Conveners: Tiina Onkila, University of Jyväskylä; Ville Uusitalo, LUT University; Natasha Järviö, LUT University; Marileena Mäkelä, University of Jyväskylä
One Liner: This session will enlighten complex interlinkages between business and biodiversity and share understanding on how businesses can contribute to tackling biodiversity crisis
Keywords: biodiversity, sustainable business, practices, indicators, reporting, leadership
Session Description: Within the current biodiversity crisis, a growing number of businesses are committed to reduce their biodiversity impacts. Some are even striving to become nature positive, thereby aiming to reverse the current decline in biodiversity and aid in the recovery of ecosystems. This interest has led to an increased occurrence of biodiversity-related targets into company reporting and sustainability strategies. However, there still is a lack of knowledge and know-how within businesses on how to assess biodiversity impacts in quantitative metrics. This hinders the assessment of how different businesses impact biodiversity and what they can do in practice to reduce their biodiversity impacts. In addition, current available methods that quantify biodiversity-related impacts are incomplete and too often focus only on land-use related impacts, thereby potentially leading to erroneous conclusions. This session will focus on interlinkages between biodiversity and business from multiple perspectives. We welcome all presentations that e.g., focus on analyses of current sustainability strategies and reports, providing information on linkages between business operations and biodiversity impacts and on case studies and methodological developments related to quantitative biodiversity metrics.
Conveners: Florencia Franzini, University of Helsinki; Mark Hughes, Aalto University; Katja Lähtinen, Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE); David Lazarevic, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
One Liner: Moving from efficiency to sufficiency in the built environment
Keywords: life-cycle perspective, supply chains, business models and financing, material selection, acceptability, design for adaptability
Session Description: Around 40% of Finland’s energy use is consumed by buildings. To reduce energy and material demand, multiple solutions are required across the entire life-cycle of a building. However, the long lifespans of building pose a critical challenge in that present-day energy and resource efficiency solutions may create systemic lock-ins and rebound effects in the future. This creates an impetus to look beyond efficiency toward a sufficiency perspective. Sufficiency entails the production of a built environment that remains within planetary boundaries by limiting the total consumption of energy and resources in absolute terms. Efforts to limit the consumption associated with building construction is already visible through the implementation of adaptation, renovation, and construction material reuse and recycling. While these actions are gaining traction within policies promoting a shift towards sustainable construction systems, challenges persist with the societal adoption of these actions.
This session aims to address pathways towards facilitating sustainable construction systems within a sufficiency paradigm. The session provides a forum for multi- and inter- disciplinary researchers focusing on multiple perspectives, actor networks, policies, and governance mechanisms that address challenges associated with enabling building for sufficiency. Likewise, research on supply side innovations or demand side acceptability represents a critical area of study for identifying challenges and solutions. To foster a collaborative forum, we welcome presentations from researchers and practitioners alike.
Key question addressed in the session:
Conveners: Sanna Lehtinen, Aalto University; Antti Lehto, Aalto University; Noora-Helena Korpelainen, University of Helsinki
One Liner: The session explores what role aesthetic values and preferences play in sustainability transformations.
Keywords: aesthetic sustainability, sustainability transformations, critical thinking, sensorial approach
Session Description: What role do aesthetic values and preferences play in sustainability transformations? This session addresses the question from a practical perspective by bringing together distinct perspectives into practices that differ in their assumed scale of impact on human experience and non-human nature. In the context of the session, the aesthetic is conceived to denote the realm of sensory perception and valuation and thus to address both visceral experiences and the more cognitively attuned participation in sustainability transformations. Our aesthetic inclination then comes to be considered as a function of various actions and aesthetic sustainability as a critical tool in diverse practices in which assessing sustainability forms an important step, whether it is environmental, economic, social, or cultural. These practices can vary from large-scale systems like architectural form-giving to diverse everyday practices concerning food and eating or scientific measuring and presentation, for example. By focusing on the practical application of aesthetic literacy in the development of environmentally and socially sound sustainability, the session aims to provide contemporarily relevant discussion on aesthetic sustainability in practice. The session contains an introduction to the concept of aesthetic sustainability. Four presentations will be selected from proposals with the criterion that they increase our understanding of the current trends in dealing with aesthetic sustainability within diverse practices. The duration of each presentation will be 15 minutes + 5 minutes for questions and answers. The questions to be addressed are: How does aesthetic sustainability assist in assessing the actions needed to enhance environmental and social sustainability? How do aesthetic values and preferences contribute to new imaginaries that scope alternative futures? How will aesthetics function for bridging gaps between knowledge generation and action-taking?
