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.
For more information, download our activity report 2016-2018.
Our Executive Board
Manisha Anantharaman, Saint Mary’s College
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 www.manishaanantharaman.com.
Halina Szejnwald Brown, Clark University
Halina Szejnwald Brown is Professor Emerita of Environmental Science and Policy at Clark University, a Fellow at Tellus Institute, and co-founder and board member of Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI). With a doctoral degree in chemistry and toxicology, during the 1980s she directed the environmental health policy at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Brown’s research and teaching covered numerous areas: risk assessment of environmental pollutants, environmental health policy, corporate environmental management, sustainability reporting, technological innovation, and socio-technical transitions. During the past decade she has been investigating the phenomenon of consumer society: its origins, structure, functioning, and politics; and pathways toward more sustainable lifestyles. Brown is a fellow of the International Society for Risk Analysis, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award from American Environmental Health and Science Foundation. Brown is a Chairperson of Citizens Commission on Energy in her home city of Newton, Massachusetts. She authored dozens of articles and four books.
Daniel Fischer, Arizona State University
Daniel Fischer is an assistant professor at the School of Sustainability and an affiliate faculty member at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Before that, he worked for 10 years at Leuphana University in Germany, where he still is a guest professor for sustainability communication. In his research and teaching, Daniel casts an educational perspective on the question of how sustainable consumption can be promoted through communication and learning. He uses inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to understand how consumption patterns evolve and change. Daniel has a strong interest in how innovative teaching and learning strategies like mindfulness, storytelling or citizen science can increase reflexivity in learners and – in an educational tradition – help us reshape our relations to the consumer societies that we have been born, encultured and socialized into in the industrialized world. More about his work can be found on the website of his SuCo2 research group (SuCo2: Sustainable Consumption & Sustainability Communication) at: www.suco2.com.
Deric Gruen, University of Washington
Deric Gruen is the Program Director at Front and Centered, a Washington state coalition for climate justice, and a policy and management consultant who works at the intersection of equity, environment, and community and economic development. He manages the People’s Economy Lab, a community economic development network the Rethinking Prosperity Project on democracy, the economy, and environment at the University of Washington. He sits on advisory boards for Seattle City Light, the attorney general of Washington State’s utility consumer protection bureau, and is an Alumni of the Transatlantic Emerging Leaders in Environmental and Energy Policy network (ELEEP). Previously Deric was a Fellow at the Sightline Institute, a sustainability think tank, and the Sustainability Director for Bellevue College where he founded a new department and led initiatives in curriculum integration, climate, transportation and resource conservation. He received his MPA from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington.
Philip J. Vergragt, Tellus Institute and Clark University
Philip J Vergragt PhD is a Professor Emeritus of Technology Assessment at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands; presently an Associate Fellow at Tellus Institute, Boston; and a Research Professor at Marsh Institute, Clark University, Worcester, MA. He has co-authored more than 100 scientific publications and four books.
His main research interests are visioning and backcasting; sustainable technological and social innovations in transportation, energy, and housing; grassroots innovations; socio-technical transitions; sustainable consumption and production; sustainable cities; and technology assessment of emerging technologies.
In the 1990s he was a Board member of the Greening of Industry network. Since 2008 he is a Founding Executive Board member of SCORAI, the North American Sustainable Consumption and Action Initiative; in 2011 he was a co-founder of GRF-SPaC, the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption. Since 2016 he is a member of the Coordinating Committee, now Steering Committee of the KAN SSCP, the Future Earth Knowledge Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production.
Philip obtained a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, in 1976.
Marlyne Sahakian, University of Geneva
Marlyne Sahakian is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Geneva, where she brings a sociological lens to consumption studies and sustainability. She gained a PhD in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute (2011), and co-founded SCORAI Europe in 2012 – a network for sustainable consumption research and action. Her research interest is in understanding everyday practices in relation to environmental promotion, social equity and social change. She coordinates research projects on household energy and food consumption, and wellbeing, working with interdisciplinary teams – and often focused on the cities of South and Southeast Asia. She publishes in journals related to sociology, sustainability, and community development. Her books include Keeping Cool in Southeast Asia: energy consumption and urban air-conditioning (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and Food Consumption in the City: Practices and patterns in urban Asia and the Pacific (Routledge Studies in Food, Society & the Environment, 2016).
Anders Hayden, Dalhousie University
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).
Neal Gorenflo, Shareable
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 7×7 magazines. As a social entrepreneur, Neal’s timely call to action is simple and systemic: let’s share!
Giorgos Kallis, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Giorgos Kallis is an environmental scientist working on ecological economics and political ecology. Before coming to Barcelona, he was a Marie Curie International Fellow at the Energy and Resources Group of the University of California at Berkeley. Giorgos holds a PhD in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of the Aegean in Greece, a Masters in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and a Masters in Environmental Engineering and a Bachelors in Chemistry from Imperial College, London.
