines: Confluence and Hope through Environmental Communication
The 15th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE) University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
June 17-21, 2019

We are excited to have you join us in Vancouver, Canada for the 15th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE 2019). The conference will be held at the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus on the Point Grey headland, surrounded by forest and ocean, with views of the Coast Mountains and just 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, all of which is part of the traditional unceded territory of the Musqueam people.

We have chosen communicating water - Waterlines - as the theme of the conference. Water connects with many environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest relating to energy production and distribution, land use, climate change, forestry, mining, development, and recreation. We think water is an under-researched area in the field of environmental communication and we are hoping to change that a bit.

The conference will bring together scholars, practitioners, artists, students and concerned citizens from around the world to share research, good practices, experience, and stories in order to help foster more effective, inspiring, ethical, and hopeful environmental and sustainability communication.


IST 2019: Accelerating Sustainability Transitions
Building visions, unlocking pathways, navigating conflicts
Ottawa, Canada
June 23-26, 2019

Over the past few decades the damage being done to global ecosystems by established development trajectories has become increasingly evident. In many sectors and regions sustainability transitions are gathering pace as new technologies, business models and social practices begin to transform existing systems of social provisioning. Yet the current political context is difficult. And in some areas there is increasing resistance to transformative change that promotes sustainability. Above all, progress remains slow when compared to the scale of damage being done to ecosystems and the climate.
The theme of IST 2019 – Accelerating sustainability transitions – seeks to address this challenging context by encouraging researchers and practitioners to examine obstacles to transitions processes and strategies to speed up the transformation of systems of production and consumption. It points to the importance of visions — of improved mobility systems, agricultural and food systems, buildings, cities and rural communities – to coordinate efforts and mobilize change. Raises the challenge of mapping out concrete pathways that can link the present with desirable futures. And emphasises navigation of the inevitable conflicts that accompany any serious efforts at societal change.

This 10th Anniversary event will mark the first time the IST conference has been held outside Europe. It will provide an occasion to highlight the achievements of international transition studies, to introduce researchers who are not yet familiar with transitions literatures to this vibrant community, and to explore complementarities with related research perspectives and approaches.

Call for Papers, Deadline extended until January-22, 2019
Conference website


Societal ever-expanding requirements have led to global competition for resources, and wealth being concentrated in a few hands. Dramatic societal crises and environmental conflicts emerge both in the South and in the North. The growth narrative builds on a very important belief: the idea that if we consume and possess more, we will be happier. However, from farmers’ protests in Delhi to buy nothing days, people stand against the present growth narrative and demand a different way of life that does not associate consumption with happiness.

As a response, degrowth develops other narratives and ideas. Over the last ten years, they have become more and more recognized. Recently a post-growth petition was signed by 90000 people. Scientific publications and special issues on degrowth are not rare anymore. We now count 10 major international conferences on degrowth, and more to come.

On this basis, this year the summer school will focus on the concrete responses that degrowth can give, and aims to prepare the next policy makers, activists, and academics to discuss degrowth alternatives. We will explore the various sources of degrowth, and their need to be integrated. The summer school will bring visions of degrowth in different sectors such as housing, transport, food, low-tech and energy, building new exciting stories. We also aim to practice horizontally governance and take account of all important perspectives, be it from the grass-roots or from policy makers. We believe that a stable collaboration, trust, and coordination between activists, practitioners and researchers leads to mutual learning towards a new path of socio-ecological transformations and inspiring narratives.
4th international Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption on “Transforming Production and Consumption: Bridging Sustainability Research with Policy and Practice.”
Hong Kong
June 26-29, 2019 
We welcome Paper, Poster, Workstudio and Session proposals. Deadline: 21 January 2018
This conference actively explores the following four themes for research and practice:
Theme #1: Asian Perspectives and Priorities in SCP
Theme #2: Imagining Sustainable Futures and Transforming Cultures
Theme #3: Sustainable Lifestyles and Livelihoods
Theme #4: Smart, Circular, Sustainable Urbanization

We are also exploring these themes through a number of cross-cutting topics: politics and democracy, civic engagement and knowledge transfer, gender, and social justice. A full description of the conference can be found here: The GRF conference is also an opportunity to interact with policymakers and practitioners including the SWITCH to Green Initiative. We warmly welcome you to Hong Kong to strengthen the community of researchers and practitioners engaged in research on the worldwide transition to sustainable production and consumption systems. 


Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) Annual Meeting
2019 Conference Theme 
“Fathomless Futures: Algorithmic and Imagined”

At the New School for Social Research, New York City, NY, USA
June 27-29, 2019

Join our vibrant and interdisciplinary SASE research network “Alternatives to Capitalism” by submitting a paper abstract (max. 1000 words) or a session proposal (up to four presenters + 1 discussant). 

Deadline for SASE submissions: January 14th, 2019.  If accepted, full papers due May 15, 2019.
Please submit your proposals using the online system at this link:

Early career scholars are eligible to apply for the Early Career Workshop. If selected, the conference fee cost, the full conference accommodation and the additional night of accommodation for the Workshop will be covered. More info here:

As income and wealth inequality have intensified within capitalist societies, people’s sense of voice or control over longstanding societal institutions has also diminished.  In response, many people across the globe have joined together to create new futures through alternative systems, institutions, organizations and other collectives, and relationships. Our network encourages research and scholarship on such collective efforts to create more transformative, egalitarian, horizontal or non-hierarchical practices, relations, social movements, groups, organizations, and societies.  Moreover, our network provides an engaging forum for discussing and envisioning alternatives.

The broad aim of this research network is to advance the international, comparative and interdisciplinary study of alternatives to capitalism and its associated institutions. More specifically, the research network has three goals: (1) To bridge the disparate interpretative frameworks that exist by engaging in a theoretical systematization of the literature; (2) To map existing alternatives embedded within various socio-economic and geographic contexts; (3) To encourage the use of innovative research methods that can provide new insights and reach broader audiences.

Contributors are invited to investigate and analyse the practices, strategies and discourses being used by different social groups to enhance and exercise social power rooted in the voluntary association of people and based on the capacity to engage in collective action of various sorts.

 Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: cooperatives (worker/producer/consumer) and cooperativism; political and ethical consumerism; eco-villages and sustainable communities; community and practice-based initiatives; the future of work; radical lifestyles; utopias and alternative futures; prefigurative initiatives and prefigurative politics; direct democracy and municipalism; commons and commoning; alternative forms of organisation and governance; anti-capitalist trade unions and political parties; transformative social innovation; alternative media and other forms of alternative social reproduction. We are particularly interested in the ways in which the State and the market interact with these alternatives through mechanisms of facilitation, co-optation, or repression.

6th International Workshop on the Sharing Economy (IWSE)
Utrecht University, Netherlands
28-29 June, 2019

After successful editions in Utrecht (2015), Paris (2016), Southampton (2016), Lund (2017) and Mannheim (2018), the International Workshop on the Sharing Economy will return to Utrecht for its sixth edition. Martijn Arets, Rense Corten, Joyce Delnoij and Koen Frenken will act as the local organizing committee. For updates, see:

EcoCity World Summit 2019
Vancouver, Canada
October 7-11, 2019

This is a biennial event that happens on a different continent and represents one of the world’s longest running and most influential conferences on building sustainable cities. The theme of the upcoming Summit is “Socially Just and Ecologically Sustainable Cities” based on the International Ecocity Standards ( that address many issues pertinent to sustainable modes of production and consumption. Specifically, the program committee would like to ensure that the conference provides a forum for conversations on sustainable lifestyles and behaviours.
This conference represents an opportunity to bring together a dynamic group of stakeholders, beyond the usual subjects. It links city building professionals (architects, planners, engineering) with ecologists and social scientists who are interested in tracking and managing the urban metabolism of cities to enable people to live within global ecological carrying capacity.
The call for papers and proposals will be open until April, providing groups plenty of time to put together thoughtful papers, workshops, fieldtrips, training activities, posters or presentations. All accepted proposals will be confirmed by June. The Ecocity World Summit appeals to a mix of academics and practitioners.

