August 2019 Newsletter
Dear SCORAI Members, 

As recognition increases around the world of the urgent need to shift consumption practices, we want to thank the researchers and practitioners who make up the SCORAI community for contributing to an active and dynamic conversation about policies, practices, and values that drive consumption decisions at all scales. The core value of this organization is in the diverse perspectives and areas of expertise that members bring. In the spirit of continuing to learn from one another and sharing resources, we've asked for summer reading recommendations from the SCORAI listserve that have informed or inspired new thinking on sustainable consumption. Some book suggestions are scholarly, and other popular press. Some are recent publications, and others are classics in the field. In any case, whether you choose to read one of these books on a commuter train or on a beach this summer, we hope that it provokes reflection, discussion, research, and/or action!

-Liz and Halina
Summer Reading Recommendations 

Satellites in the High Country: Searching for the Wild in the Age of Man by Jason Mark
Recommended by Suez Jacobson.
From the publisher: "journalist and adventurer Jason Mark travels beyond the bright lights and certainties of our cities to seek wildness wherever it survives. In California's Point Reyes National Seashore, a battle over oyster farming and designated wilderness pits former allies against one another, as locals wonder whether wilderness should be untouched, farmed, or something in between. In Washington's Cascade Mountains, a modern-day wild woman and her students learn to tan hides and start fires without matches, attempting to connect with a primal past out of reach for the rest of society. And in Colorado's High Country, dark skies and clear air reveal a breathtaking expanse of stars, flawed only by the arc of a satellite passing—beauty interrupted by the traffic of a million conversations. These expeditions to the edges of civilization's grid show us that, although our notions of pristine nature may be shattering, the mystery of the wild still exists — and in fact, it is more crucial than ever."

Gross Deceptive Product: An Ecological Perspective on the Economy by Russ England
Russ writes, "It is not a scholarly work, because it was meant to reach a broad audience, primarily people who don’t normally think about sustainability issues.  The book should be of interest to SCORAI members because it is something they might recommend to their non-academic friends as a way to bridge the gap between academia and the average Joe.  The book is an easy read that makes a clear case that economic growth is not sustainable because, among other reasons, it depends on unsustainable consumption of finite resources."

Empire of Things by Frank Trentmann
Recommended by Marlyne Sahakian: "Spanning 600 years and covering different continents, from Europe to Asia, it’s also a 600 page read in paperback - which is why the book sat for so long in my 'to read' pile. When I finally mustered the courage to pick it up, I could no longer put it down. How did sumptuary laws influence status consumption in Europe? How did the world develop a taste for that small bitter bean called coffee? What did consumer culture look like in 18th century China? What do Asian cities mean for consumption trends today?  All this and much’s a magistral contribution to consumption studies."

Keeping Some of the Lights On: Redefining Energy Security
in Low-tech Magazine, by Kris De Decker

Recommended by Ana Poças Ribeiro: "This article explores critically the notions of energy “security” and “reliability”, suggesting that one overlooked way of improving energy security is reducing the dependency on energy. It cites Shove and others as explaining how cheap electricity powered by fossil fuels has allowed for a widespread use of electrical appliances that became part of normal life. Instead of taking those practices for granted we should consider how to adapt practices and demand to a more limited energy supply, like it is done by people who live off-the-grid."

The Overstory by Richard Powers
Recommended by Liz Allen: "In truth, I only just got a copy of this novel and have not yet started to read it, but Naomi Klein's enthusiastic review on Twitter convinced me that we should all be reading it."
From Barbara Kingsolver's review in the NYT: "Monumental…The Overstory accomplishes what few living writers from either camp, art or science, could attempt. Using the tools of the story, he pulls readers heart-first into a perspective so much longer-lived and more subtly developed than the human purview that we gain glimpses of a vast, primordial sensibility, while watching our own kind get whittled down to size…A gigantic fable of genuine truths.”
Calls for Contributions & Papers 
Special issue of Journal of Macromarketing
Macromarketing Responses to a Changing Climate
Guest Editors:
Sabrina Helm (PhD), Petsmart Associate Professor of Retailing & Consumer Sciences, University of Arizona,            
Victoria Little (PhD), Senior Lecturer, Department of Marketing, Monash University Malaysia,
Possible topics of papers may include (but are not limited to):
  • Exploring marketing’s role in increasing and/or decreasing anthropogenic GHG emissions – history and future of shaping consumptive conditions, practices and cultures;
  • Diagnosing market failure and responses – carbon tax, carbon trade, policy interventions;
  • Transforming the dominant social paradigm (DSP) – de-marketing, degrowth, social marketing under the lens of climate change;
  • Tracing the macrosocial impacts of climate change – inequality, vulnerable communities, gender and post-colonial perspectives, ethics and morality, QOL;
  • Utilizing marketing to build social and individual resilience to challenging exogenous change – adaptation, intervention, mindfulness, climate grief, anxiety, health, adaptive and maladaptive coping;
  • Adapting marketing and social systems – non-linear systems perspectives, complexity and evolutionary dynamics of change, provisioning societal needs, organizational and institutional dynamics;
  • Fostering ‘sustainabilization’ – macrosocial and social marketing supporting societal transformation and flourishing;
  • Practicing relinquishment – macro-perspectives on consumer roles in mitigating over-consumption;
  • Accomplishing restoration and systems resilience – sustainability-oriented innovation.
Submission Guidelines:
Submission Start Date: 01 September 2019
Submission Final Date: 31 July 2020
Full information here:
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 usFrances Fahy, on behalf of the ENERGISE project team.

