April 2019

The SCORAI community has been expanding globally, and with the growth of our network we have a record number of updates about conferences and relevant new resources and publications to share this month. Also, we are pleased to present a revised and updated Mission Statement as well as information about new leadership and advisory roles within SCORAI. We hope you find this compilation of news and resources useful and inspiring in your research and activism.

-Liz and Halina

Updates to SCORAI's governance structure

Dear SCORAI-ers, we are very pleased to introduce Manisha Anantharaman as our new Executive Board member. We are equally pleased to announce the creation of the SCORAI Advisory Board. Its current members are: Anders Hayden, Juliet Schor, Vanessa Timmer, and Neal Gorenflo.

Anders Hayden has stepped down from the Executive Board and joined the Advisory Board. Thank you, Anders, for your contributions, especially shepherding SCORAI through a difficult period. In the next few months we plan to expand the Advisory Board and we welcome suggestions for the new members.

Current active members of the SCORAI Executive Board are: Halina Brown, Deric Gruen, Daniel Fischer, Philip Vergragt and Manisha Anantharaman. Maurie Cohen is on a sabbatical leave.

The Role of the SCORAI Advisory Board

The Advisory Board (AB) is created in 2019 and comprises individuals who share the mission of SCORAI and who seek to contribute to the organization’s long term success. The organization draws on the Advisory Board members’ experience and creativity, wide range of perspectives, professional knowledge of the field (both academic and practical) and on their respective professional networks. The interactions between the Executive Board and the Advisors are informal and are reported back to the full EB.  The Advisors do not vote on the matters of SCORAI governance, strategy, or finances but may participate in the EB strategy meetings. Candidates for Advisors are nominated by members of the Executive Board and Advisory Board, with a final approval by EB.

Updated SCORAI Mission Statement

SCORAI (Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative), founded in 2008, is 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.

Biographies of new Executive Board and Advisory Board members

Manisha Anantharaman is an Assistant Professor of Justice, Community and Leadership at Saint Mary’s College of California, USA, where she is also affiliated with the Global and Regional Studies and Earth and Environmental Science programs. She is currently serving as the Alba Viotto Invited Professor in Sociology at the University of Geneva. A multidisciplinary problem-driven social scientist, she studies the potential for, pathways to, and politics of socially-just urban sustainability transitions, applying participatory and ethnographic methodologies. Her commitment to critical sustainability research emerges from and informs her community-engaged research praxis, enacted primarily through her work with Hasirudala, a waste-picker cooperative in Bangalore, India. She received her PhD from the Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management at the University of California Berkeley (2015), before which she worked as a program officer at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, India. Manisha also has a Masters’ in Biology from the University of Oxford, UK, where she was an Inlaks scholar. You can read more about her research and teaching at

Juliet Schor is an economist and sociologist at Boston College. Her books include the New York Times best-seller, The Overworked American, The Overspent American, Sustainable Lifestyles and the Quest for Plenitude, and True Wealth. Schor has written extensively on issues of working time, consumption and environmental sustainability, including a series of papers on the structural determinants of carbon emissions. Since 2011 Schor has been studying the “sharing economy,” including both large platforms and smaller community initiatives. Schor is a former Guggenheim Fellow, Radcliffe Fellow, and Brookings Institution fellow, and in 2014 she received the American Sociological Association’s award for Public Understanding of Sociology.

Anders Hayden is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and College of Sustainability at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. He is particularly interested in the evolving balance between efforts to promote ecological modernization (“green growth”) and sufficiency-based challenges to the endless growth of production and consumption. He has written on efforts to promote "green growth" in Canada, Britain, and the European Union. His interest in the sufficiency approach has included examination of policies and initiatives to reduce hours of work as well as research on Bhutan, a country that has established Gross National Happiness, rather than Gross National Product, as its overriding goal. He is currently involved in research on the political and policy impacts of alternative measures of wellbeing and prosperity (i.e. “beyond GDP” measurement). He is the author of two books: When Green Growth Is Not Enough: Climate Change, Ecological Modernization, and Sufficiency (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014) and Sharing the Work, Sparing the Planet: Work Time, Consumption & Ecology (Zed Books / Between the Lines, 1999).

