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Transforming consumption-production systems toward just and sustainable futures

The joint 5th SCORAI and 21st ERSCP conference is hosted by Wageningen University in the Netherlands from 5-8 July 2023. This inter- and trans-disciplinary conference will provide a crucial opportunity to discuss recent advancements on sustainable consumption and production. It will provide a platform for building and enhancing connections between research, practice, and policy to increase understanding and action of how to move transformations to SCP forward. 

Just, equitable and sustainable human development in the 21st century requires transforming systems of consumption and production. The window of opportunity to avert irreversible damage to key earth systems, such as climate and biodiversity, is closing fast. Resource-intensive consumption and production are key drivers of unsustainable development and require radical restructuring to accelerate transformations towards sustainable futures. The most recent IPCC report (April 2022) makes history in, for the first time, stressing the need to focus on the role of consumption in climate change, highlighting “…the potential of demand-side strategies across all sectors to reduce emissions is 40-70% by 2050”. 

The timing of this call is auspicious. Once promising ideas, such as the sharing economy, transition towns, collaborative consumption, future visioning, or nudging, have not brought about change in consumption and production patterns at the scale and pace necessary. In response to the Covid pandemic, governments obtained an unprecedented mandate to establish ambitious recovery programs which could potentially lead to changing consumption patterns; however, it appears that responses have been largely aimed at economic rebound and relative decoupling, while not initiating changes that can reduce demand and the dependency on fossil fuels. 

Transformative social change is more likely at a confluence of a political window of opportunity, public receptiveness to change, and policy and research ideas ready for implementation and experimentation. We may be facing this confluence now. On the political front, the IPCC report provides a new framing for political and policy debate, and for explicitly making sustainable consumption key to progress towards sustainable futures. The Covid pandemic has demonstrated that lifestyle changes are not beyond the realm of possibility. On the research front, a growing body of interdisciplinary work has uncovered how various aspects of the social and material world impede or enable lifestyle changes, with important insights for modeling transformations toward just, equitable and sustainable systems of production and consumption. 

This conference will provide a platform for exploring a wide range of practices, experiences and policy initiatives in the context of cutting-edge interdisciplinary sustainable consumption and production research. We invite scholars and practitioners, such as business representatives, innovators, policy makers, activists, and members of communities engaged in sustainable consumption initiatives, to participate with concrete ideas, methods and examples of how to inspire learning and change. We encourage discussion and reflection on the links and gaps between theory and practice. We seek to better connect research and action for sustainable consumption and production with strategies for transformative change. 

Conference (sub)themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Sustainable consumption and lifestyles
    • Experiments, interventions, and case studies in sustainable lifestyles
    • Lessons from the COVID19-pandemic about lifestyle changes
    • Digitalization of work, consumption, and lifestyles
    • Social innovation and sustainable practices
    • Defining a fair living space: an international perspective
  • Sustainable production, sustainable business, innovation & design for sustainability
    • Methods for sustainable production and industry research
    • Sustainable industry and eco-industrial parks
    • Sustainability assessment and indicators
    • Sustainable innovation, business models, and sustainable management
    • Design for sustainability and sustainable behavior
  • Governance for sustainable consumption and production
    • The roles of local, regional, and (inter)national policy-making in transitioning to sustainable consumption and production systems
    • Policy in action: empirical case studies
    • Interactions between science, society, and policy
    • Drivers of change toward sustainable lifestyle: from international to local to cross-cultural perspectives
    • Engaging middle actors in advancing system change: professionals, experts,  tradesmen, educators, business owners, etc.
  • Circular economy, circular society, and critical materials
    • Circular systems and circularity management
    • Circular business models
    • Circular design and circular products
    • Circular & closed-loop supply chains & value chains
    • Circular and sustainable procurement
    • From circular economy to circular society
    • Consumption in the circular society
    • Methods for circularity and circular economy
  • Alternative, diverse, and plural economics for sustainability transitions
    • Feasibility, desirability, and likelihood of transitioning to 1.5-degree lifestyles and economy
    • Wellbeing and care-centered approaches as frameworks for social transformations
    • Lessons from experiments with alternatives to GDP
    • Advances in steady-state economy and degrowth: research and practice
    • Experiments with guaranteed basic income and guaranteed basic services
  • Sustainable cities and regions and local action
    • Sustainable consumption and production in urban contexts
    • Urban design, buildings, and transportation for sustainable lifestyles
    • Making density attractive: theory and practice
    • Sustainable consumption and production in rural areas and sustainable tourism
  • Social movements, social learning, and social innovations
    • Discourses, dialogue, narratives, and social learning for strong sustainable consumption and production systems
    • Grassroots and social innovations for sustainable consumption and production
    • Societal impact of sustainable consumption and production research
  • Sustainable food, agriculture, and agri-business
    • Agri-food system transitions and biodiversity-positive agri-business
    • Sustainable food security and valuing water
    • Sustainable protein consumption and production (protein transition) and the shift to plant-based diets

