Business models, organisations, and alternative valuation
Changing practices of power system resilience
Authors: Sarah Mander, Dana Abi Ghanem, Clair Gough
Abstract: The relationship between consumers and electricity network operators is changing, as operators move beyond primarily supply side measures to maintain network resilience and seek to incorporate end users through measures including demand side management. Using data from a series of focus groups, which explore social responses to approaches to manage the resilience of the electricity network, we consider how these changes impact on the ability of consumers to engage in everyday practices and the implications for energy system governance. This work suggests that whilst the resilience of the network can be managed through demand side measures, these can challenge the ability of households or businesses to maintain their everyday functions highlighting how, when considering resilience, different actors, such as consumers, network operators and regulators, have differing views of what is a desired end-point.
On Dynamic Capabilities and Environmental Innovations
Authors: Effie Kesidou, Pelin Demirel
Abstract: The literature on dynamic capabilities looks at how organizational routines generate dynamic capabilities within the organization and explores whether dynamic capabilities explain differences in performance between firms. Yet, few studies systematically examine the role of dynamic capabilities in driving environmental innovations. Environmental innovations have risen in the strategic agendas of companies due to growing pressures by external stakeholders for a reduction of the environmental impact. In the face of these shifts in the business environment, firms strive to renew their dynamic capabilities in order to meet the increasing need for environmental innovations.This paper makes a theoretical synthesis of the innovation, environmental economics and strategic management literatures and collects new survey data from UK firms. Probit regression analysis shows that technological search, market search, and learning capabilities are important in motivating different types of environmental innovations. These results provide evidence in support of the importance of dynamic capabilities for environmental innovations.
Emergence of District Heating Networks; modelling alternative business models
Authors: Jonathan Busch, Katy Roelich, Catherine Bale, Christof Knoeri, Ruth Bush
Abstract: Infrastructure business models that promise resource efficiencies and additional social benefits exist at sub-national scales, but only as isolated examples of good practice. We present an agent-based model for analysing the potential for different actors to implement local infrastructure business models, based on agents’ ability to overcome barriers in the development process. This presents a novel approach insofar as previous models have concentrated on the acceptance of alternative value provision models or the evaluation of district heat networks’ potential, rather than the emergence of alternative business models. We implement the model for district heating networks in the UK, which have the potential to significantly contribute to carbon emission reductions, but remain under-developed compared with other European countries. We discuss the relation between different possible policy interventions and the actors, scales and typology of district heating schemes they enable – with implications for realising different levels of social and economic value.
Reframing Energy Demand: Innovation for Sustainable Heat in Northern European Cities
Authors: Ronan Bolton, Dave Hawkey, Janette Webb, Mark Winskel
Abstract: Based on a new research project called Reframing Energy Demand – innovation for sustainable heat, this paper sets out the rationale for a comparative interdisciplinary social science analysis of heat decarbonisation in Northern European cities, and outlines an analytical framing based on socio-technical systems thinking for the analysis of sustainable heat pathways. The project aims to compare the institutional, business and organisation structures implicated in heat supply chains and energy efficiency in the urban environments of Denmark, Germany and UK. In the paper we outline a socio-technical approach, drawing on science, technology and innovation studies and economic sociology, to investigate the relative capacity of cities for transformation to low energy, low carbon and sustainable systems. We discuss how our approach might inform key challenges such as the financing of low carbon heat supply and energy efficiency investments, and the scope for knowledge transfer between cities.
What motivates members of renewable energy cooperatives? An econometric analysis
Authors: Thomas Bauwens
Abstract: The objective of this paper is to empirically investigate the motivations that drive individuals to engage in renewable energy cooperatives, which enable consumers themselves to co-own and invest in renewable energy generation units. The purchase of cooperative shares is conceptualized as contributions to impure public goods and a distinction is made between extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. Using data from an original survey conducted in two cooperatives located in Flanders, Northern part of Belgium, and a control group, we study the determinants of two decisions: the propensity to join the cooperatives and the level of contributions, i.e. the number of shares purchased. The results show that the different monetary incentives do not play the same role for both cooperatives. In addition, intrinsic motivations are indeed essential drivers, but they are not necessarily the same for the two decisions studied.