Dr. Vanessa Timmer is the Executive Director of One Earth, a Vancouver, Canada-based environmental ‘think and do tank’ creating and imagining sustainable ways of living in cities and around the world. One Earth collaborates with partners to transform how people live their lives – what they need, what they consume and produce, and what they aspire to – enabling everyone to live good quality of lives within their fair share of our planet’s resources. Vanessa is also a Senior Research Fellow at Utrecht University with Pathways to Sustainability, the Urban Futures Studio, and the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. She holds a Doctorate and studied at Queen’s University, Oxford, UBC and Harvard. Vanessa sits on the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee for the United Nations 10YFP Sustainable Lifestyles Programme. In Canada, she is a Board member of the National Zero Waste Council and of the Vancouver Foundation Partnership Committee. She received the 2018 YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Environmental Sustainability.

Neal Gorenflo is the co-founder and Executive Director of Shareable, an award-winning nonprofit news outlet and global action network covering the latest innovations in resource sharing, solidarity economy, and urban commons. He’s a speaker, author, and consultant in these and related areas. He’s the editor of multiple books including Shareable’s latest, “Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons.” As a sharing movement pioneer, he advises leaders around the world on how to meet their goals through sharing. This has included work with Seoul Metropolitan Government, the city of San Francisco, the Sharing Economy Association of Japan, and more. Not surprisingly, Neal is an avid sharer whose year of sharing life experiment was covered by FastCompany, Sunset, and 7x7 magazines. As a social entrepreneur, Neal’s timely call to action is simple and systemic: let’s share!  

Sustainable Consumption in the News

The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change
The Huffington Post
A three-year UN-backed study from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform On Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has grim implications for the future of humanity.

Circulars: Why Conscious Consumption Isn't Enough to Combat Climate Change
New York Times
A conversation with David Wallace-Wells, climate columnist for New York Magazine, about the limits of individual consumption choices and the necessity of political action to combat climate change.
WEBINAR: 1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Targets, Options and Transformative Communications
Friday 12 April - 9am EST - 1.5 hour webinar
On zoom (more details and call-in numbers below):
Webinar will be recorded and available on the SCORAI website.

  • Dr. Lewis Akenji, Director for Sustainable Consumption & Production, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
  • Dr. Vanessa Timmer, Executive Director, One Earth and Senior Research Fellow, Urban Futures Studio, Pathways to Sustainability, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University
Sustainable Lifestyles remain a hot-potato issue, often circumvented in decisions and actions towards a sustainable future. However, a new report makes the argument that changes in our consumption patterns and lifestyles are inevitable, and does the numbers crunching to demonstrate the magnitude of potential changes in lifestyles needed in order to achieve the 1.5-degree aspirational target of the Paris Agreement on climate change.  This webinar reviews findings of the new report by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Aalto University and D-Mat, financed by the KR Foundation and the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA.

It introduces the concept of lifestyle carbon footprint (LCF), and establishes globally unified LCF targets of roughly 3,2,1 tCO2e per person per year by, respectively 2030, 2040, and 2050. More specifically, globally, citizens and society need to aim for per-person consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions targets of 2.5 (tCO2e) in 2030, 1.4 by 2040, and 0.7 by 2050 in order to keep global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees. Considering current consumption levels, citizens in industrialized countries like Finland and Japan have to cut their lifestyle carbon footprint by about 80-90% or more within the next 30 years. Reductions are necessary not only for industrialized countries; industrializing countries like China, India and Brazil also need to reduce their consumption from current levels of consumption by about 30-80%  – a significant challenge where basic needs of large parts of their populations are often not met yet.

Over 50 relevant options for reducing lifestyle carbon footprints are highlighted in this study, including impactful options that can contribute to over 0.25 tCO2/cap/year of footprint reduction. Three indispensable and complementary approaches to 1.5-degree lifestyles highlighted in the report are: absolute reduction, modal shift, and efficiency improvements. Lifestyle carbon footprints are not only the result of individual consumption decisions but are largely influenced by provision systems, including infrastructures, institutional mechanisms, political decisions, and business operations. These also need to be changed.

The webinar focuses on the results of this report and in the final section introduces the Beacon on Sustainable Living project focused on finding and developing transformative communications materials on sustainable living that equip us to shift the discourse and our mindsets, backed by an online hub of curated references, cases, future visions, and resources to further reinforce transformative solutions.

