September 2019 Newsletter
Sustainable Consumption & Social Justice in an Urbanizing World
4th International SCORAI Conference
June 10-12, 2020, Boston, USA
The 4th International SCORAI conference is hosted by the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University in Boston from June 10th to 12th 2020.  This conference provides an opportunity to highlight cutting-edge research and innovative initiatives from different parts of the world, to expand linkages between knowledge and action, and to broaden connections among a diversity of researchers and practitioners.  Conference organizers are collaborating on an innovative pilot initiative with the Department of Sustainable Development at 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. SCORAI is also organizing a two-day summer school for Early Career researchers and practitioners immediately prior to the 2020 conference at Northeastern University (June 8-9, 2020). The summer school will bring together established scholars and emerging voices to convene spaces for co-learning, dialogue and mentorship. Application and agenda details forthcoming.
Conference Theme: Sustainable Consumption & Social Justice in an Urbanizing World
Despite the climate crisis and other growing risks of environmental degradation, efforts to shift toward more sustainable systems of consumption and production and more sustainable ways of living continue to be woefully inadequate. As unsustainable trends and practices perpetuate, many are recognizing that the sustainability transformation is being hampered in part because of limited attention to social justice, growing socio-economic and racial inequities, and widening disparities among and within communities around the world. Other root causes are the dominant focus on economic growth, the prevalent culture of consumerism, and the lack of responsiveness by political systems that are heavily influenced by corporate interests.  Recognizing these gaps, the SCORAI 2020 conference provides a creative venue for connecting sustainable consumption and social justice in an urbanizing world, and for reflecting on the challenges of deep systemic change necessary to accelerate transformation toward a more just and sustainable world.
The conference organizers invite researchers and practitioners from around the world who are engaged in work on social justice, sustainable consumption, and the integration of these issues, to participate, attend, and submit proposals for sessions and individual presentations. The conference’s foci on urban issues and social justice provide an opportunity to integrate into sustainable consumption conversations such issues as: over- and under- consumption taking place side by side; the unequal impacts of transitioning toward more sustainable consumption on different socio-economic groups; barriers to more sustainable ways of living and livelihoods grounded in race, gender, power and privilege; the social justice impacts of urban gentrification and consumption patterns.    

Download a PDF of the Full Call For Sessions & Abstracts

Special Issue Call for Papers:
Macromarketing Responses to a Changing Climate

Guest Edited by:
Dr Sabrina Helm, University of Arizona
Dr Victoria Little, Monash University Malaysia
Manuscript Submission Deadline: July 31, 2020

The Journal of Macromarketing invites original submissions for a special issue on Macromarketing Responses to a Changing Climate. Purpose of the SI is an assessment of marketing’s role in the Anthropocene. Human activities are damaging the natural systems that sustain life, at a faster rate than previously thought (IPCC, 2018). Within the next 10 years we will have to adapt to more and more intense storms, wild fires, floods, droughts,substantial sea level rise, and the ensuing impacts on food and goods supply, health, and mass global population movement. If, as a species, we can accept the need for change to our way of life, develop and adopt new technologies, and adapt to new realities, we may be able to avoid a worst-case scenario.

Despite the significance of climate change for economic, social and environmental development, the function and structure of markets, as well as for collective and individual wellbeing, the possibly transformative role of marketing in creating pathways to adaptation and mitigation, have yet to be fully acknowledged (Hall, 2018). As Fisk (2006) pointed out, “(c)urrent developments in globalization, consumerism, and innovations ensure that the future of macromarketing is being reshaped even if macromarketers do nothing” (p.214). This special issue calls on macromarketers and all researchers to provide active leadership in finding pathways to this new future. It will provide a forum for contributions supporting positive change.

We invite original, rigorous research submissions focusing on marketing, macro-level phenomena and climate change adaptation, mitigation or vulnerability assessment, and particularly those taking a trans or multi-disciplinary approach. Full guidelines for submissions here.
Developed by UN Environment and the UnSchool of Disruptive Design, this contribution to the One Planet Network’s Sustainable Lifestyles and Education Programme takes evidence and merges it into a tool kit outlining everyday lifestyle swaps individuals can make to live more sustainably. Made up of videos, social media assets and facts, this how-to tool kit offers the means and messages to change in the living areas of FOOD, STUFF, MOVE, MONEY and FUN. It targets the 2- 3 billion new urban consumers coming online in the next decades, most of whom will be young and will get their information from social media. The easy swaps highlight carbon positive changes and what kinds of information and action can be asked of companies and governments.
The Anatomy of Action will launch with a 15 day challenge on Instagram from 15 – 30 September 2019. Every day of the challenge, influencers around the world will share on their feeds what actions they are taking to reduce their footprint on the planet and encourage their audience to do the same. The goal of the challenge is to make sustainable living accessible, cool and fun, to create the collective positive impact our planet needs. DOWNLOAD A FLYER ABOUT HOW TO PARTICIPATE HERE.


