January 2020 Newsletter
SCORAI Begins a New Decade

SCORAI is a unique network run by volunteers, which since 2008 has served as a vibrant community offering exchanges on issues of sustainable consumption. Our network of scholarship and activism-- which now includes over 1200 members-- seeks to broaden and diversify our membership and to expand the reach of our message. Now at the beginning of a new decade is an appropriate time to deepen the conversation about SCORAI’s goals of creating social change. We encourage you to use SCORAI's platforms (website, listserve, newsletter, Facebook and Twitter) to share your own initiatives and the work of colleagues. Reach out to Robert Orzanna to discuss ideas for the website and social media,

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our 2019 Fundraiser. In total, $550 was raised. if you have not yet had a chance to make an annual contribution, you can do so here:

Read on for announcements about conferences coming up in 2020 and opportunities to engage with sustainable consumption researchers and activists around the world.

--Halina and Liz
SCORAI 2020 Conference
Sustainable Consumption and Social Justice in an Urbanizing World
Abstract Submission Deadline extended to Monday January 6, midnight EST

The theme for the SCORAI 2020 Conference, to be held June 10-12 at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, is Sustainable Consumption & Social Justice in an Urbanizing World. Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit individual abstracts for presentation or posters. During abstract submission, individuals will have an opportunity to request to be included for consideration in any of the open themed sessions. Abstracts that are not aligned with any of the themed sessions are also welcome. All abstracts will be reviewed by members of the International Review Committee. Individual abstracts should be 300-500 words long. 

Stockholm Hub: SCORAI 2020 Conference organizers are collaborating on an innovative pilot initiative with KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm Sweden, which will host a Nordic Hub of the SCORAI 2020 Conference, with opportunities for remote participation for a limited number of participants. 

Broadening Participation: SCORAI members are welcomed to apply for a limited number of travel scholarships: Follow the link to a Google Form containing mostly short answer questions. Applications are due by March 2, 2020. To support efforts to diversify the voices heard at the SCORAI 2020 conference and to amplify a conversation about activism for sustainable consumption, please donate here:
Submit an abstract for SCORAI 2020
News and Opinion on Sustainable Consumption
Are we outcompeting the joy of life?
By Halina Brown on SCORAI and available via Medium, December 28, 2019

Halina Brown explores the ways in which a cultural emphasis on completion in the U.S. in particular may be interfering with wellbeing and sustainability.

Corporations in the Crosshairs: From Reform to Redesign
Opening reflections for a GTI forum

By Allen White forum for the Great Transition Initiative blog, December, 2019

Transnational corporations, the engines of global capitalism, have become the target of efforts to create an economic system both socially just and environmentally sustainable. The unprecedented power and impact of these leviathans on society and ecology raises critical questions: What is corporate purpose? To whom should corporations be held accountable? And how, in fact, can that be accomplished?

Consumerism at its peak: sharing instead of owning
By Halina Brown on SCORAI and available via Medium, December 16, 2019

Clothing rental services are rapidly expanding, and are promising customers an opportunity to wear trendy fashions without harming the environment, but do these services really reduce consumption, or do they escalate the culture of consuming and discarding to a whole new level?

Dollars to Doughnuts: The Shape of a New Economy
Interview with Kate Raworth in Great Transition Initiative blog, December, 2019

If we want a new economy, we need a new economics. Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist, talks with Tellus Senior Fellow Allen White about what mainstream economics gets wrong and how “doughnut economics” can open up possibilities for nurturing both people and planet.

The climate crisis is like a world war. So let’s talk about rationing
 By Eleanor Boyle in The Globe and Mail, December 14, 2019

