Call for Papers

 Workshop: Global and Regional Research on Sustainable Consumption & Production: Achievements, Challenges, and Dialogues

June 13-15, 2012, Rio de Janeiro

Call for Papers and for Expressions of Interest (now closed)

The PDF version of this call can be downloaded here (now closed).

The Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption brings together individuals and organizations engaged in research and its applications on the transition towards sustainable production/consumption systems from various regions of the world. It builds on a 20+ year research tradition on SCP by numerous researchers, institutes, and networks around the world, and on many successful attempts to apply research findings into policy, civil society, and business.

The workshop:

This 2012 workshop began to assess progress on knowledge creation and practice in the field of sustainable consumption and production (SCP), especially in the context of the current discussions on the “Green Economy”. The workshop included dialogues between knowledge producers/researchers and knowledge users – practitioners, advocates, educators, and policy makers. In addition, it brought regional perspectives from North America, Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America, through its partnering programmes and organizations.

The workshop aimed to contribute to achieving the following seven objectives:

  • To identify some of the most critical research questions to be investigated in the next 5-10 years, from the perspective of researchers as well as practitioners, educators, and policy makers.
  • To review and assess the current state of knowledge on SCP around the globe, particularly in different regions.
  • To create a bridge between researchers and practitioners from different regions around the world in a creative process of exchange of information, knowledge, and perspectives on sustainable production and consumption.
  • To review the state-of-the-art concerning how change is achieved and what mechanisms are effective to achieve a switch to sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  • To explore how to effectively communicate SCP research and findings to users and the general public, especially in different global regions.
  • To formulate and send a clear message on the role of SCP research and practice as it applies to the  global policy debate at the UN Rio+20 conference.
  • To examine and encourage research and efforts addressing well-being, inequality and alternative concepts and measures of prosperity, such as the Millennium Consumption Goals.

The workshop was followed by a side event at the UN Rio+20 conference to share some of the key outcomes of the GRF workshop with this wider audience. The revised papers of the workshop, together with position papers and outcomes of discussions, will also be published in Proceedings with certain papers being published in a special academic Journal issue.

Main theme:

The theme of the inaugural 2012 workshop is “Global and Regional research on SCP: achievements, challenges, and dialogues”, and began to address the following issues:

  • Looking for answers. During the past two decades an enormous amount of research has been carried out on a wide spectrum of issues concerning SCP. The workshop will try to take stock of this research by asking the question: what have we learned about creating sustainable production and consumption patterns? What works? Where does it work? When does it work?
  • Trends, crises and research needs. The present global system of consumption and production is resulting in major crises in the global environment, economy and people’s lives. Solutions and strategies are needed – which require appropriate knowledge and research.
  • Integrative methodologies. Production/consumption systems are multidimensional and their study includes sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, technologies, economics, psychology, communications, education, and politics. We need to explore interdisciplinary strategies and methodologies.
  • Replication mechanisms. A wide range of tools and guidelines has been developed for businesses and policy-makers in the field of SCP. How to take these from the shelf and get them mainstreamed? How to scale-up niche successes and make them business as usual? Lessons learned from various regions are welcome.
  • Beyond behavioral incentives. Behavioral incentives for change through technology, policies and educational programs are important, but generally not sufficient to bring about systemic changes. We need to consider wider frameworks including social movements and historical transitions.
  • Alternative systems. Experiments and experiences with alternative systems of provisioning, economics and lifestyles need to be evaluated and possibly be mainstreamed.
  • Translation gap. A lot of research has been done in the last years, but not all of it is available and applicable. How to bridge the “translation gap” between research and action?
  • Growth model. How do different regions and stakeholders view the dominant economic growth paradigm? How are alternatives as steady state economy and degrowth framed in various regions? What are some of the key insights with regard to developed and developing countries?
  • Well-being, lifestyles, and livelihoods. Issues of well-being, lifestyles and livelihoods have entered the research agenda next to sustainable consumption and production.
  • Transitions. What have we learned from the growing body of knowledge about transitions, both socio-technical and socio-cultural?
  • Global and national sustainability goals. How can rethinking global and national goals for sustainable development, such as the Millennium Consumption Goals (MCGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contribute to systemic changes in consumption patterns of the richest 20% of the world population, and how could they contribute to the MDGs, poverty alleviation, equity, and sustainable development paths for the world’s poor.  What are the implications for research?

Much of this research is scattered across various academic journals, reports, and grey literature as well as across geographic regions. This workshop began to bring this literature and experience together through review papers from various perspectives, make this available to practitioners and the wider public, including RIO+20 participants, and promote support for new research based on practitioners’ research needs.

Format of the workshop:

The two and a half-day workshop was divided between a focus on the production of SCP research and its communication and application in practice. The program thus had elements of

(1) academic research engaged in studying various questions and issues regarding production and consumption, and (2) research use and practices engaged in the application of research concepts and findings in policy making and advocacy, education, advocacy and business. Invited participants will submit scientific and practitioner’s papers before the workshop. Scientific papers were invited which review (part of) the research field, and take stock of what has been achieved in terms of research from a specific interdisciplinary or regional perspective. Practitioners’ (policy makers, educators, civil society and business representatives) papers were invited to present their views, perspectives, and questions regarding the role of research as well as the obstacles in translating knowledge to action.

For the two and a half day workshop a format was sought that avoids lengthy presentations (participants are asked to read the papers in advance); and that stimulates interactive debate about what has been learned and what new research is needed; and about challenges and strategies on to bridge practice and research. Discussions also considered regional, (trans)disciplinary, and policy perspectives.

Time line and practical information (2011-2012) (changed deadlines):

October 30
Call for papers to invited participants
December 15
Submission of abstracts and expressions of interest. Abstracts need to be ½-1 page, and contain name and contact info, title, and a short description of the paper (scientific or practitioner)
January 1
Notification of acceptance of abstracts;
January 15
Preliminary program
May 15
Submission of final papers
May 30
Distribution of papers and final program
June 13-15
GRF-SCP workshop in Rio de Janeiro
June 20-22
UN Rio+20 conference; GRF side event
Publication of the papers in proceedings and special academic Journal issue


ESPM RIO DE JANEIRO: Rua do Rosário, 90 Centro, 20041-002 – Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil (Venue)


A preliminary reservation has been made (till October 31) for 30 hotel rooms in hotel Windsor Florida. Please book through Sr. Messias;; Windsor Flórida Hotel;
Tel.: 55 21 2195-6800
Fax: 55 21 2556-6493
Rua Ferreira Viana, 81 – Flamengo – 22210-040

Invited participants:

The workshop was by invitation only with 70 participants, researchers and practitioners from various global regions. Participants were drawn from participating networks in the Global Research Forum and beyond. Partners are encouraged to forward names of prominent scholars, practitioners, policy makers, educators, and representatives from minorities and disenfranchised groups from around the world, with a strong interest in SCP issues.

Organization and funding:

The workshop is organized by the Global Research Forum on SCP, involving a range of research organizations and knowledge networks. The organizing committee consists of the following persons:The organizing committee consists of the following persons:
Lewis Akenji, IGES – Japan
Jeffrey Barber, Integrated Strategies Forum; SCORAI – USA
Livia Barbosa, CAEPM/ESPM – Brazil
Janis Brizga, Green Liberty – Latvia
Theo de Bruijn, Greening of Industry Network- Netherlands
Luis Flores Mimica, Consumers International- Chile
Anna Golubovska-Onisimova, UNENGO “MAMA-86” – Ukraine
Lisa Gunn, IDEC- Brazil
Harn Wei Kua, NUS – Singapore
Sylvia Lorek, SERI- Germany
Mohan Munasinghe, MIND- Sri Lanka
Ligia Noronha, TERI – India
Fatima Portilho, Federal Rural University Rio de Janeiro- Brazil
Faiz Shah, Asian Institute of Technology- Thailand
Pedro Telles, Vitae Civilis- Brazil
Vanessa Timmer, One Earth- Canada
Victoria Thoresen, PERL- Norway
Burcu Tuncer, CSCP, Switch-Asia Network Facility- Germany
Philip Vergragt, Tellus Institute; SCORAI – USA
Frans Verspeek, CSCP, Switch-Asia Network Facility – Germany
Uchita de Zoysa, CED- Sri Lanka
Daniel Wanderley, a Graduate Student is helping as a volunteer at the Local Organizer Committee

Funding is sought both financially and in-kind from foundations, governments, UNO and UNEP, EU, and business. Initial funding has been provided by IGES (the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies) in Japan. Tellus Institute, Boston will serve as the financial agent.

Possible follow-up activities by GRF-SCP beyond 2012:

  • Website featuring videos, literature, links to resources
  • Annual or bi-annual global forums
  • Regional meetings
  • Reports/ publications
  • Database and survey of literature
  • Mapping research and research institutions
  • Mapping communities of practice

 The Global Research Forum is endorsed by the following organizations:

  • Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI), USA
  • One Earth Initiative Society, Canada
  • Integrative Strategies Forum, USA
  • Asia Pacific Roundtable for SCP, Philippines
  • Clark University, USA
  • Copenhagen Resource Institute, Denmark
  • European Roundtable on SCP,
  • European Topic Center on SCP
  • European Environmental Agency
  • Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) Japan
  • Smart CSOs Initiative
  • Society in Action Group, India
  • Sustainable Europe Research Institute, Germany
  • Tellus Institute, USA
  • UNEP/Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production, Germany
  • Gaiasoft, United Kingdom
  • Vitae Civilis, Brazil
  • Green Liberty, Latvia
  • Greening of Industry Network
  • PERL (The Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living), Norway
  • UFRRJ – Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
  • ESPM Rio de Janeiro
  • Asian Institute of Technology
  • National University of Singapore
  • Munasinghe Institute for Development –MIND
  • Centre for Environment and Development, Sri Lanka
  • UNENGO “MAMA-86”, Ukraine
  • UNEP
  • International Environment Forum

Contact information:

Philip Vergragt (SCORAI and Tellus Institute) –
Jeffrey Barber, Integrated Strategies Forum –
Sylvia Lorek, SERI  –
Fatima Portilho, local organizer –
Lewis Akenji, IGES-


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