Conveners: Sanna Ketonen-Oksi, Laurea UAS; Jaana Laisi, University of Helsinki; Leena Helenius, University of Helsinki
One Liner: We are inspired by both restorative and transformative research or other openings that can help us to build agency that is both responsible and compassionate enough to recognise the power of human-nature connectedness already associated with better health and well-being of people (Barragan-Jason et al. 2022).
Keywords: paradigm shift, human-nature connectedness, planetary health and well-being, Inner Development Goals, collective imagination, conceptualisations
Session Description: In this session, we focus on the interconnectedness of human health and well-being with nature (e.g. Lancet Planetary Health 2022 and Laisi et al. 2022). In doing so, we believe that humans are part of nature, the biosphere, and one of the living species on planet Earth. Instead of isolating the rest of nature from us and ourselves from nature—as if we were not part of the natural ecosystem—we should approach the human-nature relationship through its many dimensions (Ives et al. 2018) and make our best to dismantle the human-nature dichotomy (Soinnunmaa et al. 2021). That is, to achieve the various sustainability goals and to increase our planetary well-being (JYU Wisdom Community 2021) we need to focus on values, ways of thinking, perspectives and structures that guide our actions both at the individual level (e.g. Inner Development Goals) and/or as collectives (see Jasanoff 2015 and the concept of collective imagination). This relates to topics such as our social decision-making, the health care system and sustainability measures.
To support the paradigm shift, this session is looking for both restorative and transformative research or other openings (concepts, ideas, methods or new operating models, processes, case studies) which could promote an agency that is both responsible and compassionate enough to recognise the power of human-nature connectedness already associated with better health and well-being of people (Barragan-Jason et al. 2022).
To enable the multidisciplinary exchange of ideas and lively discussion around the topic, the session is structured as follows: After a short introduction to the theme, presented by the conveners of the session, we have time for two rounds of 3-5 minutes long inspiring and/or provocative presentations which will then be discussed in small groups. Please note that we welcome all forms of presentations (speeches, videos, bodily expressions, elevator pitches, statistical analysis etc.) within the given time constraints. To support the session planning, what we expect from abstracts is that they clearly indicate:
Conveners: Tuulikki Halla, University of Eastern Finland; Reetta Karhunkorva, University of Eastern Finland; Jana Holz, University of Jena; Jaana Laine LUT University
One Liner: Sustainable human-forest relationships are contested, but crucial for any sustainable future pathways
Keywords: human-forest relationships forests future pathways meanings practices
Session Description: Forests are a crucial and contested part of nature. Their use and protection are at the center of global sustainability aspirations and policies. Human attitudes and behavior play a major role in the success or failure of these policies. The meanings humans attach to forests influence activities and decision-making from forest use to governance at a personal, communal, societal and global level. Furthermore, these meanings play a key role in the emergence, escalation and solution of forest-related conflicts. This session sets out to discuss diverse human relationships with forests with a focus on future sustainability challenges. Besides being influenced by various personal, communal and intergenerational meanings, like emotions, knowledge, traditions and values, relationships of humans towards forests are framed by power relations and institutional settings. In the pursuit of society for sustainable development in forest utilization, novel forest relationships and practices, alternative pathways need to be opened. The session sets out to reflect and discuss current attitudes, actions and choices as well as future expectations (hopes, visions and even fears) connected to forest-related sustainability challenges and solutions.
Key questions for our session are:
We explicitly invite contributions from anthropology, cultural studies, forestry, geography, history, psychology, and sociology as well as from other academic disciplines and practitioners from various fields.
