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Proposed Sessions

Proposed sessions will be subject to changes, based on accepted abstracts, and to guarantee a coherent conference program. If proposed sessions do not match enough accepted abstracts, they might not be included in the conference program, and allocated abstracts re-allocated to different sessions.

Overview (click for session details)

Organising for strong sustainability - A case for sufficiency and regenerative practice

Supermarkets as key agents in Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production

Sustainability, Sufficiency and Consumption in the East: Could Asia lead the way?

Digital innovation, Systems of Provision and Sustainable Consumption

Everyday life and societal transformations: inequality, agency and power in consumer society

Using case studies to explore the complexity of implementing reuse, repair, recycling, and other approaches to reducing consumption

Things becoming (sustainable) food: edibility, changing foodways and sustainable consumption

Sustainable consumption and outdoor spaces: The role of urban nature for well-being in a warming climate

Public support for consumption-based policies

Framing Tensions & Visions of Sustainable Consumption

Strong Sustainability: Exploring the hows

Effects of economic policies on air travel and food

Powering Transformation: Pathways to Mainstream Sustainable Energy and Low-carbon Societies

Living Labs and Thinking Labs to Mainstream Sustainable Consumption and Lifestyles: visioning, experimenting and co-creating solutions

At the intersections of influence: Exploring the Structure-Agency Nexus for Making Sufficiency a Habit in Consumption and Production systems

Diversifying communication approaches for sustainable consumption: Strategies for inclusive messaging

Eco-influencers: the best voices of sufficiency transition towards young people

Inclusion and Equity in Mainstreaming Sustainable Consumption

Governing a fair consumption space - how could we implement a fairer food environment

Policies and Regulations for a Post-Growth Fashion and Textiles System

Transformation pathways for food systems through direct selling and short food supply chains

Consumption corridors: guaranteeing human well-being through upper and lower limits to consumption

Charting the Course: Exploring Strategies and Pathways to 1.5° Lifestyles amid Deep Barriers to Transformation

Consumption-based climate and resource budgeting as a tool for socio-ecological planning

Social-ecological approaches to mobility

Interventions toward circular consumption

The Future of Retail and Consumption

Degrowth in Everyday life

Sufficiency business models: Fashion sector case studies

Sufficiency through reprogramming institutions and material arrangements

Sufficiency-oriented consumption practices for a circular society

A Post-Growth Society - Pathways to Sustainable Wellbeing?

Money can't buy it: reducing high consumption to unlock equity and wellbeing

The impact and potential of digitalization for sustainable consumption

Achieving sustainable mobility

Arts and creative approaches to mainstreaming sustainable consumption


Session details

Organising for strong sustainability - A case for sufficiency and regenerative practices

Transitioning to significantly more sustainable consumption and production patterns is needed to reduce the current overconsumption of resources and stay within planetary boundaries (O’Neill et al., 2018). At present, developed countries need as many as 2-9 planets to keep up with their present consumption levels (Earth Overshoot Day, n.d.) while many people in low-income households struggle to make ends meet. This pattern is unsustainable and at odds with sustainable development that not only allows current generations to thrive but also future generations (Brundtland, 1987).
While individuals play a role in changing consumption patterns, the systems of provisioning around them determine who has access to what (Heikkurinen et al., 2024). For many citizens, businesses are the primary supplier of products and services to meet their consumption needs. Businesses can decide which consumption alternatives are available and can promote certain lifestyles through their communications, by proposing and normalising certain (un)sustainable behaviours (Bocken & Allwood, 2012).
In recent years, sustainable business models have gained traction by trying to combine economic with environmental and social value creation (Evans et al., 2017). While there are many varieties of sustainable business models, some can be more impactful than others. Bocken et al. (2022) suggest the need to move businesses towards the goal of flourishing through business models built on a sufficiency-based circular economy and regeneration. Sufficiency business models help customers consume fewer resources (Bocken & Short, 2016, Niessen & Bocken, 2021) and include a focus on lower levels of production (Beyeler & Jaeger-Erben, 2022). By means of sufficiency-promoting marketing, these companies aim to permanently support behavioural changes towards less consumption and to raise awareness for the negative impacts of overconsumption (Gossen et al. 2019). Regeneration business models focus on regenerating both nature and society, addressing harm done instead of only doing less harm (Konietzko et al., 2023). Regenerative business strategies may help restore, preserve, or enhance environmental and societal systems (Hahn & Tampe, 2021).
Sufficiency and regenerative business model types promote an understanding of strong sustainability. Strong sustainability proponents argue that the value of natural capital that is destroyed in production (e.g., natural resources like water or biodiversity) cannot be replaced through the value generated from the product, for instance for human well-being (Bonnedahl & Heikkurinen, 2018). This perspective means that more radical changes towards sustainability are required and the resource depletion and environmental harm done cannot be counterbalanced with more income or social wellbeing. While research on strongly sustainable business models like sufficiency and regeneration is growing, there are still many open questions in need of further research.


Supermarkets as key agents in Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production

Retail chains are key actors in food systems in both developed countries and emerging markets. In Europe and the US, about 80% of all food purchased by consumers is bought in supermarkets, and emerging economies worldwide are shifting towards similar patterns. In terms of environmental impact, retail chains are extremely influential as they shape not only consumer demand, but also the environmental characteristics of food supply chains.

Research finds that their actions are ambiguous. Many retail chains increasingly pursue environmental sustainability across all their operations, including their supply chains. There actions are aimed at carbon emissions, energy and material consumption, water usage, waste, harm to animals and other dimensions. At the same time, supermarkets can undermine sustainability as their business model depends on increasing sales by nurturing desires and nudging consumers to purchase more, resulting in wasteful consumption and rebound effects.

Interestingly, retail chains‘ sustainability performance differs greatly between individual firms, market segments (e.g. discounters vs. high-end supermarkets) and countries. These differences are associated with the way retailers are embedded in socio-technical systems. Business practices co-evolve through non-linear interaction with societal stakeholders and the dynamic interplay between actors and structures. Consumers’ buying habits, NGO pressure, decisions by suppliers of goods and services, government regulations and societal discourse all influence retailer practices. The interaction of these factors is still a black box. Understanding it is key to explain the considerable differences in environmental profiles across corporations and countries, and to identify tailored interventions to hasten the systems’ transformation towards sustainability.

The session aims to collect papers dealing the role of retail chains at the interface of consumers and producers. We also encourage related papers, e.g. that explore consumer food choices, zoom into specific food value chains, or discuss Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production through a conceptual or comparative lens.

The session is based on an ongoing international, Belmont-funded reserach project with case studies from Germany, Turkey and the US. The project team is preparing a Special Issue in one of the top journals in the field. Submitted papers will be considered for inclusion.


Sustainability, Sufficiency and Consumption in the East: Could Asia lead the way?

Influenced by traditions of, for example, Confucianist, Daoist or Buddhist teachings, many Asian cultures have historically emphasised balance, moderation, and frugality. In China, for instance, overconsumption of food and alcohol was considered an offence so grave that it could overthrow a dynasty (Simoons 1991). Later, a range of influential political leaders in different parts of Asia, such as Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh and Xi Jinping, have in different ways emphasised ‘cultured’ and moderate consumption as central societal and nation-building principles. Given the recent bestseller status of Kohei Saito’s book on degrowth in Japan, it is conceivable that Asian consumer perspectives hold the potential to shape sustainable trajectories that diverge from profit-driven and perpetually accumulative organising principles.

Nevertheless, while frugality practices are still important in many Asian everyday practices, they have in many ways been challenged in the development of variegated capitalist consumer societies. Understanding how and why such traditions have transformed over time and how they prevail or disappear in the face of contemporary consumer cultures can help gain a better understanding of sufficiency-oriented change. This session invites contributions highlighting these matters, whether it involves presenting historical or present-day examples of balance, moderation and frugality, or of overconsumption and imbalance in Asian consumer cultures. Any consumption area is of interest, but an emphasis on food and agriculture is particularly welcome.


Digital innovation, Systems of Provision and Sustainable Consumption

Digital devices, data and services are a near ubiquitous feature of contemporary societies across multiple domains of everyday life. The ongoing digital transformation or the ‘twin transition’ is accompanied by high hopes for the potential to create greener, fairer, more efficient and productive societies. At the same time, digital technologies and their future imaginaries underpin fears of escalating resource use, the outsourcing of (often hidden) environmental impacts, greater surveillance, the erosion of sociality, and new forms of inequality. This track explores how digitalisation – which is understood as a sociotechnical process that is profoundly linked to futures in the making – is both a threat and an opportunity for sustainable consumption. Digitalisation encompasses a vast range of current and potential applications, and this track aims to highlight the variety of innovation trajectories across different systems of provision and domains of everyday life. We welcome both theoretically led and empirical papers that bring insight from the past, the present and the future of this ongoing transformation.