Financing energy efficient retrofit schemes: the contribution of new business models based on revolving funds
Authors: Niall Kerr
Abstract: The Energy Efficient Retrofit (EER) of buildings is considered important for a variety of environmental and social reasons. Lowering carbon emissions, ensuring energy is affordable and enhancing the security of energy provision. Despite multiple studies that consider the possible options significant lethargy still exists regarding levels of EER activity. The UK presents an acute case study for EER implementation. It has one of oldest building stocks in Europe and one of the most energy inefficient. Major EER schemes that have taken place have demonstrated the considerable benefits, but government policy designed to encourage EER uptake, has been criticised for cherry picking those with lowest payback. This paper evaluates the use of a revolving fund (RF) for EER. The fund captures savings from some measures to help finance other measures. Using evaluated costs and savings of EER, alongside a RF model, the potential for recycled investment is examined.
Investing in low carbon transitions: Energy finance as an Adaptive Market
Authors: Stephen Hall, Tim Foxon, Ronan Bolton
Abstract: The volume of capital required to transition energy systems to low carbon futures is very large, yet evolutionary and institutional economics has under theorised the role of capital markets in financing socio-technical transitions. This has been due to a lack of suitable theory to supplant neo-classical notions of capital markets and innovation finance at the transformative stage of systems change. This research draws Grubb et al’s (2014) notion that planetary economics is defined by three ‘domains’, which describe behavioural, neoclassical and evolutionary contributions to sustainable development theory. The authors identify first and second domain theories of financial markets that are well established, but argue third domain approaches have lacked a compatible theory of capital markets. Based on an analysis of renewable energy finance in the UK, the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis is presented as an approach compatible with ‘third domain’ understandings of system transformation.
Non-growing enterprises – analysis and evidence
Authors: Irmi Seidl
Abstract: Growing enterprises are at the heart of the growth society and their growth drivers are both internal and external. However, not all enterprises grow, in particular many SME are in a steady state. There are various arguments why an enterprise may not pursue growth; it may be limited markets, economic arguments or values. Increasingly, studies are being carried out about non-growing enterprises, and some start to accept a coming-out. Hence, we get insights in their strategies such as niche construction, use of efficiency potentials, quality leadership, improvement of customer ties etc. Also non-growing enterprises may grow temporarily: for instance as start-up or due to new investments, but they differ from others by considering growth as an inferior objective.
Business innovation for consumer adoption of lower carbon practices: an empirical analysis using a coevolutionary framework
Authors: Elizabeth Morgan, Tim Foxon, Anne Tallontire
Abstract: Coevolutionary frameworks have been proposed for analysing transitions to a low carbon economy, but empirical analyses for consumer goods are few. This research studies laundry detergents in Europe, which generate the majority of their lifecycle carbon emissions in the consumer use phase. It uses a coevolutionary framework and examines mutually influencing systems of business strategies, consumer practices, technologies and institutions. The analysis was undertaken through examining the 18-year history of initiatives from the European detergent manufacturer’s association and its individual company members. The findings suggest that coevolution can be identified between business strategies, institutions and technologies, and there is path dependency and ‘lock-in’ in these systems. These are barriers to substantive carbon emission savings. The research concludes that different styles of intervention will be required to yield substantial carbon emissions savings. It demonstrates that a coevolutionary framework can be applied to consumer-facing industries and associated technologies.
A critical inquiry into new legal business frameworks for social enterprises and their ability to generate institutional change
Authors: Ellen Stenslie
Abstract: The purpose of this article is to analyse how environmental and social entrepreneurs adopt new, legal business models, different from those used by traditional business and non-profit organisations. These legal institutions vary widely in their structure, but they all promote the dual pursuit of profit and social purpose. Based on a literature review, an analysis of legal frameworks and empirical data from the United Kingdom and the United States of America, this study identifies multiple challenging aspects of such models. Examples include weak enforcement mechanisms, high risk of goal conflicts, insufficient safeguards and a lack of accountability towards wider society and stakeholders. Early results indicate that a) the legal models represent inadequate institutional transformation if we are to achieve truly sustainable business models, and b) environmental and social entrepreneurs struggle to find a legal model that suits their needs and represents a real difference from business as usual.