In this opinion piece Boyle argues that it's time for mandatory cutbacks on the kinds of consumption that threaten all of us. "Would rationing be complicated to design and implement? Sure, but it’s doable. Problems would include accommodating variations either regional (more meat up north) or personal (people who need to drive for work). But these should be solvable in today’s data world. Already government payments – say, for employment insurance – are calculated differently based on factors such as where you live and local employment levels. Allowing for complexity doesn’t require an army of people with pencils and calculators, but rather good data sets and effective software programs."
Welcoming a New SCORAI Advisory Board Member: 
Dr. John R. Ehrenfeld
The SCORAI Board is delighted to announce a new member of the Advisory Board. Dr. Ehrenfeld returned to his alma mater, MIT, in 1985 after a long career in the environmental field, and retired in 2000 as the Director of the MIT Program on Technology, Business, and Environment. Following that, he served until 2009 as Executive Director of the International Society for Industrial Ecology, guiding its development from its founding in 2000. He is the author of The Right Way to Flourish: Reconnecting with the Real World (2019), Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming our Consumer Culture (2008), and Flourish: A Frank Conversion about Sustainability (2013, with Andrew Hoffman). In October 1999, the World Resources Institute honored him with their first lifetime achievement award for his academic accomplishments in the field of business and environment. He received the Founders’ Award for Distinguished Service from the Academy of Management’s Organization and Natural Environment Division in August 2000. He is an editor of the Journal of Industrial Ecology. He holds a B. S. and Sc. D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and is author or co-author of over 200 papers, books, reports, and other publications.
Updates from Members and New Initiatives
See below for updates on new projects, opportunities to contribute to special issues, and upcoming events
New Film: The Best of Both Worlds - Cohousing's Promise
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival has announced that John de Graaf’s latest film “The Best of Both Worlds – Cohousing’s Promise” has been selected for its World Premiere at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, January 16-20, 2020 in Nevada City, California.

This film is designed to inform, enlighten and introduce cohousing and its benefits. 'The Best of Both Worlds' is directed by acclaimed filmmaker John de Graaf and features cohousing architect Charles Durrett. It also includes photography by Doug Stanley and editing by Greg Davis. The film will be available from Bullfrog Films after Feb. 1 for home and classroom use.

Watch a trailer and learn more here:
Call for Submissions: Special Issue of Sustainability-- "Prospects and Challenges of Sustainable Public Purchasing"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 May 2020

Special Issue Editors: Prof. Nicole Darnall; 
Prof. Justin M. Stritch; Prof. Stuart Bretschneider of Arizona State University
The public sector represents the largest single buyer of goods and services worldwide (World Bank Group, 2016), accounting for more than 17 percent of global GDP. Even at the local level, public sector purchasing has enormous economic impact. For instance, in the U.S. alone, local governments purchase $1.72 trillion of goods annually (U.S. Census, 2016), which accounts for between 25 percent and 40 percent of all tax dollars collected (Coggburn, 2003). Collectively, these purchases generate environmental impacts that are nine times greater than the impacts associated with managing the public sector’s buildings and fleets (Tangherlini, 2014). However, only recently has the public sector begun to implement more broad-sweeping sustainable purchasing (or procurement) policies.

For this Special Issue, we welcome scholarly papers that advance our understanding of how governments and other public sector organizations (e.g., public schools, universities, the military) are advancing sustainable purchasing. We encourage submissions that address, but are not limited to, the following topics and questions:
  • Broader Concerns Related to Sustainable Public Purchasing
  • Sustainable Purchasing and Organization Mission, Culture, Leadership, and Structure
  • Motivation to Adopt Sustainable Public Purchasing
  • Public Sector Collaborations Around Sustainable Purchasing
  • Information Access about Sustainable Purchases
  • Sustainable Public Purchasing Outcomes
For author guidelines see:
Millennium Institute announces the launch of SDG Architect™ board game
Millennium Institute developed this boardgame to increase public awareness about the SDGs. Players develop and implement a strategy to achieve sustainable development. Players act as leaders of neighboring countries, and using resource cards representing investments, they implement interventions designed to achieve the SDGs as quickly as possible. SDG Architect is highly customizable. The rules can be customized for differences in players’ age, experience, or playing time; and it can be used in workshops, classrooms, team building exercises, or for personal and family entertainment.