We encourage contributions related to:

• Digitalisation in relation to consumption and foundational services (such as education, health, food, transport, child and social care)

• Trajectories, tensions and trade-offs in the twin transition of ‘green’ and ‘digital’

• The dark sides of digitalisation

• Digital technologies as sites of resistance by powerful incumbent actors

• Digitalisation and consumer activism

• Inequalities that arise through uneven access to key services resulting from digitalisation

• Inequalities that arise through digitalisation and shifting divisions of labour (such as ‘consumption work’ or concerns around precarity)

• Competing visions of sustainable and digital futures

• Digitalisation and the implications for the organisation of everyday life


Everyday life and societal transformations: inequality, agency and power in consumer society

The task of mainstreaming sustainable consumption will necessitate societal transformations that in turn restructure and transform the everyday life and practices of people.

For the past 20 years, research on everyday consumption has been dominated by practice-theoretical approaches. Such approaches elucidate the ways in which consumption is embedded in routinised and often taken for granted dynamics of shared everyday social practices, co-shaped by embodied knowledge, social conventions and (often scripted) materialities. Yet, they allow for limited consideration of cultural registers, power relations and dynamics of inequality. Further, they minimize the reflexive agency of individuals and communities as they navigate their respective social frameworks.

In this session, we invite papers that propose novel theoretical approaches, alliances and assemblages, as well as methodological approaches to connect micro-level investigations of daily practices with macro-level analysis of markets, institutions, and culture. We are especially interested in papers that embrace a theoretical and methodological pluralism and promiscuity to advance consumption research beyond its current silos, and to conceptualize processes of consumption change.

Topics for papers could include

1. Theoretical and empirical work that extends and modifies practice theoretical approaches to bring in culture and political economy.

2. Alternative theoretical frameworks or theoretical assemblages that repoliticize everyday life and consumption

3. Theoretical and empirical work that examine agency within consumption change and societal transformation

4. Methods that support bringing culture, inequality and power into the study of consumption practices.


Using case studies to explore the complexity of implementing reuse, repair, recycling, and other approaches to reducing consumption

The premise of this session is to gather together papers that employ case-study approaches to analysing the complexity of processes and relationships involved implementing reuse, repair, recycling or use of by-products with the aim of reducing consumption. Submissions are invited in the form of 300 word abstracts outlining original research of relevance to this theme.

We are particularly interested in papers that provide critical commentary of past efforts (successful or unsuccessful) to reduce consumption at the scale of supply chains. We are also keen to include papers that engage with reuse and repair based approaches, and those that employ mixed-method or qualitative case-study approaches.

Papers are encouraged to consider a mixture of two or more factors and how these play out in specific case-study examples. These include, but need not be limited to technical, regulatory, social, environmental, and economic factors.

Conceptual Background

The Circular Economy can be broadly understood as an economic system designed to address current environmental crises by designing systems that keep materials and products in circulation for as long as possible, while minimizing the production of waste, and distributing the costs and benefits in a socially equitable way (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2022; Eurostat, 2018; Hobson, 2016).

While this definition highlights a multiply dimensions to a Circular Economy, much of the academic literature to date has focused on environmental and economic aspects of achieving a Circular Economy (De Pascale et al., 2021). Hobson (2016) has commented further that “academic, policy, and business-led analyses frame transformations towards the Circular Economy as predominantly issues of innovation, technical systems, fiscal and business incentives, and reformulated business models”. Corvellec elaborates further that such approaches have predominantly operated under the assumption that the institutional relationships that support market capitalism will be maintained.

Conversely, Rossi et al.’s (2019) recent study on agrifood systems highlights that radical transformations can be needed and fostered to support greater sustainability. They present three cases relating to “participatory plant breeding in Italy, public food procurement in France, and diversification of agrifood chains in Wales”. In each instance, Rossi et al. (2019) consider political, economic and social conditions and outcomes, alongside the specific actions of businesses and civic actors in the processes of change. Studies such as these, draw our attention to two points relating to a Circular Economy transition.

The first is that radical remaking of institutional, economic, social, and political relationships may be required. The second is that researchers need to engage with the complexity of these cases and processes in order to deepen understandings of how we achieve the stated objectives of achieving a more circular and just society.

This session seeks to explore the utility of this kind of approach in the context of Circular Economy transitions writ large.


Things becoming (sustainable) food: edibility, changing foodways and sustainable consumption

How can novel ‘alternative proteins’ become accepted and popularised as Western foods? How can Western diets adapt to include species ‘arriving’ following climate change or replace those disappearing? How can surplus or discarded foodstuffs be salvaged and recirculated as something good to eat? Such questions are vital to achieve sustainability in Western food systems, which have been widely critiqued for their negative impacts on planetary and public health – including over-consumption of animal protein (i.e. meat and milk), food loss and waste, and ecosystem pollution. A unifying theme across such questions is the need to eat differently, a major issue that any changes to Western food systems must address.

Central to efforts to understand and govern eating differently is the process that Emma Roe (2006) calls ‘things becoming food’: how potential foodstuffs become transformed, culturally and practically, into something recognised as food. Recent debates around ‘edibility’ have begun to explore this issue, investigating how the categorisation of things as food is established, maintained and changes (Beacham and Evans 2023, Fuentes and Fuentes 2023, Lien 2023). However, there is much still to learn about the topic. Questions remain, for example, about the processes through which things become – or cease to become – categorised as food, and the relationship between people recognising things as ‘edible’ and actually wanting to eat them. Given that research in the area has often focused on novel alternative protein sources in the West (e.g. House 2018, Sexton 2018), a richer and more diverse empirical basis is also clearly needed.

This session invites contributions around the topic of things becoming food, and how this intersects with issues around sustainable consumption. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

- Mainstreaming of new/niche food sources

- The rise and fall of food trends, products and practices

- Things ceasing to be food

- Foods ‘travelling’ to new places

- Rediscovery of foods

- Contested food sources

- Unusual foods

- Food controversies

- Taste

- Disgust

- Food ontology

- Theoretical or conceptual advances around edibility and dietary change


Sustainable consumption and outdoor spaces: The role of urban nature for well-being in a warming climate

Global warming requires that we reconsider how we ‘consume’ spaces in our cities (Urry 1995) and our relationship with the living organisms that inhabit them. During periods of extreme heat, cities can become inhospitable to their inhabitants – both human and nonhuman – due to increased atmospheric pollution and urban heat island phenomena. Air conditioning and private car use release additional heat into the outdoors, further contributing to the problem. The resulting heat stress negatively affects the physical and mental health of city dwellers and highlight the need to fundamentally reconsider urban development, including the integration of nature-based solutions (e.g. natural cooling effects brought about by green and blue spaces, including parks, open spaces, and waterways). Moreover, the use of outdoor spaces for leisure activities, cycling, or walking has been found to satisfy human needs for diverse groups of people (Sahakian et al 2020).

This panel welcomes theoretical or empirical contributions on how outdoors spaces can be ‘consumed’ during periods of extreme heat. In particular, we are interested in understanding how the comfort of pedestrians and cyclists can be improved in outdoor spaces and during periods of sustained heat, by reducing their exposure to pollutants, heat, and noise. Further, we welcome contributions that seek to link the use of outdoor spaces with human need satisfaction, such as feeling protected and having a voice in society. As other living beings are also constrained by heat in outdoor spaces, especially whenever their activities interact with human activities, we also welcome approaches that seek to integrate more than human wellbeing. Studies on the sensorial dimensions of outdoor comfort would also be welcomed, linked to urban mobility and leisure, and the use of outdoor green and blue spaces, for diverse people and other actants. Contributions from the South are particularly encouraged.


Public support for consumption-based policies

Despite environmental taxes and fees often being cost-efficient policies that can achieve significant emissions reductions, correct market failures, and generate state revenue, such proposals frequently encounter resistance from the public (Drews & Van den Bergh, 2016), in turn causing politicians to hesitate to implement them (Burstein, 2003). Resistance can be caused by factors such as reduced personal consumption space, a perceived lack of effectiveness, and regressive effects. Support for environmental taxes may further be hampered as they are often implemented without clearly specifying how the revenues will be utilized. An exception is the concept of a green tax shift, where increased environmental taxes are combined with simultaneous reductions in labor taxes. However, the individual financial impacts of such a shift often lack transparency, which may curb their positive effect on public support. This session invites papers focusing on support for consumption-based economic policies, preferably with a focus on how design and communication of policies and revenue use can impact support.


Framing Tensions & Visions of Sustainable Consumption

Significant challenges—and opportunities—for mainstreaming patterns of consumption that are categorised as sustainable lie in the intricate and often tacit interweaving of narratives, values, knowledge claims, and vested interests. The session 'Framing Tensions & Visions of Sustainable Consumption' aims to explore the nuanced ways framing takes place in debates and arrangements concerning sustainable consumption and the effects such processes may have.