Beyond Growth, Beyond Profit? - Possibility and desirability of profit-making in a steady-state economy
Authors: Gabriel Trettel Silva, Dan O’Neill
Abstract: We question to what extent the pursuit of profit, as a fundamental element and the final goal of economic activity in capitalist societies, is compatible with the principles of a steady-state economy (SSE). We discuss both the possibility and desirability of “steady-state capitalism” and suggest that the profit motive creates two broad types of problems for a SSE: (1) the accumulation of wealth (and consequent inequality and power imbalances) and (2) the prioritisation of financial returns over socio-environmental needs.
We suggest that the first group of problems may be tackled through redistribution polices (progressive taxes) and economic democratisation (cooperatives). The second poses greater challenges, but social enterprises offer a potential structure to allow firms to prioritise socio-environmental goals over financial profit. While modern shareholder-owned corporations have been described as (negative) “externalising machines”, social enterprises could represent “positive-externalising machines” and a path to redefine the pursuit of profit in a SSE.
Challenging the Status Quo: How Growth-neutral Businesses Survive in a Growth-driven Economy
Authors: Heidi Leonhardt, Maria Juschten
Abstract: As in recent years it has become apparent that the current economic system is conflicting with biophysical and social limits, perpetual economic growth is called into question. Several propositions for alternative pathways have been brought forward, one of them being degrowth. Common to all alternatives is the need for actors such as businesses to put them into practice. Several types of such growth-neutral businesses exist, but have not been studied in detail yet. Our research questions are therefore as follows: Which are the drivers of growth for medium-sized companies? Which characteristics do growth-neutral firms have that allow them to escape these drivers?
First, drivers of growth for individual firms are identified through a systematic literature review. Second, several growth-neutral businesses are studied using a mixed method approach, consisting of semi-structured interviews and questionnaires. The goal is to get an insight into structures and conditions required to support self-sustaining, growth-neutral companies.
Knowledge institutionalization and institutionalized knowledge of and for Ecological Economics
When ecologists meet economists (and vice versa): controversies, methodologies and outcomes of a search for transdisciplinarity
Authors: Olivier Petit, Franck-Dominique Vivien
Abstract: This paper proposes a qualitative and historical analysis of two trandisciplinary concepts which have been developed in the framework of ecological economics, namely ‘coevolution’ and ‘ecosystem services’. Our analysis aims at retracing the conceptual history (by mobilizing key articles published on these topics by ecological economists over the past 25 years) of these concepts, their epistemological trajectories and branching-off points. The paper will first trace the conceptual and epistemological history of the concept of coevolution (1). Then we will apply a similar analysis to the concept of ecosystem services (2). The last section (3) will draw from the previous analysis the main lessons on the relations between ecology and economics and on the kind of transdisciplinarity at work.
Practical consequences of MBA Ecological Economics – Reflections on Experiences after 4 years
Authors: Stig Ingebrigtsen, Are Severin Ingulfsvann, Ove Daniel Jakobsen, Øystein Nystad
Abstract: In this article we penetrate the connection between the students previous education and professional experience on the one side and, on the other side, their motivation to take a three-year master’s degree program in ecological economics. A tentative problem statement is; who choose education in ecological economics and what kind of knowledge are they searching for? Secondly, we investigate to what extent the master’s degree in ecological economics has had significance for their individual development, both personally and as a practitioner in their work situations. Thirdly, we draw some conclusion concerning how to develop the courses to be more relevant for the students. We conclude with some reflection on how the MBA program in ecological economics could develop concerning content and pedagogy to be more relevant and meaningful for the students in their work to introduce changes from mainstream economy to ecological economic in their different fields of practice.
