View this email in your browser
January 2019

Happy New Year from SCORAI! We look forward to collaboratively advancing dialogue, research and activism focused on sustainable consumption in 2019.

I'm excited to be serving as the new editor of the SCORAI newsletter. Former editor Darcy Hauslik is transitioning to focus on new projects, and I'm looking forward to carrying on the great work that Darcy and Halina have done gathering and sharing relevant resources and updates with this community. 

Best Wishes,
Liz, with Darcy and Halina
Message from the SCORAI Board

The SCORAI Board wishes to thank our affiliates who donated last year to a total of $6415; reaching 80% of our goal of $8000 for 2018; see the “thermometer” on Thank you all! Your contributions will keep SCORAI thriving in 2019.

We would like to thank Darcy Hauslik for all the work she has done compiling this newsletter over many months. Thank you also to Samira Iran, who has managed the SCORAI Facebook page. We're currently looking for SCORAI's next Facebook page manager, if you're interested in taking on this role please message our webmaster Robert Orzanna,

Critical Meta-analysis of Packaging Materials

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is pleased to announce the long-awaited release of a critical meta-analysis of packaging materials and single-use food service items asking the basic question: ‘Do popular attributes including recycled and biobased content, recyclability and compostability correlate with lower environmental impacts?’ This research reviewed publicly available life cycle assessment (LCA) studies from 2000-2017. The significance of this research is that at present these attributes are commonly used as a simplified means of making “sustainable” or “green” choices for institutional and individual purchasing decisions, for marketing and brand promotion, for design guidance, and for policy recommendations for end of life materials management. 
In general terms, the findings are not as straightforward as commonly believed, and in many cases the well-intentioned effort of individuals, institutions and policy may be leading to increased environmental burdens. Many of the results run contrary to popular wisdom and even the policy directions that are increasingly promoted and promulgated by national and subnational governments, as well as nongovernmental organizations and businesses.
For example, some proponents of “Circular Economy” and “Zero Waste” are promoting the idea that all materials should be recyclable or compostable, in order to improve circularity and enable higher rates of recycling and composting, thus reducing flows to landfills. Oregon’s research shows that this type of blunt approach may simply shift burdens to other types of less obvious impacts, such as climate change and toxicity. A more holistic evaluation framework is needed: one that considers actual environmental impacts, takes a full life-cycle view of those impacts, and considers them in the context of absolute (total) resource use and pollution and the Earth’s ability to provide those resources and absorb that pollution.
The technical paper and four summary reports are available for download at:
The Oregon DEQ is hosting a series of webinars to facilitate discussion. If interested, please sign up at the above link.

Research Initiative: Business Models to Advance the Circular Economy

Dr. Vesela Veleva of UMass Boston is currently working on a research project involving environmental entrepreneurs focused on product re-manufacturing, reuse and waste re-purposing, which is funded through UMass Boston Public Service Grant. The team is looking to interview 8 environmental entrepreneurs involved in product remanufacturing, reuse or waste repurposing to examine emerging business models, drivers and barriers as well as approaches used to educate consumers about the circular economy and sustainable consumption. There are still have a couple of slots available for companies interested in participating. Please contact Dr. Veleva directly to suggest interview subjects: 