Conveners: Heta Lähdesmäki, University of Helsinki; Nina V. Nygren, Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK); Pauliina Rautio, University of Oulu
One Liner: Discovering sustainable ways of sharing space with awkward others
Keywords: sustainable coexistence; sharing space; unloved others; non-human animals; non-human life; conflict
Session Description: Everywhere humans live they share their living environments with non-human animals, plants, and other life forms. Sharing spaces with non-human others sometimes results in conflicts as human and non-human interests collide (in urban and rural areas and everywhere in between). This is often the case with awkward, unwelcomed, or unloved others, like animals perceived as pests and plants considered weeds. Their presence can cause human-non-human conflicts as well as generate disputes between members of the public as well as different interest groups. Attempts to address and resolve these conflicts vary in research and in practice. In this session we invite scholars from different disciplines to discuss various viewpoints to the contested terrains of sharing space with awkward others. The focus is on how human-non-human and human-to-human conflicts can be solved or lessened. Discussions aim at exploring the ways in which research can have societal impacts on sustainable cohabitation in urban and rural spaces.
Key questions to be addressed in the session:
Conveners: Nina Janasik, University of Helsinki; Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen, Tampere University; Ville Lähde BIOS; all conveners are associated with the projects WISE and/or LONGRISK
One Liner: How are we as sustainability scientists and researchers to make sense of our current situation of multiple sustainability crises?
Keywords: sensemaking, sustainability, multiple crises, cognitive limits
Session Description: In the wake of the multiple recent crises, the perception that we are reaching the outer limits of our collective sensemaking capacities has increased not only among sustainability academics but also among other diagnosticians of our own times. For example, historian Adam Tooze has formulated this perception in a recent article in the Financial Times, a “problem becomes a crisis when it challenges our ability to cope and thus threatens our identity. In the polycrisis the shocks are disparate, but they interact so that the whole is even more overwhelming than the sum of the parts. At times one feels as if one is losing one’s sense of reality”. As such, the notion of inescapably complex, uncertain and even overwhelming environmental change is of course not new. For instance, scholars have highlighted the ways in which quantitative models can complement and amplify the inevitably limited scope of human storytelling or as a sensemaking device. However, what is new is the perception that the change itself is changing in a manner that escapes even the combined efforts of modelers and narrative-based sustainability researchers. In this session, we call for contributions from a wide range of disciplines that thematize this perception of the change itself as overwhelming. How are we to make sense of our current situation of multiple sustainability crises? If we are indeed reaching our sensemaking limits, how (if at all) can we manage (for) sustainability crises? In what ways can efforts towards collective sensemaking be enhanced and by whom?
Conveners: Ossi Ollinaho, University of Helsinki; Barry Gills, University of Helsinki; Toni Ruuska, University of Helsinki
One Liner: The mechanisms of financialization and extractivisms push people, organizations, and states to act and reproduce capitalist business as usual, often blocking the potential for systemic sustainability transformation, to the benefit of those already in power.
Keywords: extractivisms, systemic transformation, rentier capitalism, alternatives, unequal exchange, money
Session Description: In the 21st century, the capitalist world economy has become increasingly extractivist, in part due to the surge in demand for minerals and other materials. The complex and expansive processes of extractivisms, in capitalism, are deeply linked to intensifying financialization of everyday life, assets, and natural habitats. The workings of the capitalist world economy have led to increasing centralization of power and capital, which means that each major business sector is dominated by a handful of corporate conglomerates that control the flows of materials and wealth accumulation. While these ‘operational centers’ do not necessarily own the bulk of assets to control transnational supply chains, the accelerated financialization has led to the (re-)formulation of rentier capitalism.