Call for Participation

Researchers and practitioners from around the world are invited to submit session proposals and/or individual abstracts for presentation or posters. The submission system opens on August 30, 2022. Researchers and practitioners are welcome to propose full sessions and/or individual abstracts until November 28, 2022. Participation will be possible both in-person and online. During the submission process, individuals submitting proposals/abstracts will be asked to indicate whether they intend to participate on-site or online and which of the conference (sub)themes fits best for their submission (up three themes can be selected). Session proposals/abstracts that are not aligned with any of the themed sessions are also welcome. All session proposals and individual abstracts will be reviewed by members of an International Review Committee listed on the conference website.

  • SESSION PROPOSALS can be for (i) academic sessions or (ii) dialogue-debate sessions. Proposals should be 300-500 words long and propose a coherent themed session lasting either 60 minutes or 90 minutes. Each proposal should speak to (a) what topic/question the session is focused on, (b) why it is relevant for SCP/the conference themes, and (c) what the specific perspectives are that the session is conveying.
    • Academic sessions: Presentation and discussion of original research. A full line-up of individual speakers and discussant(s) should be included in the session proposal. Abstracts of academic research presentations lined up in this session do not need to be included in the session proposal but need to be submitted separately including the note that they are part of an academic research session and the name of the session proposal. Academic research sessions can be part of the special issue track (see below). Session organizers may choose whether or not they wish to organize their session as a full paper session (for which presenters submit a full paper prior to the conference) or a presentation-only session (for which presenters do not submit full papers in advance).
    • Dialogue-debate sessions: Discussion and debate around a particular thematic focus, integrating research and practice. These sessions can take a variety of innovative formats as proposed by the session conveners. This includes creative/innovative/interactive sessions, world café-style dialogues, a series of short lightning / Pecha Kucha talks, work studios, etc.; In addition to the required elements of a session proposal (see a, b, and c above), the format/flow of the session should be clearly described. The conference organizers provide additional information/inspiration on possible formats on the conference website.
  • INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATIONS PROPOSALS  can be for (i) academic abstracts (ii) practitioner abstracts. They should be 300-500 words long, include a title, and list the names, institutional affiliations, city and country address, and emails of co-authors. Irrespective of the type of submission, author(s) are asked to indicate if the submission is part of a session proposal and if the submission is intended for oral presentation or as a poster presentation.
    • Academic abstracts should include information on the following aspects: (a) Problem statement, research questions/aim, theoretical approach, methods/inquiry approach, findings, conclusions, and practical and scientific implications. References can, but do not have to, be included. Submitters of academic research abstracts are asked whether or not they want their submission to be part of the special issue track (see below)
    • Practitioner abstracts should describe the purpose of the project as related to sustainable consumption and lifestyles, and the problem it sought to address. It should describe the main features of the project, its strengths and limitations, the potential for scalability, and its contribution to understanding how to transition toward sustainable production-consumption systems.

Special issue track: The conference organizers are planning to organize special issues in peer-reviewed academic journals. Individuals or session organizers interested in submitting their paper(s) to one of the special issues can indicate this during the submission process. It is intended to have dedicated full paper sessions at the conference where full conference papers will be circulated in advance and discussed to provide feedback to the authors that they can use to revise their conference paper for submission to the special issue. Participants interested in submitting a full paper to a special issue will be asked to submit their full conference paper until May 30, 2023, so that conference participants and session discussants have the opportunity to read the paper before the conference. Please note that this only applies to individuals or session organizers interested in submitting full paper(s) to the special issue track. For all other submissions, no full paper is required.

All session proposals and individual abstracts will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee using the following criteria:

  • Originality/Novelty: contribution to existing knowledge or novelty of knowledge application/utilization
  • Relevance/Focus: contribution to the conference theme and sustainable consumption and production research
  • Quality/Comprehensibility: clarity of inquiry approach and findings/conclusions derived

Session proposals and individual abstracts can be submitted at the conference website at:

Key Dates

July 1, 2022:               Call for abstracts and session proposals published.

August 30, 2022:        Abstract submission opens.

November 28, 2022:   Last date for abstract submission.

December 16, 2022:   Early-bird registration opens.

January 10, 2023:       Notification of decisions (proposals accepted/rejected).

March 20, 2023:          Preliminary program published.

March 25, 2023:          Final date for presenters to register.

April 10, 2023:            Updated program published.

April 20, 2023:            Early bird registration ends.

May 30, 2023:             Full conference paper submission ends (only for special issues track).

June 15, 2023:            Regular registration ends.

July 6-9, 2023:            SCORAI-ERSCP-WUR 2023 conference in Wageningen