Changing the world one student at a time? Uncovering subjective understandings of economics instructors’ roles
Authors: Michael Soder, Katarzyna Gruszka, Annika Scharbert,
Abstract: In the wake of the economic crises, students and researchers came together to highlight the lack of pluralism and heterodox approaches in economics curricula. However, the students engaged in this, while vocal, represent a minority. In this paper, we argue that the way lecturers see their teaching and interpret their role as facilitators in a university setting is also crucial since they are the ones that instruct the new generation of economists. Stepping out of the individual behaviour as central, we turn to teaching itself as our basic unit of analysis and look at it through the lens of theories of social practices. To unravel the role instructors play in co-constructing the change processes in question, we look into the routinized teaching practices via a Q-study with lecturers in introductory macroeconomic courses. The input from Q enables the first step of identifying issues and potential areas for alternating teaching practices.
Influential Publications in Ecological Economics Revisited
Authors: Gaël Plumecocq, Robert Costanza, Steve Hatfield-Dodds, Richard Howarth, Shuang Liu, Chunbo Ma, David Stern
Abstract: We revisit the analysis of Costanza et al. (2004, Ecological Economics) of influential publications in ecological economics to discover what has changed a decade on. We examine which sources have been influential on the field of ecological economics in the past decade, which articles in the journal Ecological Economics have had the most influence on the field and the rest of science, and what areas of science the journal is having the most influence on.
Transformative Science for Social Change: What kind of Science for Sustainability Transformations?
The ecological perspective for a transformative Social Investment Welfare State: few insights from the "community organisation through action-research" approach
Authors: Matteo Villa
Abstract: The paper discusses the Social Investment Welfare State paradigm through an ecological perspective in social science, arguing how the paradigm could work better considering: the economics of flexibility of welfare systems and their capacity to adapt to social and economic changes; the need of not separating the understanding of the social, economic and environmental dimensions, and of adopting assumptions on human nature and rationality that do not detach body, mind and environment; the opportunity to work with the contexts and not only with individuals and aggregates; the participation as a source for transformative social change in the relationship citizens-institutions and for improving design, governance and implementation of policies. Following this ideas the paper analyses some experiences of community organization through participatory action-research, and reflects on how the transformative potentials of the latter can help in the context of the Social Investment Policies to promote transformative social change towards sustainability.”
Re-thinking communication & dissemination strategies: towards practices of engagement & co-production in TRANSIT
Authors: Linda Zuijderwijk
Abstract: We seek to understand how a ‘mode 2’science or “process-oriented” approaches may be situated and practiced in an institutional academic setting, used to practicing ‘mode 1’ science or “knowledge-first’’ approaches. In particular, we are interested in how the “process-oriented” approach is transforming dominant practices of communication and training. This interest is embedded in, firstly, universities seeing themselves confronted with a call for ‘integrated science’ and joint problem framing and ownership. Secondly, being part of a project studying social innovation, the notion of co-production is called upon as constitutive of what social innovation.
We reflect upon how we can engage innovative knowledge production through the social innovation approach. We aim to find strategies through which we can facilitate spaces for collaboration and joint knowledge production and to do a review in order to learn what practices of collaboration work between academics and practitioners in especially the field of social innovation.”
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Towards a Sustainable Framework in Digital-Social Innovation: Integrating Circular Economy, Capability Approach and Action Research.
Authors: Maria Angela Ferrario, Zoltan Bajmocy, William Simm, Stephen Forshaw
Abstract: The relentless pace of digital innovation is by large driven by economic models of growth and their demand for novelty, generalizability and scalability. As innovation-researchers, we question the societal and environmental sustainability of this model and look for alternatives in partnership with communities, businesses, and the ‘hard-to-reach’. In doing so we focus on three aspects of sustainability: 1) material sustainability, the materials and energy resources used to make a device 2) technology longevity, the skills, knowledge and infrastructure required to access and maintain a technology 3) human capabilities, the individual and societal ‘freedoms’ afforded or hindered by the technology. We address these aspects by applying a participatory, agile and reflective approach that integrates a) the principles of circular economy b) the practices of open-source licensing c) the principles of capability approach. We conclude by outlining the development of Clasp, an anxiety management system prototyped in partnership with adults with autism.”
