Stockholm+40: Partnership Forum for Sustainable Development – Scientific Background report on Sustainable Innovations, Production and Lifestyles
Commissioned by the Government of Sweden, Ministry of Environment, this report has been written by Anders Ekbom at The Centre for Environment and Sustainability, GMV, in Gothenburg, at University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology, and Elin Eriksson and Peringe Grennfelt at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
This report has been commissioned by the Swedish Government/Ministry of Environment’s request: The general purpose is to inform the Stockholm+40 international conference on sustainable living and innovative solutions held in Stockholm April 23-25 2012. The specific purpose is to look back at the prevailing scientific knowledge and the political processes pertaining to environment in 1972, the subsequent developments in research, knowledge generation, policy formulation and implementation, and future challenges. The report builds on scientific evidence but is deliberately written in a format and style, which can be accessed and understood by a broader target group than scientists, e.g. planners, analysts, development practitioners and decision-makers. This report has been written by Anders Ekbom, Elin Eriksson and Peringe Grennfelt, with input and advice from John Munthe, Research director at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute. Anders Ekbom is researcher and deputy Director at The Centre for Environment and Sustainability, GMV, in Gothenburg, at University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. Elin Eriksson is Director of Sustainable Organisations, Products and Processes at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL). Peringe Grennfelt is former Director of research at IVL and Program Director of Mistra’s Climate Policy Research Program. The report it is structured as follows: Chapter 2 introduces the Stockholm+40 conference topics (“Sustainable Innovations, Production and Lifestyles”) by taking a historical look at environmental research and environmental policy work since the UN conference on the Human environment in Stockholm in 1972 and changes which have taken place since then. The report then addresses key policy developments over the 40 years, introduction of concepts such as sustainable development, and trends and research on sustainable innovations, sustainable production and sustainable lifestyles, respectively. Regarding sustainable innovations (Ch. 3) the report presents and discusses technical, institutional, organizational, economic and social innovations which have promoted sustainable development, and trends challenges and needs for new innovations to alleviate environmental pressures and find solutions. Other specific issues addressed include incentives for sustainable innovations to develop or reach new markets; legal incentives for sustainable innovations (rules, standards, norms, quotas), R & D (patents, intellectual property rights), and creation of/access to new markets for innovations, and economic, market-based incentives (fees, taxes, subsidies, levies, refunds) as new forms of incentives for innovations. Regarding Sustainable Production (Ch. 4) the report presents trends in production, explains research knowledge on the production-growth-environment dynamics, with a focus on the scale effect, the technique effect and the composition effect. It briefly introduces and discusses concepts such as de-coupling and the rebound effect, and addresses the role of government (policy instruments to promote Sustainable Production), institutions and the business sector for sustainable production and sustainable value chains – from local production to consumers, to reduction, reuse, re-engineering and recycling. Regarding Sustainable lifestyles (Ch. 5) the report presents changes in lifestyles and addresses what is needed to promote sustainable lives and sustainable choices (the individual perspective), and presents trends regarding lifestyles, specifically pertaining to consumption of goods and services, transport, energy use and food consumption. This section ends with identifying and discussing 4 challenges to implement sustainable lifestyles, and ways to reduce/reform non-sustainable consumption towards sustainable choices. The report ends with a Summary and conclusions (Ch. 6), which includes a broader discussion on lessons learnt and challenges which have to be met appropriately in order to promote and ensure sustainable development. Caveat: By necessity a report of this brief format, broad scope, as well as the limited time in which it has been produced, implies by necessity that it does not cover everything in any detail or with sufficiently significant depth. Nevertheless it is the authors’ hope that the report can inform readers on the developments which have taken place in the area of environmental sustainability over the last 40 years, that it adequately points out key challenges ahead, and inspires action.