Featured Publications
Schanes, Karin and Sigrid Stagl. "Food waste fighters: What motivates people to engage in food sharing?" Journal of Cleaner Production 211 (2019): 1491-1501.
Increasing concerns around food waste and the rise of emerging information and communication technologies such as web platforms and mobile applications have enabled the rise of local initiatives that collect, manage and share food surplus. However, while food sharing is often discussed as a potentially transformative mechanism for a less wasteful food system, empirical studies are still scarce and only few researchers have yet investigated the motivations of food sharing practitioners. Therefore, in this article, we explore people's underlying motivations to participate in food sharing and shed light on their individual goals. The study builds on in-depth interviews with Austrian members – so-called ‘foodsavers’ – of the initiative ‘foodsharing’, which collects food from a variety of food providers before it is thrown away or enters a 'waste' state and shares it for free with a diverse group regardless of their social status. The results show that members are motivated by: (i) Emotions and Morality, (ii) Identity and Sense of Community, (iii) Reward, (iv) Social influence and (v) Instrumentality. The category Instrumentality comprises different goals that have a strong motivating effect: Save food from being wasted, Food (re)distribution, Food surplus prevention and Reinvigorating a new consciousness around food. The motivations and goals behind individuals participating in food sharing are rich and diversified and can mutually re-enforce each other. Indeed, participation can be triggered by moral considerations and at the same time people can be motivated by the benefit of having access to free food. However, rich and diversified motivations and expectations behind individuals participating in collective action can also lead to tensions e.g. those who see their participation as an expression of certain sets of principles (morality) and others that mainly pursue individual benefit (reward). The analysis also unveiled disagreement between different individual views on what food sharing should and can achieve i.e. between those who wish to upscale the initiative and save as well as distribute more and more food while others aim at more radical and systemic changes (food surplus prevention) making initiatives that collect food obsolete.
England, Russell. (2018). Gross Deceptive Product: An Ecological Perspective on the Economy. Covenant Books.

Continuous economic growth is not sustainable because such growth depends on depletion of finite natural resources, ever-increasing debt, continuous population growth, and land use conversion--none of which is sustainable long term. Measuring economic health in gross terms (gross domestic product) is deceptive because it says nothing about the net benefits or costs of economic activity or the impact of economic growth on ecosystems. Yet growth is worshiped like a religion and politicians go to great lengths to lure industry (and people) from other states or countries without any attempt to determine optimum population density. Debt is unethically passed on to future generations.

It is time for governments at all levels to begin planning for a sustainable future that works toward achieving a stable economy and a stable population that is within the long term carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems. The economy is a subset of the ecosystem--not the other way around. The concept of optimum as it applies to human populations needs to be recognized. More is not always better.

Readers can find the book (Gross Deceptive Product) at or or you can use the following link:


For Love of Place: Reflections of an Agrarian Sage
Interview with Wendell Berry
Great Transition Initiative
December 2018
In this interview, Tellus Senior Fellow Allen White speaks to writer and farmer Wendell Berry about how we cultivate a sense of place in an industrialized, globalizing world. Berry discusses the role of agrarian values in nurturing communitarian consciousness.


Essay by Michael Löwy
Ecosocialism: For a Red-Green Future
Published December 2018
Löwy writes that the capitalist system, driven at its core by the maximization of profit, regardless of social and ecological costs, is incompatible with a just and sustainable future. Ecosocialism offers a radical alternative that puts social and ecological well-being first. Attuned to the links between the exploitation of labor and the exploitation of the environment, ecosocialism stands against both reformist “market ecology” and “productivist socialism.” By embracing a new model of robustly democratic planning, society can take control of the means of production and its own destiny. Shorter work hours and a focus on authentic needs over consumerism can facilitate the elevation of “being” over “having,” and the achievement of a deeper sense of freedom for all. To realize this vision, however, environmentalists and socialists will need to recognize their common struggle and how that connects with the broader “movement of movements” seeking a Great Transition.

And check out a Roundtable discussion on ecosocialism – with contributors like Ashish Kothari, Giorgos Kallis, Herman Daly, and Mary Mellor – here:


Spaiser, Viktoria, Kate Scott, Anne Owen, and Robert Holland. "Consumption-based accounting of CO2 emissions in the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda." International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology (2018).

In 2017 the paper ‘The Sustainable Development Oxymoron: Quantifying and Modelling the Incompatibility of Sustainable Development Goals’ was published, showing that there is a conflict between socio-economic development goals and ecological sustainability goals using cross-country time-series data. The authors looked at production-based CO2 emissions to measure and model the 13th SDG goal addressing climate change. Their models showed that production-based CO2 emissions were stalling or even decreasing in rich countries, which suggests that other countries are also likely to see stalling and decrease in their CO2 emissions once they become rich. However, this conclusion can be challenged when accounting for consumption-based CO2 emissions rather than production-based CO2 emissions. In this follow-up paper, we re-run some of the analyses performed in the original paper making use of consumption-based CO2 emissions. The analysis confirms the inherent SDG conflict between socio-economic and ecological SDGs. But, this new analysis demonstrates that from a consumption perspective the trend of stalling or decreasing CO2 emissions is reversed, with natural depletion costs being exported to poorer countries. Despite this new perspective on CO2 emissions, the conflict between SDG goals can still be avoided by making investments in public health, education and renewable energy, as suggested in the original paper.


