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March 2021 Newsletter
Around the world, members of our network are doing vitally important work to highlight the linkages between consumption and other central challenges that we are facing in 21st century. This newsletter highlights a great deal of new research outputs as well as opportunities to engage in conversations about consumption, wellbeing, and potentials for transformative change. We invite you to attend upcoming webinars with Duncan Crowley, speaking on "Community-led Ecocity Transformation" on March 22, And Lucie Middlemiss speaking about "Energy Poverty in the Energy Transition" on April 19. You can view previous webinars in the series, including sessions with Halina Brown, Josh Alpert, Giorgos Kallis, Jennie Stephens, Ashley Colby and Gene Homicki on SCORAI.net. Thank you for being a part of this vibrant and collaborative community!
--Halina and Liz
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SCORAI Webinar Series:
 Sustainable Consumption and Lifestyles

Monday March 22, 10-11am ET
REGISTER HERE

Duncan Crowley: Community-led Ecocity Transformation: Developing an Urban Systems Community of Practice Ecosystem

To combat climate breakdown, regenerative action is required. Degrowth criticises sustainability’s relationship to perpetual quantitative growth on a finite planet. Permaculture’s post carbon pathway shows us where we must go, doughnut economics gives us the compass to get there. By developing our urban systems community of practice ecosystem, community-led initiatives that have been hovering at the periphery are emerging to become catalysts for system change, making old structures obsolete. Bridging activism and academia through action research, deepens science, gives transition tools to communities and shapes climate emergency response policy. Ecocity transformations based on regenerative planning move from what, to who and how; unfolding processes of nested communities blossoming to transform their worlds, at all scales; backyard, neighbourhood, city, bioregion. Scaling ecovillage approaches to ecocities demands locally owned, participatory processes remain intact. Fractal-like, multi scaled, community-led, bottom-up governance experiments to enable this, already exist. Re-making our cities is everyone’s business.

Duncan Crowley is an Irish architect and climate activist exploring community-led ecocities through action research in Dublin, Barcelona, Curitiba and Lisbon. He works with the UrbanA project, ECOLISE (European Network for Community-Led Initiatives on Climate Change and Sustainability) and their Communities for Future action platform. He is a PhD Candidate of Architecture of Contemporary Metropolitan Territories at ISCTE Lisbon and holds an MSc in Environment and Development from UFPR, Curitiba, Brazil. He co-founded Barcelona’s Transition group, has a Permaculture Design Certificate and was part of the 2011 Indignado square occupations. He is part of CE3C & DINÂMIA’CET research groups and participates with DEAL (Doughnut Economics Action Lab) and the Portuguese Degrowth network.

Upcoming Webinars in the Series:
  • April 19, 2021, 10-11am ET: Lucie Middlemiss: "Energy poverty in the energy transition: understanding and addressing the under consumption of energy during a low-carbon transition in Europe"
  • May 2021, Date TBD: Karl Theidemann, Soil4Climate
 
Watch previous webinars from this series at scorai.net
Sustainable Consumption in the News

Advancing Racial Justice Means Ending Fossil Fuel Reliance
Dame Magazine | by Jasmine Banks and Jennie C. Stephens | December 14, 2020
The authors of this article make a powerful case for confronting and disrupting the ties between white supremacist ideology and the fossil fuel industry, writing, "For decades, fossil fuel interests have fought to sustain racial inequities and resist efforts to advance racial justice. To maintain their power, profit, and political influence, fossil fuel companies rely on both climate denialism and continued structural inequities. To concentrate their wealth and power, they must perpetuate the notion that Black lives are less important than their profits."
 
Local Hazards Grow as Americans Churn Out More Garbage
BloombergGreen | by Jacqueline Davalos | February 26, 2021
Over the past three decades, the rate of U.S. recycling and composting has more than doubled, but overall waste generation has not slowed down, and the global economics of the recycling and waste management industry has shifted so that most landfills in the US are now privately owned and managed and have been concentrated in a small number of sites nationally, creating intensified environmental stress for local populations. Highlighting several case studies of communities facing serious environmental health burdens associated with landfill waste, the article asserts that fixing the economics of waste and recycling is an urgent priority.

Bitcoin consumes 'more electricity than Argentina'
BBC News | by Cristina Criddle | February 10, 2021
In order to "mine" Bitcoin, computers are connected to the cryptocurrency network, with the sole focus of verifying transactions made by people who send or receive Bitcoin. This is a computationally intensive  process and consumes a large amount of energy. Recent research conducted by The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance finds that if Bitcoin were a country, it would be in the top 30 energy users globally.