Research relations in researching transformative social innovation
Authors: Julia Wittmayer, Flor Avelino, Michael Søgaard Jørgensen, György Pataki, Adina Dumitru, , Noel Longhurst
Abstract: In this paper we take social innovation research as a case of transformative science and explore different approaches, attitudes and relations of researchers to the phenomena they study: the normative aspects underlying research design. We zoom in on the relation between the researcher and ‘the researched’ and how this relation is formed by the assumptions about what science is and how it should be performed. A theoretical review as well as empirical research on the challenges in the research interaction, are the basis for drawing lessons and formulating recommendations for researchers with regard to the research interaction as well as in drawing up research designs. Concluding, this study also allows us discuss the necessity and desirability of innovating research relations and practices – as social innovations in research which can inform the further development of social innovation research and more broadly of transformative sciences.”
Initiating transformative change towards urban sustainability: Participatory action research with marginalised social communities
Authors: György Málovics, Barbara Mihók, István Szentistványi
Abstract: Since 2011 we work together with the Roma community in Szeged (Hungary) in the framework of participatory action research (PAR). We aim to contribute to social integration (urban social sustainability). We work in a hostile institutional environment – dominant social institutions do not support our goals because of extreme prejudices Roma face.
We analyse how PAR contributes to social change in such an environment. PAR helps in (1) understanding complex situations and (2) combining expert and stakeholder knowledge and competencies in creating initiatives for change. However, PAR is embedded in the wider institutional context influencing its capacity for success. Thus, there is no clear-cut connection between change initiatives as tools and transformative change as their result.
Although our case study is connected to social sustainability, because of the parallelism regarding the hostility of institutional environments our results are also useful to understand the transformative potential of PAR in environmental struggles.”
Changing practices and patterns of human behaviour
Take 7: 7 families. 7 PV panels. 7 pro-sumers. 1 estate - Shining a light on energy demand, flexibility & resilience to fuel poverty
Authors: Nicolette Fox
Abstract: A low carbon network needs increased flexibility of demand to cope with intermittent renewables. “Pro-sumers” – producers and consumers – of renewable energy offer such potential, however a recent study of solar PV owners suggests that free off-peak electricity was not actively utilised. This UK study explores what happens when seven families, who are vulnerable to fuel poverty, are given solar panels. Using a social practice approach, this six-month longitudinal study shows that households are quick to adapt certain practices to utilise their solar electricity, although as the seasons changed they were increasingly unsure of how much energy they were generating and could therefore use. The majority also started to develop other strategies to help them save more money on energy costs. Initial findings suggest that active pro-sumers not only offer flexibility to the grid, but also the potential to improve resilience to fuel poverty.
The drivers and barriers to battery pack drop-off intention perceived by Belgian households
Authors: Sebastien Lizin, Miet Van Dael, Rob Hoogmartens, Steven Van Passel
Abstract: This research aims to investigate the drivers and barriers to battery pack drop-off intention perceived by Belgian households. It is the first study looking specifically at this specific type of recycling. A standardized online survey, extending the framework provided by the Theory of Planned Behaviour by incorporating measures on objective knowledge, the perception of the consequences, moral norms, end-of-life habits and the perceived effectiveness of BEBAT’s actions, has been made. Data was collected during the 11/2014-01/2015 period and processed using partial least squares structural equation modelling. A moderate to strong R² of 0.62 was found, signalling that our model predicts the drop-off intention well. Based on the size of the path coefficients we can conclude that perceived behavioral control, moral norm, and consequences have the largest influence on the intention to drop-off battery packs as soon as they become unnecessary.
