Call for papers for the 2016 Conference at the University of Maine



Second International Conference of the

Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI)

Transitions Beyond the Consumer Society

University of Maine, Orono, Maine, USA

June 15–17, 2016

Aims and Objectives

The Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI) is organizing its Second International Conference on June 15–17, 2016 at the University of Maine located in Orono, Maine, USA. The conference theme is “Transitions Beyond the Consumer Society” and is intended to provide a space for:

  • The continued development of a network for the interdisciplinary and international exchange of ideas, research, and best practices related to sustainable consumption practice and policy.

  • The presentation of innovative research and applied projects which improve our understanding of consumerist lifestyles and/or provide original insights into processes of societal transitions in the context of ecological limits, unequal distribution, and economic globalization.

  • The generation of collective insights into key strategies, policies, and institutions designed to foster alternative means to pursue individual and societal well-being.

We invite diverse participation?including theoretical and applied contributions from representatives in academia, industry, government, and civil society organizations. Interdisciplinary perspectives and the work of emerging young scholars and practitioners are especially encouraged. SCORAI will establish a prize for the best paper by a young scholar or practitioner with details to follow.

Work to be considered might address, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Visions of societies where the economy and culture are not principally built on mass consumption: sustainable lifestyles, steady state economies, degrowth, systemic change, new economies (sharing, solidarity, local, grassroots), sustainable business/production, alternative financial systems, the commons, equity of wealth and income, sufficiency, sustainable cities, well-being, and post-capitalist/alternative futures.
  • Insights into the obstacles to a transition beyond consumerist societies: dominant consumer culture, laissez-faire market capitalism, institutional lock-in and path dependency, prevalent value systems, dominant power relations, peer/social pressure, materialism and focus on economic growth, income and wealth inequality, class and gender inequalities.
  • Strategies for successful transitions: leverage points for systemic change, government policies, new business practices, partnerships, multi-stakeholder collaborations, grassroots innovations and bounded socio-technical experiments, design for sustainability/roles for designers, law as agent of change, communication and framing, teaching sustainable consumption, and methodologies for measuring progress/indicators.
  • Theories of social change: socio-technical transitions, social movement theories, theories of cultural change, social learning theories, communication (including mass and social media), scenarios, visioning and backcasting.
  • Thematic domains of consumption including agribusiness and food, transportation, building and housing, energy, the energy transition, and climate change, leisure and vacation, households, cities and urbanism, and others.
  • Pollution of consumer products with toxic compounds: exposure and regulation

Pesticides/ chemicals/ GM crops, and food; toxic compounds in consumer products; both in developed and developing countries.

Keynote Speakers

  • William Rees

    William Rees

    Professor William Rees is an ecologist, ecological economist, Professor Emeritus and former Director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning. He is the originator and co-developer (with his students, particularly Dr Mathis Wackernagel) of ‘ecological footprint analysis’ and author of over 150 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters.”

  • John Ehrenfeld

    John Ehrenfeld

    Dr. John Ehrenfeld retired in 2000 as the Director of the MIT Program on Technology, Business, and Environment. He, then, served until 2009 as Executive Director of the International Society for Industrial Ecology. He continues to teach, do research, and write. He was Visiting Professor at the Technical University of Delft during the 2000-2001 academic year. He is an editor of the Journal of Industrial Ecology. He holds a B. S. and Sc. D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and is author or co-author of Flourishing and Sustainability by Design and over 200 papers, books, reports, and other publications. He spends his summers on the Maine Coast and is an avid saltwater fly fisherman.

  • Giorgos Kallis

    Giorgos Kallis

    Dr. Giorgos Kallis is an ecological economist, political ecologist, and professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Barcelona. He is the coordinator of the European Network of Political Ecology and editor of the forthcoming book “Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era”. His current work explores the hypothesis of sustainable de-growth as a solution to the dual economic and ecological crisis. He was previously a Marie Curie Fellow at the Energy and Resources group at UC Berkeley, and he holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Policy from the University of the Aegean.