Private planes, mansions and superyachts: What gives billionaires like Musk and Abramovich such a massive carbon footprint
The Conversation | by Richard Wilk and Beatriz Barros | February 16, 2021
Explaining the framing of this assessment of emissions generated by the world's wealthiest individuals, the authors write, "We believe “shaming” – for lack of a better word – superrich people for their energy-intensive spending habits can have an important impact, revealing them as models of overconsumption that people shouldn’t emulate."
Call for SCORAI Conference 2022 or 2023 Organizers
Expressions of Interest due March 15

The SCORAI Board calls for expressions of interest for hosting the Fifth International SCORAI conference in 2022 or 2023. The previous SCORAI conferences were: 2013 at Clark University in Worcester, MA; 2016 at Princeton N.J.; 2018 at the University of Maine in Orono, ME; 2018 at the Copenhagen Business School in Copenhagen; 2020 at Northeastern University in Boston and at KTH in Stockholm (both moved to the on-line format). We hope that the format of the Fifth conference will be a combination of in-person and virtual, preferably in two trans-Atlantic hubs if possible.

The past SCORAI conferences have attracted approximately 120 participants each (350 at the on-line conference). They attracted leading researchers and practitioners in the areas of sustainable consumption and social justice and were small enough to facilitate intense interactions among participants at all levels of professional development, from graduate students to senior academics and between researchers and practitioners. Numerous funded research projects, books and lasting research collaborations were initiated and deepened at those conferences.

The SCORAI Board will be closely collaborating with the Conference organizers in determining the leading theme, producing a Call for Abstracts, creating the scientific committee and reviewing abstracts, building the budget, setting the fees, selecting and inviting keynote speakers, building the conference program, sharing the past experience from earlier conferences, and myriad of tasks and decisions.

The Conference Host(s) will take the primary responsibility for the following:

  • All local arrangements, including facilities for keynote and breakout sessions, accommodations, meals and refreshments, and related tasks.
  • Organizing the abstract review process and selection
  • Building the conference program (in coordination with the SCORAI Board
  • Conference website, outreach, and communication
  • Building the conference budget
  • Collecting registration fees and managing the budget
  • Final report on the budget

Many of the current widely accepted understandings of consumption and production- consumption systems were in their early stages debated at the SCORAI conferences. These include: the links between economic growth and power relations and consumption, degrowth movement and consumption, the role of technology in establishing social practices related to consumption, the role of consumption in happiness and life satisfaction, and others. We seek to continue this tradition of intellectual innovation and pathbreaking development of the field.

Expressions of interest in hosting the next SCORAI conference should include:

  • The name of the senior leader(s) and the institution(s)
  • Description of the team members of the organizing committee, if known
  • Past experience in conference organizing
  • Anticipated or projected support and commitments from senior leadership of the hosting organization
  • Description of the available facilities
  • Institutional resources available, including in-kind resources such as rooms, audio-visual and internet services, administrative and fiscal support
  • Local attractions and availability of affordable accommodations
  • The name or names of potential international co-organizing partners (a joint application with a cross-Atlantic partner is encouraged)

Please submit the Expression of Interest by March 15 to Philip Vergragt at pvergragt@outlook.com

We welcome extensive communications with the members of the Board between now and the March 15th deadline on all matters large and small related to developing the Expression of Interest.

Featured Publication:
The New Systems Reader: Alternatives to a Failed Economy


Edited by James Gustave Speth and Kathleen Courrier

Published October 19, 2020, Routledge Press

"The pandemic of 2020 has made the question of economic and social transformation ever more urgent. As the failures of neoliberalism multiply, what should take its place? The Next System Project has been one of the most fruitful efforts to articulate possible paths forward. This collection—a veritable who's who of visionaries—is a must-read for anyone interested in creating an egalitarian, sustainable, and humane successor to capitalism." —Juliet Schor, author, After The Gig: How the Sharing Economy Got Hijacked and How to Win It Back

"This book could not be emerging at a better moment: many more of us now realize that we need new models for our collective life, and it will come as a relief to many readers to know those models are out there, with people hard at work figuring out how we can build them to scale in time. A landmark book!" —Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

In 29 chapters, this volume unites perspectives from leading systems thinkers on approaches to reinventing economic and social systems for global sustainability transformations. Contributors include 2020 SCORAI Conference invited keynote speakers Emily Kawano, Peter A. Victor and Aaron Tanaka. This is a uniquely valuable resource for educators and organizations interested in sparking dialogue about different visions for sustainability transformations and case study examples of actions to work toward those visions for the future. A publicly available study guide has been created to accompany the text, posing thought provoking questions about overarching themes and specific concepts discussed in each essay: https://democracycollaborative.org/newsystemsreader
Calls for Contributions/ Submissions
Special Issue in Sustainability: "Transition towards Sustainable Urban Settlements"

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2021

The current globalized world has generated massive trade exchanges between nations. This exchange of goods and services tends to be polarized between developed and developing countries, and between rural and urban areas. The consumption-oriented lifestyles in developed countries, especially in the cities or urban areas within, means that these areas are dependent on resources from outside their boundaries, both from rural areas as well as from other countries.