Juliet Schor, Boston College
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.
Vanessa Timmer, One Earth
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.
Kate is an expert in sustainable consumption and behaviour change, with a Master´s degree in gender, anthropology and development, and 20 years´ experience in the non-profit sector as a campaigner, researcher and knowledge broker. Kate has held positions at (inter alia) KR Foundation, Copenhagen Resource Institute, Copenhagen Business School and Greenpeace International. As a sustainable consumption consultant, Kate´s clients have included the European Environment Agency, European Commission, and Nordic Council of Ministers.
Erik Assadourian is a Senior Fellow with the Worldwatch Institute. During his 17 years with Worldwatch, Erik directed two editions of Vital Signs and five editions of State of the World, including the 2017 edition: EarthEd: Rethinking Education on a Changing Planet, the 2013 edition: Is Sustainability Still Possible? and the 2010 edition: Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability.
Erik also designed Catan: Oil Springs, an eco-educational scenario for the popular board game The Settlers of Catan. And he created Yardfarmers, a reality TV show that would follow six Millennial Americans as they exit the consumer economy to live with their parents and become sufficiency farmers. Erik is also an adjunct professor at Goucher College in their Environmental Studies Master’s program.
Founder-member of Indian environmental group Kalpavriksh, Ashish has taught at the Indian Institute of Public Administration, coordinated India’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan process, served on Greenpeace International and India Boards, helped initiate the global ICCA Consortium, and chaired an IUCN network dealing with protected areas and communities. Ashish has (co)authored or (co)edited over 30 books, and helps coordinate the Vikalp Sangam and Radical Ecological Democracy processes in search of alternative well-being pathways to globalized development. His latest books are Churning the Earth: Making of Global India (with Aseem Shrivastava) and Alternative Futures: India Unshackled (ed., with KJ Joy).
John de Graaf
John de Graaf is a filmmaker, author, public speaker and activist. He has produced more than 40 films. He co-produced and co-wrote the popular films and books, AFFLUENZA and WHAT’S THE ECONOMY FOR, ANYWAY? He co-founded Take Back Your Time, the Happiness Alliance and his current project, And Beauty for All. He has taught at the Evergreen State College, has spoken at SCORAI conferences in Vancouver, BC and Worcester, MA, and has been an adviser to the government of Bhutan. He serves on the board of Earth Island Institute, is a Fellow of the Academy of Leisure Sciences of the US and Canada, a member of the Balaton Group and an Outstanding Alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He is currently working on a film about how Vallejo, CA may become a model for the Green New Deal. He lives in Seattle.
Gus Speth served on the faculty of the Vermont Law School as Professor of Law from 2010 to 2015. He now serves as a Fellow at the Tellus Institute, the Democracy Collaborative and the Vermont Law School. He is Co-Chair of the Next System Project at the Democracy Collaborative.
In 2009 he completed his decade-long tenure as Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. From 1993 to 1999, Gus Speth was Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chair of the UN Development Group. Prior to his service at the UN, he was founder and president of the World Resources Institute; professor of law at Georgetown University; chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality (Carter Administration); and senior attorney and cofounder, Natural Resources Defense Council. He is the author, co-author or editor of seven books.
He graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in 1964 with a BA in Political Science, and subsequently earned a MLitt in Economics from Oxford University in 1966 as a Rhodes Scholar and his JD from the Yale Law School in 1969. After law school, he served as law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black. Speth and his wife Cameron split their time between central Vermont and coastal South Carolina.
Liz Allen (@ElizabAllen), Northeastern University
Editor of the monthly SCORAI newsletter.
Gary Goggins, NUI Galway
Editor of the SCORAI Europe Newsletter.
Social media & community
SCORAI collaborates with several organizations. It is a founding member of the North American Roundtable on Sustainable Production and Consumption (NARSPAC) and a member of the New Economy Coalition. International affiliates include SCORAI-Europe and SCORAI-China. SCORAI also contributes to the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption (GRF-SPaC). SCORAI is actively involved in encouraging and facilitating the development of affiliates in other parts of the world (e.g. Israel, Brazil) and engages with the United Nations Environment Agency and its constituent programs.
We are proud partners with:
- Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production (FE KAN SSCP)
- Forum for Sustainable Visions in Action (ViA)
- Global Network on Sustainable Lifestyles
- International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS)
- Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption
- Energy and Social Science Network (EASSN)
- Tellus Institute
Colloquium on Consumption and Social Change got underway on April 16, 2014, with the first presentation in this year-long discussion on consumption and social change. The series seeks to bring together scholars and practitioners concerned with social change into a sustained and free-flowing interaction that will hopefully generate novel insights, inform policy processes and political activism and contribute to new research directions.
Get in touch with one of our regional networks.