Our approach

To understand sustainable consumption and production, the Sustainable Consumption Institute challenges orthodox thinking on sustainable consumption and production by looking beyond individual actors, such as the consumer or the firm.

Challenging orthodox thinking

We do not have a blueprint for transitions to sustainability. Instead, we focus on how current forms of social and economic activity, and how they are constantly changing, shape the pursuit of sustainability. These include shifts in business practice and structure, intensified inequalities, social and technical innovation, global migration, novel social identities and practices, and political polarisation.

The SCI works as a close-knit, interdisciplinary community of critical social science scholars at various career stages to carry out this research agenda. We do so across diverse empirical contexts and deploy a diverse range of social science methodologies. We also do so with a focus on developing the work and careers of sustainability-oriented researchers working across the social sciences.

The SCI influences thinking on sustainable consumption within and beyond academia by developing meaningful relationships through long term partnerships and collaborative projects, as well as leading and participating in wider knowledge sharing activities through seminars, conferences and networks.

Communicating our work

We regularly communicate our research findings and insights to a range of audiences, through:

  • academic journals
  • blogs
  • books
  • exhibitions
  • policy consultation
  • policy notes
  • public debates
  • stakeholder reports
  • the media
  • workshops

We actively engage with businesses, policy-makers and civil society organisations, striving to inform wider public debate.

"The unsustainability of current consumption patterns is closely linked to social inequality: the environmental and health burden of production and consumption tends to be placed disproportionately on deprived communities. It is our aim to understand how current modes of provision perpetuate such inequality so we can help facilitate more just sustainable practices of consumption and production."

Mat Paterson / Director, SCI