In rentier capitalism, the ownership of assets and property rights yields profits for the wealthy and powerful. In parallel, many countries remain heavily indebted in currency creation of which they do not control, and recurrently pay their economic surpluses as interest to their creditors and rentiers. Many indebted countries have been obliged to cash in their natural and human resource wealth, under the conditions of unequal exchange, thus driving further extractivism, and which constitutes a massive economic drain of resources and labor from the global South to global North. Such conditions constrain and pressure nations from pursuing other alternative strategies or paths of development other than ’cheapening’ and selling off their natural and human resource wealth. We need to understand how financialization and extractivisms are connected, how this relates to the interests of the rentier class, and to the processes of unequal exchange. The study of the manifold processes of extractivisms requires the combined analysis of monetary and power relations at different levels, to recognize how these mechanisms push states and organizations to act and reproduce capitalist business as usual, often blocking the potential for sustainability transformation, to the benefit of those already in power. Therefore, it is urgent to advance post-extractivist alternatives that could challenge, co-exist, and move beyond the hegemony of capitalism, and break away from extractivisms, and unjust economic structures in support of systemic sustainability transition. It is crucial to theorize, develop, and introduce these systemic transformations to the normal workings of the world system, in its centers of the urban global North and in the global South. We invite papers and presentations that analyse and provide insights –empirical and/or theoretical – addressing financialization, extractivisms, post-extractivist alternatives, and paths to systemic transformation.
Conveners: Elisa Quaranta, Helsinki University and Young Scientist Group (WFF); Tess Hayton, University of Manchester and Focal Point for Europe at WFF; Lisanne Van Oosterhoud, FAO World Food Forum Youth Champion; Ricard Celorio i Sardà, University of Barcelona
One Liner: A solutions-oriented panel discussion around 5 policy priorities areas raised by youth voices all around the globe.
Keywords: agri-food sector, policies, youth engagement
Session Description: For the second year in a row, the World Food Forum (WFF) run the Youth Action Compendium. The Compendium is a collection of priority working areas synthesized from youth calls to action worldwide, highlighting both requests to national and local governments and the commitments of youth and youth groups. Based on the results of the 2022 analysis, we found five policy priorities areas with the related solutions and actions. Those actions are made by youth, for youth. We created action plans per each action and we selected 3 of them to be finalized within next October 2023. During the session we want to present our results, propose our actions, and create a solutions-oriented panel discussion.
The main questions of the session are:
We want to create a space where the dialogue within youth and policymakers is facilitated. For this reason, we hope we will have them in the audience too. We want to hear policymaker opinion, such as:
Conveners: Mikko Jalas, Aalto University; Leena Järvi, Helsinki University; Tiina Merikoski, Aalto University
One Liner: Towards carbon-smart urban green infrastructure: Scales from soil products to greening plans of cities
Keywords: urban green infrastructure, biochar, urban carbon sink, carbon neutral city, climate action
Session Description: How can urban green spaces be transformed into more effective carbon sinks? Urban green infrastructures (UGI) can be seen as next-generation solutions for cities to deal with climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, the potential of UGI to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration and effective use of resources has not yet been fully harnessed. There are many ways to improve carbon smartness of UGI which include greening plans, construction materials, and recycling to produce soil products such as biochar. Beyond this UGI’s are considered as parts of needed carbon compensation for urban climate action.
The developments in carbon smart UGI depend on several interlinked changes including recycling for reducing emissions. Assessment, modeling and planning tools need to be improved. The governance of carbon sinks and how new business practices develop around them require attention. The translation of current scientific insights into implementation is challenged by a shortage of effective practical tools, standards and policies. Transition towards carbon smartness require multistakeholder engagement from governmental level to municipalities, businesses and citizens. For a systemic approach to maximize carbon sequestration and storage capabilities of UGI, a transdisciplinary approach is needed - taking into account also biodiversity, wellbeing and other co-benefits of UGI.
This session seeks to bring together climate, material, soil and social scientists; landscape architects and urban planners; practitioners and businesses; and municipalities and governmental bodies. The aim of the session is to bring forward academic knowledge and practices on the conditions and current ways of scaling up urban carbon sinks and developing carbon smart UGI for development of municipal strategies and decision-making, planning, as well as construction and maintenance practices. This should be done in such a way to support effective climate action while maintaining and improving its other societal benefits and provision of ecosystem services.