Framing can be defined as 'the spontaneous or strategic process of selecting, shaping, interpreting, and organising a part of our complex reality into a bounded construction that may affect both our own and others' understanding and actions' (Klintman, to be published in 2025; cf. Chong & Druckman, 2007). When applied to sustainable consumption, frames can give rise to disputes and conflicts – about what is sustainable, who is responsible, what should be prioritised, how change can be best enacted, who has the right to what, who should be included in decision-making, and so on.

The session runs across the topics and themes of the conference. We invite scholars to contribute abstracts and papers that examine the framing mechanisms, their impacts on practices at all levels of society, and the obstacles and potentials for framing to foster sustainable consumption and its mainstreaming.

We encourage submissions that examine the framing of sustainable consumption from macro to micro levels as well as framings in policy processes, NGO activities, and marketing related to sustainable consumption – in the political, market, and civil society realms.

Contributions may take the form of

• Empirical Research: Qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-method contributions – the whole toolbox of methods is welcome, such as deep dives into case studies, experiments, or longitudinal studies that shed light on the process and impact of framing toward different varieties of sustainable consumption.

• Theoretical Insights: Thought-provoking papers that challenge existing framing paradigms or propose new ways for understanding conflicts and resolutions toward mainstreaming sustainable consumption.

• Methodological Advancements: Papers that introduce or critique methods for analysing framings as well as the myths and visions of sustainable consumption, offering new ways to understand and measure its effects.

The session hopes to

• Generate a broadened and deepened conversation of framing as a multidimensional tool for advancing, slowing down, and hindering the transition to various varieties of sustainable consumption.

• Identify new avenues for research and practice that leverage framing to engage audiences and drive the mainstreaming of sustainable consumption.

• Encourage intra- and interdisciplinary collaboration, offering fresh perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of framing processes for making consumption sustainable.


Strong Sustainability: Exploring the hows

Much of current sustainability debates can be defined as ‘weak’; entrenched in the paradigm of everlasting economic growth and embeds - or subordinates - sustainability targets (in)to relative sustainability gains subservient to growth objectives. ‘Strong’ sustainability on the other hand challenges this assumption focussing rather on absolute sustainability. Formally, it is defined as focusing on ‘the question of appropriate levels and patterns of consumption, paying attention to the social dimension of well-being, and assessing the need for changes based on a risk-averse perspective’ (Lorek & Fuchs 2013, p. 36). Thus, it subscribes to the increasing agreement that reduced consumption is vital to lower human impacts on Earth’s climate and ecosystems (e.g., Jackson 2016), while at the same time acknowledging that this needs to be combined with achieving good and adequate lives for all. How this can be achieved, however, is still an open question. The dominance of capitalism and economic growth are often foregrounded as the main reasons for lacklustre success in reducing energy and resource consumption (Wilhite 2016). To date, the discussion is often dominated by perspectives from economics or ecological economics. This workshop explores ways in which broader communities of social science and humanities researchers can contribute to the strong sustainability discussion by defining an ecologically safe and socially just space wherein humans can lead good lives within natural, “planetary boundaries”.

Taking stock of literatures such as degrowth, post-growth, doughnut economics or community economies, and using transdisciplinary approaches this session aims to discuss the latest theoretical and methodological developments together with ongoing empirical studies in the field of consumption and sustainability. In this way, this workshop aims to identify factors that are important for research and policy to advance strong sustainability in the future.


Effects of economic policies on air travel and food

Food consumption and air travel together account for almost half of the total climate footprint in some high-income countries. There is limited potential for technological solutions to reduce climate emissions in both sectors in the near term, along with a significant policy deficit for achieving the necessary reductions to keep global warming well below two degrees Celsius. Environmentally differentiated consumption taxes are a potentially strong policy option, provided that tax levels are set sufficiently high. This session invites various types of analyses. What promising policy designs are there, such as subsidies on healthy and low-emission foods along with levies on meat and dairy products, and taxes on air travel based on travel distance, class, ticket price, or annual travel frequency? What GHG effects would these policies have? What would be the distributional and employment effects of various economic policies?


Powering Transformation: Pathways to Mainstream Sustainable Energy and Low-carbon Societies

This session focuses on how to mainstream sustainable energy consumption, where we explore the challenges connected to energy and low-carbon transformation and how to combine energy consumption reduction with well-being for all citizens in society. A low-carbon transformation implies structural adaptations that relate to different aspects of the energy system.

• One such structural adaptation is to facilitate and enable prosumers to organize the production and sharing of renewable energy within their community. How to do this will differ between countries, but there is potential for mutual learning. Diverse regulatory frameworks and community engagement strategies supporting prosumerism can be examined and compared across different countries. This would allow us to identify common barriers or innovative solutions that can enable prosumers to effectively implement the structural adaptations.

• Another area in need of such structural adaptations is the need for an increased level of flexibility in the grid and for solutions enabling Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X). The realisation of energy sharing through V2X requires structural adaptations ranging from standardisation to building trust between actors such as, e.g., DSOs and EV owners.

• It is also of interest to look into future visions, imaginaries, or narratives of the energy system for future adaptations. A low-carbon transformation implies the integration of digital technologies to optimise energy use and enhance grid resilience. This includes the deployment of smart grids that can intelligently manage energy flows and effectively integrate renewable sources, thereby reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Smart grids are seen to be equipped with real-time data processing and AI capabilities. Thus, smart grids are said to be able to predict demand patterns, respond to energy supply fluctuations, and even repair themselves. The actors invited to design these future smart grids will have a lot of power over how the future society is formed, which connects to aspects such as energy democracy, energy justice, and energy literacy.

• Furthermore, to achieve a sustainable energy future, public engagement and education are paramount. Creating awareness about energy and alternative ways to both produce and consume energy is as important as technological development. Educational programs focusing on alternative economic, environmental, and personal benefits of adopting low-carbon societies and, for example, participating in energy-sharing initiatives can be an important aspect of increasing social justice and democratic participation at all levels of the energy value chain. Therefore, it is important to support interdisciplinary collaborations not only to spread awareness but also to actively engage different participants to create a sustainable energy future. This means also engaging diverse stakeholders, from policymakers to the private sector, for energy education as well as sharing practical energy solutions.

Those and other structural adaptations needed to achieve the transformation to low-carbon societies will be discussed in this session.


Living Labs and Thinking Labs to Mainstream Sustainable Consumption and Lifestyles: visioning, experimenting and co-creating solutions

Worldwide, communities and societies are trying to envision and move along transition pathways or developmental trajectories towards sustainable futures. The struggle to mainstream sustainable consumption has been accompanied by an “experimental turn” in the social sciences and humanities which sparked a proliferation of experimental approaches and initiatives to develop and test new ideas and approaches in multi-stakeholder settings. From a philosophical and methodological perspective, the experimental turn marks a shift from transformation research to transformative research.

Research on and in laboratised real-world environments has significantly increased since 2015 (Hossain et al., 2019) and does not seem to subside (Schäpke et al., 2024). Such experiments in real-world settings continue to inspire inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration for sustainability transformations. Issues high on the agenda in research and practice include success factors (Bergmann et al., 2021), learning (Wanner et al., 2018), impacts (Schäpke et al., 2024), as well as formats and methods for participation, transdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge creation (Defila & Di Giulio, 2018, 2019; Heiskanen et al., 2018). Crucially, these real-life experiments, for example in Living or Real-world Labs, also “test society around a new set of technologies and associated modes of governance based on particular visions of the future – occasionally against considerable resistance” (Engels et al., 2019, p. 1).

Similarly, participatory approaches to (private and public) research and policy making have emerged and been conceptualised as “thinking labs”. They are best described as “‘islands of experimentation’ for applying innovative methods to address public problems” (McGann et al., 2018, p. 250). They typically take a day at a time and often use mixed-method approaches to explore an issue, find solutions and reflect on the acceptance of different changes or visions involving single or multi-stakeholder groups and often facilitated by researchers.

In this session, we seek to explore the question of how Lab-based (thought) experiments can aid in mainstreaming sustainable consumption and lifestyles. The focus is decidedly broad, inviting contributions from diverse application areas and contexts, including but not limited to food, mobility, energy use at home or work, urban planning and development, or a combination of them. Particularly, we are interested in qualitative or quantitative analyses of impacts on attitudes, individual and group perspectives, everyday levels and patterns of consumption, policy making, innovation (processes), etc. – as well as on unintended or unplanned positive or negative effects.

Key questions we would like to explore with presenters and participants based on a range of empirical cases are: In what ways can Living Labs and Thinking Labs help society move towards more sustainable consumption by developing and testing (future visions of) sustainable lifestyles? What kinds of future visions emerge or are created in the process and how can they be problematised and validated? In what ways, contexts and settings can Lab-based (thought) experiments be used – and what adaptations are necessary to achieve best effects? Which (combination of) formats and methods work best for which groups, in which settings and for which purpose?