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. Full conference details here

The Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC) 
Valencia, Spain
Annual conference 4-5 November

The TIPC Annual Conference will be held in collaboration with the EU SPRI, STRN and Globelics networks as partners of the internetwork dialogue on Transformative Innovation.  Hosted by Ingenio CSIC-UPV in Valencia, Spain, the focus will be on understanding how scholars and practitioners across the globe are interpreting and enacting transformative innovation policies through research and policy actions. It aims to offer a platform for advancing the building of a global research community on transformative innovation, to identify people and projects (established or early stage) working at the intersection of innovation, policy and transformative change in Global North as well as Global South contexts.

You are invited to take part in this conference by submitting an outline of a project you are working on which relates to any of the themes in the call attached here. You are encouraged to send your outline of maximum 1000 words as early as possible and no later than 1st September 2019 as a small team will review them as they come in to ensure we provide a timely confirmation of participation. Please submit your proposals to In case of any questions about the call please contact Bipashyee Ghosh,

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.
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.

Recent Publications by SCORAI Members

Rising adoption and retention of meat-free diets in online recipe data
Nature Sustainability

Yuki M. Asano and Gesa Biermann

The current and growing demand for animal protein exerts immense pressure on the environment through diverse effects such as land-use change, water use and greenhouse gas emissions. Curbing meat demand by transitioning to largely plant-based diets is key to increasing food system sustainability. In this study, we investigate dietary transitions by analysing a dataset of over 240,000 recipes with 2.5 million user ratings from the most popular German recipe website. We find an increase in the vegetarian and vegan recipes submitted, with annual growth rates of 16% and 3.5%, respectively. We further detect a consistent relative increase in the number of users switching to these diets and maintaining them over the last 8 years. We show that the transition is eased by initially switching to vegetarian diets that resemble meat-based ones in their ingredient makeup. These findings are corroborated by qualitative interviews with users who have recently switched diets. Our results demonstrate the application of recipe metadata to determine individuals’ dietary choices and large-scale food trends, and identify pathways to a more sustainable food system.

Food waste in an alternative food network – A case-study
Resources, Conservation and Recycling

Ana Poças Ribeiro, Jakub Rok, Robert Harmsen, Jesús Rosales Carreón, Ernst Worrell

This paper investigates food waste dynamics in a retail alternative food network (AFN). We provide a first contribution to assess food waste in an AFN in terms of 1) food waste levels, 2) food waste causes, and 3) food waste management practices (i.e. food waste reduction and handling). We use an exploratory case-study to investigate food waste in a Polish AFN. We place the results of this case-study in the context of conventional retail, by reviewing retail food waste literature. Quantitative results show that food waste levels at the AFN are very low compared to conventional retail literature. Qualitative results show that food waste causes at the AFN are partly shared with conventional retail, and partly specific to the AFN. Possible explanations for low food waste are provided by the food waste management strategies, in which food waste prevention is a key component of the AFN practices.
Four low-carbon futures for a Swedish society beyond GDP growth
Journal of Cleaner Production

Eléonore Fauré, Göran Finnveden and Ulrika Gunnarsson-Östling

A new paper presents descriptions of private consumption, public consumption and investments in four scenarios for Sweden in 2050 which is line with the 1.5 degree target. The
results show that the climate target can be met in all scenarios but this requires radical sector-specific as well as general changes, including decarbonization, technology development, increased efficiencies, innovative practices and reduced demand. The mix of these strategies varies for different sectors and different scenarios, but all are needed to reach the climate goals. 
Women’s leadership in renewable transformation, energy justice and energy democracy: Redistributing power
Energy Research and Social Science

Elizabeth Allen, Hannah Lyons, Jennie Stephens

As women take on more leadership roles in the United States advancing social and political change, analysis of women’s contributions to the transformation occurring within the energy sector is critically important. Grassroots movements focused on energy justice and energy democracy focus on: (1) resisting the power of large multinational fossil fuel energy companies that exacerbate inequities and disparities in energy, (2) reclaiming the energy sector with more community and public control to redisitrbute benefits and risks, and (3) restructuring the energy sector to prioritize equity and justice with community ownership and distributed governance. This research analyzes women’s leadership by focusing on how two women-led, non-profit organizations are advancing the renewable energy transition, operationalizing the concept of energy democracy and contributing to the energy justice movement. The two organizations are Grid Alternatives, a solar installation and workforce training organization, and Mothers Out Front, an advocacy organization focused on addressing climate change by promoting a transition to renewable energy. These organizations differ in their mission and approaches, yet both intentionally link climate and energy action with other forms of social justice activism, by expanding community engagement, strengthening participation, and fundamentally redistributing power to promote a transition to more equitable, resilient and sustainable energy systems. This paper contributes to the theoretical understanding of gender in energy justice and energy democracy movements, and to the practical consideration of the role that women’s leadership is playing in accelerating energy system change and advancing the principles of energy justice and energy democracy.

New SCORAI Affiliates

A warm welcome to 8 new SCORAI affiliates who have joined us during the past month, bringing our total membership to 1264 individuals!
  • Iain Black
  • Monica Pascoli
  • Anna Sacks
  • Eugene Mohareb
  • Dimitris Stevis
  • Manu Mathai
  • Norzalina Zainudin
  • Nuwan Gunarathne


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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