Conveners: Julia Lohmann, Aalto University; İdil Gaziulusoy, Aalto University; Gloria Lauterbach, Aalto University; Claudia Viviana López-Alfaro, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU); Hamidreza Eizadi, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Ricardo Da Silva Torres, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU); Ute Besenecker, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
One Liner: The “how” of multispecies sustainability
Keywords: multispecies sustainability; more-than-human; knowledge co-creation; design; engineering; planning
Session Description: Sustainability transformations research has been ongoing for a few decades however the pace and depth of change in societal systems have been insufficient while the urgency of change is ever increasing. The anthropocentric perspective of dominant theories and practices have been challenged and framed as one of the significant barriers in front of achieving structural change. Recently, there has been increasing emphasis on adopting a multispecies perspective in sustainability science, expanding the scope of discussions on how to address biodiversity crisis and assure climate justice while transitioning to sustainable futures. Multispecies sustainability, while a concept with great promise and allure, brings to surface a myriad of questions, particularly in regards to implementation in engineering, design and planning disciplines. These questions cannot be addressed within disciplinary knowledge domains and require interdisciplinary inquiry with input from natural sciences (including but not limited to ecology, climate science, and conservation biology), design, planning and engineering disciplines (for example, urban design, urban and regional planning, landscape architecture and agricultural engineering), and social sciences and (post-)humanities (for example environmental psychology, anthropology, philosophy and cultural studies) for creating breakthrough new knowledge. In this paper session we invite theoretical and empirical contributions from interdisciplinary teams that study multispecies sustainability from a perspective of real-life implementation. The contributions may be in the form of new theoretical frameworks that conceptualise implementation of multispecies sustainability, new methods of multispecies design/engineering/planning, and, implementation of experiments and case studies. In this session, contributions are expected that deal with questions including but not limited to:
Convener: Gloria Felicia Lauterbach, Aalto University; Melissa Ingaruca Morena, University of Helsinki
One Liner: On bold cooperation between disciplines towards a caring, multispecies futures.
Keywords: research collaboration, multispecies sustainability, artistic research, open experimentation in research
Session Description: Urban environments are habitats of humans and more-than-humans alike. With constantly growing urban landscapes on the one hand and increasing vulnerability of cities (and all their inhabitants) to climate change on the other hand, fundamental changes in planning, designing and constructing cities are required. Luckily, serious explorations that imagine and systematically incorporate multispecies sustainability into urban environments have arrived in a great variety of fields such as architecture, city planning, design, artistic research and urban ecology. One prominent example of such exploration is the effect of urban lighting on the well-being of both humans and wildlife. The scientific data being collected by urban ecologists for instance help to reconstruct pathways and shelters or monitor behavioral changes of wildlife such as changes in reproduction cycles caused by lighting infrastructures. Simultaneously, artists and designers apply, among others, arts-based methods such as (sci-fi) storytelling, design fiction, multispecies mapping or biohacking to level out human-centered perspectives and infrastructures and to implement collaborative skills between species.
Given the urgency for action required to reverse the biodiversity loss, we as researchers in the field of multispecies sustainability and more-than-human design want to strengthen dialogues between the fields we ourselves work in (post-humanities, arts-based research, artistic research) and natural sciences, social sciences, physical sciences & engineering and humanities. So we ask:
This list is to be considered endless.
The aim of the proposed workshop session is to bring practices together to stir inspiring encounters. We will organize the 90-minute workshop session by following the structure of speed-dating to facilitate spaces for open, practical and dialogical explorations. To be able to generate dialogue between a great variety of researchers working with and interested in multispecies sustainability, we welcome submissions that showcase, describe, reflect own research methods as well as one’s own methodological spare room ready to host collaborative experimentation.
Conveners: Tiina Taipale, Sykli Environmental School of Finland and Aalto University; Eveliina Asikainen, Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK); Erkka Laininen, The OKKA Foundation for Teaching, Education and Personal Development
One Liner: Creating solutions to systemic sustainability challenges through enhancing co-operation between sustainability researchers and vocational education practitioners
Keywords: vocational education, sustainability education, greening professions, agency, sustainability research
Session Description: On average, 50% of young Europeans aged 15-19 participate in Initial Vocational Educational and Training (VET) at upper secondary level after finishing compulsory school. Continuing VET takes place after initial education and offers a way to upgrade skills while working or when changing one’s career. As Vocational Education and Training educates practitioners to all vocational fields in co-operation with working life organizations, it forms an important arena through which insights from sustainability research could be spread to professional communities and future professionals. VET is also an arena where sustainability competences and green skills, required in sustainability transformations, could be built (Asnawi & Djatmiko 2015; McGrath & Powell 2015). However, this arena might be underused, as Vocational Education and Training is unknown to many academics.