The current globalized consumption system has proven to be unsustainable due to its uneven social impacts, economic crises and environmental impacts, materialized, for instance, in ever-proceeding climate change and consequent biodiversity loss. Therefore, especially in the last decade, several social movements, research groups or policy makers, have underlined the need for a rapid transition towards sustainable models based on socio-ecological resiliency and even self-sufficient systems.

This special issue aims to capture the novel proposals for achieving restructured, resilient and sustainable cities, based on, for example, energy sovereignty, low carbon emission systems and circular economy. We would like to open a discussion in analyzing the following: current existing low impact exemplary cities, pathways to 1.5 degree warming compatible living, theoretical modelling of energy-efficient urban environments, and simulations of sustainable urban environments and their dialog with other areas. Also, contributions to contemporary urban sustainability concepts discussing the relationships and interdepency between different sustainability aspects, especially ecological and social, are welcomed.

Likewise, this special issue opens a discussion about the roles between developed and non-developed countries to better understand energy and other consumption dependency dynamics. In this context, the calculation of footprints (e.g. carbon footprint, energy footprint, water footprint, social footprint, etc) will allow to quantify the hidden consumptions that developed cities and countries are outsourcing to less regulated nations, and the respective environmental and social impacts of this consumption. The main goal is to share the responsibility of the generation of socio-environmental impacts in order to start out on the path to avoiding them.

We propose as a reference the following topics in order to guide the authors and trigger a better-orientated discussion of the scientific works that could partake in this challenge:

  • Low-energy/low-carbon cities;
  • Energy transition in low-carbon urban areas;
  • Low-energy/low-carbon urban ecosystems;
  • Footprint assessments of all aspects of sustainability;
  • 1.5 degree warming compatible living;
  • Resilient urban area modelling;
  • Sustainable cities;
  • Drivers and barriers for low-energy/low-carbon solutions; and
  • Socio-ecological sustainability in cities.

Papers presenting research results with sound academic contributions and high societal impact potential are particularly welcomed.

Guest Editors
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ortzi Akizu-Gardoki
Prof. Dr. Jukka Heinonen
Assistant Prof. Dr. Sanna Ala-Mantila

Full Submission Guidelines:
https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/sustainable_urban_settlements

Special Issue in Sustainability: "Behavioral Economics and Sustainable Public Policies"

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 May 2021

The world is facing major issues to ensure the future of our environment, and humans are as much part of the problem as they need to be part of the solutions. Acknowledging people as part of the ecosystem, public policies need to be grounded on empirical evidence about how people actually behave in order to be able to present more sustainable solutions and interventions. Human environments are not simple predictable rational machines, but rather systems usually characterized by high levels of uncertainty and change. In fact, behavioral economics, as an area of research that tests the classic rational assumption by identifying consistent behavioral patterns, has continuously shown how humans systematically violate these classical assumptions. Understandably, research in behavioral economics and sustainable public policies has gained more and more attention over the last few years, identifying concrete implications to policy design. In this Special Issue, we encourage authors to submit reviews, meta-analyses, conceptual models, and empirical studies aiming to present recent advances in this emerging field, namely by identifying how responses and attitudes toward specific environmental policies differ from those predicted by standard theory.

Guest Editors
Dr. Ana Rita Farias
Dr. Joana Reis

Full Submission Guidelines:
https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/behavioral_economics
Special issue in Sustainability: Biosociality from a consumer culture perspective

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021

An acknowledgement of the problematic human role in the contemporary anthropocene era rests on the dethroning of humanity as a species outside and beyond the biological. On a more situated level, an understanding of the bio-social anthropos is a precondition for understanding the modes of human desires, seductions and aberrations. The complexity of life and the complexity of the human condition is the starting point for a consumer research agenda and an approach to consumer culture, that can cope with the obvious global challenges to sustainability we are facing.

As noted by Descola in his book The Ecology of Others, foreshadowed by Guattari in The Three Ecologies, and explored by Harraway in When Species Meet, the relationship between humans and the global biome is paradigmatic of the challenges of, and the challenges imposing themselves on humanity in this century. For Descola, a non-exhaustive list of these challenges would include “climate change, the erosion of biodiversity, the multiplication of transgenic organisms, the exhaustion of fossil fuels, the pollution of fragile environments and of large urban centers, the accelerating disappearance of tropical forests and coral reefs, all have become issues of public debate at the global scale and fuel the disquiet of numerous inhabitants.” In this special issue of Sustainability, we invite reflections on the relationship between consumer culture and biosociality in the face of  these and related challenges.

Biosociality as ontology and epistemology addresses the challenges imposed on the vision of sustainable consumption by the current tendency to reduce the cultural, psychic and biological consequences of consumer culture to predominantly if not exclusive a human affair. Furthermore, it reformulates the enduring attitude-behavior gap between consumers’ oft-stated desire for more sustainable consumption and the reality of their behavior in a new way, as a problem related to the systemic misconstrual of the relationship between human economic behavior and the biome. Finally, a biosocial perspective offers an alternative that recognizes the necessity of resource circulation in any imaginable economic system.