An institutional analysis of agroecological systems: between practices, organizations and values
Authors: Gaël Plumecocq, Michel Duru, Jean-Pierre Sarthou, Olivier Thérond
Abstract: Agroecology is broadly defined as a set of agroecosystem management practices and agroindustrial organizations accounting for sustainable impacts of food production and transformation. However, there are many ways to account for the environment. The aim of this presentation is to categorize forms of agroecology according to management practices and institutional features, in regard to the conventional system of agriculture. We used the “Efficiency-Substitution-Redesign” framework and the model of “the economies of worth” linking values and material set-up, both justifying and framing practices to highlight five agroecological behavioral archetypes. We found that (i) conventional French agriculture, generally described as a domestic model, is actually deeply rooted into industrial values, (ii) some agroecological models do not represent fundamental shortage with the conventional model, while (iii) other require a deep redesign of farming systems and even local rural systems. Implications of such findings in terms of regulation advices for decision-makers are then discussed.
Collaborative economy - theories of practice approach
Authors: Katarzyna Gruszka
Abstract: Situated in the framework of socio-ecological transformations towards more sustainable consumption and production, this study explores the concept of collaborative economy. While currently struggling with definitional issues, collaborative economy broadly refers to the resurgence of traditional models of consumption, production, and service provision embodied in e.g. sharing, lending, swapping, and bartering. Through placing access over ownership, collaborative economy claims to reinvent what and how we consume and produce. In the study, collaborative economy is viewed through the lens of theories of practice, specifically taking the element of meaning under scrutiny. The discourse of key advocates of the collaborative movement is investigated (qualitative content analysis), and complemented by the data from a definition-focused Q study. As a result, an attempt of rendering the meaning ingredient of collaborative practices is made particularly in terms of the highlighted values, ideas and beliefs shaping the practice, with the materialistic and post-materialistic character.
Participation and engagement: ecological economics and stakeholder communities
A participatory integrated approach for promoting sustainability in developing countries: The case of the Mekrou River basin in West Africa.
Authors: Vasileios Markantonis, Arnaud Reynaud
Abstract: Transboundary river basins support economic, social and ecological services that are of fundamental importance to people in developing countries. This paper provides a participatory evaluation framework for assessing the socioeconomic and ecological issues linked to the development of the Mekrou river basin, which requires a balance between securing the conservation of ecosystems, promoting sustainable economic activities and adapting to the local social characteristics. Specifically this work: 1) Reviews the state of the art for valuing the socioeconomic and ecological impacts of development measures in transboundary river basins, 2) Defines priorities per sector of activity in the Mekrou river basin (household, agriculture, ecosystem services, tourism) following a participatory process based on a Web survey and consultation with relevant local stakeholders. 3) Evaluates the most appropriate techniques and tools to value costs and benefits of policies policy priorities and takes into account data needs, practical and policy challenges.”
The participation of stakeholders in planning the use of forest roads. The experience of Tenerife
Authors: Montserrat Acosta González, Serafin Corral
Abstract: In this communication the use of forest planning on the island of Tenerife will be analysed. Sustainable forest planning implies the participation of stakeholder communities. In recent years the influx of people to the Islands’ forest environment has notably increased, emerging conflicts between the users of forest tracks. Due to that, the Insular Council of Tenerife is working on a regulation on the uses of those pathways. This communication deals with both a framing analysis and the design and implementation of a participatory multi-criteria approach to explore together with the stakeholders possible alternatives related to the above mentioned forest planning and management issues. Aimed at that, a set of tools has been implemented, consisting in the integration of institutional analysis, several participatory methods, multi-criteria analysis and geographical information systems.”
Europe Wide Views (EWViews) on Sustainable Consumption: A pan-European citizen consultation involving more than 1000 citizens described on the example of Austria
Authors: Leo Capari, Mahshid Sotoudeh, Niklas Gudowsky, Ulrike Bechtold
Abstract: On the 26th of October 2014, more than 1000 European citizens took part in the transnational event Europe Wide Views on Sustainable Consumption. The citizen consultation took place in 11 EU member states at the same date and based on the same methodological framework. The citizens were invited to share their views on sustainable consumption and provide a broader knowledge base for decisions of European policymakers on the issue sustainable consumption. During the consultation the citizens discussed measures aimed at private citizens and the different roles that citizens could play in increasing sustainability in society.
