International Conference on Sustainable Consumption (NUI Galway: 21-22 May
The CONSENSUS (Consumption,
Environment, and Sustainability) Project, in conjunction with
the National University of Ireland,
Galway, hosted its second international conference on sustainable
consumption on Thursday May 21st and Friday May 22nd 2015 at the National University
of Ireland, Galway. The theme of the conference was ‘Sustainable Consumption Transformations: Implementation and
Impacts’. This two-day conference provided an international
platform for both scholars and policymakers in the field of sustainable consumption
to discuss and debate on-going research in this important area; and focused on
implementation and impact of research on policy and action.
The conference programme comprised of a mix of presentations, panel
discussions and lightning talks from policymakers, researchers and practitioners.
Professor Martina Schäfer (Technische Universität, Berlin) provided the public
keynote address on Friday the 22nd of May. Professor Schäfer’s
address – entitled ‘Take-home messages for sustainable consumption' – explored the
formulation of eight key consumption messages directed at promoters in politics
and administration, as well as environmental and consumer organisations. The
conference also featured a joint plenary from Professor Philip Vergragt (Tellus
Institute and Clark University, USA); Gemma Adams (Forum for the Future, London);
Neil Coles (Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production);
and Kathleen Stokes (NESTA, UK).
According to the
CONSENSUS conference coordinator Dr Mary Jo Lavelle: "Our conference
intended to explore opportunities for future research collaborations and
facilitate exchange between currently existing sustainable consumption
networks. The public lecture and panel discussion provided delegates an opportunity
to reflect on household consumption and the various ways in which it impacts
negatively on the environment, as well as to explore how a shift towards more
sustainable consumption might be encouraged, measured and governed."
A feature of the
first day of the conference programme comprised the launch of the final
CONSENSUS research report. This report outlines the insights gained from
foundational and exploratory research in relation to household consumption
detailing international good practice and tools for governing that may enable
consumption to become more sustainable. Novel methods and approaches are
outlined which support more collaborative and co-produced transdisciplinary
action for attacking the complex dimensions of transforming consumption. All
outputs from the CONSENSUS Project are available from http://www.consensus.ie.