Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for the Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation

If you wish to cite this content please refer to:
Popper, R., Velasco, G. and Ravetz, J. (2016). State-of-the-art of Sustainable Innovation: Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials, CASI Project report. Deliverable 2.1.

CASI-F driven R&I policy agendas for SI

The following ten research and innovation (R&I) policy agendas for sustainable innovation (SI) are based on the systematic analysis of SI practices, outcomes and players associated to 500+ initiatives across the EU28 and beyond (see CASIPEDIA at http://www.casi2020.eu/casipedia/cases/), which helped us gather around 2000 objectives of innovators (including business, government, civil society and research/education actors) leading to 76 R&I priorities and further clustered into 10 R&I policy agendas for SI (see Popper et al., 2016).

 

  • The agenda for ‘eco-community empathy’, or the wider notion of ‘sustainable communities’, needs to balance aspirations with reality in a fragmented and often unequal world. At its roots, the notion of empathy is about inter-dependency and the building of reciprocity, solidarity and mutual aid. All this cuts across conventional boundaries around ‘economy’ or ‘society’; likewise the responses to this Agenda include all seven types of SI.
    There is an economic dimension to SI types that engage stakeholders in sustainable and crowd-funded businesses, building local and regional economic prosperity and resilience, and cooperative business models which can re-invest in local communities and endogenous regional development. A governance dimension seeks new models of multi-stakeholder engagement in long-term sustainable development actions; multi-sector public services which can address inter-connected problems; and new models for citizen empowerment and gender/ethnic equality.
    An ecological dimension seeks policies, programmes, partnerships and networks to protect natural resources in urban and rural areas, in which ICT innovation can help to mobilise social innovation, and vice versa. Each of these feeds into a social, cultural and psychological agenda, where ‘empathy’ is a driver of behavioural change and of the building of more sustainable institutions.

    Related H2020 priorities

    • Resource efficient sustainable lifestyles
    • Climate change mitigation solutions
    • Climate action by sustainable lifestyle
    • Eco-innovation and green economy transition
    • Strategic intelligence and citizens’ participation

    Related citizens’ priorities

    • Supporting local/regional agricultural production, distribution and consumption systems
    • Supporting people to become producers of renewable energy
    • New working models – new economic models
    • Fair and participatory access to limited resources
    • Ensuring inclusive and dynamic city centres
    • Sustainable living environments
    • Sustainable economics
    • Unified ecological grading system
    • Research on business models and changing institutions related to a sustainable energy economy
    • Supporting an active civil society for sustainable development
    • Supporting ‘Eco-preneurship’
    • Access to natural resources as a human right
    • Research on individual urban farming
    • Co-developing green technology
    • Impact of virtual communities in behavioural change
  • A sustainable economy means many things to many people, but a good place to start is with its infrastructures. Buildings and the built environment have huge potential for greening and material efficiency; the logistics and distribution systems of a complex economy can be tuned and restructured. Industrial supply chains can be managed through concepts of the ‘service’ and ‘sharing’ economy and consumption patterns can be reshaped in the light of new urban and rural infrastructure, promoting a circular bioeconomy.
    However, all this goes far beyond technical issues, into the deeper waters of policy, behaviours, institutions, cultures, and so on. The SI types from CASI cover many angles of this; some are specific product solutions to specific problems, such as the technology of a green roof, but many more address the system-level inter-connections, with services, organisational, governance, social and system SI types.
    Future R&I agendas should explore this further and more systematically, and look at how SI and sustainability R&I can develop new social-economy, connected-economy or foundational economy models which then enable the technology and product innovations to reach their potential.

    Related H2020 priorities

    • Resource efficient sustainable lifestyles
    • Climate change mitigation solutions
    • Climate action by sustainable lifestyle
    • Eco-innovation and green economy transition
    • Climate action eco-innovation policies

    Related citizens’ priorities

    • Supporting local/regional agricultural production, distribution and consumption systems
    • Supporting people to become producers of renewable energy
    • Sustainable construction of buildings
    • New working models – new economic models
    • Greater greening of cities
    • Understanding and implementing sustainable electronics
    • Sustainable living environments
    • Sustainable economics
    • Research on business models and changing institutions related to a sustainable energy economy
    • Supporting Eco-preneurship
    • Collaboration through shared space
    • Co-developing green technology
    • Impact of virtual communities in behavioural change
  • The environmental management agenda often raises conflicts between health and economic activity, between different social groups, or between costs and benefits. Often neither public policy nor markets are well suited to the scale of the problems, so the possible responses are found in many types of SI. For example, governance innovations look at new regulations, trading schemes, charging schemes and public information systems, as partial solutions. Product innovations focus more on the upstream issues of emissions control and monitoring, while many service innovations address whole systems such as transport or industrial supply chains, and the hotspots of residential areas and cultural assets. Water is likewise a cross-cutting issue, calling for new models of economic and social and informational exchange and inter-dependency.
    Meanwhile, addressing the fundamentals of an urbanised society with widespread air and noise problems calls for systemic solutions for sustainable consumption, low-impact living, and education for behavioural change. Similar approaches apply to water resource management, where system-level concepts such as ‘integrated catchment management’ raise the challenge of inter-dependency and collaboration in a multi-level and multi-sector governance situation.