The 19th ERSCP-- Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption
Barcelona, Spain
October 14-19, 2019
Deadline for abstracts for the ERSCP conference extended to Feb 18

The European Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production (ERSCP) is one of Europe's most remarkable conferences in its field and has taken place periodically since 1994. ERSCPs favour discussions about the key issues in sustainable consumption and production; the exchange of thoughts, knowledge, experiences and SCP proposals; and the creation of a European (also worldwide) community of research and practice in sustainable consumption and production. The main goal of the ERSCPs is to encourage discussion amongst stakeholders involved in sustainable consumption and production: businesses, public institutions, universities, institutes and research centres, NGOs, SMEs, professional associations, decision-makers, etc.

ERSCP 2019 will explore innovative and transformational conference formats. Along with traditional presentation sessions, the conference will offer spaces for discussions and debates, as well as for collaborative workshops and other non-traditional conference sessions. Next to regular paper and poster abstracts, proposals for dialogue sessions are welcomed. Each participant can do a maximum of two paper presentations.

Prospective authors are invited to submit up to two abstracts of maximum 500 words no later than January 31st 2019 through the conference website. The abstract must include a comprehensive title, the name of all authors, their complete affiliation (address, e-mail), and clear structure, methods and (expected) conclusions, to allow the scientific committee to judge on the quality of the work. Prior to abstract preparation and submission it is recommended reading carefully the specific requirements and consulting the template for abstract preparation in a standard format . The members of the scientific committee will review the abstracts. Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper by August 1st, 2019.


  • PHD DAY – OCTOBER 15th
The Potsdam Summer School 2019 is calling for applications now!
Potsdam, Germany
August 20-29, 2019
The 2019 Potsdam Summer School (PSS) will explore the importance of science communication in order to find effective ways of communicating highly relevant topics in the field of sustainability and global change. With its ten-day program, the PSS 2019 will enable participants to create individual as well as organizational communication strategies to various audiences. This includes both the reactive elements of press and media relations as well as the proactive communication via traditional and new media outlets. Since the sharing of interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise is highly relevant, the following questions will also guide the ten-day program:
  • How can scientists address audiences from other societal areas?
  • Can all sustainability topics be communicated equally?
  • Should scientists become advocates rather than taking neutral positions only?
  • How to deal with incomplete or wrongly presented scientific information?
  • How to reduce complexity, without losing the scientific character?
  • How to strengthen the credibility of scientific findings?
With its overarching theme – “Connecting Science & Society – Communicating Research on Sustainability and Global Change – this year’s Potsdam Summer School will continue the transdisciplinary and interactive event series that has been held annually in Potsdam, Germany since 2014. The summer school will provide its participants with a comprehensive look into theories and methods of science communication. They will be engaged in discussions and group works and will be provided with tools to develop effective communication strategies.

The aim is to bring together talented early-career scientists and young professionals operating in the private sector, governmental agencies and non-governmental organisations from many different parts of the world to discuss frontier (research) questions on future sustainable development. We also aim to train science communication ambassadors eager to engage with various sectors of the public back in their home countries. Our goal is to improve science awareness and help to develop informed opinions and enhance the transferable skills of current researchers.
from Alexander von Humboldt’s KOSMOS to today’s Global Challenges:
Navigating the Sustainability Transformation in the 21st Century
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
August 28-30, 2019
This conference will provide a landmark for today’s great challenges towards sustainability. A critical and constructive debate on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be the focal point. The IRI THESys and the Geography Department are delighted to announce the opening of the Call for Contributions and kindly invite you to submit your contributions from all disciplines. Please hand in an abstract (max. 250 words) and register for the conference online at until 28th February 2019.
Sustainable Consumption & Social Justice in an Urbanizing World
4th International SCORAI Conference
Northeastern University, Boston MA, USA
June 10-12, 2020
This international conference will convene scholars and practitioners to focus on sustainable consumption as it relates to urban issues and social equity.
  • 3 day event in the heart of Boston
  • High-profile keynote speakers
  • Diverse transdisciplinary research presentations
  • Practitioner workshops
  • Local field trips
  • Convenient and affordable on-campus accommodation available

