Session 16 - Circular economy and social inclusion: Participatory and Equitable Approaches for Sustainable Resource Management

Convener - Jude Ndzifon Kimengsi, Markus Egermann

Speaker Titel Abstract Kind of presentation
Anne-Karen Hüske Participation of organizational members as driver for sustainable business model transformation  Humans are more than a mere research object. Organizational members are more than passive stakeholders affected by sustainability transformation. Beyond intrapreneurs and change agents all organizational members can actively contribute to sustainability transformation in business by enabling participation. Participation is a vital element of education for sustainable development, which is required in research and practice to transform businesses and especially business models towards sustainable resource management. This study investigates the empowerment of organizational members for sustainability transformation within their organization. Participation is realized in the research design by conducting a real world laboratory experiment, which participatory develops and tests solutions for challenges related to sustainability to understand the transformation process. Participation is acknowledged in practice by enabling organizational members to co-create a more sustainable service or product in order to transform the business model towards considering economy, ecology and society as well as possible interrelations. Business models describe how companies generate value for their customers and gain economic profit for this. Sustainable business models aim at value beyond profit and take a more encompassing approach to value generation considering the natural environment and the society. This requires thinking beyond the traditional monetary measures of profit maximization. This study focuses on: How to develop this transformation process within an organization and its members from values for customer to gain profit to value creation for all stakeholders? How does the development of this sustainable service impacts and stimulates a business model transformation towards sustainability? To respond to these questions, this study investigates a real world laboratory experiment which empowers the organizational members to develop the typical service of the company in a more sustainable way and thereby investigates how this process stimulates business model development. Oral (normal length)
Elizabeth Thipphawong Grassroots Economies: Laos' Ethnic Women's Innovation in Circular Economies  Laos is one of the fastest growing economies in South East Asia, yet poverty - in particular rural poverty - remains prevalent. More than half of the country’s poor belong to ethnic minority groups, and 2/3 of the country continue to depend on subsistence agriculture, with 80% of people living in rural areas. Small scale farmers in remote communities of Laos do not have access to contemporary technologies and infrastructures, and face a variance of challenges to production and livelihood; including language barriers, inadequate healthcare and education, the pervasive threat of Unexploded Ordinances (UXOs) and geographic/social isolation. These barriers are protracted when focused through the lens of ethnic minority women and the intersectionalities they navigate. The agriculture sector in Laos is predominantly occupied by women who are also in positions of informal work, and more vulnerable to economic instabilities, especially in the face of rising climate related disasters. This presentation explores the Empowered Women for Equitable Coffee Value Chain Project, conducted by CARE International in Laos, in the Southern Province of Sekong, and focuses on ethnic women’s access to cooperative financial institutions, waste reduction and re-utilization, and participatory resource management. The presentation will analyze how shifting the narrative of circular economies from the moral incentive-based perspective of the Global North, to the lived realities of rural remote women in the Global South, aligns for a bottom-up approach to sustainable and socially inclusive poverty reduction strategies. When innovation becomes synonymous with modernization, it compromises the principle of Do No Harm by imposing ideas on communities without supporting infrastructures, political mandate or social buy-in. The presentation unpacks the development dichotomy of tradition versus innovation - highlighting the merits and achievements of grassroots knowledge systems in the face of a global climate crisis. Oral (normal length)
Francis Lacerda The Project Ecolume: the abundance paradigm in living along with the semiarid climate in the Brazilian Northeast  The ECOLUME integrates and practices the concepts of photovoltaic power generation with rainwater harvesting, wastewater reuse and organic food production throughout the year. The combination of rainwater collected on solar panel surfaces and the reuse of gray and black water, for orchard irrigation and native seedling nurseries, guides to a new socioeconomic development paradigm in the semiarid making this project an effective adaptation process to climate change. The Brazilian Northeast semiarid has shown a reduction in annual total rainfall, in the form of recurrent severe droughts. The abundance of solar energy can be a source of socioeconomic development in the region fitting as powerful tool for adapting climate change. The Ecolume project, supported by CNPq, is using a school facility in the region to demonstrate the gain with the photovoltaic solar energy production. The treatment and the reuse of gray and black waters have the purpose to produce good quality water to irrigate nursery seedlings (umbu seedlings - Spondias tuberosa) and to ensure pollution reduction. The production of native umbu seedlings is to reforest the Caatinga vegetation (local biome). Food production using solar energy has resulted 8 kg of fish and 28 kg of vegetables/month to the school people and the costs to implement a farm family prototype is around US$ 4.000,00. Ecolume has already qualified more than 800 people in solar power technology, gray and black water reuse and treatment, seedlings – one thousand seedlings already produced and planted, and food production using aquaponic system. Oral (normal length)
