Sustainable Consumption & Social Justice in an Urbanizing World

On behalf of the international Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI) and Northeastern University, we extend a very warm welcome to you all to the 4th International SCORAI conference which will be held from June 10-12, 2020 at Northeastern University, situated in the heart of Boston. This conference provides an opportunity to highlight cutting-edge research and innovative initiatives from different parts of the world, to expand linkages between knowledge and action, and to broaden connections among a diversity of researchers and practitioners. Conference organizers are collaborating on an innovative pilot initiative with the Department of Sustainable Development at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden which will host a Nordic Hub of the SCORAI 2020 Conference, with opportunities for remote participation for a limited number of participants. SCORAI is also organizing a two-day summer school for Early Career researchers and practitioners immediately prior to the 2020 conference at Northeastern University (June 8-9, 2020). The summer school will bring together established scholars and emerging voices to convene spaces for co-learning, dialogue and mentorship.

The theme for the 2020 conference is ‘Sustainable Consumption & Social Justice in an Urbanizing World’. Despite climate chaos and other growing risks of environmental degradation, efforts to shift toward more sustainable systems of consumption and production and more sustainable lifestyles continue to be woefully inadequate. As unsustainable trends and practices perpetuate, many are recognizing that the ineffectiveness of sustainability transformation results in part from limited attention to social justice, growing socio-economic and racial inequities, and widening disparities among and within communities around the world. Recognizing these gaps, the SCORAI 2020 conference provides a creative venue for connecting sustainable consumption and social justice in an urbanizing world.

As powerful elites accumulate more wealth through exploitation of both human resources and environmental resources, the percentage of humanity living in precarious situations in marginalized communities is growing. In an increasingly urban world where climate disruptions are also exacerbating vulnerabilities of all kinds, the need for systemic changes to alter societal expectations of resource use and consumption patterns is increasingly recognized. At the same time, a consumer culture continues to perpetuate ever growing, inefficient, and resource-intensive lifestyle choices, daily practices and consumption patterns that contribute to environmental destruction. As corporate interests profit from high-consumption and existing institutions and powerful elites strategically resist change, coalitions of activists, advocates and urban policy makers are advancing both incremental and radical change toward sustainability. This conference offers an opportunity to expand exploration of why and how patterns of consumption are evolving in different places and at different scales by integrating a social justice lens and the urban context.

We are looking forward to welcoming researchers and practitioners from around the world that are engaged in work integrating issues of social justice and sustainable consumption. The conference focus on urban issues and social equity provides an opportunity to reflect on, as well as expand, our sustainability conversations to integrate issues of privilege, oppression, justice and injustices.  Building on the success of previous SCORAI conferences (Clark University, USA, June 2013, University of Maine, USA, June 2016, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, June 2018) the School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs (SPPUA) at Northeastern University is proud to host this exciting three day event.

Jennie Stephens and Frances Fahy
Conference Co-Chairs

   Jennie Stephens, Northeastern University, Co-Chair & local organizer

  Frances Fahy, National University of Ireland, Galway, Co-Chair

 

Further Information
Questions regarding SCORAI 2020 should be directed to scorai2020@northeastern.edu

SCORAI 2020 Organizing Committee