Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About usFaculty of Behavioural and Social SciencesPsychologyVirtual community on sustainability and consumptionBackgroundAboutMinutes from the VC annual meetings

Minutes 2014

Minutes from the Virtual Community's 2014 Annual Event - FUTURE TRENDS IN SUSTAINABILITY AND CONSUMPTION RESEARCH

The Virtual Community’s Annual Event 2014 was held 8 July at Paris Université IX, Dauphine, as a pre-event before the 2014 International Congress of Applied Psychology at the nearby Palais des Congrès, gathering 40 members and presenters.

After a welcome and introduction by John Thøgersen (JT), the first point at the program (9:05) was a workshop on “How to get your work published.” The symposium opened with short introductions by three journal editors: Robert Gifford, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Barbara Brown, Environment & Behavior, and Lucia Reisch, Journal of Consumer Policy. Next, two PhD students presented papers, to be used as reference point for the discussion. Yona Kamelgarn (Dauphine) presented a paper on “Consumer responses to the French eco-labeling for housing,” and Madeleine B. Toft (Aarhus University): Consumers’ willingness to take on an active role in the Smart Grid. After their presentation, there was a discussion between the editors and participants about general principles for good publication practices as well as specific issues and tips.

Next (11.00), JT gave the first keynote presentation, on “Sustainability & Consumption according to the new IPCC report,” followed by a brief discussion.

The exquisite and plentiful lunch was served at the 7th floor, with a wonderful view to the Eifel Tower and other famous Paris sights.

After lunch (13.00), Ugo Guarnacci, Research Programme Officer at the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, gave the second keynote presentation, on “Renaturing Cities and Citizen Engagement - Exploring the contribution of behavioural research to the policy agenda on sustainable development,” followed by a brief discussion.

Both keynote presentation had emphasized future research needs, and the next point on the agenda (13.45) was a round table discussion and workshops on “Future trends in Sustainability & Consumption research.” In the panel at the round table were Ugo Guarnacci, Lucia Reisch, Linda Steg, Ellen Matthies, Bob Gifford and Wesley Schultz, who joined later. The panel members started with a brief presentation of one issue or challenge that they believed will be (or should be) of key importance for future developments in Sustainability & Consumption research. After that, there was a brief joint discussion, offering everyone an opportunity to ask clarifying questions, and possibly suggesting additional themes. Rather than just doing a plenum discussion of all the themes, we then did break-out discussions in smaller groups. (During the coffee break, JT summarized the proposals in themes.) Each break-out group were asked to discuss research opportunities, including collaboration and funding, taking it’s point of departure in one or more of the issues brought up by the panel. In the final plenum, the break-out groups reported back and we had a brief joint discussion.

Based on the panel’s proposals, the following themes for break-out group-discussions/workshops were formulated:

  • Using behavioural economics/behavioural regulation as one possible tool to promote sustainable consumption.
  • Research on wellbeing making it policy relevant.
  • How psychological and contextual factors interact at influencing sustainable consumption.
  • The values-motivation adaptations needed if we are to adapt and maintain QoL in a low/no carbon society.
  • The “Dragons of Inaction” – which DoI are important for which people; effective interventions targeting DoI.

The allocation to groups was on a completely voluntary/interest basis and since few people chose the two first groups, they merged with other groups, so in the final Wrap up section, three groups reported back. The two first groups had focused mostly on environmental regulation, both calling for more research on what is effective in which situations and specifically on public acceptance of regulation. The third group had taken the point of departure in the problem of inaction and how to deal with it without creating psychological reactance.

After a brief general discussion based on the group reports, the final point on the agenda was a brief status report on the VC and a discussion of the location for next year’s annual meeting. There are now 122 members of the VC, compared to 85 members one year ago. There have been no virtual seminars the last year – this is apparently quite difficult to pull off! In addition to the Web site and the monthly or bi-monthly Newsletter, the VC now has a LinkedIn group, a List server, and most lately a Forum, that hopefully can serve as both dissemination and collaboration platform. JT strongly encouraged members to use these tools for strengthening the information flow and collaboration in the community.

Among the examples of research collaboration in the past year, JT especially emphasized the “Handbook of Research on Sustainable Consumption,” published by Edward Elgar later this year, which is edited by Lucia Reisch and JT and with contributions from many members of the VC.

For the next period, JT mentioned a call from the ISSC announced to come out at the end of the year and which might be interesting for the VC: the Transformations to Sustainability Programme.

Two conferences were discussed as potential locations of next year’s annual meeting: the 2015 joint IAREP/SABE conference in Sibiu, Romania (July 13-17, 2015) and the 11th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology, September 2015 in Groningen, The Netherlands. Among the members that were present at the meeting, a large majority preferred the latter of these two options.

Download the Minutes in PDF version here

Last modified:24 June 2016 09.30 a.m.