For more information and to purchase visit or 100% of the proceeds from the sale of SDG Architect goes to support the work of the Millennium Institute.
Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production: Second Round of the Academy of Change
Applications can be sent until 24 January 2020

This is your opportunity to learn more about sustainable behaviour change while working and exchanging with peers from all over the world. Building on, and motivated by, an inspiring first round of our capacity building programme on sustainable behaviour change, we are happy to announce that the call for applications for the second round of the Academy of Change is now open! The programme is designed for leaders working on climate change and sustainability engagement within the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) sector. It enables participants to incorporate evidence-based expertise and insights about citizen behaviours into their strategies and projects, generating greater impact from their activities. Apply here:

Upcoming Conferences
Listed in chronological order, from coming-soon to farthest out on the horizon.

7th International Society for Industrial Ecology – Asia Pacific Conference
15th Asia Pacific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production

23 – 25 February, 2020 | Cebu Island, The Philippines

The theme of this conference is Science-Policy Interface towards SDG 12. Full information is available at: The integrated event of the 7th ISIE-AP7 and APRSCP15 will be a unique combination and rare opportunity for science-policy interface in Asia Pacific concerning sustainability. The event will showcase Asia Pacific talent in scientific knowledge and appropriate policy options for the regional condition through interactive dialogue among scientists and government officials under one roof. ISIE was founded in 2001 in Leiden, with “Science of Sustainability” as its core competence; while the ISIE-AP events have been organized by the active Asian members to meet the regional dynamism. The APRSCP was founded in 1997, with support from UNEP, UNIDO, ADB, USAID, EU, and more specifically the NCPCs.

The roundtable has gone through historical path of two major transformation in Asia Pacific; (1) from cleaner production to SCP/RECP & Circular Economy; and (2) from CP project implementation to SCP policy to science-policy interface. The event promises to facilitate participation of scientists and national governments / LGUs to work hand-in-hand in improving the regional SDG roadmap based on scientific debate.

2020 Wellbeing Conference
March 18 - 21, 2020 | Luxembourg
This international conference will bring together leading scholars to discuss the quest for better lives. Economists traditionally advocated economic growth as the foremost policy goal, but now even economists often challenge this view. The discussion remains open, indeed flourishes, with more contributors than ever. How do we promote well-being? What are the best policies? What is the role for civil society?

Keynote speakers are John de Graaf, journalist from Seattle, Washington, Stefano Bartolini University of Siena, Andrew Oswald, University of Warwick, and Carol Graham, University of Maryland and Brookings Institution.

4th EMES-Polanyi International Seminar "From the great transformation to the eco-social transition. New solidarities in action"
March 19 - March 20, 2020 | EHESS, Paris, France
The ultimate purpose of this seminar is to bridge different fields of research focused on understanding transformative change, in particular that of sustainability transitions, alternative economies, social innovation and social movements. The main hypothesis underlying the seminar is that in order to address contemporary societal challenges and their intersections, there is a strong need to explore the relationship between the concepts of transformation and transition across different research traditions. Academic papers able to bridge and combine sustainability transitions with social and solidarity economy are particularly welcome. Specialized expertise on Polanyi is not a requirement. In the spirit of Polanyi, the aim is to break through disciplinary boundaries and consider multiple epistemological perspectives on how economies are and can be (re-)embedded in their societal and political context, and to critically deliberate societal uncertainties that cast a shadow over democracies as well as emerging practices aimed at strengthening them. The deadline for abstract submissions has been extended to January 8, 2020.

ICTA-UAB International Conference 2020 on Low-Carbon Lifestyle Changes 
May 6-8, 2020 | Barcelona, Spain

This conference will explore the role of changing lifestyles in climate change mitigation. We invite contributions that investigate the drivers and impacts of different lifestyles as well as how low-carbon lifestyles can be promoted through public policy. The conference will take place in It will feature three keynote speeches from Angela Druckman, Lorraine Whitmarsh, and Céline Guivarch, as well as a public debate in Barcelona on May 7.  

We encourage contributions from any field of knowledge that addresses the topic of lifestyle changes along one of the three conference themes (Drivers, Impacts, and Policies). Interested participants should submit a 250-word abstract by January 15th 2020 via Participants will be notified of acceptance on February 15th 2020. Contributions can be presented orally or as a poster. Remote participation is also possible. Outstanding papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication in a special issue on lifestyle changes. 