Zoom details:
Friday 12 April - 9am EST for 1.5 hours
6:00am PST, 9:00am EST, 3pm Europe, 10pm Japan
Join Zoom Meeting -
Dial by your location
        +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
        +1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 401 827 544
Find your local number:
Calls for Papers & Emerging Initiatives

Call for Papers for Special Issue on Socio-cultural Dimensions of Mobility Transitions to Come

Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy (SSPP) welcomes submissions for a special issue on Socio-cultural Dimensions of Mobility Transitions to Come. The present organization of the mobility sector raises major challenges for sustainable development. Many cities and regions are struggling with congestion, air and noise pollution, road-safety issues, effective use of space, degradation of urban landscapes, greenhouse-gas emissions contributing to climate change, and mobility-imposed forms of social exclusion. The complexity of these issues—as well as lock-ins, ambiguities, and uncertainties—additionally hamper problem-solving strategies. In the wake of “Dieselgate,” the legitimacy problems of various actors such as car manufacturers and business associations complicate transportation governance, but contemporary circumstances also open up windows of opportunity. Civil society organizations, citizen initiatives, transportation planners, policy makers, and innovative start-ups challenge the dominant (auto-)mobility regime.

This special issue aims to gather contributions on the co-constitution of society and technology in the domain of mobility. It seeks to address a number of questions including:

  • How are mobile subjects constructed in discourses about sustainable future mobility?
  • How does the governance of mobility change with increasing automatization and digitalization? Which (different) role(s) do or can individuals play in transitions toward sustainable mobility systems?
  • How and in which ways do publics become involved in the making of (potentially sustainable) mobility futures (e.g., citizen science or co-creation)?
  • How are urban mobility cultures changing?
  • How do individuals perceive mobility futures and related policies?
  • How are future visions of mobility promoted and put into practice by different actors?
  • What kinds of new practices and mobility patterns are emerging?
  • How do future mobilities reinforce existing social inequalities or create new ones?

We especially encourage submissions that provide conceptual and/or theoretical frameworks to access emergent and expected developments and present empirical research on current transitions in the mobility sector with regard to their sociocultural dimensions.

Authors are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 400 words. The deadline for abstract submission is 30 April 2019. Notifications of acceptance to prepare a full paper will be made by mid-May. Please email your abstract to: and In the event of any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the co-editors.

Call for papers on The (in)justice of community-based initiatives

In a variety of fields, pursuing different ends, forms of sociality that go under the English word
“community” are seen as a useful in journeying towards new economic, cultural, and political
settlements. Most prominently community has emerged as a form of eco-community: community used to respond to environmental challenges. This can be community as a social glue used by grassroots actors allowing them to increase agency. Or it could (potentially concurrently) be a form of top-down allocated community, used to guide and arrange populations. Wherever it comes from, and however it is used, the community that is put to use pursuing specific aims and objectives (whether environmental or not), are praised or critiqued. For example Jackson (2005) praises the “double dividend” of low carbon communities: a better life accompanying reduced consumption. Conversely others are highly critical of the use of community to address more structural concerns. Critiques often run along the lines of arguing that community either allows or encourages some form of “neoliberalism”: what MacLeod and Emejulu (2014) call “neoliberalism with a community face”. While these examples are inflected through an
environmental lens, community is also used more widely and cross-cuttingly, as can be seen with its role in debates around localism, volunteering, third sector service provision, as much as around purposive activism.

Focus of papers: In this issue of Justice spatiale/ Spatial Justice we want to explore how the use of community in pursuing environmental, cultural, and social aims and objectives can be more or less just. Rather than discussing ‘community’ as an idea or concept, still less attempting to define it, we wish to see papers that look to the potential for, or counterproductive uses of, community to achieve justice. Here we see justice in the round – most commonly justice in this area of research is framed as environmental justice, and can also be broadened out to notions of climate justice. However we are also interested in wider and the less often asked questions of justice, including those beyond only environmental deployments of community.

For example: what are the effects of community renewable energy on the gender relations and
accompanying questions of social justice? Most particularly we are looking for papers that do not only adopt either a critical or a positive perspective on community-based initiatives for change, but seek to understand, analyse, and inflect these through an explicit perspective of justice. We welcome papers point to what these are, might be, and how they tangibly help produce more just outcomes. Possible topics include: the unevenness of community initiatives. Engagement with specific subfields would be welcome here. Given the Anglo-French nature of the journal, we also welcome papers addressing the specificity of Anglo- or Francophone debates in these areas.