At the intersections of influence: Exploring the Structure-Agency Nexus for Making Sufficiency a Habit in Consumption and Production systems

This scientific session focuses on sufficiency as a crucial and complex sustainability strategy requiring integrated and coordinated agency at the nexus of consumption and production structures (Wallnoefer et al., 2024). Sufficiency manifests in individual consumption reduction and behavior change, supported by a transition towards more just intra- and intergenerational distribution of affluence. Sufficiency in production manifests in a paradigm shift in business logic and organizing economic activity in society. (Jungell-Michelsson & Heikkurinen, 2022; Spangenberg & Lorek, 2019).

Contemporary sufficiency efforts often fall short of combining insights to coordinate actor roles at the structure-agency nexus, mainly due to disciplinary disparities and the prevailing “micro-macro divide” (Bengtsson et al., 2018; Upham et al., 2020). This hampers discerning and assigning actor responsibilities, stakeholder acceptance, and political legitimacy for the transition (e.g., Adolff & Neckel, 2019), limiting the process of mainstreaming sufficiency (Wallnoefer et al., 2024). Moreover, without clarity on actor benefits and barriers, the framing of sufficiency as “sacrifices” will continue to give rise to a systemic unwillingness to take action (Schäpke & Rauschmayer, 2014b; Vogel et al., 2021).

Mainstreaming the needed behavior change, value, and paradigm shifts towards sufficiency thus requires broad agency on consumption reduction and structures of production enabling viable production reduction.

This session aims to explore the process of mainstreaming sufficiency through the formation and continuity of sufficiency habits. Habits are performed repeatedly, automatically, and as a response to stable context cues (Verplanken, 2018). Consequentially these characteristics are desirable to be obtained for sufficiency-promoting behaviors (Verplanken & Whitmarsh, 2021) to facilitate their wider adoption and overcome behavioral lock-ins (Ivanova et al., 2020) from sufficiency-opposing habits.

Habits form in daily life as individuals pursue goals by repeating actions in particular contexts (Wood & Rünger, 2016) and habits discontinue or break in response to changed contexts (Bamberg, 2006, Verplanken, 2008). For sufficiency habits to persist, both individual adaptions (like setting sufficiency-directed behavioral goals) and structural adaptions (such as building sufficiency-enabling production and consumption contexts and behavioral cues) are necessary (Nash et al., 2017). Having clarity about the actors influencing these adaptions and the extent and type of their spheres of influence (O’Brien et al., 2023; O’Brien, 2018) is thus crucial in mainstreaming processes.

This session hence seeks submissions that systematically examine: (a) which actors have influence in contexts of relevance to sufficiency (which may also be shared); (b) over what resources or phenomena this influence is exerted; and (c) under which structural and motivational conditions, across different consumption and production systems. Using the “Intersections of Influence” conceptual approach by Wallnoefer et al. 2024, the session aims to narrow the “micro-macro divide” and explore how integrated research on individual and structural adaptions to form and sustain sufficiency habits can accelerate the mainstreaming processes for sufficiency in consumption and production systems.

Contributions can address but are not limited to methods to measure actors’ influences and their intersections, enhance actor coordination, and case studies about successful sufficiency habit mainstreaming.


Diversifying communication approaches for sustainable consumption: Strategies for inclusive messaging

The transition towards sustainable consumption is imperative in the face of global environmental challenges. Despite substantial efforts, progress in shifting consumption patterns on a global scale remains slow. This transition is significantly influenced by the communication strategies employed to promote sustainable behavior. As sustainability challenges are marked by significant complexity and uncertainty, establishing effective communication strategies among diverse stakeholders is essential for building a shared understanding of the necessary actions to be taken and subsequently shape behavior accordingly (Godemann & Michelsen, 2011; Newig et al., 2013). However, these communication strategies often fail to engage diverse audiences, as information and knowledge barriers are still among the most important reasons why people do not consume sustainably (Falcão & Roseira, 2022). Traditional approaches often target a narrow audience, overlooking the diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds that shape individual consumption patterns. This session proposes a comprehensive exploration of diversified communication strategies aimed at fostering sustainable consumption across various social groups, ensuring that messaging is inclusive and resonating with a broader audience.

Possible topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

1. Diverse communication approaches that cater to different social groups. Those may include digital and social media, community engagement, storytelling, and many more.

2. The role of cultural sensitivity and inclusivity in designing effective sustainable consumption messages.

3. Limitations of current communication strategies in promoting sustainable consumption.

Participants will gain insights into the complexities of designing communication strategies that effectively promote sustainable consumption across diverse populations. The session aims to foster a deeper understanding of the psychological, cultural, and social factors that influence consumption behavior. Case studies and best practices from around the world, highlighting successful inclusive messaging strategies, can be shared.

Furthermore, this session seeks to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration among international researchers for developing and implementing inclusive communication strategies. By doing so, it aspires to advance the wider objective of promoting sustainable consumption through more impactful and inclusive messaging. This session represents a step forward in identifying and discussing strategies that can bridge the gap between diverse consumer groups and the goal of sustainable consumption.


Eco-influencers: the best voices of sufficiency transition towards young people

Younger generations will be the most affected by the ecological crisis. In this context, many young people (18-25 year-olds) feel concerned, even worried ; they are the most aware of environmental issues and the most willing to change their lifestyles towards greater sufficiency (Grønhøj and Hubert, 2022). Sufficiency involves changes across the different stages of production and consumption, in various domains (e.g., food, mobility, clothing, housing…) to reduce the consumption of energy and natural resources within planetary boundaries (Sandberg, 2021). Despite their environmental consciousness, the young generation is still reported to be the most attached to consumerism (ADEME, 2024). Notably, they spend much time on social media where they enjoy following influencers, content creators who arouse their interest through appealing storylivings and inspirational consumerist lifestyles. Against this background, the IPCC sixth assessment report (2022) recommends the use of influencers’ leadership to inversely "promote the adoption of low-carbon technologies, behaviours and lifestyles." As powerful role models, influencers on social media might then be considered particularly relevant to encourage ecological transition towards greater sufficiency in young consumers. However, social media influencers have their roots in business-oriented marketing, since their success relies on their ability to monetize their platforms by endorsing brands (Hudders et al., 2021). Consistently, the majority of them tend to promote materialist values and to encourage overconsumption. Nevertheless, some influencers advocate for more sustainable consumption behaviours, for example by promoting sustainable brands or thrifting practices (Jacobson and Harrison, 2022). Yet, do/can these influencers, coined “eco-influencers”, emancipate from consumer culture? Or are they a mere form of greenwashing? To what extent do they deeply question our dominant production and consumption models and ultimately propose desirable sufficiency-based narratives? How are these “eco-influencers” perceived by young consumers? Which legitimacy do they have among the young generation to persuade them to bridge the “green gap” and lead them to mainstreaming sustainable consumption? How can these eco-influencers communicate towards young people about social and environmental challenges and the ways they can individually and collectively adapt their lifestyle to respect planetary boundaries? Furthermore, how do eco-influencers navigate between sustainable marketing and environmental activism, between business-oriented and idea-oriented contents? This session will aim to address the key-role eco-influencers may play in young people’s transition towards sufficiency.


Inclusion and Equity in Mainstreaming Sustainable Consumption

This scientific session aims to explore sustainable consumption through the prism of social inclusion and equality. The relation between inclusion, equality and sustainable consumption is highly complex and of extreme relevance in efforts to mainstream sustainable consumption.

Making sustainable consumption broadly accessible and widely practiced across diverse groups of consumers is key to successfully combating environmental problems (Gupta and Vegelin 2016). However, the negative effects of environmental degradation disproportionately affect different social groups, preventing vulnerable groups from coping with and constructively responding to sustainability challenges (Agyeman 2005; Dewey 2021). Furthermore, existing market-based sustainability initiatives often reproduce and even exacerbate existing social inequalities (AbiGhannam and Atkinson 2016; Atkinson 2014; Bargain-Darrigues 2023; Ramos 2023). Thus, considering inclusion and equality issues is of utmost importance to ensure an effective and just mainstreaming of sustainable consumption.

Accordingly, we call for papers exploring the intersection of sustainable consumption and social inclusion, that is, how dynamics of inclusion/exclusion promote or inhibit sustainable consumption patterns. We welcome papers that enrich our knowledge of how consumer diversity, exclusion, and inequality (e.g., diversity in consumer dispositions and understandings, skills and sense of agency, resources and various forms of capital) across various axes—such as social class, race, gender, age, and ethnicity—influences sustainable consumption. Existing research provides a strong base to build upon, especially when it comes to Bourdieu-inspired explorations of class-based issues (Johnston, Szabo, and Rodney 2011; Carfagna et al. 2014; Kennedy and Givens 2019; Schoolman 2020). However, there is a need to pay greater attention to other axes and consider how these axes may intersect (Ger 2018) to better understand the challenges experienced by diverse consumer groups as they approach (or avoid) more sustainable consumption forms. This knowledge is paramount to highlighting potential risks of and opportunities for mainstreaming sustainable consumption.

We also welcome papers that critically examine how the promotion of (market-based) sustainable consumption solutions may advance existing social inequalities and encourage the exclusion of vulnerable groups. For instance, the widespread logic of “shared responsibility” tends to obscure the often-asymmetrical costs and opportunities of consuming sustainably, often imposing greater constraints on disadvantaged groups (AbiGhannam and Atkinson 2016; Atkinson 2014). To improve the inclusivity and efficacy of initiatives aimed at mainstreaming sustainable consumption it is important to problematize the expectation that these initiatives have uniform effects across more and less advantaged consumer groups and thereby automatically resolve existing inequality problems.

In sum, inclusion and equality are key concerns in efforts to ensure an effective and just mainstreaming of sustainable consumption. This session aims to strengthen the platform for exploring sustainable consumption through the prism of inclusion and equality, opening new research pathways by drawing attention to hitherto underexplored axes of exclusion and inequality, encouraging intersectional approaches, and inviting new theoretical perspectives that can enrich the existing work heavily reliant on Bourdieu’s theorizing.


Governing a fair consumption space - how could we implement a fairer food environment

Sustainable product and consumption systems are often viewed in the context of overconsumption and examined for how they can be made more resource efficient. However, it should not be overlooked that these systems should be designed in a way that socioeconomically disadvantaged groups can also participate in these transitions. This is particularly evident in the example of nutrition. The food environment plays a crucial role in shaping the dietary habits and health outcomes of individuals, particularly in socioeconomically disadvantaged and locally restricted persons and households.

Food banks provide access to food for people in need and thus shape their food environment. In Europe, 351 food banks redistribute approximately 876,316 tonnes of food to 44,884 charitable organisations and 12.4 million socioeconomically disadvantaged/deprived people (FEBA 2023). Further it is one of the most important areas to shape sustainable production and consumption.

Moreover, we could address a complex interplay between the food environment and dietary habits of socioeconomically disadvantaged households and their impact on health. In socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, these aspects are often unfavourable, leading to limited access to healthy foods. Instead, these areas are frequently affected by "food deserts”, where access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods is constrained or even access is shapen by high costs.

Furthermore, in various contexts such as care facilities, the military, and prisons, the scope for consumer choice is significantly restricted. In these environments, a multitude of individuals are catered to, yet often only resource-intensive meals are provided.

Hypothesis: It is proposed that food banks provide food that is less healthy and may not contribute to a balanced diet. An imbalanced diet, rich in sugary beverages, high-fat foods, and processed foods, can contribute to a range of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes. Often, food banks and meals provided in institutional catering present promising opportunities to counteract this trend.

Targeted interventions and solutions are necessary to minimize the negative impacts of the food environment on socioeconomically disadvantaged households.

Scientifically often food banks or the out of home catering in several settings, such as schools or kindergartens and elderly homes are addressed.

Through interventions and solutions, positive changes can be made to improve access to sustainable, healthy foods for a more fair consumption space. It is essential for governments, communities, and other stakeholders to collaborate in creating an environment that makes healthy nutrition accessible and affordable for all. These aspects should be integrated within the present session trough several positions and views onto research projects.

The aim of the session is about to bring people with several views onto food environments together and discuss – based on research data – how we may further develop food environments.


Policies and Regulations for a Post-Growth Fashion and Textiles System

The Carbon footprint of the global fashion system today is roughly double compared to the levels associated with the 1.5 degree limit of the Paris Agreement – and it continues to grow (Coscieme et al., 2022). Household consumption of fashion and textiles has been recognized as on average the fourth most polluting and climate impacting lifestyle domain, after mobility, food, and energy use (EEA 2019; 2021). The global fashion and textiles industry has been remarkably underregulated, which was one of the factors leading to the emergence of exploitative and wasteful linear business models, such as fast fashion in the early 2000s and ultra-fast fashion during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and mostly recently through huge international online platforms selling extremely cheap clothes that don’t live up to any standards or requirements.

Following strong pressure from advocacy groups, research, international organisations and some business organisations, governments around the Global North are starting to introduce plans to regulate the fashion and textiles system, including its production, consumption, and waste dimensions. In 2022, the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles was published – a pioneering legislative framework that through new regulation sets standards and good practices for textile and fashion goods sold in Europe. In the USA, the New York Fashion Act is under preparation, aiming to provide a similar legal framework for goods sold in New York State. Some countries, like France and Germany, have already introduced their versions of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes for textiles, while others, like Australia, are preparing their policy packages to address these issues. Most recently, France has decided to introduce a tax on cheap fashion from online retailers. At the global level, both the UN Environment Assembly, G7 and the Global Textiles Policy Forum is starting to address global textiles and fashion policy issues

This session will take stock of policy development around fashion and textiles in the past ten years and critically assess and compare existing regulations and upcoming plans. Notably, it will solicit reflections around both the impacts of these industry-related policies on consumption and the place of consumption in the policies themselves. The session will include discussions around the most advanced cases (EU level) but also contributions from France, USA, Australia, and other countries.


Transformation pathways for food systems through direct selling and short food supply chains

Industrial food systems are the focus of current research due to their high impact on the environment and society as producers and consumers, on changes in land use, and the regional specialisation of certain territories to the detriment of other productive areas. Food, together with energy consumption and mobility, and considering all the processes involved in its value chain, is considered the consumer activity with the highest carbon footprint and socio-environmental impact.

The carbon and water footprint of industrial food systems has increased in recent decades due to the standardisation of the food production and consumption markets that operate on a global scale, and which, to be competitive in this global market, needs to promote industrial agriculture that, in many cases, is not respectful with biodiversity, water resources, soil, and also, with the workforce.

The situation of climate emergency and the overcoming of planetary boundaries requires to bring about a complete transformation of the mode of food production, supply/retail/distribution, consumption, and post-consumption. We urgently need a new paradigm that integrates the development of human societies and the maintenance of the Earth system.

One of the strategies available to small and sustainable growers to improve their profit margins is to connect directly with end consumers and promote direct sales of their products, either directly to end consumers and the foodservice or through short food supply chains or agroecological hubs.

In this session, we welcome contributions centred on systems of provision of food, social networks of food producers and consumers based on durable direct selling strategies, grassroot innovations centred on short food supply chains, direct selling in the foodservice and the mass catering sectors.


Consumption corridors: guaranteeing human well-being through upper and lower limits to consumption

How to ensure that present and future generations will live fulfilling lives continues to be a pressing issue, considering the compounded risks associated with climate change, biodiversity loss, and growing inequalities. There is increasing recognition that adaptation to environmental changes will require a just transition. Justice and well-being in turn are powerful drivers for sustainability. A decade ago, the concept of “Consumption Corridors” was put forward by a broad diversity of academic and non-academic actors (Blättel-Mink et al 2013, Fuchs et al 2022). Since then, there has been a swelling of interest in the concept. At its core, the concept of Consumption Corridors is about ensuring the ability for all people, living now and in the future, to meet their needs. There are certain constraints that make it necessary to consider consumption minima and maxima: for example, the use of non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels; the limited carbon emissions necessary to guarantee a safe living and working environment; but also, the unequal possibilities of people to live in pleasing, safe, and unpolluted environments, the use of city space, or available resources in terms of time. An agreement on how to establish Consumption Corridors is said to come about from citizen engagement and participatory democracy but it also requires structural and governmental approaches. And while several studies have emerged on how corridors might be applied to anything from doing the laundry to meat consumption, much remains to be explored around this concept.

This panel welcomes papers that are engaging with the Consumption Corridors concept, including but not limited to: explorations of how the concept can be applied, in different contexts, in relation to varying consumption domains; discussions around the deliberative process that is necessary for establishing Consumption Corridors; more generally, discussions on minima and maxima, or on caps, and how they might be related to Consumption Corridors; contributions that seek to further reflect on questions of social justice in relation to the concept; and any work that helps us further advance the concept or provides new insights into empirical applications and data.


Charting the Course: Exploring Strategies and Pathways to 1.5° Lifestyles amid Deep Barriers to Transformation

Despite the growing urgency of deteriorating environmental and social conditions, there is a puzzling inertia in adopting sustainable 1.5° lifestyles. The goals outlined in the Paris Agreement and the findings of the IPCC (2023) require an unprecedented and rapid transformation of our lifestyles to avert catastrophic breaches of planetary boundaries. However, the transition to a 1.5° world faces multiple challenges. These challenges include changing individual motivations and cultural norms that define success and well-being, as well as resistance to structural changes that perpetuate unsustainable behaviour patterns. This resistance often stems from a perceived conflict between sustainable living and economic prosperity, fostering a false dichotomy that hinders progress towards sustainability. The urgent need to shift to 1.5°C lifestyles highlights the critical importance of understanding why such changes face inertia and identifying ways to overcome them.

Recognising the central role of consumption in driving unsustainability underlines the need for a fundamental shift in the way we live. However, previous attempts to implement demand-side changes have faced significant hurdles. The lack of quantitative data on the contribution of lifestyle changes to climate change mitigation hampers policymakers' ability to prioritise action and leaves citizens and consumers without guidance. Inadequate evidence of public acceptance of necessary changes leads to uncoordinated policies and inadequate responses to urgent transitions. In addition, policies often neglect structural constraints and focus only on individual behaviour change, leading to ineffective strategies that frustrate stakeholders. Overcoming these gaps is essential to undermine the barriers to adopting 1.5° lifestyles and moving towards a sustainable future.

In response to these challenges, the 1.5° lifestyles approach integrates individual lifestyle analyses with broader policy and structural frameworks to align changes in individual behaviour with changes in political, economic and societal institutions, thus providing a pathway towards holistic sustainability. The panel (or possibly a series of panels) aims to bring together different perspectives focusing on 1.5° lifestyles and closely related approaches. In particular, the panel invites diverse approaches that explore possible strategies and pathways to overcome deep-seated structural barriers to transformation and facilitate the adoption of 1.5° lifestyles. Papers presented at the panel(s) could provide a thorough analysis of barriers and risks at both household and systemic levels, with the aim of deepening our understanding and catalysing transformative change towards a sustainable future. They could propose new perspectives on how to integrate individual lifestyle analyses with policies and socio-economic structures at all levels, from international to local, recognising the crucial role of political acceptance in driving change and identifying areas for targeted interventions. Papers could explore the role of responsibility in driving change, including the role of coalitions of actors that might be able to bring about change in a variety of socio-economic and political settings.


Consumption-based climate and resource budgeting as a tool for socio-ecological planning

The Paris Agreement has given rise to the concept of a global carbon budget, which can be translated into national, local, and personal carbon budgets and goals. Within the UN system, national climate commitments rely on territorial emissions accounting, a practice criticized for neglecting the responsibility of emissions associated with goods and services produced and transported beyond national borders. Additionally, the decarbonization process involves increased use of critical resources, pointing to the need to complement carbon budgets with resource budgets and steer towards social goals. The importance of adopting a consumption-based perspective is underscored by the IPCC (AR6) and ESABCC, highlighting the significance of demand-side approaches in achieving national and international climate objectives.

Several scholars have emphasized the necessity of planning and policy that keep human societies within a safe and just environmental space. The literature underscores the importance of exploring various knowledges, statistical methods, institutional frameworks, and organizational arrangements that can contribute to a planned approach to addressing the ecological crises. What can be described in terms of socio-ecological planning highlights the need to combine the ambiguous notions of social needs and ecological limits. In the search for institutions that could perform socio-ecological planning, the question is as much about the capacity to formulate and implement plans to stay within ecological limits as it is about the capacity to improve democratic performance and satisfy human needs.

This session explores how budget thinking and consumption-based perspectives can inform socio-ecological planning and decision-making across different scales. Recognizing that such practices are still emerging, contributions to the session are encouraged to conceptualize or empirically investigate various aspects of socio-ecological planning and policy-making. Key questions that contributors may address include:

• How can "fair share" budgets be established at national, regional, local, or individual levels, and what principles of justice can guide this process?

• In what ways are consumption-based environmental targets and carbon budgets currently utilized in policy-making and planning practices nationally, regionally or locally?

• How can the transition of consumption and production systems be strategically planned and coordinated to ensure alignment with climate or resource budgets and other ecological limits?

• What strategies can be employed to balance social needs with ecological limits?

• To what extent do ideological and political legacies, path-dependencies, or existing arrangements influence the potential for socio-ecological planning?

• How can centrally planned and coordinated carbon or resource budgets be reconciled with and gain democratic legitimacy?


Social-ecological approaches to mobility

Several frameworks have been proposed to simultaneously address two key dimensions of sustainability: ecological limits and social justice. Safe and just space (Raworth, 2017; Rockström et al., 2023), sustainable consumption corridors (Fuchs et al., 2021), sufficiency economy (Gough, 2017), and other related concepts aim to delineate spaces for imagining and realizing the good life within limits.

While the application of such approaches is growing, there are still few examples in the domain of mobility, which is a critical sector in terms of its environmental impact (Zhao et al. 2020) and its importance for human needs satisfaction and social justice (Lucas et al. 2016). It is also a domain in which emissions are growing particularly fast (Lamb et al. 2021) and which is extremely unevenly distributed, both at short and long distances (Gössling, Humpe 2020; Büchs, Mattioli 2021; Ivanova, Wood 2020).

Some of the dominant paradigms in the mobility and transport studies provide interesting starting points for including both the environmental and the social dimensions and studying their relationships, such as the studies on the negative impacts of transport (Schweitzer and Valenzuela 2004) or accessibility (Willberg et al., 2023). Some authors have also started to conduct direct sectoral and socio-geographical analyses within the safe and just space frameworks (e.g., Dillman et al., 2021, 2023). However, in the existing paradigms in the field of mobility, approaches that explicitly tackle both social and ecological aspects are still marginal. There is a need for both empirical and theoretical work to integrate them into existing approaches and to understand the mechanisms that lead to achieving (or failing to achieve) sufficient mobility and accessibility within environmental limits.

We invite theoretical and empirical contributions that explore the linkages and interactions between the social and the environmental in mobility and transport, including but not limited to topics such as

1. Measuring or identifying the ecological and social limits of sustainable mobility (e.g., sector-level ecological boundaries, consumption maxima and minima, decent living standards, and poverty thresholds)

2. The social and environmental impacts of mobility innovations and trends (electrification, sharing, 15-minute cities, SUVs, space travel, private jets).

3. Urban form and transport infrastructures from the social-ecological perspective

4. Political economy and provisioning systems in mobility sectors (e.g., automotive, aviation, tourism), and just transition towards a sufficiency economy.

5. Mobility carbon budgets, their development, and implementation at different spatial and social scales.

6. Relationships between accessibility, transport poverty, and GHG emissions in different contexts and circumstances and their evolution over time.

7. Differences in conditions and capabilities to meet mobility needs within ecological limits between people, areas, and social classes.

8. Necessity and excess in mobility (including in long-distance travel)

9. Tourism and aviation from the social-ecological perspective

10. Embedding carbon-intensive travel in everyday work and leisure practices and their ecological consequences;

11. Degrowth in mobility; avoid, shift, and improve measures to reduce the carbon-intensity of travel;

12. Future pathways towards sufficient mobility and access within ecological limits.


Interventions toward circular consumption

Consumers play a significant role in the transition towards a more circular economy (Hobson et al. 2021; Shevchenko et al. 2023). Circular consumption represents more sustainable ways of consuming that reduce the need for virgin resources and thereby reduce emissions. Recently, circular consumption practices have been defined as “everyday practices that fit into circular value creation networks and that comply with their interest to reduce resource consumption and to keep materials and products in use as long as possible” (Rabiu and Jaeger-Erben, 2022, p. 1-2). Such practices may range from refusing and reducing to reselling, reusing and repairing. Depending on the context of consumption and geographical location, there is a variety of circular options available to consumers including second-hand and access-based offerings and platforms, repair services and recycling facilities. However, it is still unclear in the literature how consumers appropriate new circular consumption patterns into their everyday life, and especially how this process could be facilitated through interventions. Transitioning from linear to circular consumption is not simply a process of adopting or accepting circular solutions, but instead requires the assembling of several elements, including consumer work and appropriate material infrastructures (Närvänen, Fuentes and Mesiranta, 2023).

In order to accelerate the circular transition, various stakeholders are looking for ways to encourage and facilitate circular consumption. This session calls for research and practical case studies on different types of interventions targeted at households or individual consumers to change their practices toward circular consumption. The session is open to different theoretical approaches ranging from psychological behaviour change theories to social practice theory and beyond. We invite papers that consider different circular materials and products such as food, clothing, plastics, furniture, and electronics. Both qualitative and quantitative studies are welcome, as well as more conceptual and methodologically focused papers. Studies that assess the impact of interventions with LCA are also in the scope of this session. The session is organized in collaboration with the CARE Circular Households project (2024-2027), which is funded by the European Union, targeting at transforming a hundred households in five countries into circular model households regarding food waste and clothing.