Registration will be open from February 15th to March 10th 2020 via The standard attendance fee for the three-day conference is 100 €. A discount in the fee will be available to those who have limited financial means and those who will travel to the conference without taking a plane. For remote participation there will be no conference fee. 

DeGrowth Vienna 2020
May 29 - June 1, 2020 | Vienna, Austria
Contemporary societies face unprecedented ecological, social and economic crises that call for an immediate and radical transformation of the dominant, growth-dependent mode of production and living. Degrowth, as a social movement and a burgeoning academic field of research, has focused on conceptual discussions, concrete utopias and case studies for a social-ecological transformation. What is missing, however, is an in-depth discussion on the strategies to achieve such a transformation.

Sustainable Consumption & Social Justice in an Urbanizing World
 4th International SCORAI Conference
June 10-12, 2020 | Boston, MA

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. See the conference website with full details and a link to submit your paper and poster abstracts here:
International Workshop on the Sharing Economy (IWSE)
1-3 July, 2020 | Barcelona, Spain

The workshop is organised by the Faculty of Economics and Business of the Open University of Catalonia, UOC. Organizers look forward to receiving abstract submissions by 15th March 2020. The sharing economy is arguably coming of age. As well as becoming an increasingly consolidated phenomenon in itself, research on the topic also represents an increasingly consolidated knowledge base. This ever-dynamic field, however, is still faced with a number of conceptual, methodological and empirical challenges that are increasingly complex and are perpetually shifting. Instructions for abstract submissions are available at -economy-barcelona-2020.html
International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) 26th Annual Conference: Sustainability in Transforming Societies
15-17 July, 2020 | Budapest, Hungary

The Budapest conference will aim at identifying the most important trends in today's societies happening either as a result or parallel to the environmental and social crises we face in both developing and developed countries. The conference will explore the sustainability implications of these large scale changes, including, but not limited to shifts in demographics and the polarization evident in many societies; the impacts of rapid technological innovation including the digitisation of the economy; the shifting centres of economic power and the spread of new business models, as well as resulting changes in lifestyles. The urgency of the need to understand how these changes interact with a need for a more sustainable society has been emphasized by the UN Environment's sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO). The report published in Spring, 2019 concluded that recent, unsustainable production and consumption patterns and inequality, combined with increases in the use of resources lead to the deterioration of our Planet's health at unprecedented rates, which has serious consequences, in particular for poorer people and regions. The deadline for abstract submission has been extended to the 15th of January, 2020. Further information here:
11th International Sustainability Transitions Conference
“Governance in an Era of Change – Making Sustainability Transitions Happen”

August 18-21 2020 | Vienna, Austria

Call for submissions here
European Parliament has declared a climate emergency, following a number of countries and local communities worldwide. Proposals for a “Green New Deal” have been advanced on both sides of the Atlantic, seeking broad-based support. Calls for “just transitions for all” constitute an integral part of the Paris Agenda and the Green Deal proposed by the President of the European Commission. These and other recent developments create the impression that there is a growing realization of the necessity of immediate and profound systemic change, in order to tackle the manifold global crises of our times. However, business-as-usual and one-size-fits-all approaches won’t be successful in providing the most effective and suitable multi-level and place-based actions, policies and governance approaches that will substantially boost transitions in this respect. 

Against this background, the call for IST 2020 “Governance in an Era of Change – Making Sustainability Transitions Happen” invites researchers to put these developments into perspective. Following up on last year ́s focus on “Accelerating sustainability transitions”, we specifically invite contributions that address structural issues and causes for current challenges together with the design and implementation of transformative governance and policies for systemic change. Contributions may want to shed light on issues such as the role of the state, the role of non-state actors (e.g. intermediaries, social movements) or new forms of governance tackling multiple, interacting, and potentially overlapping transitions. We also welcome contributions that address the challenges and opportunities of “just transitions”, including e.g. tradeoffs between different sustainability objectives.  Abstracts should be submitted by 31 January 2020.
8th World Sustainability Forum
September 14-19 2020 | Geneva, Switzerland

WSF2020 is an international scientific conference coordinated by the MDPI Sustainability Foundation, under the patronage of the University of Basel, the University of Geneva and  the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN).