Expected Papers: Papers can rely on a case study, or offer a more theoretical perspective. Policy and practitioner contributions from non-academic authors are also welcome. All papers will be peer-reviewed. For the journal’s house style, see an outline here: The journal is bilingual and papers can be submitted in either French or English.  JSSJ will translate the accepted article themselves, and both versions (French & English) will be available completely open access. JSSJ also doesn’t change any fees for this.

Timeline: We will accept full papers, up until the 31st of August 2019. Papers will then be peer-reviewed, before an expected publication date of early 2020. Please get in touch to discuss any ideas you may have in advance of this deadline. 

Call for Papers for Special Issue on Energy Efficient Cities of Today and Tomorrow

The world needs to change. With rapid ongoing urbanization and ever-growing harmful environmental impacts from urban areas, the focus of this required sustainability transformation is on cities. However, cities are known to create wealth and economic growth. Cities are also providing their citizens with evermore diverse consumption opportunities, making the lifestyles of city dwellers more and more consumption-oriented. This inevitably leads to increased energy demands and emissions in cities due to needed infrastructure and real estate development, the increased energy demands of users, and the increased energy embodied in the goods and services consumed within cities. Concurrently, we are facing imminent pressure to significantly reduce our energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions at all levels of society. This pressure behoves cities to re-establish themselves as low-energy/low-carbon urban ecosystems.

We welcome both conceptual and empirical study papers. 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. All topics relevant to the theme of ‘’Energy Efficient Cities of Today and Tomorrow’’ are equally welcomed. Potential topics include the following:
  • 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.
Guest Editors: Prof. Dr. Jukka Heinonen, Assistant Prof. Dr. Sanna Ala-Mantila, Dr. Ortzi Akizu-Gardoki

Call for Papers for Special Issue of the Revue française de sociologie:
Economic worlds, activist worlds-- Contentiousness, boundaries, and cooperation

In the special issue we consider on the one hand that social movements are stakeholders in the functioning of the markets, and on the other that all the markets are sensitive to criticism, whether direct or indirect, from the most mundane (food markets and automobile markets for example) to the most central (financial markets) – or most recent (digital markets). Some activist groups even make criticisms of the functioning of the economy their main claim, protesting planned obsolescence, or discrimination in hiring. Other organizations are motivated by other causes, such as social justice, human rights, or the environment, and can deploy actions specifically targeting businesses as part of their repertoire of collective action.

This issue seeks to publish contributions that shed light on the forms and effects of the interactions, and even the hybridizations, between the activist world and the economic world. Papers may consider empirical investigations of activist groups, firms, or markets. They should prioritize research objects that are central to the economy rather than those on the margins, which have been more widely studied. 

Proposals (min. 1,000 words – max. 1,500 words, bibliography not included) should be submitted, in French or English, to the editorial secretary, Christelle Germain (, by May 31 2019. They will be jointly examined by the authors of this call for papers as well as another member of the editorial staff. Notification of acceptance will be sent by July 10 at the latest.

Research Project Launch: Civilizational Overshoot and Re-birth

Foresight Canada is about to launch a research project into a new hypothesis regarding the human problematique:
(1) We who live in Modern/Industrial cultures are well into civilizational overshoot;
(2) We do not yet understand that whole forms of civilization can go into civilizational overshoot, much less that we are in that condition;
(3) Therefore, as of today, we are unable to respond appropriately to the condition we are in or its implication for our future;
(4) Our hope lies in coming to understand the dimensions, drivers, depths, dynamics and drift of civilizational overshoot and learning to openly nurture a personal-to-civilizational scale re-birth.
(5) The new core work of the 21st Century is not making Modernity to be sustainable, rather it is the conscious co-creation of the next form of human civilization – the Co-Creative.
A 58 min. video presentation by Ruben Nelson of the core hypothesis can be found on Vimeo.
If this project interests you and you just want to track it, especially if you feel/think you have a contribution to make to it, please contact the project Director, Ruben Nelson: or +1-403-609-1016. The project’s website will be up in the next few weeks.
Upcoming Conferences
Listed in chronological order, from coming-soon to farthest out on the horizon.
NESI Global Forum 2019
April 24-26, 2019
Malaga, Spain

SCORAI members are invited to join and enjoy a unique opportunity to share knowledge about how transitions to a new economy can lead to and be led by changing how we consume today, actively address solutions for conscious consumption, women empowerment and alliance building on the fields of food, energy, textiles, housing, finance and work together with representatives of various other sectors from all over the world and, strengthen your research work through participatory design-thinking processes that you may have heard of but perhaps not experienced yet. A series of webinars is taking place as the “Pre Forum” online. Please note that papers will be welcomed, they will be presented through different modalities during the entire event, you don’t need to submit an abstract in advance.

Should you have any questions, or if you are interested in participating as part of a "SCORAI team", please do not hesitate to approach Ginnie Guillen-Hanson ( ) from SCORAI or write directly to Alvaro Sanchez of the organizing team ( )

STS Conference Graz 2019, "Critical Issues in Science, Technology and Society Studies"
Graz, Austria
May 6-7, 2019

The STS Conference Graz 2019 is the joint Annual Conference of the Science Technology and Society Unit of the Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science of the Technical University of Graz, the Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture (IFZ) and the Institute for Advanced Studies of Science, Technology and Society (IAS-STS).

EUGEO Congress 2019 in Conjunction with the 51st Conference of Irish Geographers
National University of Ireland Galway
May 15-18, 2019

The theme for the 2019 EUGEO Congress is ‘Re-Imagining Europe’s Future Society and Landscapes’ and we invite sessions on this theme (and beyond) from all areas of the Discipline.

The conference will take place at the National University of Ireland Galway from May 15th – 18th (inclusive) and will include a series of keynotes, networking and social events throughout the four-day period. Some highlights include a Welcome Reception on May 15th and conference dinner on May 17th. Galway is an ideal location for the Congress; a vibrant city, full of rich cultural heritage and a gateway to many sites of geographical significance (e.g. Connemara and the Burren). Further details are available on the conference website:
The conference will be chaired by Dr Frances Fahy and Dr Kathy Reilly (Geography, NUI Galway) and the theme reflects on the centrality of the concepts of society and landscape within the Discipline of Geography. EUGEO 2019 in conjunction with the 51st Conference of Irish Geographers will offer participants the opportunity to reflect on and re-imagine futures within the geographical boundary of Europe and beyond. 
Business Opportunities in Advancing Sustainable Lifestyles in Greater Boston
University of Massachusetts, Boston
May 16, 2019

Join progressive companies, policy makers, NGOs and academics to identify key actions and indicators for promoting sustainable lifestyles in Greater Boston as key to reducing GHG emissions. This workshop organized by UMass Boston and SCORAI will focus on the business opportunities in advancing sustainable lifestyles in Greater Boston area.

The conference aims to bring together progressive companies, policy makers, NGOs and academics to identify key actions and indicators for promoting sustainable lifestyles as key to reducing GHG emissions. More information about the workshop and how to register is available at:
Beyond GDP: International Experiences, Canada’s Options
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
May 23-24, 2019

Hosted by the Centre for the Study of Security and Development and Department of Political Science, Dalhousie University. Co-sponsored by the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI), Engage Nova Scotia, Green Analytics, the Canadian International Council.

A decade has passed since the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress called on world governments to find better ways to measure wellbeing and sustainability. Given the continued need for better prosperity measurements, and the growing knowledge base from recent Beyond-GDP initiatives, we believe it is timely to host an event to exchange and share that knowledge, and discuss the next steps forward. The workshop aims to advance academic, public, and policy debate on wellbeing measurement by bringing together Canadian and international academics, policy-makers and government officials, non-governmental organizations, and members of the public. 

We have an exciting program with presentations by many leading researchers and practitioners, including a keynote talk by John Helliwell, professor emeritus in economics at the University of British Columbia and lead author of the annual World Happiness Report. Concluding sessions will discuss next steps in Canada and develop recommendations for governments. 

More information including a draft workshop program and details on registration are available at:
Rewriting the Rules: Designing an Economy for the 21st Century
Cleveland, Ohio
May 27-29, 2019

The Biodiversity Funders Group (BFG) will host a New Economy funders meeting to explore how to rewrite the rules in designing an economy for the 21st Century in Cleveland, Ohio, a model city for community wealth building and new economic thinking. The set of ideas and rules that have dominated western political economy for the past 40 years are rapidly losing legitimacy. An emerging confluence of people are concerned about the harm our economic system is causing – political threats to open democratic societies, climate change and environmental degradation, growing inequality, accelerating technology change – and understand that the economy is undergoing a significant transition. 

