The Transparency Project: Everyday Products, Consumer Knowledge and Environmental Impacts

Consumers today have very little reliable information about the environmental impacts of the products and services they use. From cars and phones to furniture, appliances and packaged foods, most products and services are understood and compared on price and advertised claims- neither of which tend to reflect the environmental impacts of product production, consumption or disposal. There is growing evidence to suggest that when consumers are made aware of a products environmental impact they are more likely to modify their behaviour, seek more information (transparency) and accept pro-environmental regulatory change (such as bans on plastic bags).

This seminar focuses on the problem of opacity, or a lack of evident transparency and traceability in everyday products in today’s global economy

Building upon the experience of our two previous conferences, Unmaking Waste: Transforming Production and Consumption in Time and Place (May 2015) and Unmaking Waste: Transforming Design & Consumption for a Circular Economy (Sep 2018) the The Transparency Project: Everyday Products, Consumer Knowledge and Environmental Impacts will address the following themes from a similarly multidisciplinary perspective:

  1. Case Studies profiling the impacts of products and services in everyday use, clarifying ways of measuring their impacts in a more accessible manner.
  1. Communicating environmental impacts more effectively to non-specialists, through labelling, app-based systems, sensing, and other assessment systems.
  1. Policy and regulation transitions towards ‘responsible production and consumption’ (UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12), with a particular focus on greater transparency and traceability.


1. Call for Abstracts: Closed

Abstracts should be no more than 200 words, and address the purpose, methods, and implications of the work to be presented. They should include a proposed title, and nominate one or more of the above themes that seem most relevant to the subject. All abstracts, conference presentations and full papers must be in English. Abstracts must be received no later than 11:59pm ACDT Friday 29th November 2019.

2. Review Process:

All abstracts will be peer-reviewed and all submissions will receive a written response with feedback from the Conference Organising Committee by 16th December 2019. The authors of successful abstracts will then be invited to present at the seminar, see presentation requirements. 

Presenters will also have the opportunity to submit their 5000-7000 word paper for inclusion in an edited book. More details of the requirements for this paper will be distributed later. Ideally, your paper should be ready for double-blind peer-review by late February/early March, 2020. Negotiations are currently underway to develop a book based on the seminar with a leading international publisher. It is anticipated that a selection of these papers will be published in an edited book and possibly also a special issue of a journal. More details on this will be available on the conference website when they come to hand.

3. Full Paper Submission Guidelines:

We only accept text files in .doc or .docx format (Microsoft Word).We only accept text files in .doc or .docx format (Microsoft Word). We do not accept PDF submissions for presentation papers and the proceedings. More details on the Submission Guidelines will be available in late 2019.

Papers should be 5,000-7,000 words in length. They should be written as continuous expository narrative in a chapter or article style—not as lists of dot points.

Papers should be the author(s) original work. Submissions must contain no more than 20% of textual material published in other places by the same author or authors, and these must be properly acknowledged and cited. Authors must ensure the accuracy of all citations, quotations, diagrams, tables, and maps presented.

Papers must be written in accordance with Harvard-style referencing.

All papers must be in English. Papers should also be checked and proof-read before submission. It is not the responsibility of the conference organisers or the editors of the proceedings to do this work. Changes cannot be made to papers during the peer review process. However, even if your paper is accepted without required changes, you will have a chance to make minor revisions after peer review and before the final submission of your paper.

4. Presentations:

Accepted papers will be organized into sessions based upon their chosen themes. PowerPoint slide presentations of no more than 20 slides and saved either in PowerPoint format or PDF. Please note that our display systems will not accept work produced in Apple Keynote unless exported as a PDF. It will be the responsibility of presenters to bring their slideshow document on a USB memory stick before their respective session/s for upload. Further presentation requirements will be communicated closer to the seminar date

5. Conference Publication:

A selection of the seminar papers will be resubmitted to the authors for revision after the conference for consideration of inclusion in an edited volume, to be published in 2021. The Conference organisers are currently negotiating with leading publishers to produce these edited collections.