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19th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production – Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption

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Sustainable Consumption and Production in Cities and a new Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on SDG12

Cities are increasingly emerging as focal points for transitions towards sustainability and many cities around the world are developing Climate Action plans that build on Climate Adaptation visions and pathways. However, limited attention and efforts are spend on Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG12), whereas SCP in cities contributes hugely to the environmental footprint of cities. Most consumers live in cities and in cities consumption patterns and lifestyles are driven by technological and social innovations, fashions and styles, and global and local challenges. The consumption patterns and lifestyle choices of the people who live in the city are thus key from the perspective of sustainable consumption and production. Therefore, Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in cities is an important topic in the Knowledge Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SSCP) that is part of the Future Earth research platform ( There are important differences between cities in the global North and South both in terms of challenges and possible solutions, which is acknowledged and calls for different approaches and strategies. The proposed dialogue session aims to report on the progress of this new network, based on the results of a workshop held in Annapolis in 2017, a scoping report on SCP in cities developed in 2018, which led to a paper in the Journal of Cleaner Production in 2019. This paper proposes a refined transdisciplinary research framework and a research agenda to advance SCP in cities. The session seeks a profound discussion between academics and practitioners on (lack of) progress and challenges for SCP in cities and usable research and engagement frameworks on: (i) cutting edge social change conceptualizations and theories for transformations towards Systems of SCP, (ii) best examples and practices in cities and how can this be used as stepping stones for transitions, (iii) how to bridge the gap between research and practice and how to turn this into plans and strategies for action and engagement in cities around the world, (iv) how to support activities and experiments by stakeholders (business, civil society, academia, local governments) to address unsustainable consumption, production, and life styles through engagement, action and collaboration, and (v) how to develop a better understanding of the conceptual and theoretical challenges related to SCP in cities and how this relates to a transition to a Circular Economy. The envisioned discussion will be used to further develop the Knowledge Action Network (KAN) and enhance links and collaboration between researchers, local initiatives of practitioners, and city representatives. In addition to short introductions by the organisers, a facilitated discussion using advanced workshop tools and discussions in small groups will take place in order to identify and discuss major challenges for sustainable consumption and production in cities, including major differences between cities in the North and the South, and what these could learn from each other. The proposed session consists of three parts, each of 30 minutes. Part 1 consists of short presentations, tentatively consisting of: • Patrick Schroeder, Advancing sustainable consumption and production in cities - A transdisciplinary research and engagement framework • Philip Vergragt, A research agenda for SCP in cities • Jaco Quist, “Transforming to SCP in cities through envisioning and diffusing alternative practices” • Anna Davies & Maurie Cohen “Social Change beyond Consumerism for Sustainable Consumption” • Arnold Tukker, Relevance of Urban Metabolism studies for SCP in cities

Part 2 entails 30 minutes of discussion in small groups on key questions, such as: • What are dilemmas and opportunities for local sustainable production in cities? • How can research and action for SCP in cities become better connected? • What are differences and similarities between SCP and CE in an urban context? • How to envision, assess and explore transitions to SCP in cities? • How can sustainable consumption (practices) be further diffused and stimulated? • How can cities in the South and the North learn on SCP from each other?

Part 3 of 30 minutes consisting of harvesting and facilitated plenary discussion

Jaco Quist
TU Delft, Technology, Policy, Management

Patrick Schroeder
Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
United Kingdom

Anna Davies
Trinity College Dublin

Philip Vergragt
Tellus Institute
United States

Arnold Tukker
CML, Leiden University


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