Hanna Kang Building inclusive agency networks for community-led actions: from the perspective of transformative capacity in the Eco-capital Suwon, South Korea  Many cities have faced sustainability challenges in the sense that there is continuous increase in resource consumption and resultant GHG emissions induced by carbon-intensive development structure. Given that concern, a growing body of literature has explored systemic interventions, establishing a field of study called ‘(sustainability) transformation’, which focuses on how to understand specific patterns and dynamics of structural change leading to sustainability. In particular, they share an underlying assumption that such change co-evolves with societal agency, as they collectively create networks within which decisions and strategies are developed, negotiated and implemented. Against this background, this research seeks for decisive conditions to bring fundamental changes for sustainability, by exploring the concept of transformative capacity with special relevance to societal agency. To do so, a real-world case of ‘Eco-capital Suwon’ in South Korea is adopted, which is fit well to display diverse forms of agency network that are heterogeneously involved in a series of community-led experiments. The findings indicate that building inclusive agency networks has the essential role to help develop collective transformative capacity, in terms of empowering communities of practice, improving their transformative knowledge, creating opportunities for agency interactions, and mobilising the development of an enabling environment. Finally, three implications are drawn that are useful to be considered for urban policy: 1) inclusive networks do not naturally build up social learning of agency, unless efforts to mobilise practical know-how management are explicitly exercised through educational programs; 2) community-led experiments can be further facilitated through multi-scalar interactions; and 3) communities of practice should establish sound financial tools that are autonomously produced by their own independent activities, rather than given through subsidy-type government support. Oral (normal length)
Jennifer Schinkel, Henning Wilts Prevention of plastic waste through multi-actor partnerships  Over the past few decades, plastic has become increasingly important for a wide range of applications due to its versatile qualities and cost-efficient production structures. However, the current plastic value chains show inherent properties that are incompatible with the objectives of a circular economy. The study, whose findings will be presented, was prepared within the framework of the PREVENT Waste Alliance and addresses the potentials of the prevention of plastic waste by means of a circular economy. The PREVENT Waste Alliance is a multi-stakeholder partnership that wants to contribute to minimising waste, eliminating pollutants and maximising the reuse of resources in the economy worldwide. To this end, the study analyses the environmental impact of plastics, risks to human health and the need for action. Best practice examples from Germany as well as international approaches, e.g. from the Philippines, Indonesia, Mozambique and Kenya, will be highlighted. In contrast to "end-of-pipe" measures, waste prevention requires a participatory approach and the cooperation of various actors along the value chain. The focus is therefore on multi-actor partnerships involving stakeholders from various sectors such as businesses, civil society, science and governmental institutions. Furthermore, it is taken into account that the examples are transferable to other countries, both in the Global South and the Global North. These examples include educational programmes, cooperative agreements, innovative products, the establishment of reusable options and the expansion of waste management infrastructure. On this basis, recommendations for improving plastic waste prevention by circular economy are presented: Which general conditions are needed and what are the key success factors? The aim is to reduce plastic pollution and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs – in particular, SDG 3 (healthy lives), 8 (resilient infrastructure), 12 (production and consumption patterns, including waste reduction), 14 (conservation of the oceans) and 17 (global partnerships). Oral (normal length)
Malgorzata Lekan At the nexus of bottom-up and top-down approaches to circular economy: circular social enterprise innovations  The new transformative circular economy paradigm, which sits directly at the nexus of the pressing global challenges such as resource scarcity, has emerged and gained momentum among scholars and practitioners in recent years. Currently, the circular economy is taken to refer to the physical-material circulation of resources yet this overlooks social-material aspects such as social well-being and inclusive growth. The need for significant changes in lifestyles and inclusive social innovations, which enhance resource use efficiency, is only partially addressed in the analysis and implementation of the circular economy. A more holistic approach to circular economy seeks to couple the ecological premises of the circular economy with mission-driven social entrepreneurship, which aims to alleviate poverty and inequality. This paper reports the preliminary theoretical and empirical findings of a research project aiming to elucidate the socio-material dimension of circular economy in Hull (UK) and Santiago de Chile (Chile). The research investigates the potential of social enterprises to incorporate circular economy principles into their activities, and to scale up their circular activities to maximize social impact whilst delivering environmental values in areas such as food, housing and furniture. Drawing upon the literatures on alternative economic spaces and social networks theory, the paper identifies how circular economy activities delivered by social enterprises, their partnerships and networks, can be organised in such a fashion as to promote social cohesion, benefit marginalized communities and stimulate local economic development. The research further presents circular economy as a nexus between bottom-up and top-down approaches, whereby social enterprise partnerships with private and public sectors act as accelerators of the transition towards more inclusive circular economy, and important mechanisms to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Oral (normal length)