Sustainability Adventure: (Dis-)Cover a world of SDGs!

A unique cooperation between travelers and secondary schools goes into the next round: Now we also collaborate with government officials in charge of implementing the SDGs!

In the Sustainability Adventure program, gap-year-travelers have been volunteering as SDG reporters since 2013. Starting next week, Serafin and Milo, the two most recent SDG reporters, will use a personalized storytelling approach to help spread the word about inspiring SDG solutions to environmental and social challenges they encounter on their three- month journey through Latin America. Via social media, they will continuously share and discuss their Sustainability Adventures with partner school classes back home in order to match global challenges with local solutions at home. In a second mission the SDG reporters and the partner students document their (dis-)covered “g/local” SDG solutions for government officials in a co-creative quest. Thereby they not only facilitate mind shifts and behavior change for themselves, but also encourage action on and support for SDG solutions with some of the most powerful catalyzers for change!

This is a project by ViA: “The Forum for Sustainable Visions in Action“ in cooperation with Shareable and the Future Earth Working Group on Communication for Sustainable Consumption and Production.

You are wholeheartedly invited to follow the Sustainability Adventure over the channels of
@forumvia, @shareable or SCORAI! We also welcome further partners and funding
opportunities to increase the impact and scope of the project! For more info you can

Recent Publications

Power and Politics in Sustainable Consumption Research and Practice.
Edited by Cindy Isenhour, Mari Martiskainen, Lucie Middlemiss

With growing awareness of environmental deterioration, atmospheric pollution and resource depletion, the last several decades have brought increased attention and scrutiny to global consumption levels. However, there are significant and well documented limitations associated with current efforts to encourage more sustainable consumption patterns, ranging from informational and time constraints to the highly individualizing effect of market-based participation.

This volume, featuring essays solicited from experts engaged in sustainable consumption research from around the world, presents empirical and theoretical illustrations of the various means through which politics and power influence (un)sustainable consumption practices, policies and perspectives. With chapters on compelling topics including collective action, behaviour-change and the transition movement, the authors discuss why current efforts have largely failed to meet environmental targets and explore promising directions for research, policy and practice.

Featuring contributions that will help the reader open up politics and power in ways that are accessible and productive and bridge the gaps with current approaches to sustainable consumption, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of sustainable consumption and the politics of sustainability. 

Halina Szejnwald Brown & Maurie J. Cohen (2019) Climate-governance entrepreneurship, higher-order learning, and sustainable consumption: the case of the state of Oregon, United States, Climate Policy, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2019.1584087

The ongoing devolution of climate policy-making to sub-national levels has prompted growing interest in policy entrepreneurship by individuals who are politically and technically creative and institutionally resourceful. This paper investigates the case of the materials-management program in the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality which has emerged as a national and international leader by focusing on the role of household consumption in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Two noteworthy innovations involve the development of a consumption-based GHG emissions inventory and introduction of policies aimed at facilitating construction of small homes (so-called Accessory Dwelling Units, ADU). The case traces over several decades the higher order learning processes within the group and their entrepreneurship toward affecting broader changes in emission accounting and climate policies in Oregon. The paper identifies the enabling factors for these innovations, and considers: how to create the conditions for learning, experimentation, and policy entrepreneurship; how to reproduce these conditions in different locales; and how to recognize and foster innovations that arise outside the established mainstream ‘climate community’. It also stresses the benefits of breaking down the barriers between science-based analysis and policy. The two questions frequently raised in the climate policy debate – how to bring researchers and practitioners together to develop efficacious policies; and how to replicate successful programs and policies across different communities, jurisdictions, and locations – should be re-examined. It may be more appropriate to ask instead: How to create conditions for learning, experimentation, and policy entrepreneurship; and how to reproduce these conditions in different locales.