This special issue of Sustainability calls for an exploration of a simultaneous acknowledgement of the sociality of the biological and the biologicality of the social without recourse to flawed, universalizing genetic reductionisms. We invite investigations and conversations addressing the possibility of a biosocial renewal of thought in consumer culture theory and ensuing reflections on a more sustainable consumption system against the ecological precarity which consumer capitalism produces. As indicated, biosocial renewal is defined by the contingent extension of the principle of sociality to other living beings, and the recognition that all living beings are in communicative relations with significant others in their environment and between whom resources circulate in value co-creation processes.

Guest Editors
Søren Askegaard
Eric Arnould
Dominique Roux

Full submission guidelines:
http://alcor-institute.com/sustainability-special-issue-on-biosociality-from-a-consumer-culture-perspective/
Just food system transition in the context of climate change: tackling inequalities for sustainability

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2021

Research on food justice has painstakingly shown how our current food systems suffer from deep injustices (e.g., Gilson and Kenehan 2019; Glennie and Alkon 2018; Gottlieb and Joshi 2013). Global food systems have not been able to secure a good nutrition for all, neither a fair distribution of income. While inequalities in livelihoods and nutrition are known to differ significantly across the food systems and between the regions, we still lack understanding on how these disparities link with climate action and sustainability concerns. In just transition, these distributive matters require further scholarly attention. For example, how to support the shifts to sustainable diets whilst considering differences in eating practices between various socio-economic groups and across regional culinary traditions and production systems.

Justice questions in food system transition are not reducible to distributive matters only. As transition concerns actions both in the fields and at the dinner tables, cultural values and social practices guiding our various food related activities need to be recognized (Kortetmäki 2019; Loo 2019; Schlosberg 2007). Just transition research needs to ask how to support the capabilities of diverse food system actors, particularly those in the most vulnerable position, to participate in sustainability transition on their own terms. The question concerns also capabilities and equal possibilities to innovate across the food chain and to gain a fair share from the innovations (Timmermann 2019). The insights from capabilities approaches (Schlosberg et al. 2017) and social practice theories (Kaljonen et al. 2019; Huttunen and Oosterveer 2017) can offer fruitful avenues for considering recognitive justice as a part of just transition. Food system transition highlights also the recognition of non-human animals, who for now, have been largely invisible in just transition research (Morris et al. 2021).

Just transition is closely linked to fair procedures in decision-making and participation. This is what environmental and food justice scholarship has taught us for long (Schlosberg 2007; Gilson and Kenehan 2019). Food system governance is characterized by a unique interplay between public and private measures and civic actions. How procedural justice can be guaranteed in these different spheres of governance merits further empirical scrutiny. The interconnections between different sectors also call for theoretical reasoning, since in justice theory states and public governance are considered as basic forums for enacting justice and safeguarding democratic and fair decision-making. Furthermore, the procedures for restoration and compensation require further attention (McCauley and Heffron, 2018). What kind of policy instruments are useful and appropriate for compensating or alleviating the harmful impacts of climate change and its mitigation, and when and where should compensation be applied? Further investigation is needed to clarify whether restorative justice is a separate dimension of justice or one element in achieving distributive, recognitive and procedural justice in transition.

Food systems function globally and locally at the same time. In just transition, we need to consider impacts that occur both near and far. Justice demands that the rights to food, livelihood opportunities and prospects for distant communities and future generations are respected. But how to balance the tensions between the competing demands? Tensions become especially apparent in trade relations, which calls for novel procedures (Boillat et al., 2020). Incorporation of spatial and temporal dimension into just transition framework is crucial for global and cosmopolitan justice (McCauley et al. 2019).

The thematic call is linked to Just food project, which examines how to tackle inequalities on our way to low-carbon, sustainable, and healthy food systems. With this thematic call we want to extend the discussion of just food system transition to different contexts and regions around the world and to demonstrate various ways by which inter- and transdisciplinary research can contribute to the understanding of just transition.

If you are interested in participating to the thematic call, please send your abstract (max 250 words) to Minna Kaljonen (firstname.lastname@syke.fi) by 31 March 2021.

The authors are then invited to present their first draft of articles in a joint a virtual seminar in June 2021. We collect the contributions together for a Special Issue to be proposed for Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions (or alternatively to Agriculture and Human Values, Environmental Politics).

Full submission details:
https://justfood.fi/en-US/Publications/Call_for_papers
Upcoming Events
Listed in chronological order, from coming-soon to farthest out on the horizon.
6th Network of Early Career Sustainability Transitions (NEST) Conference
8-9 April 2021  | Sofia, Bulgaria

The Network of Early Career Researchers in Sustainability Transitions (NEST) organises every year a conference to allow early career researchers in sustainability transitions to exchange, share their work and broaden their perspectives. The 6th NEST conference team is happy to share its call for abstracts which you can access here : https://transitionsnest.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/6th-nest-call-1.pdf . The conference will be held in Sofia on the 8th and 9th of April. This year's theme focuses on transition pathways.

Abstracts are expected by 15th of December at transitions.nest2021@gmail.com
Sustainable Consumption and Care
20-21 May 2021  | National University of Ireland, Galway

SCORAI Europe is convening a two-day workshop in Galway, Ireland. The workshop will begin after lunch on the 20th May 2021 and conclude with lunch on 21th May 2021. There are still some places left for participants interested to serve as discussants or note takers. The work of both rolls will be included into the workshop proceedings.

The purpose of the workshop is to delineate and differentiate the interplay between sustainable consumption and care. We are interested in care in the context of sustainable consumption as well as in sustainability in the context of care. The good life and well-being are put centre stage and we are interested in how we can maintain, continue and repair the world in order to life a good life.

Full workshop details and call for papers: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uN6SatDDaGjmhxkd-eoPEB5yV4olxoM1d8uRfZkA3ro/edit
4th PLATE Conference
26-28 May 2021  | Virtual Conference

The 4th Conference on Product Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE) will now take place as a virtual conference from 26th to 28th May 2021. Using a dedicated digital platform, PLATE 2021 will continue in the tradition of the previous events in creating a multi-disciplinary forum for researchers, practitioners and educators who are passionate in understanding and reacting to the influence of product lifetimes on the environment.
 
In addition to the presentations by delegates, the virtual format will include live keynote presentations, on-line discussions, video-chats, coffee breaks and networking space and even a social programme. This is a fascinating time to be working on this topic. The European Green Deal is promising to adopt an industrial strategy that will intensify the focus on product lifetimes. The resource-intensive sectors of electronics, textiles, construction and plastics are the subject of particular interest in the pursuit of the circular and carbon neutral economy. Business models based on usage rather than ownership are promised to shift consumption away from short lived products.

Full conference information here: https://www.plateconference.org/plate-2021-conference/
Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress 2021
12-15 June 2021  | Brisbane, Australia & virtual

The Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress 2021 (SRI2021) is the world’s first transdisciplinary gathering in sustainability – it will be a space of fierce advocacy for sustainability scholarship, innovation, collaboration and action.

This annual event unites global sustainability leaders, experts, industry and innovators to inspire action and promote a sustainability transformation. For the first time, the Congress will launch as a hybrid event with a diverse and innovative online program alongside onsite participation. In addition to the 100+ sessions available throughout the day and night, thanks to the global reach of SRI and partners, the SRI2021 Online Package includes exclusive events and services, starting as soon as February 2021.

SRI is a joint initiative of Future Earth and the Belmont Forum. Australia, who hosts the Congress in 2021, has a unique role to play in the global community as a conduit between the Global North and the Global South, indigenous peoples and traditional sustainability practices. The local hosting consortium, led by Future Earth Australia and CSIRO, features academia and government partners from Brisbane and the State of Queensland to meet the breadth of the SRI2021 agenda.

Full conference information here: https://sri2021.org/
International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) 27th Conference
13-15 July 2021  | Mid Sweden University Virtual Conference

This online conference covers sustainability in relation to all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the virtue of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. It aims to investigate the most current trends and implications for the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development in the Global North and Global South.

The ISDRS2021 conference will therefore explore transformative challenges and necessary systemic changes towards sustainable development in the light of the SDGs and COVID-19 including, but not limited to general ideas and specific approaches related to:
  • environmental, social and economic drivers, state and perspectives and their interrelations with stakeholders, population, products, processes, innovation and technologies;
  • protection and use of the environment, to social resilience, education and equality, and to economic production and consumption pattern, and
  • the fitness for purpose of and integration among SDGs, also in the light of a post 2030 agenda and the UN 2050 Vision of “Living in harmony with nature”.
The latest UN SDG Progress Report 2020 from July 2020 indicates that before the COVID-19 pandemic, progress remained uneven and that the world was not on track to meet the Goals by 2030. It further shows that this crisis did not sparse any of the SDGs, but effected particularly social ones by reversing several positive trends and even increasing several inequalities within and between countries. The report’s progress summary for the 21 SDG targets with a 2020 deadline indicates that only three of them are fully achieved or fully on track to being achieved, and emphasis the wide lack of these achievements regarding biodiversity (p. 60f).

To this end, we invite a wide range of contributions from those taking a critical stance of the SDGs,  those identifying positive impacts of the SDGs and those providing additional solutions to incremental or holistic sustainability challenges. Discussions will be organised along the traditional tracks of the conference based on the topic groups of ISDRS and special tracks with local perspectives, all related to the overall conference theme. Additionally, prominent keynote and plenary speakers from all around the world will address challenges in science and practice related the overall theme of the conference.
 
20th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production 
8-10 September 2021  | Graz, Austria

With the 20th Roundtable, the conference returns home to its birthplace. In 1994, the 1st Roundtable was held in Graz with the support of the City of Graz and the Ministries of Innovation & Technology and Environment, and already had 300 visitors. In the meantime, numerous countries have hosted the other 18 events.

The goal of reducing global warming to +1.5°C requires us to reduce not only the greenhouse gas emissions caused by our direct activities (heating, cooling, mobility, electricity production, etc.), but also the emissions that have already been generated outside the usual limits of consideration through our consumption – as it were, stuck in the products. This “emission backpack” contained in the products is almost as large as the direct emissions.

While many countries, regions and cities have developed strategies to reduce local emissions, there is often no plan to reduce the emissions contained in the purchased products. erscp21 will consider both aspects: the possibilities to reduce the emission of climate-relevant gases during production as well as to reduce upstream emissions by changing consumer behavior. It will be essential that cities – where already more than half of the world’s population lives – and economic sectors reduce emissions, adapt to climate change, and take resilience measures. Changing consumption behavior will be an important issue in building a closed cycle economy, especially urban closed cycles including the forced utilization of local resources.

For many of us, it is difficult to imagine how cities and societies will function from an economic and social point of view once the +1.5° target is reached. What do cities look like, what is their relationship with their surroundings? What and how much will we work and how will we move? Which industries will gain in importance, which will lose? What will we eat, what will we produce? And how will this affect air, sea and land traffic.

People are also hardly aware of the many benefits that can result from a significant reduction in emissions in cities. These benefits include not only better health through cleaner air and greater safety with soft mobility but also more livable urban spaces.

erscp21 covers a number of UN Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production” meets the core target of the conference. But many other issues are in the focus as well, like SDG 4 “Quality of Education”, SDG 6 “Clean Water and Sanitation”, SDG 7 “Affordable and Cleaner Energy”, SDG 9 “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure”, SDG 11 “Sustainable Cities and Communities” and SDG 13 “Climate Action”.

The 2021 conference is organized by “StadtLABOR” a SME working on Innovations for Urban Quality of Life (https://www.stadtlaborgraz.at/), in cooperation with the ERSCP Society (https://erscp.eu/). ERSCP stands for the European Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production, a society that organizes and promotes activities in the field of Sustainable Consumption and Production. Part of this are a series of conferences in the field of Sustainable Consumption and Production and Cleaner Production since 1994.

Full details: https://erscp2021.eu/

 
Energy and Climate Transformations: 3rd International Conference on Energy Research & Social Science
13-16 September 2021  | University of Manchester, United Kingdom (Renold Building)

 
The International Conference on Energy Research and Social Science is the premier global forum for exploring the nexus of energy and society.

The conference will highlight and explore the grand societal challenges arising at the interface of global energy transformations on the one hand, and ongoing climate mitigation and adaptation efforts on the other. It will offer a vibrant and innovative forum for presenting and discussing cutting edge research on the movement towards a low carbon future as it relates to reconfigurations in energy policies, infrastructural landscapes, socio-technical systems, and social practices.

Full conference information here: 
https://www.elsevier.com/events/conferences/international-conference-on-energy-research-and-social-science
26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26)
1-12 November 2021  | Glasgow, Scotland

The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UK is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire climate action ahead of COP26.

In 2015, in Paris, world leaders committed to a historic agreement to tackle climate change. They agreed to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 ℃ above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the rise to 1.5 ℃. 

They also agreed to step up efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to make finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. By completing and implementing the Paris Agreement we can show that the world is able to work together to tackle this crucial challenge. 

And by uniting behind a green recovery from coronavirus, which creates sustainable jobs and addresses the urgent and linked challenges of public health, climate change, and biodiversity loss, we can safeguard the environment for future generations.

Almost 400 young people aged between 18 and 29 from the 197 member-countries of the UNFCCC will meet in Milan from 28 – 30 September 2021, to elaborate concrete proposals on topics that affect the negotiation process of Pre-COP26 in Milan and COP26 in Glasgow.
 

Books by Members

Consumption Corridors: Living a Good Life within Sustainable Limits

Doris Fuchs, Marlyne Sahakian, Tobias Gumbert, Antonietta Di Giulio, Michael Maniates, Sylvia Lorek, Antonia Graf

Routledge Publishers

Consumption Corridors: Living a Good Life within Sustainable Limits explores how to enhance peoples’ chances to live a good life in a world of ecological and social limits. Rejecting familiar recitations of problems of ecological decline and planetary boundaries, this compact book instead offers a spirited explication of what everyone desires: a good life. Fundamental concepts of the good life are explained and explored, as are forces that threaten the good life for all. The remedy, says the book’s seven international authors, lies with the concept of consumption corridors, enabled by mechanisms of citizen engagement and deliberative democracy.

Across five concise chapters, readers are invited into conversation about how wellbeing can be enriched by social change that joins "needs satisfaction" with consumerist restraint, social justice, and environmental sustainability. In this endeavour, lower limits of consumption that ensure minimal needs satisfaction for all are important, and enjoy ample precedent. But upper limits to consumption, argue the authors, are equally essential, and attainable, especially in those domains where limits enhance rather than undermine essential freedoms.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars in the social sciences and humanities, and environmental and sustainability studies, as well as to community activists and the general public. The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9780367748746, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

The Imperial Mode of Living: Everyday Life and the Ecological Crisis of Capitalism

Ulrich Brand and Markus Wissen
Translated by Zachary King

Verso Books

With the concept of the Imperial Mode of Living, Brand and Wissen highlight the fact that capitalism implies uneven development as well as a constant and accelerating universalisation of a Western mode of production and living. The logic of liberal markets since the nineteenth century, and especially since World War II, has been inscribed into everyday practices that are usually unconsciously reproduced. The authors show that they are a main driver of the ecological crisis and economic and political instability.

The Imperial Mode of Living implies that people’s everyday practices, including individual and societal orientations, as well as identities, rely heavily on the unlimited appropriation of resources; a disproportionate claim on global and local ecosystems and sinks; and cheap labour from elsewhere. This availability of commodities is largely organised through the world market, backed by military force and/or the asymmetric relations of forces as they have been inscribed in international institutions. Moreover, the Imperial Mode of Living implies asymmetrical social relations along class, gender and race within the respective countries. Here too, it is driven by the capitalist accumulation imperative, growth-oriented state policies and status consumption. The concrete production conditions of commodities are rendered invisible in the places where the commodities are consumed. The imperialist world order is normalised through the mode of production and living.

Articles by Members

Durable Goods Drive Two-Thirds of Global Households’ Final Energy Footprints

Gibran Vita, Narasimha D. Rao, Arkaitz Usubiaga-Liaño, Jihoon Min, and Richard Wood

Environmental Science and Technology

Sustainability endorses high quality, long-lasting goods. Durable goods, however, often require substantial amounts of energy during their production and use-phase and indirectly through complementary products and services. We quantify the global household’s final energy footprints (EFs) of durable goods and the complementary goods needed to operate, service and maintain durables. We calculate the EFs of 200 goods across 44 individual countries and 5 world regions for the period of 1995–2011. In 2011, we find 68% of the total global household’s EF (218 EJ) is durable-related broken down as follows: 10% is due to the production of durables per se, 7% is embodied in goods complementary to durables (consumables and services) and 51% is operational energy. At the product level, the highest durable-related EFs are: transport goods (148–648 MJ/cap), housing goods (40–811 MJ/cap), electric appliances (34–181 MJ/cap), and “gas stoves and furnaces” (40–100 MJ/cap). Between 1995 and 2011, the global household EF increased by 28% (48 EJ), of which 72% was added by durable-related energy. Globally, a 10% income growth corresponded to an increase in EF by 9% in durables, 11% in complementary consumables and 13% in complementary services—with even higher elasticities in the emerging economies. The average EF of the emerging economies (35 GJ/cap) is 2.5 times lower than in advanced economies (86 GJ/cap). Efficiency gains were detected in 47 out of 49 regions, but only 16 achieved net energy reductions. The large share of durable-related EF across regions (40–88%) confirms the dominance of durables in driving EFs, but the diversity of patterns suggests that policy and social factors influence durable-dependency. Demand-side solutions targeting ownership and inter-linkages between durables and complements are key to reduce global energy demand.

Drivers of Car Ownership in a Car-Oriented City: A Mixed-Method Study

Jukka Heinonen, Michał Czepkiewicz, Áróra Árnadóttir, and uudit Ottelin

Sustainability

This paper presents a mixed-method analysis of car ownership in Reykjavik, Iceland, a location with a high motorization level and deeply rooted car culture. We utilize qualitative interviews to understand vehicle possession reasons and elaborate the study with statistical analysis using a softGIS survey dataset with characteristics of the respondents and their residential location. We focus on adults aged 25 to 40, who are suggested to be less car-oriented than older generations. We also describe the historic development of Reykjavik’s car culture to give a perspective for the findings. We show that even among the studied age group, car ownership is still seen as a social norm, with few even seeing it possible to live without a car, and the public transport system is seen as giving a poverty stigma. However, we still find an increasing share of car-free households towards the city center. Still, the built environment impact is limited to the city center, which has a higher proportion of small adult-only households residing in shared apartments than other areas. Moreover, there seems to be a three-fold connection between having a child, acquiring a car (if not already possessed), and choosing a suburban residential location. Some indications of residential self-selection related to car ownership were found, but pro-car attitudes and residential location independently influenced car ownership. This study helps to understand the reasons for high car dominance and supports designing policies to reduce car-dependency, not just in Reykjavik but also elsewhere.

Decarbonization scenarios for Reykjavik’s passenger transport: The combined effects of behavioural changes and technological developments

Kevin Dillman, Michał Czepkiewicz, Jukka Heinonen, Reza Fazeli, Áróra Árnadóttir, Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir, Ehsan Shafiei

The Journal of Population and Sustainability

Transportation plays a defining role in daily life, and this transport activity acts as a major source of global (GHG) emissions. Cities are macro-level actors that can measure and govern the transportation sector and associated GHG emissions with their boundaries. This study thus performed a scenario analysis using the Reykjavik capital area as a case study, developing a business-as-usual case and five additional “What-If” scenarios using the story-and-simulation approach, modelling and decomposing the effects of axis-based technological and behavioural/urban form changes, estimating both direct and indirect emissions for each scenario. Reykjavik provides an interesting case study as a city in which the electrical grid is already highly decarbonized and has a dominant car culture. Studying Reykjavik provides insight regarding the GHG impacts of an e-transition counter-balanced by high levels of car ownership. The results showed that while e-mobility development would lead to less direct emissions, in terms of total GHG emissions, changes to travel behaviour and urban form would lead to less total GHG emissions. However, this research highlights that even with an already decarbonized electrical grid, an integrated approach of the two axes changes would be required within cities to achieve deep levels of decarbonization.

Review and Meta-Analysis of EVs: Embodied Emissions and Environmental Breakeven

Kevin Joseph Dillman, Áróra Árnadóttir, Jukka Heinonen, Michał Czepkiewicz, and Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir


Sustainability

Electric vehicles (EVs) are often considered a potential solution to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions originating from personal transport vehicles, but this has also been questioned due to their high production emissions. In this study, we performed an extensive literature review of existing EV life-cycle assessments (LCAs) and a meta-analysis of the studies in the review, extracting life-cycle GHG emission data combined with a standardized methodology for estimating GHG electrical grid intensities across the European Economic Area (EEA), which were used to estimate a set of environmental breakeven points for each EEA country. A Monte Carlo simulation was performed to provide sensitivity analysis. The results of the review suggest a need for greater methodological and data transparency within EV LCA research. The meta-analysis found a subset of countries across the EEA where there is a potential that EVs could lead to greater life-cycle GHG emissions than a comparable diesel counterpart. A policy discussion highlights how EV policies in countries with contrasting GHG electric grid intensities may not reflect the current techno-environmental reality. This paper emphasizes the importance for researchers to accurately depict life-cycle vehicle emissions and the need for EEA countries to enact policies corresponding to their respective contextual conditions to avoid potentially enacting policies that could lead to greater GHG emissions.

The hidden costs of energy and mobility: A global meta-analysis and research synthesis of electricity and transport externalities

Benjamin K. Sovacool, Jinsoo Kim, Minyoungn Yang

Energy Research and Social Science

What is the range and scope of externalities associated with electricity supply, energy efficiency, and transport? What research methods and techniques of valuation does the community use to monetize these externalities? What policy implications arise in terms of better governing energy and mobility systems? To answer these questions, this study offers a comprehensive and global research synthesis of externalities for energy and mobility. It synthesizes data from 139 studies with 704 distinct estimates to examine the hidden social and environmental costs. The mean external cost for electricity supply is 7.15¢/kWh. When correlating this with the actual amount of electricity generated per year, the amount is $11.644 trillion. This likely exceeds both the reported revenues for electricity sales, oil and gas production as well as the levelized costs of energy. The mean external cost for mobility is 17.8¢/km. Using differentiated estimations of the externalities associated with aviation, road travel for passengers and freight, rail, and coastal water/marine modes of travel, transport’s global externalities amount to another $13.018 trillion. When combined, this $24.662 trillion in externalities for energy and transport is equivalent to 28.7% of global Gross Domestic Product. Energy efficiency or demand response by contrast has net positive externalities of approximately 7.8¢/kWh. When put into the context of global efficiency and demand management efforts, this approaches an annual positive value of $312 billion. The fundamental policy question is whether we want global markets that manipulate the presence of externalities to their advantage, or a policy regime that attempts to internalize them.
We're very pleased to welcome 11 new SCORAI members who joined the network since our January newsletter, bringing our organization's total membership to 1325 individuals.
  • Tamar Makov, BGU,  Israel
  • Joel Millward-Hopkins, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Debbie Ross, Towards citizens assembly, Israel
  • Erik van Wijk, DeWaardeFabriek, Netherlands
  • Paul Suski Wuppertal institut, Germany
  • Viverjita Umashankar, Virginia Tech, USA
  • Melanie Jaeger-Erben, TU Berlin, Germany
  • Suz Steel, New Zealand
  • Neha Purushottam, UNISA Graduate school of Business leadership, South Africa
  • Annette Salles, Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Germany
  • George Coulson, Australia

About SCORAI 

SCORAI (Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative) is an international knowledge network of researchers and practitioners committed to building a flourishing and ecologically-sound society by changing the way we consume. We advance research, disseminate knowledge, impact policies and support campaigns. SCORAI recognizes that technological innovation alone is insufficient to address climate change and environmental threats. Therefore we support transformative changes in the economy, institutions and culture.






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