Great Transitions Initiative Forum Discussion:
Think Globally, Act Locally

The promise and pitfalls of localism | Theories of glocalism | Scaling sideways and up

Grim daily headlines alert us to the gathering global crisis, signaling our urgent need for fundamental course correction: a Great Transition. Many, while attuned to the larger challenge, turn to tangible, place-based action for sustainability, peace, and justice. Indeed, diverse local movements are critical to the vitality and legitimacy of an overarching systemic movement. Community action is necessary, but is it sufficient? This question is the subject of the latest GTI Forum: Think Globally, Act Locally? The forum features opening remarks from Brian Tokar and responses from David Barkin, David Bollier, Andreas Bummel, Arturo Escobar, Frank Fischer, Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Richard Heinberg, Meg Holden, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Heikki Patomäki, Chella Rajan, Jackie Smith, Aaron Vansintjan, and Michelle Williams.
Upcoming Conferences
Listed in chronological order, from coming-soon to farthest out on the horizon.
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 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.

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.
SCORAI 2020 Conference Website

Recent Publications by SCORAI Members

Achieving sustainability transitions in residential energy use across Europe: The importance of problem framings
Energy Policy

Charlotte Louise Jensen, Gary Goggins, Inge Røpke, Frances Fahy

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the residential sector is central to European energy policy. However, the speed and scale of sustainable energy transitions need to accelerate. There is a growing consensus that meeting energy targets is highly dependent on interrelated socio-material and cultural aspects of energy use. New ways of framing energy demand that go beyond dominant efficiency- and behavior models are needed. Recognizing these concerns, this paper reports on a review of 1067 Sustainable Energy Consumption Initiatives (SECIs) that aim to reduce residential energy use across 30 European countries. The initiatives are categorized and a corresponding Problem Framing Typology (PFT) is developed, highlighting important aspects of different types of problem framings. The typology contains four categories including 1) Changes in technology; 2) Changes in individual behavior; 3) Changes in everyday life situations; 4) and Changes in complex interactions. Applying the PFT to the 1067 SECIs shows that the vast majority (75%) of SECIs are positioned within category 1 and 2, indicating a lingering bias towards technocratic consumer behavioral strategies. The limitations of such approaches are discussed, and it is argued that systematically addressing interactions between technology, businesses, culture and everyday-life is more likely to lead to long-term transformation.


How mindfulness training cultivates introspection and competence development for sustainable consumption
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

Pascal Frank, Anna Sundermann, Daniel Fischer

This paper aims to explore the relationship between introspection and key competencies for sustainable consumption (KCSCs). It investigates whether mindfulness training can cultivate the ability to introspect and stimulate the development of KCSCs. Two independent studies were analyzed. Data were retrieved from interviews with participants of a consumer-focused mindfulness training (Study 1, 11 participants), as well as from diaries of students attending a university seminar with mindfulness training (Study 2, 13 students), and made subject to qualitative content analysis. Both studies show a clear intersection between both constructs and suggest that mindfulness training can contribute to the development of KCSCs and learners’ ability to introspect. The studies also demonstrated that introspection is not equally related to all competencies and that KCSCs must not be reduced to introspection.
Cross-Fertilizing Qualitative Perspectives on Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention: An Empirical Comparison of Four Methodical Approaches

Pascal Frank, Laura Stanszus, Daniel Fischer, Klara Kehnel, Paul Grossman

Qualitative methods come along with specific methodological backgrounds and related empirical strengths and weaknesses. Research is lacking addressing the question of what it precisely means to study mindfulness practices from a particular methodological point of view. The aim of this paper is to shed light on what qualities of mindfulness different qualitative methods can elucidate. The authors undertook a comparison of four different analyses, namely content analysis (CA), grounded theory (GT), interpretative-phenomenological analysis (IPA), and discourse analysis (DA). Independently applying the four methods led to the following findings: CA demonstrated that the training had effects on self-awareness, well-being, and the development of ethical qualities and influenced pre-consumptive stages of participants; GT revealed the complex set of conditions determining whether and how the mindfulness training influenced the attendees; IPA highlighted the subjectivity of the mindfulness experience, suggesting that (1) different training elements have varying effects on participants and (2) it is often not the meditation practice, but other course elements that cause the effects experienced by the attendees; DA demonstrated that the course experience was influenced by subjective theories held by the participants. A pluralistic qualitative research assists in identifying blind spots and limitations of a single method, increases the self-reflexivity, and helps to arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of mindfulness practice or other processes of covert lived experience.

Contributions of sociometabolic research to sustainability science
Nature Sustainability

Helmut Haberl, Dominik Wiedenhofer, Stefan Pauliuk, Fridolin Krausmann, Daniel B. Müller & Marina Fischer-Kowalski 

Recent high-level agreements such as the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals aim at mitigating climate change, ecological degradation and biodiversity loss while pursuing social goals such as reducing hunger or poverty. Systemic approaches bridging natural and social sciences are required to support these agendas. The surging human use of biophysical resources (materials, energy) results from the pursuit of social and economic goals, while driving global environmental change. Sociometabolic research links the study of socioeconomic processes with biophysical processes and thus plays a pivotal role in understanding society–nature interactions. It includes a broad range of systems science approaches for measuring, analysing and modelling of biophysical stocks and flows as well as the services they provide to society. Here we outline and systematize major sociometabolic research traditions that study the biophysical basis of economic activity: urban metabolism, the multiscale integrated assessment of societal and ecosystem metabolism, biophysical economics, material and energy flow analysis, and environmentally extended input–output analysis. Examples from recent research demonstrate strengths and weaknesses of sociometabolic research. We discuss future research directions that could also help to enrich related fields.
Cross-Fertilizing Qualitative Perspectives on Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention: An Empirical Comparison of Four Methodical Approaches
Ecological Economics

Barbara Smetschka, Dominik Wiedenhofer, Claudine Egger, Edeltraud Haselsteiner, Daniel Moran, Veronika Gaube

Mitigating climate change to achieve the goal of staying below 2 °C of warming requires urgent reductions of emissions. Demand-side measures mostly focus on the footprints of consumption. Analysing time use can add to understand the carbon implications of everyday life and the potentials and limitations for decarbonising consumption better. We investigate the carbon footprints of everyday activities in Austria. We linked data from the Austrian Time-use Survey and the Austrian Household Budget Survey with the Eora-MRIO for 2009–2010 in order to estimate the household carbon footprints of all time-use activities. We introduce a functional time-use perspective differentiating personal, committed, contracted and free time to investigate the average carbon intensity of activities per hour, for an average day and for the average woman and man. We find that personal time is relatively low-carbon, while household as well as leisure activities show large variation in terms of CO2e footprint/h. The traditional gendered division of labour shapes the time-use patterns of women and men, with implications for their carbon footprints. Further research analysing differences in household size, income, location and availability of infrastructure in their relation to time use is crucial to be able to assess possible pathways towards low carbon everyday life.

Global Environment Outlook Summary for Policymakers Now Available Online

The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is the result of a consultative and participatory process to prepare an independent assessment of the state of the environment, the effectiveness of the policy response in addressing environmental challenges and the possible pathways to achieving various internationally agreed environmental goals. The GEO is a series of studies that inform environmental decision-making for Governments and other stakeholders.  The sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6), under the theme “Healthy Planet, Healthy People”, aims to provide a sound, evidence-based source of environmental information to help policymakers and all of society to achieve the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and internationally agreed environmental goals, and to implement the multilateral environmental agreements. It does so by assessing recent scientific information and data, analyzing current and past environmental policies and identifying future options to achieve sustainable development by 2050.

It is notable that this Summary for Policymakers, recently made available for free download on the Cambridge Press website, along with the full text of the Outlook Report says that, "current patterns of consumption, production and inequality are not sustainable, adding to other severe environmental pressures."  Furthermore, "To pursue the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and SDGs" ... "transformative change, as in the sense of reconfiguration of basic social and production systems and structures, including their institutional framework, social practices, cultural norms and values, is necessary". 

Member News

We are happy to announce that Professor Stefan Wahlen (Giessen University) has been nominated to the position of Chair for the Research Network on Consumption within the European Sociological Association, a membership group of over 100 researchers which has had a sustainable consumption focus over the years. The Co-Chair is Professor Marlyne Sahakian (University of Geneva), scientific board member of SCORAI North America and steering committee member of SCORAI Europe.

New SCORAI Affiliates

A warm welcome to 10 new SCORAI affiliates who have joined us during the past month, bringing our total membership to 1274 individuals!
  • Kersty Hobson
  • Gibran Vita
  • Steven Kurtz
  • Eleonore Faure
  • Yida Jiang
  • Fernanda Scherer
  • Dan Moran
  • Stephanie Moser
  • Erin Day
  • Sonya Sachdeva


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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