The Future of Retail and Consumption

In an era where contemplations about the future permeate our conversations and narratives, retail and consumption are at a crossroads, grappling with the complex interplay of sustainability challenges and rapid technological advancements. In terms of sustainability issues, researchers in environmental sciences have demonstrated how we exceed the planetary boundaries. The consequences of climate change are becoming clearer with reports on heatwaves, droughts, and heavy rainfalls, which are increasing in intensity and frequency. In parallel, technological advancements are catalyzing a profound shift within retail and consumption. Developments such as the metaverse, generative artificial intelligence, blockchains, and immersive technologies amplify this transformation. While research on sustainability and technology may appear to travel divergent paths, this session seeks to harmonize these future-making trajectories, cultivating a convergence of perspectives.

Building on the recently published book, ‘The Future of Consumption’ (Bäckström, Egan-Wyer, and Samsioe 2023) and a Special Issue on ‘The Future of Retail and Consumption’ in The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, we aim to further the dialogue in this discourse by welcoming both previous contributors and new voices to this session. We are particularly interested in research that synthesizes areas on sustainability and technology, identifying common grounds and exploring ways they can complement each other to collaboratively propel consumer research and retail marketing forward. We encourage and advocate for research that can contribute to the collective for a genuinely progressive future in addressing pressing issues of the environmental crisis. As researchers, we believe the present moment, more than ever, calls for collective action to lay the foundation for a sustainable future, striving towards vibrancy and resilience for the following generations.


Degrowth in Everyday life

Modern industrial society is facing existential threats including climate change, species mass extinction, extreme inequality and decreasing life satisfaction. Climate change mitigation in line with the Paris Agreement demands decarbonisation of industrial societies within the next two decades (Masson-Delmotte et al. 2021; Akenji et al. 2021). However global production and consumption-based carbon emissions are increasing, especially as industrial development expands globally without necessarily contributing to wellbeing (e.g. Ivanova et. al., 2018; Baltruszewicz et. al. 2021). GDP increases the material circumstances for thriving with less effort (Rosling, 2018), yet we continue being productive/busy. Why haven’t we come to a 15 hour working week (Keynes, 1930)? Societies are accelerating with time pressure experienced in everyday life (Wajcman & Dodds, 2016; Shove, Trentmann & Wilk, 2009). Idleness has been suggested as an answer to this four pronged problem (Hoffmann & Paulsen, 2020; Browne, Jack & Hitchings, 2019). What we are still missing are examples of what we are doing when we are idle and what the most carbon-stingy, wellbeing-rich time uses?

This session will empirically explore moments of societal level idleness - we call for any ongoing research using cross disciplinary, multi methods to investigate less busyness scaling from moments to practice entities. We welcome empirical examples of practices that are time intense, carbon-stingy and lead to increased wellbeing. This could be for example sleep, social activities (participation in democratic processes, conversations, play, sex, social media), cultural activities (art, music, sport, video-games), non-gdp contributing labour (gardening, repairing, childcare, household chores, cooking), individual activities (daydreaming, meditating, masturbating, reading), reduced paid-working hours et. cetera. We aim to open up discussions around the carbon implications of idle activities, how they relate to wellbeing and the potential for idleness in creating a thriving, low-carbon global society.


Sufficiency business models: Fashion sector case studies

The negative social and environmental impacts of the fashion sector are well known but also rapidly increasing. Fast fashion and now ultra fast fashion business models enable increased consumption and shorter lifetimes of poor quality, largely synthetic garments, produced through long and complex supply chains with large deficits in social and environmental standards. Sufficiency is seen as a key strategy in achieving sustainable living that keeps us within planetary boundaries, and is increasingly being incorporated into alternative economic models including wellbeing economy and post-growth approaches.

There has been considerable commentary in the academic literature and more mainstream media on the role of individual sufficiency in sustainable living, including various ways of living with fewer clothing items and different forms of ownership. Sufficiency certainly pushes towards an approach to fashion that is premised on consuming less (Persson, 2022).

Sufficiency can also be operationalised from a supply side perspective - at a business and supply chain level. While most discussions focus on consumers and the idea of consuming less, it's perhaps even more crucial to consider how fashion companies can embrace sufficiency as a guiding principle in the supply of garments. Such a perspective would challenge the fashion sector's reliance on overproduction and overconsumption, and require brands to innovate and reshape their practices.

This session will focus on the concept of sufficiency business models and how they can be applied, operationalised and mainstreamed with the fashion sector in mind. Sufficiency business models are approaches that focus on providing adequate or "sufficient" products and services to meet customers' needs, rather than maximizing consumption or pursuing unlimited growth. Sufficiency business models shift the focus from the consumer to the role of the producer in supporting consumers to reduce their consumption by offering alternative services or modes of consumption (Kropfeld & Reichel, 2021). Put simply; they are business models that target the higher order aspects of the waste hierarchy - avoid, reduce and reuse.

Bocken and Short (2016) offer the following typology for sufficiency business models:

1) sharing with no ownership - paying for access

2) demand reduction services - services that assist consumers to reduce consumption

3) moderating sales and promotion - conscious action to moderate sales

4) extending product life - repairable, upgradeable, durable products

5) Direct reuse - second hand markets

6) Full life cycle sufficiency - design and product use are focused on minimal resource use

Many of these sufficiency business model archetypes are currently used in the fashion and textiles industry, however they are largely niche. This session aims to look at the key pathways to move the fashion sector towards sufficiency models, when it has long been dependent on very high consumption levels and fast turnaround of trends and styles. Another key issue is examining how sufficiency business models can be mainstreamed, especially with the rise of ultra-fast fashion models illustrated by the massive growth of companies like Shein and Temu. These businesses stand in stark contrast to the principles of sufficiency, raising questions about the compatibility of these models with sustainability.


Sufficiency through reprogramming institutions and material arrangements

With the unfolding climate and biodiversity crises, there is an urgent need to change everyday practices in less resource-intensive directions and towards ways of living within planetary boundaries, particularly within affluent countries and population groups. The aim of this session is to explore how sufficiency-based ways of living can be promoted by reprogramming existing institutions and material arrangements.

Today’s resource-intensive everyday practices are contingent on material infrastructures and social institutions established in times of fossil fuels abundance (Smil, 2017; Gough, 2017). While acknowledging that comprehensive reductions in resource consumption require thorough changes in infrastructures and social institutions, e.g. within mobility (Brand-Correa et al., 2020; Keil & Steinberger, 2024), it is also evident that such radical changes will not happen as fast as the climate and biodiversity crises demand. Also, deep changes in infrastructures would entail massive resource investments, e.g. in rare earths or fossil fuels (IEA, 2022; Alfredsson et al., 2018), and thereby exacerbate today’s overshoot of the planetary boundaries. Therefore, the adoption of sufficiency in the shape of less resource-intensive practices and ‘human well-being for all within planetary boundaries’ (IPCC, 2023: 29) must primarily take place within present infrastructures and institutions and cannot rely solely on strategies of efficiency and renewable energy.

This session invites contributions that explores – theoretically, empirically or strategically – the pathways for adopting new, sufficiency-based practices within existing material and institutional arrangements through strategies of what could be termed ‘re-programming’. We define reprogramming as strategies aimed at performing practices differently within existing materialities and social institutions or at modifying existing material and institutional arrangements in ways that promote resource-light practices. In this way, the session attempts to avoid the dichotomy of understanding transitions as being driven primarily by structural or individual changes.

Examples of reprogramming can relate to the modification of material arrangements or institutional arrangements, respectively, or of both, e.g.: transforming car lanes of superhighways into high-frequent public transport corridors (e.g. Bus Rapid Transit), refurbishing single-family homes to become multi-family homes, decentralising welfare services and recreational activities (to reduce transport), redefine private spaces (e.g. family house gardens) to become part of local provision systems (e.g. food provision), rethinking normative expectations (e.g. around mobility and housing), revising tax rules to avoid subsidizing resource-intensive practices (e.g. removing tax deduction for commuting) or change labour market regulations and agreements to promote voluntary work time reductions (downshifting). The common idea of these examples is to achieve significant reductions in the resource-intensity of practices without requiring massive resource investments.

The session does not focus on specific domains of consumption or practices, and it welcomes studies related to everyday life, work, business, systems of provision etc. Papers can explore specific initiatives as well as deal with broader questions related to reprogramming (e.g. issues of policy, social justice or how to rethink ‘the good life’ within existing social and material arrangements).