1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Targets and Options for Reducing Lifestyle Carbon Footprints.  A report from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Aalto University and D-mat ltd.

If the world is to keep climate change at manageable levels before the middle of the century, changes in lifestyles are not only inevitable, but would need to be radical, and start immediately. Considering current consumption levels, citizens in many developed countries would have to cut their lifestyle carbon footprints by about 80-90% or more, and some in developing countries by about 30-80% within the next 30 years. This is one of the key messages coming from the report “1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Targets and options for reducing lifestyle carbon footprints,” just launched by a group of experts from an international consortium of research and policy institutes.

The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Aalto University, D-mat, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, and the KR Foundation, at the World Resources Forum (WRF), today announced the launch of a report which analyses the carbon footprints of household lifestyles and how changes can contribute to meeting the ambitious 1.5-degree aspirational target envisaged by the Paris Agreement on climate change. Findings in the publication make it clear that changes in consumption patterns and dominant lifestyles are a critical and integral part of the solutions package for addressing climate change. It analyses scientific emission scenarios and case studies from Finland, Japan, China, Brazil, and India, and proposes long-term targets for individuals’ lifestyle carbon footprints by 2030-2050, as well as low-carbon options that citizens and society can adopt. 

Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Aalto University, and D-mat ltd. 2019. 1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Targets and Options for Reducing Lifestyle Carbon Footprints. Technical Report. Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Hayama, Japan. 

Boucher, Jean Léon, and Jukka Heinonen. 2019. Sustainable Consumption, Promise or Myth? Case Studies from the Field. 

Including a chapter by Vesela Veleva and Gavin Bodkin, "Entrepreneurs in Sustainable Consumption: The Furniture Trust Case".

This book brings together a number of recent case studies from the broad field of sustainable consumption. As they evaluate the promises, myths, and critiques of sustainable consumption, these essays can also be categorized into a range of different societal perspectives, from the individual to collectivities.The first chapters explore the personal consumer, discussing how individual consumptive choices relate to lifestyle and culture, and how choices are reflected in the carbon footprints of consumers and vehicles like the automobile. The ongoing phenomenon of outsourcing production and thus the emissions of cities—in more affluent countries—and the resulting “low-carbon illusion” of cities is analysed, as is the inefficiency of density policies to mitigate these emissions.The volume then moves on to consider community-based resource sharing, environmental entrepreneurs, spillover effects and learning possibilities. Also investigated are intentional communities born of alternative economic thought, suburban neighborhoods, and questions of whether cultural activities can be considered within the field of sustainability in lower-income city outskirts.The third part of the book analyzes different social movements in sustainability, as well as the limits of policy, government regulation, and the potential for mainstreaming sustainable consumption.In each chapter, scholars explore sustainability, from the individual to the collective, in order to improve understandings of consumer lifestyles and provide critiques of the processes of societal transition toward more sustainable human-environmental life.

Elliott, Rebecca. 2018. “The Sociology of Climate Change as a Sociology of Loss.” European Journal of Sociology 59(3): 301-337.