This session is structured around solutions- oriented panel discussions. We invite abstracts from VET educators experienced in turning academic research into practice in vocational education and pedagogy. We also welcome abstracts from researchers interested in sharing their research findings with educators working in vocational education. We also invite practical hands-on examples. The session chairs will form panels around the themes that emerge from the abstracts.
Conveners: Ioan Fazey, University of York; Sam Buckton, University of York; Suzanne Om, University of York; Lee Eyre, University of York
One Liner: Regenerative systems: What are they and how can they be encouraged?
Keywords: regenerative systems, transformation, synergies, evaluation
Session Description: There is increasing recognition that to overcome contemporary challenges, societies will need to undergo fundamental change. Interest is growing in regenerative systems as a core concept to guide this transformation. Regenerative systems at community, organisation, city, economy, or regional scales, have dynamics that ‘spiral up’ human and environmental wellbeing in a reinforcing way, such that ‘life creates conditions conducive to life’.
The idea of regenerative systems is a significant departure from many current approaches that seek to reduce harm to sustainable levels, but which are insufficient to address burgeoning human and environmental crises. While interest in the idea of regenerative systems is growing, there is still limited conceptual clarity about what constitutes regenerative systems and about how change towards such systems can be realised.
This session - encompassed in the theme ‘identifying solutions to systemic issues’ - will outline recent and emerging conceptual understandings of what constitute regenerative systems and how change towards them can be supported. It will involve short presentations followed by considerable time available for facilitated discussion among participants.
The session will first provide an overview of the topic, followed by explanations: of a new conceptual frame of regenerative systems; about how synergic action can support change to regenerative systems; how inner transformations are important for regenerative systems to emerge; and the importance of new approaches to evaluation that can guide change towards regenerative systems. Overall, the session seeks to open up debate about the importance of having powerful imaginations of the future and what is needed to retain ambition and transformational intent.
Conveners: Kari Hyytiäinen, University of Helsinki; Marko Lindroos, University of Helsinki
One Liner: Multidisciplinary research is a key in search of solutions for sustainable use of natural resources and protection and management of natural environments.
Keywords: optimization, simulation, bioeconomic models, knowledge co-creation, scenarios, policy reforms
Session Description: This session gathers multi- and interdisciplinary research that combines ecology, economics and social sciences in studying pathways for sustainable use of natural resources and management of natural environments. The topics may include protection or management terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems including agricultural land, forests, lakes, coastal or marine regions, or transition of industries or economic sectors that make use of these environments such as fisheries, food production or coastal tourism. The methods applied may include quantitative approaches such as simulation, optimization, bioeconomic or integrated assessment modelling, but equally welcome are qualitative approaches such as scenario building or knowledge co-creation or approaches that combine qualitative and quantitative research. The scope of models can vary from e.g. ecosystem or farm level to regional, national or global scales. The results may , for example, include long-run numerical projections, ex-ante or ex-post assessments of alternative policy reforms, or cost-efficient programmes of measures to mitigate environmental problems.
Conveners: Susa Eräranta, Aalto University; Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, City of Helsinki
One Liner: The session revisits the scientific foundations of small-scale actions in time of climate emergency when the effectiveness of actions and planning for survival would need to be prioritized.
Keywords: climate emergency, effectiveness, climate actions, planning for survival
Session Description: Time is running out. Rapid and effective climate mitigation actions are needed to reach the targets in time and ensure planetary liveability also for future generations. In essence, we need to be planning for survival. However, on all scales, we are continuously falling short not only of the set climate targets, but also of the willingness to act on them. Instead of focusing on the need for effective actions, public discourse is largely focused on empowering engagement and small-scale consumer actions. Hence, the aim of the session is to revisit the scientific foundations of small-scale actions in the age of climate emergency: with limited time and resources, do we still have time to focus on small-scale actions?