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

Leverage Points 2019
International Conference on Sustainability Research and Transformation
Luneburg, Germany
February 6-8, 2019

Humanity sits at a crossroad between tragedy and transformation, with seemingly little idea of where we wish to go, or how we intend to get there. Similarly, now is a crucial time for sustainability research. Is it to be a passive chronicler of the challenges of our times? Or an active facilitator of transformative change towards sustainability?

This conference is inspired by the seminal essay by Donnella Meadows “Leverage Points Places to intervene in a system”. In this work, born of frustration and a deep desire for a more effective change, Meadows highlighted a series of leverage points—places in complex systems where a small shift may lead to fundamental changes in the system as a whole— for sustainability transformations. In particular, she noted the tendency to focus on highly tangible, but essentially weak leverage points (i.e., interventions that are easy to make, but have limited potential for transformative change).

Instead, she urged a focus on perhaps less obvious, but potentially far more powerful areas of intervention. Donnella Meadows’ notion of leverage points can be seen as a boundary object, a model, a metaphor and a fundamental challenge to the status quo, dominate mindsets and paradigms. We firmly believe that such radical approaches are needed in sustainability research and praxis if they are to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Inspired by Meadows’ work we seek to explore (in theory, methods and praxis) the deep leverage points that can lead to sustainability transformations. This conference will ask: how do we transform ourselves, our science, our institutions, our interventions and our societies for a better future? The conference is premised on three principles:

  1. The importance of searching for places where interventions can lead to transformative change.
  2. Open inquiry, exchange and co-learning across multiple theoretical, methodological and empirical research approaches focused on sustainability science and transformative change.
  3. The need to reflection on modes of research and processes of change in leverage point and sustainability transformation related research.
More information here:


Sharing Economy: Research on Access, Technology, Equity and Applications
Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
March 21-22, 2019

Multiple aspects of our 21st century lives are touched by sharing economy platforms, which enable customer-to customer matching and transactions, more efficient infrastructure utilization, and actively lower market friction. These electronic platforms span a broad spectrum of sectors, practices and organizational structures. There are inherent tensions and contradictions related to the objectives, boundaries and environmental and societal impacts of the sharing economy.This conference brings together leaders from the private sector and researchers from disciplines including engineering, law, computing, business, and public policy to: (A)Identify and compare regulatory and data sharing practices that influence the real-world implementation of sharing economy platforms, (B) Consider emerging technologies and algorithms for optimizing design, operation, incentives, and security, and (C) Address the role of sharing economy platforms in working toward socially desirable outcomes, including sustainable growth, social equity and improved resilience.

Specific application areas to be explored at the conference include transportation, cloud computing, energy and healthcare. We aim to engage researchers, policy makers, and industry thinkers in thoughtful discussions about the social, economic and political context in which sharing economy platforms are emerging, approaches to collecting data and evaluating outcomes, and designing recommendations that that influence the real-world implementation of sharing economy platforms.

Call for paper and poster submissions now open, Full directions here:
Deadline for Submissions: January 31, 2019


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).

For submitting your abstract, please follow these directions:
Submission Deadline:  January 21, 2019 
Notification of selected abstracts: February 2019
For further details please visit:

STEPS summer school
13-14 May, 2019, UK

The ESRC STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre invites applications for its 2019 Summer School, which will take place from 13-24 May in the UK. Applications are invited from highly-motivated doctoral and postdoctoral researchers working in fields around development studies, science and technology studies, innovation and policy studies, and interested in transdisciplinary methods and the politics of the environment. The Summer School is a two-week immersive course on theories and practical approaches to sustainability, through creative, interactive and participatory learning.

