The Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production: Preparing for a Post-COVID-19 Future

Organizer: Maurie Cohen
Format: Online


The Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production was established approximately six years ago and has been a successful entity within Future Earth. At the same time, research and policy practice pertaining to household provisioning has become increasingly visible and the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement both identify systems of consumption and production as priority areas for future attention.

The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted lifestyles in most parts of the world and previously unimaginable changes have become manifest with respect to consumer purchases, savings rates, work routines, supply-chain management, recreation and leisure, and much more. Some of these adjustments prompted by the pandemic have imparted positive changes with respect to greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, biodiversity encroachment, and other key environmental indicators. The social impacts, however, have been devastating in most communities and there has been consistent pressure throughout the pandemic to revert back to “normal” as promptly as possible. With vaccination rates increasing and economies starting to come back to life what are the risks that systems of consumption and production will spring back to their pre-existing status? Are there ways to lock in some of the improvements of the past year and chart a path toward a more sustainable future? Are there ways to leverage our hopeful expectations in ways that challenge business as usual?

This session is designed to be participatory and interactive. It will be facilitated by three members of the KAN’s Management Team with the aim to catalyze a wide-ranging discussion and to recruit interested participants into a new KAN-sponsored initiative on systems of sustainable consumption and production in the post-COVID-19 era.

Theme: Dealing with systemic risks