In our contribution we will give an critical overview of the process, which took place at the 26th of October in eleven European countries. This includes the methodological approach as well as the results and the way of the results to the European Parliament and other relevant adressees.”
The ecological responsiveness of twenty first century food firms and consumers: A case study investigation
Authors: Zaina Gadema-Cooke
Abstract: This research critically examines ‘green’ perceptions of food supply chain businesses and consumers especially with respect carbon footprinting and labelling. Specifically, in light of the significance of the launch of the world’s first standardised life cycle accounting methodology developed and published in the UK, known as PAS 2050, responses were sought from both UK food consumers and food industry businesses including a civic society organisation whose mission is to: ‘accelerate the move to a sustainable, low carbon economy’. Investigation comprised circulation of a self-administered closed survey questionnaire (n=428) using a convenience sampling approach to capture descriptive attitudinal data of UK ‘food shoppers’. Perceptions of food supply chain businesses were investigated through a qualitative case study approach incorporating semi-structured interviews with ‘key’ food chain actors responsible for environmental and sustainability strategic management. Key actor interview data are thematically framed as evidence for policy making within a theoretical framework of ‘ecological responsiveness’.”
Advancing participatory modelling approaches for sustainability transitions
Lay people bring the positive message: Participatory system mapping for sustainable consumption
Authors: Gabriella Kiss, György Pataki, Gábor Király, Alexandra Köves
Abstract: One of the most important arguments for participatory planning and research is that it could merge the different type of knowledge from experts and lay people. It has enormous importance in the field of transition to sustainable society especially in the topic of sustainable consumption, a key concept in the de-growth paradigm. Visualization in participatory research may add more dimensions to enhance communication, cooperation and understanding among participants and researchers as well. In our study we used participatory system mapping to find out more about the constructed mental models of participants on the topic of sustainable consumption. In our exploratory study for sustainable consumption two panels were organized and we could analyze the visualization of the different mental models of an expert and a lay panel. The different focal points the two panels have chosen provides opportunities to draw significant lessons for policy making.
Dynamic decision making in coupled social ecological systems. Integration of small-scale farmers’ goals, resources and strategies for natural resource management in Amhara region, Ethiopia
Authors: Birgit Kopainsky, Krystyna Stave
Abstract: Ethiopia exhibits very high food insecurity and land degradation levels. Food systems in this region thus face the challenge of undergoing considerable transformations. Efforts to conserve soil while at the same time providing food for a growing and more demanding population are dynamic decision making tasks that involve a wide range of stakeholders. In this study, we analyze data from in-depth interviews with small-scale farmers in Amhara region. We re-represent their knowledge about natural resource management in causal-loop diagrams. Our data provides a rich description of farmers’ dynamic decision making and their capacity to deal with existing and future challenges related to their livelihoods. As farmers need an enabling environment to successfully adapt in the longer term, we reflect on the use of participatory system dynamics modeling both to validate and expand farmers’ perspectives and to integrate perspectives of additional stakeholders such as change agents, researchers and policy-makers.
Participatory modelling in ecological economics: applications, best practices and future challenges
Authors: Nuno Videira, Paula Antunes, Rui Santos
Abstract: Integrative modelling approaches support the development of long-term solutions for the transition to a sustainable society, promoting a holistic understanding of the interrelationships between biophysical, social and economic systems. In recent years, several participatory modelling applications to ecological economics issues have been developed, using a diversity of methods and tools for stakeholder engagement and knowledge integration. This paper aims to explore advances in participatory modelling and bring to the fore the role of system dynamics, as well as other integrative and multi-method modelling approaches, in supporting sustainability transitions. The paper provides a theoretical background to the special session “7.3. Advancing participatory modelling approaches for sustainability transitions” and includes a systematic review of recent methodological innovations, as well as recommendations for future applications related to the conference themes. An extended discussion will be promoted on best practices, challenges and research opportunities for advancing the science and empirical developments in participatory modelling.