Participants will explore the theme of pathways to sustainability through a mixture of workshops, lectures, outdoor events and focused interaction with STEPS Centre members. The Summer School takes place on the University of Sussex campus, near Brighton, UK. The deadline for applications is 27 January 2019 at 23.59 GMT. There is a fee to attend, but a small number of bursaries are available to non- OECD applicants. For details of how to apply, financial support, programme information, and materials from previous years, visit the STEPS website
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. We invite session proposals reflective of the over-arching theme with a view to attracting a wide variety of geographers with a range of interest and expertise representative of Geography’s diversity.

Informal queries relating to the submission of proposed sessions can be sent to and before Friday November 30th. We look forward to welcoming you all to Galway.

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.

Important deadlines:
March 10, 2019       –   registration 
March 10, 2019      –   abstract/special session proposal submission
March 15, 2019       –   confirmation of abstract/special session proposal acceptance
April 15, 2019         –   submission of full papers via conference website

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

Over the past few decades the damage being done to global ecosystems by established development trajectories has become increasingly evident. In many sectors and regions sustainability transitions are gathering pace as new technologies, business models and social practices begin to transform existing systems of social provisioning. Yet the current political context is difficult. And in some areas there is increasing resistance to transformative change that promotes sustainability. Above all, progress remains slow when compared to the scale of damage being done to ecosystems and the climate.
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.

Call for Papers, Deadline extended until January-22, 2019
Conference website
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. 


Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) Annual Meeting
2019 Conference Theme 
“Fathomless Futures: Algorithmic and Imagined”

At the New School for Social Research, New York City, NY, USA
June 27-29, 2019

Join our vibrant and interdisciplinary SASE research network “Alternatives to Capitalism” by submitting a paper abstract (max. 1000 words) or a session proposal (up to four presenters + 1 discussant). 

Deadline for SASE submissions: January 14th, 2019.  If accepted, full papers due May 15, 2019.
Please submit your proposals using the online system at this link:

Early career scholars are eligible to apply for the Early Career Workshop. If selected, the conference fee cost, the full conference accommodation and the additional night of accommodation for the Workshop will be covered. More info here:

As income and wealth inequality have intensified within capitalist societies, people’s sense of voice or control over longstanding societal institutions has also diminished.  In response, many people across the globe have joined together to create new futures through alternative systems, institutions, organizations and other collectives, and relationships. Our network encourages research and scholarship on such collective efforts to create more transformative, egalitarian, horizontal or non-hierarchical practices, relations, social movements, groups, organizations, and societies.  Moreover, our network provides an engaging forum for discussing and envisioning alternatives.

The broad aim of this research network is to advance the international, comparative and interdisciplinary study of alternatives to capitalism and its associated institutions. More specifically, the research network has three goals: (1) To bridge the disparate interpretative frameworks that exist by engaging in a theoretical systematization of the literature; (2) To map existing alternatives embedded within various socio-economic and geographic contexts; (3) To encourage the use of innovative research methods that can provide new insights and reach broader audiences.

Contributors are invited to investigate and analyse the practices, strategies and discourses being used by different social groups to enhance and exercise social power rooted in the voluntary association of people and based on the capacity to engage in collective action of various sorts.

 Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: cooperatives (worker/producer/consumer) and cooperativism; political and ethical consumerism; eco-villages and sustainable communities; community and practice-based initiatives; the future of work; radical lifestyles; utopias and alternative futures; prefigurative initiatives and prefigurative politics; direct democracy and municipalism; commons and commoning; alternative forms of organisation and governance; anti-capitalist trade unions and political parties; transformative social innovation; alternative media and other forms of alternative social reproduction. We are particularly interested in the ways in which the State and the market interact with these alternatives through mechanisms of facilitation, co-optation, or repression.

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:

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.

Prospective authors are invited to submit up to two abstracts of maximum 500 words no later than January 31st 2019 through the conference website. The abstract must include a comprehensive title, the name of all authors, their complete affiliation (address, e-mail), and clear structure, methods and (expected) conclusions, to allow the scientific committee to judge on the quality of the work. Prior to abstract preparation and submission it is recommended reading carefully the specific requirements and consulting the template for abstract preparation in a standard format . The members of the scientific committee will review the abstracts. Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper by August 1st, 2019.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
SCORAI · Address line · Boston, MA 98103 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp