The SCORAI Working Group on the impacts of Covid on sustainable consumption was formed early 2020; it resulted from a meeting of SCORAI organizations around the world that had a common interest in the emerging pandemic and its potential effects on lifestyles. Our first activity was organizing a session on the (then virtual) Boston-Stockholm SCORAI conference June 2020 with research results on scenarios, changes in lifestyles in neighborhoods, cities, and countries; relations with sustainable consumption, and a policy analysis of countries’ reactions. This resulted in a book: Fabián Echegaray, Valerie Brachya, Philip J. Vergragt, Lei Zhang, (April 2021) Sustainable Lifestyles after Covid-19 Sustainable Lifestyles after Covid-19 – 1st Edition – Fabián Echegar (routledge.com) (Routledge).
The group is a unique interdisciplinary team of researchers from all over the world, which results in fascinating regional differences that we try to describe and analyze. After the publication of our book our focus shifted somewhat. First, we renamed ourselves “Post-Covid” and were interested in the persistence and “stickiness” of lifestyle changes; soon we changed back into “Trans-covid” because Covid is not going away anytime soon. We recently (November 2022) presented our ongoing research at the virtual KAN SSCP conference: see the link for a video recording: SSCP KAN Conference 2022, Day 5 – YouTube .
The Working Group is now transforming its agenda to the wider issue of whether and how external shocks affect consumption patterns and behavior, beyond a temporary adaptation to circumstances. The Ukraine/Russia war is having major impacts on consumption of countries in Europe, especially in relation to energy use, which may or may not continue beyond the current crisis. We are wondering how trends to more sustainable lifestyles, which happen because of necessary adaptation to a crisis situation, could be permanently embedded into the context and culture for consumption behavior. We have probably missed such opportunities during the Covid crisis as data indicate that consumers have not continued more sustainable trends and even adopted less sustainable ones (increased car travel and less use of public transport). How can we embed positive changes adopted to cope with a crisis? What forms of Governance could promote positive trends and restrain negative ones?
The Working Group currently consists of 10 members. We just submitted a proposal for 2-3 sessions for the SCORAI-ERSCP-WUR conference July 2023. We would be happy to welcome more members from the SCORAI network. Our next meeting will be on Jan 10, 2023. Let us know if you want to join us.