These problems have spawned a growing movement across academia, civil society and business to bring about a new economic paradigm. There is a hunger for new intellectual frameworks to make sense of these intertwined issues and help guide action. 
International Conference on Enhancing Consumer Awareness
Prospects for Advancing Consumer Rights Protection on Traditional and Digital Markets
Katowice, Poland
June 16-18, 2019

On June 6-18, 2019, University of Economics in Katowice, Poland, will host an International Conference on Enhancing Consumer Awareness. Sustainable Consumption is one of the topics in the call for abstracts. The conference organizers are extremely interested in including Sustainable Consumption as a session or a track in the conference program. SCORAI members are strongly encouraged to submit abstracts. Halina Brown, SCORAI co-founder and board member will give a keynote address. The topic of sustainable consumption is rapidly emerging among researchers in Poland, and this conference is an opportunity to give it a stronger foundation.
Deadline for submission of full papers via conference website: April 15, 2019

Waterlines: Confluence and Hope through Environmental Communication
The 15th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE) University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
June 17-21, 2019

We are excited to have you join us in Vancouver, Canada for the 15th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE 2019). The conference will be held at the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus on the Point Grey headland, surrounded by forest and ocean, with views of the Coast Mountains and just 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, all of which is part of the traditional unceded territory of the Musqueam people.

We have chosen communicating water - Waterlines - as the theme of the conference. Water connects with many environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest relating to energy production and distribution, land use, climate change, forestry, mining, development, and recreation. We think water is an under-researched area in the field of environmental communication and we are hoping to change that a bit.

The conference will bring together scholars, practitioners, artists, students and concerned citizens from around the world to share research, good practices, experience, and stories in order to help foster more effective, inspiring, ethical, and hopeful environmental and sustainability communication.


IST 2019: Accelerating Sustainability Transitions
Building visions, unlocking pathways, navigating conflicts
Ottawa, Canada
June 23-26, 2019
The theme of IST 2019 – Accelerating sustainability transitions – seeks to address this challenging context by encouraging researchers and practitioners to examine obstacles to transitions processes and strategies to speed up the transformation of systems of production and consumption. It points to the importance of visions — of improved mobility systems, agricultural and food systems, buildings, cities and rural communities – to coordinate efforts and mobilize change. Raises the challenge of mapping out concrete pathways that can link the present with desirable futures. And emphasises navigation of the inevitable conflicts that accompany any serious efforts at societal change.

This 10th Anniversary event will mark the first time the IST conference has been held outside Europe. It will provide an occasion to highlight the achievements of international transition studies, to introduce researchers who are not yet familiar with transitions literatures to this vibrant community, and to explore complementarities with related research perspectives and approaches.


Societal ever-expanding requirements have led to global competition for resources, and wealth being concentrated in a few hands. Dramatic societal crises and environmental conflicts emerge both in the South and in the North. The growth narrative builds on a very important belief: the idea that if we consume and possess more, we will be happier. However, from farmers’ protests in Delhi to buy nothing days, people stand against the present growth narrative and demand a different way of life that does not associate consumption with happiness.

As a response, degrowth develops other narratives and ideas. Over the last ten years, they have become more and more recognized. Recently a post-growth petition was signed by 90000 people. Scientific publications and special issues on degrowth are not rare anymore. We now count 10 major international conferences on degrowth, and more to come.

On this basis, this year the summer school will focus on the concrete responses that degrowth can give, and aims to prepare the next policy makers, activists, and academics to discuss degrowth alternatives. We will explore the various sources of degrowth, and their need to be integrated. The summer school will bring visions of degrowth in different sectors such as housing, transport, food, low-tech and energy, building new exciting stories. We also aim to practice horizontally governance and take account of all important perspectives, be it from the grass-roots or from policy makers. We believe that a stable collaboration, trust, and coordination between activists, practitioners and researchers leads to mutual learning towards a new path of socio-ecological transformations and inspiring narratives.
4th international Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption on “Transforming Production and Consumption: Bridging Sustainability Research with Policy and Practice.”
Hong Kong
June 26-29, 2019 
We welcome Paper, Poster, Workstudio and Session proposals. Deadline: 21 January 2018
This conference actively explores the following four themes for research and practice:
Theme #1: Asian Perspectives and Priorities in SCP
Theme #2: Imagining Sustainable Futures and Transforming Cultures
Theme #3: Sustainable Lifestyles and Livelihoods
Theme #4: Smart, Circular, Sustainable Urbanization

We are also exploring these themes through a number of cross-cutting topics: politics and democracy, civic engagement and knowledge transfer, gender, and social justice. A full description of the conference can be found here: The GRF conference is also an opportunity to interact with policymakers and practitioners including the SWITCH to Green Initiative. We warmly welcome you to Hong Kong to strengthen the community of researchers and practitioners engaged in research on the worldwide transition to sustainable production and consumption systems. 


6th International Workshop on the Sharing Economy (IWSE)
Utrecht University, Netherlands
28-29 June, 2019

After successful editions in Utrecht (2015), Paris (2016), Southampton (2016), Lund (2017) and Mannheim (2018), the International Workshop on the Sharing Economy will return to Utrecht for its sixth edition. Martijn Arets, Rense Corten, Joyce Delnoij and Koen Frenken will act as the local organizing committee. For updates, see:

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 ten-day program, the PSS 2019 will enable participants to create individual as well as organizational communication strategies to various audiences. This includes both the reactive elements of press and media relations as well as the proactive communication via traditional and new media outlets. Since the sharing of interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise is highly relevant, the following questions will also guide the ten-day program:
  • How can scientists address audiences from other societal areas?
  • Can all sustainability topics be communicated equally?
  • Should scientists become advocates rather than taking neutral positions only?
  • How to deal with incomplete or wrongly presented scientific information?
  • How to reduce complexity, without losing the scientific character?
  • How to strengthen the credibility of scientific findings?
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 2nd- 5th, 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
Submission Instructions: cod_evento=1&cod_evento_edicao=96&cod_edicao_subsecao=1613
May 16th, 2019: Final date for submissions (05:59 PM BRT)
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 call for papers and proposals will be open until April, providing groups plenty of time to put together thoughtful papers, workshops, fieldtrips, training activities, posters or presentations. All accepted proposals will be confirmed by June. The Ecocity World Summit appeals to a mix of academics and practitioners.

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.

ERSCP 2019 will explore innovative and transformational conference formats. Along with traditional presentation sessions, the conference will offer spaces for discussions and debates, as well as for collaborative workshops and other non-traditional conference sessions. Next to regular paper and poster abstracts, proposals for dialogue sessions are welcomed. Each participant can do a maximum of two paper presentations.


ENERGISE final conference on 15 October: you can now register!

We are now well into the final year of the ENERGISE project, which concludes in November 2019. Our fieldwork is complete, and we have started to analyse data collected from our Living Labs, with over 300 households participating across 8 European countries. We already see that our results have generated exciting new insights into social and cultural influences on household energy use, as well as advancing the notion of ‘energy sufficiency’. We will continue to update our website and social media accounts with the latest developments from the project.

We are currently organising our project final conference, which will take place in Barcelona on October 15th 2019. PThe 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. 

We would be delighted if you could join us in Barcelona for our final event, where we will present and discuss high-level findings from the project. We would be grateful if you could register your interest by clicking on the link below. Click here to register for ENERGISE final conference.

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, it is increasingly seeking to emancipate itself in order 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.

Proposals for papers in English or French must include a summary of 350 to 500 words, a title, the names of the authors and their institutions, their emails. Deadline of Abstracts: Proposals must be received by June 30, 2019
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.
  • 3 day event in the heart of Boston
  • High-profile keynote speakers
  • Diverse transdisciplinary research presentations
  • Practitioner workshops
  • Local field trips
  • Convenient and affordable on-campus accommodation available

Recent Publications

Energy Democracy: Redistributing Power to the People Through Renewable Transformation
Jennie C. Stephens
Published Feb. 13, 2019 in  Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development

As the expansion of renewable energy accelerates, the transformative potential of moving away from fossil fuel reliance is becoming increasingly clear. Around the world, individuals, communities, organizations, cities, states, and countries are recognizing that renewable energy offers much more than just reliable clean electricity, pollution reductions, and climate mitigation. In addition to these environmental benefits, the renewable energy revolution also provides potential to transform society by redistributing jobs, wealth, health, and political power more equitably.