SCORAI Europe is happy to announce an official partnership with the 8th World Sustainability Forum, taking place in Geneva from September 14 to 19, 2020. Members will be able to avail of a 20% discount on registration fees. A session stream relevant to sustainable consumption topics will be proposed, and information on paper, poster and other contributions can be found online at: For further information on SCORAI involvement, please contact the co-organizers for SCORAI Europe, or

For the World Sustainability Week (WSW) in Geneva, we seek proposals for sessions, and for presentations of papers and posters on sustainable development that are policy-relevant, change-oriented, and inter- or trans-disciplinary. Submissions should aim to foster research, networking, and debates in science and technology, the life sciences, and the social sciences, as well as fruitful exchanges between academia and the public, civic, or private sectors.
British Institute of Energy Economics (BIEE) 2020 Conference
Energy for a Net Zero Society

September 22-23 2020 | Blavatnik School of Govt, Oxford, UK

BIEE’s Oxford Conference is a biennial research conference that seeks to understand the drivers of change in energy, both positive and negative. The conference is aimed at energy analysts, researchers, strategy and policy thinkers from all backgrounds, including industry, academia and research organisations, government, the finance community, NGOs and consultancies. BIEE conferences are renowned for the quality of their speakers, for their open, productive discussion and debate and for the diverse range of participants. They  provide a forum for sharing new thinking and ideas from across the sector. It is the mix of people and perspectives that makes this conference distinctive. The deadline for abstract submissions is March 3, 2020. For further details, including full call for papers, abstract submission and to register your interest in attending, please see the conference web page:

Publications by Members

Who travels more, and why? A mixed-method study of urban dwellers’ leisure travel

Travel Behaviour and Society

Authors: Michał z Czepkiewicz, Jukka Heinonen, Petter Næss, Harpa Stefansdóttir
Abstract: This study examined domestic and international long-distance travel patterns of Reykjavik residents. We applied a mixed-methods approach with data triangulation to three datasets, two quantitative and one qualitative. Quantitative analyses included bivariate statistics, spatial statistics, and regression, and qualitative analysis included an explanatory interpretation of semi-structured interviews. The study found a higher number of international trips made by people residing close to the main city centre, particularly among younger adults. Following previous literature, we studied five potential groups of explanations of these patterns: 1) socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, 2) monetary rebound effects, 3) compensation or escape hypothesis, 4) lifestyles and other socio-psychological characteristics, and 5) dispersion of social networks. We found that all these aspects explain the travel activity to some extent, but inconsistently across the different datasets except for the well-known impact of socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. However, above all else, a cosmopolitan attitude in travel and language skill level were found to be the most influential predictors of international travel activity, and access to a summer house was an important predictor of domestic travel activity. Broad social networks were also found to play an important role. Despite geographical trends, the study did not find any strong causal relationship between urban form and long-distance travel that would influence the aggregate patterns. Thus, the results do not challenge the urban planning policies of densification on the premise of causing an unintended increase in emissions from long-distance travel.

Sustainable minerals and metals for a low-carbon future

Authors: Sovacool, BK, SH Ali, M Bazilian, B Radley, B Nemery, J Okatz, and D Mulvaney
Summary: Climate change mitigation will create new natural resource and supply chain opportunities and dilemmas, because substantial amounts of raw materials will be required to build new low-carbon energy devices and infrastructure. However, despite attempts at improved governance and better corporate management, procurement of many mineral and metal resources occurs in areas generally acknowledged for mismanagement, remains environmentally capricious, and, in some cases, is a source of conflict at the sites of resource extraction. These extractive and smelting industries have thus left a legacy in many parts of the world of environmental degradation, adverse impacts to public health, marginalized communities and workers, and biodiversity damage. We identify key sustainability challenges with practices used in industries that will supply the metals and minerals—including cobalt, copper, lithium, cadmium, and rare earth elements (REEs)—needed for technologies such as solar photovoltaics, batteries, electric vehicle (EV) motors, wind turbines, fuel cells, and nuclear reactors. We then propose four holistic recommendations to make mining and metal processing more sustainable and just and to make the mining and extractive industries more efficient and resilient.


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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