Sufficiency-oriented consumption practices for a circular society

Current scientific debates concerning circularity regularly focus on dematerialising and decarbonising production processes, prioritising technological solutions to enhance resource efficiency. Consumption practices, on the other hand, have hitherto received much less attention (Greene et al., 2024). Given that the potential of demand-side measures to avoid further climate change highlighted in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (Creutzig et al. 2022), it seems vital to advance research on consumption practices intended to promote circularity by narrowing, slowing, or closing material and energy cycles (Konietzko et al. 2020a). These include well-known approaches such as sharing, repairing and buying second hand products as well as sufficiency-oriented consumption practices such as ‘buying nothing’ or deliberately disengaging from resource-intensive practices (e.g. car ownership and use). The latter group of practices deserves particular attention from consumption researchers because of its largely untapped circularity potential. Particular emphasis needs to be placed on social science research that captures the material, social and cultural conditions that either help or hinder the establishment and reproduction of different circular consumption practices and related issues of public acceptability and culture-specific variations in how these practices are viewed and (not) adopted

This session aims to bring together social scientific and interdisciplinary research on circular consumption practices across different domains of everyday life, including dwelling, mobility and leisure. It offers opportunities to critically reflect on current circularity concepts and policies, to overcome existing limitations and identify ‘blind spots’ that warrant future research. To achieve these aims, we welcome contributions on the following topics (and others):

• Theoretical and conceptual efforts to advance current debates concerning circularity, including efforts to define circular consumption

• Empirical studies on circular consumption practices and their emergence and prevalence in different countries

• Methodological reflections on how to examine different types of circular consumption in innovative ways, including forms of non-consumption motivated by sufficiency thinking


A Post-Growth Society - Pathways to Sustainable Wellbeing?

Our society stands at a critical juncture, grappling with multifaceted crises encompassing climate change, unsustainable resource utilisation, economic volatility, and escalating social inequalities. The pursuit of economic growth, as traditionally gauged by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is increasingly scrutinised for its role in these challenges. Historical economic practices intensified since the Industrial Revolution have propelled substantial advancements. Yet, the last four decades underscore how such growth has transgressed planetary boundaries critical for sustaining life on Earth. While "green growth" advocates champion eco-efficiency and technological innovation as the panacea, empirical data suggests that such strategies may fall short in keeping human activities within safe ecological limits due to rebound effects and escalating consumption patterns. A consensus is emerging on the imperative to rethink the pace of growth. This is particularly pressing for developed economies, where recent slowdowns in growth have coincided with detrimental impacts on societal well-being. The post-growth discourse posits a radical rethinking of societal progress, advocating for a deliberate slowdown to avert disaster rather than succumb to it. A shift towards a post-growth society necessitates a profound transformation in our understanding of progress and success. We can forge a resilient, equitable, and sustainable future by aligning societal goals with ecological realities and focusing on qualitative improvements in human well-being. This session aims to delve into the complexities of such a transformation, offering a platform for interdisciplinary dialogue and collaborative innovation.

Themes for the session:

1. Conceptualising Post-Growth Society

Investigate existing theories, scenarios and models that envisage a society where economic health is decoupled from growth metrics. How can societal well-being be sustained or enhanced without reliance on economic expansion?

2. Exploring Tensions and Contradictions

Explore the inherent conflicts between the emergent post-growth paradigms and the entrenched growth-centric models that dominate global economies. Discuss how mainstream economic and political frameworks can be reconciled with post-growth ideals or if they must be radically transformed. Investigate new ways of measuring societal progress and individual well-being in a post-growth society.

3. Strategic Preparation

What roles can governments, businesses, and individuals play in transitioning towards a growth-independent society? Present and discuss specific policy innovations, business models, community/NGO initiatives and lifestyle choices that support a flourishing society even when GDP is not the primary measure of success.

4. Enabling Mechanisms

Identify key enablers that could facilitate a smooth transition to a post-growth society. Focus on technological, cultural, and policy-driven mechanisms that support sustainable practices without inducing economic expansion.

5. Welfare and Economic Stability

Examine how welfare states might adapt to and thrive in a non-growing or contracting economy. Explore fiscal and social policies that could redistribute resources effectively, ensuring stability and equity.

6. What norms and values are enabled in and can enable post-growth societies? Examine the potential role of immaterial values, personal fulfilment, and care in enabling and facilitating the development of beyond-growth societies.


Money can't buy it: reducing high consumption to unlock equity and wellbeing

Wealthy households are driving climate change through their consumption. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2021) recognise this, stating that “conspicuous consumption by the wealthy causes a large proportion of harmful emissions in all countries.” Convincing these households to consume less is vital to limiting global warming to safe levels and promoting more equitable distribution of resources and wellbeing across society. High consumers are not only directly responsible for a large proportion of emissions, but also act as ‘consumption role models’, setting consumption expectations across society – it is therefore vital that they model more sustainable consumption. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are too high and resources (i.e. fuels, land, food, water) too scarce and unevenly distributed for excess consumption to continue.

Tackling high consumption also unlocks improved wellbeing. The IPCC (2021) recognise that: ‘vital dimensions of human wellbeing correlate with consumption, but only up to a threshold’. We focus on consumption beyond this threshold, beyond what is necessary for wellbeing. In the session, we hope to explore the tipping points, where high consumption decouples from wellbeing (i.e. due to disbenefits for health, family, leisure time, ability to care, ability to retire, demanding social networks etc.) and where opportunities exist for consumption reduction interventions to gain support from high consumers, releasing them from the disbenefits and creating opportunities for better wellbeing.

Currently climate and consumption policy ignores high consumers, despite the very significant potential environmental (carbon reduction), equity (more even distribution of resources) and wellbeing gains associated with curbing the consumption of the highest consumers.

To support effective policy making in this area, better insights are needed into all aspects of high consumption, including: the characteristics of high consumers, their spatial distribution; what drives it and locks it in, what are the perceived benefits but also the hidden work and pressures associated with maintaining high consuming lifestyles. Through this we can identify the tipping points at which the benefits of high consumption diminish, and the pitfalls (for wellbeing, family life etc) begin. These tipping points may present opportunities to arrest the most harmful (for environment and quality of life) impacts of high consumption and inform evidence based policy recommendations to allow these opportunities to be seized.


The impact and potential of digitalization for sustainable consumption

In this session, we aim to bring together researchers exploring the significance of digitalization for sustainable consumption practices. While the direct impacts from increasing digitalization (related to hard- and software consumption) are significant and relevant for this session, this session in addition wants to explore the indirect, hard-to-understand consequences digitalization has on lifestyles and consumption. Such consequences can relate to rebound effects, spillover effects, and other indirect effects on consumption patterns. Of interest are also effects from digitalization that do not immediately materialize in changing spending patterns, but instead influence aspects such as time use or mental and physical well-being that might eventually result in changes to consumption patterns.


Achieving sustainable mobility

Achieving sustainable mobility is a challenging task. There is an urgent need to rethink mobility while satisfying human needs, ensuring social justice and respecting environmental limits. Sustainable mobility transitions also come with dilemmas around mobility justice. What strategies are needed to support sustainable mobility practices to emerge? Who should engage in these transitions? And how can suitable mobility be achieved?


Arts and creative approaches to mainstreaming sustainable consumption

The arts and creative practices remain under-theorised in sustainable consumption research. Yet, they have an important role to play in envisioning, transitioning to, and enacting more sustainable futures. Indeed, it is increasingly clear that transitions to sustainable living must be supported by broad-reaching visions and stories of what it means to live well, and the arts have been proposed as key candidates for generating such visions and stories.

Currently, much of humanity lives by the understanding that consumerism is a main pathway to happiness and fulfilment. Taking the arts and creative practices in a broad sense to refer to traditional artistic activities (e.g. painting, writing), everyday creative activities (e.g. taking pictures, social media posts), and arts-based and creative methods, this session aims to explore how such practices can help us shift away from this understanding. Notably, the session is interested in how such practices can offer valuable opportunities for generating new bottom-up understandings, engaging in participatory learning, imagining more sustainable consumption futures, and disseminating productive understandings to wide audiences.

This session invites both academics and practitioners to reflect on past and current experiences with the arts and creative practices in sustainable consumption research and advocacy. These experiences can involve the use of arts-based and creative methods for studying sustainable consumption practices, disseminating findings via artistic and creative means, or studying the portrayal of (un)sustainable consumption in art.

Taking the arts and creative practices seriously, the session seeks reflections on successes and on challenges and limitations of such approaches to imagining, bringing about, and mainstreaming sustainable consumption. Research beyond the field of sustainable consumption has previously argued that arts and creative practices can contribute to representation, imagination, sensing and experience, dissemination, and democratisation of concepts and knowledges. As arts-based and creative approaches are attracting growing interest from sustainable consumption researchers, it becomes critical that their potentials and limitations be considered in this field.

Accordingly, the session invites participants to reflect on the following themes:

• How are the arts and creative practices already used in the representation and communication of (un)sustainable consumption? How is (un)sustainable consumption represented and who creates the representations?

• How can the arts and creative practices support a democratic engagement with sustainable consumption futures? How does this relate to mainstreaming sustainability?

• How can the arts and creative practices support grasping what living more sustainably would mean and feel? How do existing mainstream artistic norms enable and constrain this potential?

• More broadly, what are the relationships between arts, imagination, and creativity, and do the arts have privileged relationships to these coveted qualities?