Energy democracy is a growing social movement that prioritizes this potential for redistributing power to the people through renewable transformation. Energy democracy acknowledges how fossil-fuel-based energy systems and the associated massive corporate profits of large multinational energy companies have perpetuated inequities, exacerbated disparate vulnerabilities, and promoted widespread injustices among and within communities around the world. By highlighting the negative societal impacts of fossil-fuel-based concentration of power and wealth, the principles of energy democracy connect energy system change with an associated transformation toward a more socially just and equal society.
Beyond Greenwash - Explaining Credibility in Transnational Eco-Labeling
Hamish van der Ven

Beyond Greenwash systematically investigates the credibility of transnational eco-labeling organizations across countries and commercial sectors. It uses original data, an innovative mixed-method research design, and a unique measure of credibility in transnational governance to challenge the conventional wisdom that only governments or environmental NGOs can create meaningful environmental governance.

The book is well-suited for upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level courses on international relations, environmental politics, business and public policy, business ethics, or corporate social responsibility. It offers a useful application of mixed-method research design that would be of interest across social science fields. 
Sufficiency and consumer behaviour: From theory to policy 
Joachim H.Spangenberg  & Sylvia Lorek
It is increasingly obvious that for safeguarding environmental sustainabilityeco-efficiency measures will need to be complemented by sufficiency, in particular by strong sustainable consumption. The Theory of Planned Behaviour TPB and Social Practice Theory SPT offer different views on consumer behaviour, and on ways to change it. This paper briefly describes the challenges, discusses the applicability of both theories and their meaningfulness for policy recommendations. The authors suggest an approach combining results of both bodies of theory, complemented by ideas from political economy, to substantiate the Prism of Sustainable Consumption we introduce as a heuristic sufficiency policy tool. It is useful to identifyaffordability criteria for change in each dimension, as the basis for deriving suggestions for effective policy interventions. They conclude that (i) effective interventions are possible, (ii) they have to address several dimensions of affordability simultaneously, and (iii) the sufficiency policy space prism can be a useful tool in structuring planned interventions.

Trusting Nudges: Toward A Bill of Rights for Nudging
Series: Routledge Advances in Behavioural Economics and Finance

Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard University, USA and Lucia A.
Reisch, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

In recent years, many governments have implemented
behaviorally informed policies, focusing on "nudges" –
interventions that steer people in certain directions. These
policies have created both academic and political
controversy, above all from those who believe that they
do not treat people with respect, or that they can amount
to forms of manipulation. Using a data from a wide range
of countries, this book addresses these concerns by
exploring what citizens actually think about these
behaviorally informed policies, looking at differences
between countries, types of "nudge", and the role of
political differences.
From governing behaviour to transformative change: A typology of household energy initiatives in Switzerland
Marlyne Sahakian and Laure Dobigny

Based on a study of fifty initiatives aimed at reducing energy usage among Swiss households, we uncover what representations of change and forms of engagement are put forward by these initiatives, and the related policy implications. Two ideal-types emerge from our analysis: first, the dominant worldview of change as based on governing behaviour towards ‘better’ individual choices, made possible through rationalising, evaluating, and awareness-raising; second, an ideal-type which involves representations of change based on recognizing the social embeddedness of practices and socio-technical systems. Initiatives that fall into this category seek to transform how everyday life plays out, in relation to energy services and systems of provision, while challenging dominant norms around individuals as central to change. In comparing the Swiss case to over 1,000 initiatives across Europe, we discuss what makes Switzerland a forerunner in relation to this second ideal type. Further, we assess how different forms of engagement are at play, involving the participation of diverse groups of people in initiative design and implementation, while aiming towards more durable, effective and innovative solutions – which we see as a subset of the two ideal types, and one that merits further study.
Betsy Taylor

This guide focuses on philanthropic and investment opportunities to promote healthy soils and soil carbon sequestration (SCS) primarily through changes
in agricultural practices in the United States and globally. It was produced by Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions, a consulting firm based in Takoma Park, Maryland. A team of six consultants at Breakthrough Strategies interviewed 48 experts and practitioners and conducted an in-depth online survey of an additional 65 individuals, including policy experts, farmers, NGO leaders, philanthropists, private sector leaders, and government officials. Our team of consultants included soil health and soil carbon experts in France, Belize, California, Massachusetts, Washington, and Maryland. This guide provides an initial roadmap for investing in healthy soils to help cool the planet and enhance resilience.

New SCORAI Affiliates

A warm welcome to eight new SCORAI affiliates who have joined us during the past month, bringing our total membership to 1136 individuals.
  • Paul Upham
  • Anke Brons
  • Aina Sylvania Andrianjakatina
  • Mithra Moezzi
  • Raagini Appadurai
  • Marta Kolarova
  • Emma Li
  • Kaihui Song

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