July 2019 Newsletter
Dear SCORAI-ers, 

We hope that this newsletter finds you well, and that in the midst of another record-warm summer you are finding moments to recharge and relax with friends and family. Please read on for announcements about recent publications by SCORAI members and updates about upcoming conferences. Also, a reminder to mark your calendars for June 10-12, 2020, when the 4th International SCORAI Conference will be held at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, focusing on Sustainable Consumption and Social Justice in an Urbanizing World.

-Liz and Halina

Sustainable Consumption in the News

Forget GDP — New Zealand is prioritizing gross national well-being
in Vox by Sigal Samuel,  Jun 8, 2019
The country’s new “well-being budget” emphasizes citizen happiness over capitalist gain. To Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the purpose of government spending is to ensure citizens’ health and life satisfaction, and that — not wealth or economic growth — is the metric by which a country’s progress should be measured. GDP alone, she said, “does not guarantee improvement to our living standards” and nor does it “take into account who benefits and who is left out.”

They See It. They Like It. They Want It. They Rent It.
in The New York Times by Sapna Maheshwari, June 8, 2019
"Owning nothing is now a luxury, thanks to a number of subscription start-ups". Questions remain about the environmental impact of such start-ups that are ushering in a new era of the circular economy and a new form of consumption. 
A version of this article appears in print on June 9, 2019, on Page ST1 of the New York edition with the headline: Let’s Subscribe to That Sofa.

When America Smelled Like Roses
in Minding Nature by John De Graaf, Vol. 12.2, pages 10-17
John De Graaf reflects on the range of progressive responses to Gilded Age consumerism. Minding Nature is a journal of the Center for Humans and Nature, which explores the values and practices of democratic ecological citizenship. 

Strike Wave in Mexico
in Organizing Work, Ray Valentine interviews Patrick Cuninghame, June 20. 2019
Patrick Cuninghame, History and Sociology lecturer at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana (UAM) in Mexico City, speaks about the labor strike wave in Mexico this year. The strikes started in Matamoros, among workers in maquiladoras (assembly plants), and later spread to seven universities, including UAM. Organizing Work is an online news site and platform for workers to talk about their workplace campaign struggles.

The Radical Plan to Save the Planet by Working Less
in Vice, by Shayla Love, May 29, 2019
This article presents academic and popular arguments in favor of the degrowth movement, which seeks to reduce the economy to address climate change, and create lives with less stuff, less work, and improved well-being. The author considers responses to critics who wonder if degrowth represents a utopian fantasy more than a viable alternative to the current economic system.
Great Transitions Initiative Forum discussion:
The Climate Movement: What’s Next?
As climate change darkens our dreams for the future, the burgeoning climate movement rekindles hope. The existential challenge demands that popular political mobilization rapidly spread and deepen. A new GTI Forum—The Climate Movement: What’s Next?—takes stock and debates strategy for a vital new phase in the struggle for a livable, resilient planet.

Featuring Bill McKibben, Tom Athanasiou, Hans Baer, Jeremy Brecher, Guy Dauncey, Riane Eisler, Neva Goodwin, Kerryn Higgs, Virág Kaufer, Karen O'Brien, Hermann Ott, Vicki Robin, Karl-Ludiwg Schibel, Gus Speth, Mimi Stokes, and Anders Wijkman.
Visit the GTI Forum Page
Calls for Contributions & Papers 

Textbook for teaching sustainable consumption
Over the past decade, sustainable consumption has emerged as a field of scholarship and study that has been included in a growing number of degree programs and courses in higher education institutions. Sustainable consumption teaching is not limited to addressing new content and topics within established teaching-learning formats, but has proved to be a pedagogical field of practice in which new, creative and innovative didactic-methodical approaches are tested in dealing with some fundamental questions of sustainable development. Editors Jen Dyer, Daniel Fischer, Marlyne Sahakian and Gill Seyfang are looking for examples of these creative and innovative teaching approaches and methods to include in a textbook on sustainable consumption teaching, which we are currently preparing. These can be anything from an engaging stimulus that you use to kick-off a classroom discussion, a routine that you have established in your course to nurture students’ critical thinking, up to projects, assignments or activities that you have tested in your teaching. For example, the use of mindfulness meditation, storytelling, or drama and improvisation. SCORAI members are invited to fill out a brief survey to contribute creative and/or innovative practices in sustainable consumption teaching:

The (in)justice of community-based initiatives
The journal Justice spatiale/ Spatial Justice is inviting contributions to a special issues which will explore how a community’s pursuit of environmental, cultural, and social objectives can increase or decrease environmental and climate justice. The journal is bilingual and papers can be submitted in either French or English. Full papers will be accepted up until the August 31, 2019. Papers will then be peer-reviewed. Early 2020 is the expected publication date. For more information about the call for papers go to: The submissions and other correspondence should be directed to: Gabriel Fauveaud, Assistant Professor of Geography at the Université de Montréal, or Marie Gibert, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University Paris Diderot,

Energy efficient cities of today and tomorrow
A special edition of the journal Energies is proposed, welcoming both conceptual and empirical study papers on energy efficient cities of today and the future. Papers involving energy or greenhouse gas simulation and modeling are likewise welcomed. The following list of topics is in no way exhaustive, but is intended to inspire the authors’ writing: Low-energy/low-carbon city concepts; Energy solutions for low-carbon urban areas; Low-energy/low-carbon urban ecosystems; Energy-efficient urban transitions; Sustainable urban living; Drivers and barriers for low-energy/low-carbon solutions; Energy system changes in urban communities. The guest editors are: Prof. Jukka Heinonen, Professor of Sustainable Built Environment at the University of Iceland - Háskóli Íslands, Dr. Sanna Ala-Mantila, Assistant Professor of Sustainability Science at University of Helsinki, and Dr. Ortzi Akizu-Gardoki, Assistant Professor at Universidad del País Vasco. Further information about the call for papers and submission instructions can be found at:
Upcoming Conferences
Listed in chronological order, from coming-soon to farthest out on the horizon.
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 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.
Brazilian Academy of Management Meeting 2019
Track: Marketing and Society
Mackenzie University, Sao Paulo, Brazil
October 2-5, 2019

The theme of "Marketing and Society" lies in the field of Macromarketing, a field that is part of the non-interactive-non-economic perspective of marketing schools, which emerged from the 1960s onwards. Devotees to this field are dedicated to promoting a marketing systemic approach, to support strategies and policies for social well-being. The main purpose of the topic is to discuss the numerous aspects related to the effects of marketing on society, analyzing both the positive aspects and the dysfunctions and problems inherent to this relationship. This track recommends submissions related, but not limited to, the following issues: Marketing and Society, Macromarketing, Transformative Consumer Research, Sustainable Consumption, Vulnerable consumers.
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 19th ERSCP-- Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption
Barcelona, Spain
October 14-19, 2019

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.

ENERGISE Final Conference: Addressing energy demand challenges through practice-based living lab approaches: Implications for policy, planning and practice
Barcelona, Spain
October 15, 2019

The final conference of the SCORAI Europe affiliated ENERGISE project promises to be an interesting and engaging event, which will provide a space for policy-makers, practitioners, academics and businesses to discuss issues and solutions around the event theme ‘Addressing energy demand challenges through practice-based living lab approaches: Implications for policy, planning and practice’. This special one-day event will be held in conjunction with the European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production ERSCP 2019 conference, which takes place from 15-18 October 2019.
The draft programme is available now.
Attendance is free, but please register at this link.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us,
Frances Fahy, on behalf of the ENERGISE project team

Full Conference Information

Berlin International Week (BIW): Sustainability and Responsibility in the 21st Century
at Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin (HWR)
Department of Cooperative Studies (Campus Lichtenberg)
November 1-10, 2019

• Seminars, lectures and discussion about sustainability, responsibility and sustainable innovation
• Project work on a real-life challenge brought in by companies and other organizations to
contribute to one of the sustainability goals
• International teachers from different parts of the world

Organizers are seeking a seminar lecturer on "Microeconomic Foundations of Sustainability, Responsibility and Ethics". Potential topics include: conception of man in economics, ethics and economics, market failures and dilemmata, distributional justice, and new political economy and interest groups.

Registration open through August 30, 2019

Paradigms, Models, Scenarios and Practices for more Sustainability
University of Clermont Auvergne (UCA), Clermont-Ferrand, France
December 4-6, 2019

While the notion of sustainability continues to be associated with the Brundtland Report (1987) and the concept of sustainable development, the concept seeks to emancipate itself to provide a representation of the world that is consistent with the aspirations of the moment. Everything must be sustainable; agriculture, food, natural resources, biodiversity, water, energy, cities, territories, tourism... At the risk of falling into overkill and excess, our social model must be part of a strong sustainability and refuse any compromise with possible cover-ups (we can mention here green growth, green washing, decoupling or even the latest creation, sustainable innovation).

The call for papers intends to use these facts and expectations to question the paradigms, models, scenarios and practices that embody this thirst for sustainability. As curious as it may seem, subjects such as renewable energies, participatory democracy, organic farming and eco-cities did not wait to be driven by the wave of sustainability to claim certain practices or propose alternative representations. As a result, one may wonder what meaning should be given to the very idea of sustainability and the representations it conveys.
Welcome from the Conference Chairs:
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. With growing social and racial inequities and widening disparities among and within communities, patterns of consumption are shifting as are notions of “sustainable consumption”. In an increasingly urban world where climate disruptions are exacerbating vulnerabilities of all kinds, there is growing acknowledgement of a need for systemic changes to alter societal expectations of resource use and consumption patterns.  At the same time, a consumer culture continues to perpetuate inefficient, resource-intensive practices that contribute to environmental destruction of all kinds. As corporate interests profiting from extractive, high-consumption, oppressive practices are strategically resisting change, coalitions of activists and advocates are advancing incremental and transformative change in different places at different scales.

We are looking forward to welcoming researchers and practitioners from around the world that are engaged in work integrating issues of social justice and sustainable consumption. The conference focus on urban issues and social equity provides an opportunity to reflect on, as well as expand, our sustainability conversations to integrate issues of privilege, oppression, justice and injustices.  Our overarching theme will be reflected throughout the program and over the coming months all are invited to submit session proposals and/or individual research paper abstracts.

Building on the success of previous SCORAI conferences (Clark University, USA, June 2013, University of Maine, USA, June 2016, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, June 2018) the School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs (SPPUA) at Northeastern University is proud to host this exciting three day event.

Jennie Stephens and Frances Fahy
Conference Co-Chairs

Recent Publications

Transforming Consumer Behavior: Introducing Self-Inquiry-Based and Self-Experience-Based Learning for Building Personal Competencies for Sustainable Consumption

Pascal Frank and Laura Sophie Stanszus

Despite growing educational efforts in various areas of society and albeit expanding knowledge on the background and consequences of consumption, little has changed about individual consumer behavior and its detrimental impact. Against this backdrop, some scholars called for a stronger focus on personal competencies, especially affective–motivational ones to foster more sustainable consumption. Such competencies, however, are rarely addressed within the context of education for sustainable consumption. Responding to this gap, we suggest two new learning formats that allow students to systematically acquire affective–motivational competencies: self-inquiry-based learning (SIBL) and self-experience-based learning (SEBL). We developed these approaches at Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany, since 2016, and applied them within the framework of two seminars called Personal Approaches to Sustainable Consumption. Conducting scholarship of teaching and learning, we investigated the potential of SIBL and SEBL for cultivating personal competencies for sustainable development in general and sustainable consumption in particular. Our results indicate that SIBL and SEBL are promising approaches for this purpose.