    Related H2020 priorities

    • Resource-efficient sustainable lifestyles
    • Climate change mitigation solutions
    • Climate action by sustainable lifestyle
    • Eco-innovation and green economy transition
    • Raw materials-conscious sustainable lifestyle
    • Climate change adaptation solutions
    • Solutions to water imbalances
    • Solutions for cultural heritage assets
    • Biodiversity monitoring and understanding
    • Awareness of raw materials shortage
    • Long-term raw materials availability

    Related citizens’ priorities

    • Fair and participatory access to limited resources
    • Sustainable living environment
    • Unified ecological grading system
    • Access to natural resources as a human right
  • Energy is the basis of a complex industrial society, and the SI agenda works equally on the supply, distribution and demand sides. Many of the SI types from CASI look at specific technologies, such as biogas or anaerobic digestion. Many more look at the potential for social economic and governance models, such as community energy or eco-schools, which enable and encourage renewable energies on the supply side, or rapid efficiency improvements on the demand side.
    As for future R&I agendas, there is the potential on the horizon for energy system transformation, in the sense of zero carbon supplies. More complex is the notion of energy cascades, both in technical terms such as industrial ecology, and in design or behavioural terms in the usage of buildings, appliances and mobility.

    Related H2020 priorities

    • Resource-efficient sustainable lifestyles
    • Climate change mitigation solutions
    • Eco-innovation and green economy transition
    • Eco-solutions to reduce raw materials use
    • Solutions to explore, extract, process and recycle
    • Alternative raw materials
    • Awareness of raw materials shortage
    • Effective raw materials policies
    • Long-term raw materials availability

    Related citizens’ priorities

    • Supporting people to become producers of renewable energy
    • Enhanced physical activity for better quality of life and energy efficiency
    • Improvement of European electricity transmission to increase renewable energy production
    • Sustainable living environments
    • Research on business models and changing institutions related to a sustainable energy economy
  • The institutions of governance were developed for a 20th century model of industrial society. Today the 21st century agenda for sustainability in a highly inter-connected world calls not only for marginal improvement but for new models of governance. Some of the SI priorities from CASI call for citizen engagement or new levels of policy integration, while some focus on the resources in the public sector at a time of shrinkage. The potential of ICT and ‘datafication’ is huge in all these.
    For the future, new models of governance need to be explored more systematically, and applied in every sector where governance has a role. The SI cases in CASI so far are a good demonstration of the current state of the art. Some of them, though experimental, point towards alternative models and institutions for decision-making, representation and participation, active engagement of all sectors, sustainable resource management, and public services which can ‘do more with less’.

    Related H2020 priorities

    • Climate change mitigation solutions
    • ICT systems improving resource efficiency
    • Strategic intelligence and citizens’ participation
    • Climate change adaptation solutions
    • Climate action eco-innovation policies
    • Solutions for cultural heritage assets
    • Biodiversity monitoring and understanding
    • Effective raw materials policies
    • ICT to assess and predict climate actions
    • Climate change projections and scenarios
    • ICT mapping natural resources and trends
    • ICT systems to map raw materials trends

    Related citizens’ priorities

    • Fair and participatory access to limited resources
    • Sustainable living environments
    • Unified ecological grading system
    • New spaces for public discourse
  • In the aspiration to a circular economy, waste is simply a resource in the wrong place but, in current realities, the pressures on large and small businesses and organisations seem to produce waste, which then has to be managed. Some waste streams are more viable than others for re-use, re-engineering or recycling. The CASI cases show a wide range of approaches, from the small scale of social enterprises, which train the unemployed in repair skills, to the large scale of national schemes for industrial symbiosis. They cover the full range not just of product innovations but also of social, service, governance, organisational, marketing and system innovations.
    For the outlook, while the principles of a circular zero-waste economy are accepted on all sides, the practice depends on many challenges still to be addressed. The R&I effort should focus systematically on issues such as circular business and finance models, circular consumption systems in households and communities, and the implications of the sharing/experience economy and of globalised business and lifestyles.

    Related H2020 priorities

    • Resource-efficient sustainable lifestyles
    • Climate change mitigation solutions
    • Climate action by sustainable lifestyle
    • Eco-innovation and green economy transition
    • Eco-solutions to reduce raw materials use
    • Raw materials-conscious sustainable lifestyle
    • Solutions to explore, extract, process and recycle
    • Alternative raw materials

    Related citizens’ priorities

    • Sustainable construction of buildings
    • Sustainable living environment
    • Collaboration through shared space
  • Clearly a sustainable future is in the hands of the young and the education system which surrounds the theme, but it is also in the hands of citizens, workers and policy-makers at all levels, whose skill-base and knowledge-base can shape the world as it is. In this light, and defying the conventional trappings of a modern consumerist, high-mobility, high-impact society, the CASI evidence-base is particularly relevant in terms of the Citizens’ Panels, which seem to provide the foundations of an alternative and more sustainable model. This plays out in the SI cases, where not only school curriculum design but alternative notions of ‘what is a school’ are explored.
    For the agenda in prospect, there are many trends and pressures, such as on-line education and gamification, the use of big data or social media in eco-feedback for citizens and businesses, pressure on education for ‘results’ and ‘impacts’ and, generally, countering the culture of globalised consumerism and distrust of governance. The CASI cases demonstrate some ways into this, but the next R&I programmes should systematically explore the potential and also the barriers to education for sustainability.