  • Professor Lucia Reisch
Lucia Reisch

Lucia Reisch


The Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative is proud to announce the first SCORAI prize for an outstanding paper by an early career scholar. The prize of $500 is intended to recognize an outstanding early career scholar, based upon a paper presented at the SCORAI 2016 conference in Orono, Maine. Two additional prizes of $200 each are available for papers that merit a second and third place award in the competition.

Young scholars are considered those that are enrolled in a graduate program or are within four years from when they earned their PhD or equivalent.

The prize will recognize papers that are well written, theoretically and/or empirically innovative and make an original contribution to understanding sustainable consumption. The paper will be selected by a committee of diverse scholars in the field of sustainable consumption.

To apply send a cover letter and your final paper to Rachel Shwom with the subject heading “YOUR LAST NAME: EARLY CAREER SCHOLAR PAPER.” Your cover letter should state information on your eligibility for the early career scholar paper prize (that you are currently a graduate student or that you earned your PhD previous 06/15/2011).

Instructions for the Submission of Session, Paper and Poster Abstracts

We invite the submission of abstracts for papers or posters; and also of proposals for academic, and policy oriented sessions. Session proposals must include an abstract of the session as well as a list of participants. Session participants will also need to submit abstracts of their contributions prior to the deadline.

The conference website will be open for the submission of paper, poster, and session abstracts on August 15th, 2015. All abstracts should be submitted online at the conference website ( no later than September 30, 2015. Additional information about the conference, timetable, registration instructions and fees, and accommodations will soon be available on the SCORAI and conference websites.

Important Dates


August 15 Opening of conference website and submission of abstracts and session proposals

September 30 Deadline for submission of paper and poster abstracts; and session proposals

November 15 Notification of acceptance of papers and posters

November 15 Opening of conference registration and on-line payment


January 15 Publication of draft conference program

March 15 Early-bird registration closes

May 1 Full paper submission deadline

June 1 Closing of on-line registration

June 15–17 Second International SCORAI Conference

Conference Registration Fees (including all meals, coffee and snacks):

$ 400 for early bird professional registrants (before March 15)

$ 450 for late professional registrants

$ 200 students, unemployed, and retirees (before March 15)

$ 250 students, unemployed, and retirees

This fee includes the SCORAI membership fee for 2016

If you would like to attend but these fees present a hardship, please contact us by email.

About the Sustainable Consumption Action and Research Initiative (SCORAI):

Established in 2008, SCORAI is a knowledge network of professionals working at the interface of material consumption, human well-being, and technological and cultural change. We aim to provide a forum for scholars and practitioners striving to understand the drivers of the consumerist economy in affluent technological societies; to formulate and analyze options for post-consumerist lifestyles, social institutions, and economic systems; and to provide the knowledge for emergent grassroots innovations, social movements, and public policies. Since its first highly successful international conference hosted at Clark University in 2013, SCORAI has evolved into a network of more than 700 affiliates. Recent activities include co-sponsorship (with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the City of Eugene, Oregon, USA) of a workshop on sustainable consumption and cities in October 2014 and a colloquium series on consumption and social change in collaboration with the Tellus Institute. SCORAI also supports collaborating networks in Europe, China, and Israel

SCORAI 2016 Conference Organizing Committee

Cindy Isenhour (University of Maine), Conference Co-chair and Local Coordinator

Philip Vergragt (Clark University, Tellus Institute, and SCORAI Board), Conference Co-chair

Anders Hayden (Dalhousie University)

Ahmad Mahdavi (University of Tehran)

Caroline Noblet (University of Maine), Local Organizer

Rachael Shwom (Rutgers University)

Esther Zipori (New Jersey Institute of Technology)


Executive Committee:

Halina Szejnwald Brown (Clark University)

Maurie J. Cohen (New Jersey Institute of Technology)

Philip J. Vergragt (Tellus Institute and Clark University) Other Members:

John Stutz (Tellus Institute)

Jeffrey Barber (Integrative Strategies Forum)