Healthy eating and sustainable nutrition through mindfulness? Mixed method results of a controlled intervention study

Laura Sophie Stanszus, Pascal Frank and Sonja Maria Geigera

Mindless eating is at the core of many ecological and social problems associated with modern nutritional behavior. Mindfulness training has been proven to be an efficient means for improving healthy nutrition. First, it enables reconnection with internal hunger and satiety cues, instead of external cues. Second, it supports making deliberate choices against unconscious eating patterns. It is less clear whether training in mindfulness can be similarly effective for sustainable nutritional habits, defined here as socially and ecologically responsible consumption behaviors over the whole consumption cycle. A controlled mixed method intervention study employed an adapted mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) to investigate such potential effects in a healthy, adult student population (n = 76/n = 11). Results from both qualitative and quantitative data indicate that the MBI exerts strong effects on mindful eating, whereas effects on sustainable nutritional behaviors are limited and only appear in the qualitative data as content concerning pre-behavioral stages of consumption, such as attitudes and intentions. First follow-up results suggest a slower process for changing nutritional behaviors toward more sustainable food choices. Based on the integrated mixed method results, we conclude that MBIs are an effective way to change unhealthy, mindless eating habits. To obtain stronger effects on sustainable nutritional behaviors, we suggest MBIs with a specific focus on sustainable nutritional behaviors and openly advertising the aim of the intervention in order to create a common intention in target groups who are looking for ways to put their altruistic intentions into practice, e.g. in sustainable consumption education programs.

The Circular Economy and the Global South
Sustainable Lifestyles and Green Industrial Development, 1st Edition


Edited by Patrick Schröder, Manisha Anantharaman, Kartika Anggraeni, Timothy J. Foxon

The circular economy is a policy approach and business strategy that aims to improve resource productivity, promote sustainable consumption and production and reduce environmental impacts. This book examines the relevance of the circular economy in the context of developing countries, something which to date is little understood. This volume highlights examples of circular economy practices in developing country contexts in relation to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), informal sector recycling and national policy approaches. It examines a broad range of case studies, including Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, South Africa, and Thailand, and illustrates how the circular economy can be used as a new lens and possible solution to cross-cutting development issues of pollution and waste, employment, health, urbanisation and green industrialisation. In addition to more technical and policy oriented contributions, the book also critically discusses existing narratives and pathways of the circular economy in the global North and South, and how these differ or possibly even conflict with each other. Finally, the book critically examines under what conditions the circular economy will be able to reduce global inequalities and promote human development in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. Presenting a unique social sciences perspective on the circular economy discourse, this book is relevant to students and scholars studying sustainability in economics, business studies, environmental politics and development studies.

Energy Demand Challenges in Europe
Implications for policy, planning and practice

Springer Nature

Editors: Frances Fahy, Gary Goggins, Charlotte Jensen

A new book 'Energy Demand Challenges in Europe: Implication for policy, planning and practice', co-edited by Frances Fahy and Gary Goggins from NUI Galway, and Charlotte Jensen from AAU, has just been published by Palgrave MacMillan as part of the Palgrave Pivot series. This open access book examines the role of citizens in sustainable energy transitions across Europe. It explores energy problem framing, policy approaches and practical responses to the challenge of securing clean, affordable and sustainable energy for all citizens, focusing on households as the main unit of analysis. The book revolves around ten contributions that each summarise national trends, socio-material characteristics, and policy responses to contemporary energy issues affecting householders in different countries, and provides good practice examples for designing and implementing sustainable energy initiatives. Overall, the book is a valuable resource for researchers, policy-makers, practitioners and others interested in sustainable energy perspectives. The book is a key output from the H2020 ENERGISE project (Grant Agreement number 727642) and is free to download at :

New SCORAI Affiliates

A warm welcome to 4 new SCORAI affiliates who have joined us during the past month, bringing our total membership to 1142 individuals.
  • Dominik Wiedenhofer
  • Allie Breyer
  • Anna Horodecka
  • Ruth Lane


SCORAI (Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative) was founded in 2008 as an international knowledge network of researchers and practitioners committed to advancing sustainability by focusing on societal patterns of consumption. SCORAI recognizes that technological innovation alone is insufficient to achieve sustainability; changes are required in societal institutions, cultures, and economic systems. SCORAI’s mission is to facilitate a transition to a more sustainable society by generating knowledge that impacts discourse and supports change agents.

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