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Minutes 2013

Minutes from the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Virtual Community on Sustainability and Consumption

Near-Term and Long-Term Strategies and Interventions at the 10th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology,

22 - 25 September 2013,
Otto von Guericke Universität Magdeburg, Germany

11 members participated in the meeting, which had been advertised in the VC Newsletter, in the conference program, and, briefly, verbally at the symposium organized by the VC earlier the same day. John Thøgersen also intended to send a reminder with the agenda to all members the day before the meeting, but he later discovered that the email was never sent.

Chair of the meeting: John Thøgersen


  1. Opening remarks
  2. Status re the VC activities during the second year
  3. How and what can we improve to make the VC more valuable? 4. Plans for the next year and the future
  4. Plans for the next year and the future
  5. Misc.

Ad 1: Opening remarks

John summarized what had originally been agreed to be the purpose of the VC and the activities that the VC was originally intended to carry out. This information can be read at the VC web page and will therefore not be repeated in these minutes. The annual meeting felt that the purpose and activities are still a good basis for the VC and do not need to be revised at this point.

Ad 2: Status re the VC activities during the second year

The VC now has 85 members, up from 71 a year ago. It seems that members are not very actively promoting the VC in their networks, or the kind of activities that the VC organized has a more limited interest than originally anticipated.

In the context of the VC, one Virtual/hybrid seminar has been arranged this year, by the group at Aarhus University: “When prosocial and proself are at odds: The influence of activated values and norms on prosocial behaviour” (Dr. Judith I.M. de Groot, Bournemouth University - 29th of November 2012). A webcast of the seminar can be found at the VC’s website. There was general agreement that the Virtual Seminar idea, and not least the ability to view a webcast after the actual seminar, is very valuable, and members of the VC are strongly encouraged to make relevant seminars at their institutions available to the whole VC in this way.

Research collaboration: Members from three countries are collaborating about an ERA-Net SUSFOOD application: ”Promoting sustainability in consumer food choices: Informational, social and environmental approaches” (SUS-CONS-ISE).
Lucia Reisch and John Thøgersen are editing a ”Handbook of Research on Sustainable Consumption”, which will be published by Edward Elgar and which contains contributions from many members of the VC.

Exchange: Partly as an outcome of the VC, a PhD student from Wageningen University visited Aarhus University for 3 months in the period.

Last year’s annual meeting suggested that we

  1. Continue “piggy-bagging” on an existing conference, but shift between conferences to make participation sometimes more attractive to different people. Have the next annual event in connection with the environmental psychology conference in Magdeburg
  2. A more active international management group
  3. Work on improving the virtual platform and realize several of the ideas mentioned at the meeting

The first and the third of these suggestions have been carried out. However, we haven’t succeeded in extending the daily management group outside Aarhus University. This is still a task for the coming year.

Several ideas were offered at last years annual meeting regarding the development of
the Web platform (see the minutes in the October 2014 Newsletter). We have worked on realizing a number of these suggestions:

  1. There is now a LinkedIn group for the VC. Purpose: Increase cohesion among the members of the Community and offering members the possibility of presenting themselves and viewing each other’s profiles. 51 members have signed up by now.
  2. We also recently created a List Server to facilitate discussions between members. The LS has the purpose of facilitating communication and knowledge sharing between members, as well as encouraging further project collaborations. Only 26 members have signed up for the LS and we still haven’t initiated discussions here (but the management group plan to initiate discussion about some of the issues raised at the annual meeting). Decision: All current members will be added to the LS, and future members will be automatically added, unless they explicitly ask not to. (Anyone can unsubscribe any time.)
  3. We have been searching the web for an appropriate platform to create the various forums suggested at last year’s meeting. We have now identified three appropriate candidates (,, and hope to launch the forums in the near future.
  4. We have worked at creating a refreshed visual identity of our web presence. Visit our website and view.

A couple of ideas were also offered at last years annual meeting regarding the development of the Newsletter (see the minutes in the October 2014 Newsletter). We have gone some way towards engaging a broader group in the editorial work, but haven’t come all the
way suggested last year. Groups at other universities are strongly encouraged to sign up

for editing an issue of the newsletter (please email John)! We introduced a new section in the Newsletter: SC Research at ... Purpose: giving research groups among our members the opportunity to present themselves and their research. Research groups presented until now are: the Marketing & Sustainability group at AU (Nov. 2012), Groningen University (Dec. 2012), Otto von Guericke Universität Magdeburg (March 2013), University of Maine (June 2013). Please email John if you would like to present your research group in the newsletter (strongly encouraged!).

Various people would like to have access to the list of members of the VC; various options were discussed

  • Via LinkedIn – attached to their profile/ personal website; drawbacks: not everybody uses LinkedIn
  • Via membership section of the website (password needed); drawbacks: not possible if AU hosts the website; passwords are a barrier for people
  • Create a list with name + affiliation + keywords; drawbacks: explicit consent needed to publish online
  • Circulate a pdf member list via email, together with the newsletter. Decided.

It was suggested to (also) use other (social) media than LinkedIn, eg Twitter or a blog. If someone wants to take the initiative, much appreciated!

People indicated the info send around is useful and valuable. Some would like to see more interaction. Ulf suggested an opt-out approach for the list server.

Chad commented that for Americans the VC might be too much European focused.

Ad 4: Plans for the next year and the future

It was decided that next year meeting should be organized as a pre-conference in connection with ICAP, which is in Paris 8-13 July, 2014. The pre-conference will be 7 or 8 of July (8 July if the only ICAP activity that day is registration and evening reception).
It was mentioned that it’s an expensive conference, and suggested that funding opportunities for PhD students be explored.

Suggested that we circulate flyers and prepare a poster for the next conference to increase visibility of the VC.

Christian Klöckner suggests that VC members should look at this interesting call and possibly collaborate about an application:
European JPI Climate Joint Call for Transnational Collaborative Research Project

Ad 5: Misc.

Some stats on our website, from Google Analytics, 1st of September 2012 – 1st of August 2013

  • 4673 views in total. 3284 unique visitors (each unique visitor can have one or more views). Most viewed pages: I. Events II. Main page III. Newsletter
  • Country of the visitor: Denmark, Germany, Hungary, UK, India, Netherlands, Brazil, Switzerland, Iran, Italy, New Zealand Tunisia, Australia, Poland, US, etc.
  • Search terms: Sustainability and consumption, Sustainability, virtual community on sustainability and consumption, Improsume AU, Aarhus University choice-based conjoint, summer school theories environmental psychology Groningen, summer school urban sustainability Denmark, superb and marketable meat from efficient and robust animals, John Thogersen

Minutes by Geertje Schuitema and John Thøgersen

Last modified:23 June 2016 1.50 p.m.