The Sustainable Practices Research Group (SPRG) comprises seven research projects and four Fellowships conducted across eight UK universities.The SPRG is funded by the Economic & Social Research Council, the Scottish Government and the Department for Environment, Food  & Rural Affairs.

Download a brief introduction to the Sustainable Practices Research Group

This brief overview introduces a practice perspective to sustainable consumption and reflects upon how the programme has addressed its guiding research questions. This overview was prepared for the SPRG Finale Event.

Outputs, Engagements and Updates

PRESENTATION TO SCOTTISH GOVERMENT > SPRG Director Dale Southerton, Deputy Director Andrew McMeekin, and researchers Nicola Spurling, Dan Welch and Isabelle Darmon took a poster exhibition of material from the SPRG exhibition to the Scottish Government in Edinburgh (5 March), where Dale presented insights from the SPRG programme to a receptive audience of policy makers and third sector sustainability groups. Slides can be downloaded from Presentations. 

ARTICLE IN EU RESEARCH MAGAZINE > EU Research magazine has published a piece on the SPRG research programme, with an interview with SPRG Director Dale Southerton. Read the article.

BLOG: UNSUSTAINABLE PRACTICES > SPRG researchers Nicola Spurling and Dan Welch draw on the Interventions in Practice report for a piece on the Talking Climate blog.

PATTERNS OF WATER has been making the headlines, with coverage of the project's work in the national press, as well as a number of radio interviews with SPRG researcher Alison Browne.

ZERO CARBON HOUSING PRESENTATION > Zero Carbon researchers Simon Guy and Andrew Karvonen (University of Manchester) gave a presentation on 'District Heating and the Rescaling of Urban Energy Provision' to the Scottish Government at their Climate Change Lunchtime Seminar. Download the presentation slides.

INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP: PROPERTIES OF WATER The Drinking Water project held an international workshop with scholars from Taiwan, India, Mexico and the UK on 3-4th October 2013 at Essex University addressing contrasting characteristics of water provisioning, processes of creating different qualities of water, unequal rights to water, and emergent sustainability crises.


The SPRG finale event was held on September 11th at Mary Ward House, Tavistock Place, London. Sustainability | Social Practices | Policy was attended by an invited audience of over a hundred policy makers, academics, business people and NGOs. The event showcased the SPRG Exhibition as well as a panel discussion with distinguished speakers in the field of policy and sustainability. The exhibition brought together delegates with the SPRG's leading social scientists in the field of sustainable consumption to discuss their projects.

Following a busy afternoon at the exhibition, the panel opened with SPRG Director Professor Dale Southerton presenting a brief overview of the programme's distinctive social practice approach to sustainability policy. Dale was followed by Lord Gus O'Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary (2005-2011), who reflected on the SPRG's contribution and his broad ranging experience with governance, policy, behaviour change and sustainability. Questions from the floor afforded a wide ranging debate and the discussions continued after the panel with a drinks reception in the exhibition area.

Watch a video of the panel discussion

Find our more about the SPRG's finale event.

REPORT RELEASED: Interventions in Practice: Re-framing Policy Approaches to Consumer Behaviour > In time for the programme's finale event the Theoretical Development & Integration project has produced a major report addressing how a practice perspective can re-frame policy initiatives in sustainable consumption. Read the executive summary or full report.

PATTERNS OF WATER PROJECT FINAL REPORT > The Patterns of Water project have released their final report. The report includes research results of a 1800 person survey, as well as interviews with survey participants, into domestic water related practices. The research demonstrates how taking practices as the unit of analysis allows for a deeper understanding of the routines and habits of everyday life that lead to domestic water consumption. Find out more and download the report and resource pack.

PUBLICATION > Full text of The Habits of Consumption edited by Alan Warde and Dale Southerton is available online.  This collection of essays addresses theoretical approaches to understanding behaviour change, with contributions from SPRG researchers Warde and Southerton, Elizabeth Shove and Andy McMeekin.

VIDEO RELEASE > The Bottled Water project has been featured as an ESRC research case study video in its Planet and People series. Watch the video.



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