    Related H2020 priorities

    • Resource-efficient sustainable lifestyles
    • Climate change mitigation solutions
    • Climate action by sustainable lifestyle
    • Strategic intelligence and citizens’ participation
    • Climate change adaptation solutions
    • Awareness of raw materials shortage

    Related citizens’ priorities

    • Holistic education for a sustainable future
    • Enhanced physical activity for better quality of life and energy efficiency
    • Sustainable living environment
    • Impact of virtual communities in behaviour change
  • Food and farming systems underpin almost every sector and community. On the supply side, farming and fisheries are deeply embedded in rural and coastal economies and societies, as well as in environment and climate issues. On the distribution and demand side, food is a deeply cultural and psychological issue, at the same time raising huge challenges in public health and education. A wide range of CASI cases demonstrate this inter-connectedness (although with fewer product types than elsewhere). Many focus on the local community level and aim for more feedback and circularity between producers and consumers. Some look at industrial ecology and alternative cultivation, such as aeroponics or aquaculture.
    Are there transformational innovations or systems in prospect, beyond the small-scale experiments and community social innovations? Some ideas come directly from citizens themselves, such as ‘insect food’ or ‘edible towns’. Future R&I should explore the multi-scale questions more systematically, i.e. how to scale up the micro-innovations, and also how to influence global food systems for a post-oil sustainable food transition.

    Related H2020 priorities

    • Resource-efficient sustainable lifestyles
    • Climate change mitigation solutions
    • Climate action by sustainable lifestyle
    • Eco-innovation and green economy transition
    • Biodiversity examination and understanding

    Related citizens’ priorities

    • Supporting local/regional agricultural production, distribution and consumption systems
    • Innovating agriculture: the sustainability option
    • A new European food culture
    • Research on individual urban farming
    • Exploring the introduction of insects as food
  • Sustainable a mobility, accessibility and/or transport modal shift is a well-worn path of R&I, in technology, behaviour and governance. The CASI cases demonstrate the state of the art: many new opportunities are coming through smart cities and the use of big data and mobile technology. Other opportunities on the demand side or modal shift are in social innovation and ‘community empathy’. Vehicle technology continues to progress but in some cases meets a system-level barrier, as with deployment of electric or hydrogen-based vehicles. Urban design has made some progress towards pedestrian zones and accessibility planning, but there is much further to go.
    The outlook raises challenges in several ways. One is that of technology determinism (as in smart cities systems), versus wider debates on ‘the right to the city’ (as in the reshaping of local communities, housing markets and local economies). Another is about the question of unlimited mobility as the foundation of a fluid, outsourced, globalised economy and society. Future R&I agendas should explore these tensions as an essential under-pinning to practical initiatives on transport supply and demand.

    Related H2020 priorities

    • Resource-efficient sustainable lifestyles
    • Climate change mitigation solutions
    • Climate action by sustainable lifestyle
    • Eco-innovation and green economy transition

    Related citizens’ priorities

    • Sustainable transformation of existing traffic infrastructure in cities
    • New working models – new economic models
    • Sustainable living environments
  • As climate change is perhaps the ‘grandmother’ of all environmental problems, and despite the agreement on aspirations at the Paris COP, complete solutions are not expected in the near future. There are uncertainties on costs and benefits, controversies on resources and restructuring of economies and infrastructure, and a continuing campaign of scepticism and denial, not only from lobby groups but also as a result of disconnections in the public mind and psychology. The CASI cases demonstrate this wide range of issues and possibilities, from practical technologies or business models to national infrastructures. Many also focus on the human side of education, feedback, ‘community empathy’ and cultures of inter-dependency and responsibility, as well as on practical social-finance business models or land-use regimes.
    Future R&I agendas could take such initiatives and many others as a starting point, i.e. where climate solutions are not only a technocratic top-down type of ‘problem’, but more about opportunities distributed across many sectors and many levels. If we can systematically explore these wider inter-connections between multi-level and multi-sectoral opportunities, there is a better chance of shifting climate change from ‘problem’ to ‘opportunity’, and engaging all parts of society in a common aim.

    Related H2020 priorities

    • Climate change mitigation solutions
    • Climate action by sustainable lifestyle
    • Climate change adaptation solutions
    • Climate action eco-innovation policies

    Related citizens’ priorities

    • Supporting local/regional agricultural production, distribution and consumption systems
    • Sustainable economics