Climate change involves human societies in problems of loss: depletion, disappearance, and collapse. The climate changes and changes other things, in specifically destructive ways. What can and should sociology endeavor to know about this particular form of social change? This article outlines the sociology of loss as a project for sociological engagement with climate change, one that breaks out of environmental sociology as the conventional silo of research and bridges to other subfields. I address four interrelated dimensions of loss that climate change presents: the materiality of loss; the politics of loss; knowledge of loss; and practices of loss. Unlike “sustainability”—the more dominant framing in the social sciences of climate change—the sociology of loss examines what does, will, or must disappear rather than what can or should be sustained. Though the sociology of loss requires a confrontation with the melancholia of suffering people and places, it also speaks to new solidarities and positive transformations.

United Nations Environment Programme, One Earth (2018). Sustainable Lifestyles: Options and Opportunities. Paris: UN Environment.

This publication offers proven actions for creating and inspiring more sustainable lifestyles. It provides the rationale, resources and ideas for developing initiatives across areas of food, mobility, housing, goods and leisure as well as in general sustainable lifestyle areas. Informed by international advisors including in Bogota and Marrakech, it’s a tool for groups with limited resources who want maximum impact.

Globally, people are weaving sustainability into their daily lives — meeting needs and pursuing wellbeing and aspirations through building community; reducing meat and dairy consumption; wasting less food and using leftovers; reusing, repairing, recycling, sharing and borrowing goods; and enjoying the things that matter most, such as friends, experiences and nature. This is impressive since aspirations of ‘the good life’ continue to be strongly influenced by pro-consumption messaging and because people who are aware may not have more sustainable options available. Yet, taken together these actions are piecemeal and do not capture the full potential that holistic sustainable living initiatives can offer. This publication addresses this gap. It provides a sample of proven lifestyles options and opportunities including in the areas of food, mobility, housing, consumer goods, and leisure and general sustainable lifestyles. The audience is people running campaigns and initiatives with limited resources who want maximum impact. Explore these opportunities and create initiatives that work in your context — because what works in Brazil is different from what works in Morocco. Join us in advancing sustainable living in more effective ways.

Sustainable Consumption in the News

"‘The cars just disappeared’: What happened to the 90,000 cars a day the viaduct carried before it closed?
The Seattle Times
Commuters' behavior changed in Seattle when a major highway was shut down for three weeks. Rather than getting worse, vehicle traffic was down across the region. There were no major interventions, but when supply was constrained and people were informed they simple made different choices.

"The new dream home should be a condo"
New York Times
It looks like even in the suburb-loving U.S. the mainstream media are beginning to notice the unsustainability of oversize Dream Houses that the home industry is trying to sell us.

"Finland’s Basic Income Trial Boosts Happiness, but Not Employment"
New York Times
The Finnish government announced initial findings on Friday, a month after the trial ended. The trial was being watched closely by other governments who see a basic income as a way of encouraging the unemployed to take up often low-paid or temporary work without fear of losing their benefits.

"As ‘degrowth’ of cities becomes a reality across the world, urban planning needs a rethink"
Degrowth requires us to reopen the urban planners’ toolbox and develop a language that incorporates these processes over the long term. It poses new challenges to local governments and other actors involved in the urban fabric.

"How sustainable are bioplastics?"
Physics World
At face value, taxing consumption of materials derived from petrochemicals and subsidizing production of bioplastics both sound like they’d encourage sustainable consumption. But applying these policies to meet a hypothetical 5% target for bioplastics use reveals a different story, according to scientists in Germany.

"Shoppers Want More Sustainable Products, But Brands Are Struggling To Keep Up"
Buying ethical brands is all very well, but it will not be sustainable if fundamental business models, based on driving more consumption, don’t also change.

New SCORAI Affiliates

A warm welcome to the following new SCORAI affiliates joining us during the past month, bringing our total membership to 1128 individuals.
  • Steffen Boehm, Professor, University of Exeter, working on circular economy, sustainability, political economy and ecology
  • Aleksander Bucholski, Poznan, Poland / Manchester, UK, immigration lawyer, urban activism.
  • Richard Atimniraye Nyelade
  • Mert Konuk
  • Oben Bayrak, Sweden, Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics, Umeå, Sweden

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