Ramani Ramani How do you make people separate waste and use the bin? Insights from the literature on the role and limitations of nudge  Effective solid waste management is essential for clean villages and cities, and thereby for health and the environment. It is also a core behavioural necessity for transition to a circular economy. However, for developing countries, this is extremely difficult, for in addition to severe resource constraints, inadequate governance capabilities in waste management, and poverty burdens, they have to change common practises like indiscriminate littering and burning of unsegregated waste. Here, low cost non-technological innovations, casually called ‘Nudge strategies’ founded on behavioural science insights might be a useful instrument to bring about behavioural change. Novel nudges have successfully demonstrated that they can contribute to positive development transitions such as breaking the cycle of poverty, increasing the take-up of preventive medicines, protecting scarce resources, increasing productivity, and acting to reduce climate change. However, despite the growing work in this field, we still do not have sufficient understanding of how policy design derived from behavioural insights ought to be embedded in the context of developing countries with systemic shortcoming such as inefficient or absent markets and institutions, inadequate capabilities, and strong social and cultural norms buttressed by rigid hierarchies. Under this context, this paper undertakes a bibliometric analysis of the literature on nudges and littering to answer the following questions: o What kind of behavioural science based nudge strategies have been integrated in policy design in different countries? What were the necessary, sufficient and/or favourable systemic conditions that contributed to their success or failure? Which ones have the potential to be used to eliminate littering and promote waste segregation at source? o Given an existing state of a waste management system (e.g. waste collection systems in place, waste processing systems, waste infrastructure, corporate engagement, governance capacity technology and innovation and behavioral routines), what kind of nudge strategies can be applied? Why? How? Oral (normal length)
Rufus Kamran Promoting gender equality, social inclusion and women empowerment through recycling and reuse of resources, a case study from Pakistan  Introduction: Pakistan is a male dominant society and women living in rural areas mostly remain poor, vulnerable and marginalized. Social vulnerability contrasted with economic vulnerability keeps women underpaid. Trend of industrial agriculture has pushed rural women into vicious cycle of poverty. Hypothesis: Promotion of sustainable agro ecological practices such as engage the poor women in making biogas through cow and buffalo dung can promote gender equality, promote social inclusion and women empowerment at grass root level. The Intervention: SPSD-Pakistan started interventions to address the vulnerability of marginal women through participatory approach. This approach helped SPSD to establish a circular economic model that involves re-cycling, reuse and combining resources to reduce dependency on external inputs and cope up with the climate change. SPSD mobilized poor and vulnerable women to form SHGs for collective ownership, decision making and common welfare. Regular meetings and exposure visits further strengthened SHGs. SPSD organize number of trainings for these women on biogas, vermicomposting, biological pest management and seed treatment using local sustainable solutions. With financial help of SPSD-Pakistan, each woman interested in recycling and reuse of cow and buffalo dung into biogas activity was facilitated in developing biogas unit. These women started to collect waste dung from common places or from the houses of landlords where they were employees on subsistence level. They feed this dung into the digester. The dung is converted into biogas. The 1.8 cubic meters capacity of the digester is sufficient to fuel the kitchen of each woman. Conclusion: The promotion of sustainable agro ecological practices through recycle and reuse of resources has enabled these women to reduce their fuel expenses. It has reduced their dependency on external sources, minimizing waste and building autonomy for better living. Now these women are respected and recognized among relatives and community socially, economically and politically. Lightning talk in the session and a poster
Susanne Börner Challenging patterns of resource insecurity and social exclusion across age: participatory practices enabling youth potential as everyday agents and agents of change  The complex dynamics of power relations, social exclusion, and inequitable access to resources remain a critical challenge to the sustainable management of the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus. In the face of climate change, building long-term resilience to resource insecurity becomes even more crucial. We argue that inclusive and multi-faceted approaches to nexus thinking are required to contest existing patterns of inequality and exclusion, both at a micro and macro level. This requires recognising the intersectionality of entangled differences as to engage marginalized voices not only in virtue of gender but also of age, ethnicity, and income. The potential of young people as knowledge producers has been neglected by nexus researchers and policy-makers. By zooming in to the local scale of young people’s everyday lived experiences and social practices with the nexus, we seek to spark a discussion on the role of youth as ‘everyday agents’ and as ‘agents of change’. We present research results from participatory action research with 40 young people aged 14 to 18 from vulnerable, disaster-prone communities in the Greater Metropolitan Region of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Our research explored their practices for securing access to the WEF nexus while shedding light on the ways in which youth adapt to resource insecurity. Moreover, we engaged participants in critical reflections on (un)sustainable resource use, responses to nexus threats, and capacity-building for long-term resilience. Finally, we discuss pathways for incorporating young people’s voices into policies for sustainable and healthy communities through improved dialogue with societal and political stakeholders. We would appreciate the opportunity to contribute to a post-conference special journal edition focusing on the multi-dimensional linkages between intersectionality, social inclusion, and youth agency for a sustainable resource management. Lightning talk in the session and a poster