The needed transformative change requires transdisciplinary knowledge and systemic understanding. Research has suggested that awareness raising, and nudging are not effective enough to reach the set targets, but may even reduce the support for taking more effective policies. The focus of the session is on addressing the intrinsic mismatch between the enormity and transdisciplinarity of the climate emergency – and the smallness and sporadicity of the publicly discussed actions.
The session welcomes paper presentations both from scholars and practitioners. Especially contributions that critically review the scientific foundations of the effectiveness of small-scale actions, and the resistance of acknowledging the need for effectiveness are welcomed. Questions relateted to the theme of the session include: In the age of climate emergency, do small-scale actions lead to rapid and effective enough outcomes? Are the small-scale actions founded on bringing short-term satisfaction to current generations – or towards the actual long-term survival of the planet and its species? What generates the resistance to focus on the effectiveness of actions to enable the needed emissions reductions within the set timeframe? Based on what evidence should we continue to focus on small-scale actions - or should we focus on something else instead? Is there evidence of lasting behavioral change and how has it been monitored after the campaigns etc.? With limited time and resources, what kind of small-scale actions should be considered based on scientific evidence, if any?
Conveners: Ayu Pratiwi, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku; Silvia Gaiani, Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki; Erja Kettunen-Matilainen Turku School of Economics, University of Turku
One Liner: Knowledge networks for sustainable agri-food system
Keywords: agriculture, food system, sustainability, knowledge, networks, transformation
Session Description: Advancing the agricultural and food systems towards sustainable transformation at a systemic level necessitates a deep understanding and proliferation of innovation and scientific knowledge across a multitude of actors, disciplines and institutions, including the synergy between a range of public and private actors. These interactions between actors present both opportunities and challenges that may lead to desirable or undesirable outcomes because of the structural, functional, relational, and cognitive components of socio-technical-ecological systems. However, our current research and innovation processes do not have the full capacity to act as catalysts for the system's knowledge to be synergized for the urgently required change. This panel proposes to capture the complexity of the proliferation and dissemination of scientific knowledge by assessing the agricultural and food systems from a multi-dimensional and multi-actor perspective. We seek to understand how scientific knowledge can drive intentional changes targeted at the interdependencies of institutions, technologies, and a multitude of actors to navigate complex systems towards sustainability transformation.
The session aims to critically explore a number of questions, including (but not limited to):
We invite theoretical and empirical submissions from a wide range of contexts, both in the global North and South.
Conveners: Johanna Ahola-Launonen, Aalto University; Kamilla Karhunmaa, University of Helsinki; Sofi Kurki, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
One Liner: Hopes can also be harmful – how could such hopes be identified and overturned?
Keywords: expectations; hype; knowledge-production; technology; technological optimism; foresight
Session Description: The prevailing multi-crisis has raised a need for hope and visions of a better future. Hope fuels action, and is associated with e.g. support for social change toward sustainability. Hope materializes into infrastructures, ways of thinking and political proposals for action. Yet, some hopes may be harmful for attaining sustainable futures. Harmful hopes can harm vulnerable communities, deter action or take attention and resources away from other proposals. Examples could include currently unviable technologies or sociotechnical visions that have little robust evidence to become major solutions sufficiently soon, or feasible practices which are marketed as silver bullets but lack the required scale for being gamechangers.
Distinguishing between harmful and beneficial hopes is not self-evident. Typically harms reveal themselves to the public only after significant resources have been spent and the approach has been integrated as part of the infrastructure. Also, harms and benefits are not equally divided, so who gets to decide which hopes are harmful and which worth pursuing?
In this session, we scrutinize expectations, hopes, hypes and visions as performative claims that transform, validate, develop, and dispute current policies and practices of sustainability. Are we hyping the best solutions and for whom, and how can we know? Is it possible to anticipate harmful hope? Can harmful hope be overturned?
We invite abstracts addressing questions of how to anticipate, identify, understand and evaluate harmful hopes related to systemic changes towards sustainability. Propositions can be theoretical approaches and conceptual analyses, or policy- and practice-oriented examples.
Conveners: Alexander Engelmann, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business; Daniela Ortiz, FHWien University of Applied Sciences for Management and Communication, Barbara Kump, University of Twente
One Liner: Accelerating the Sustainability Transition in the Private Sector
Keywords: acceleration, sustainability transition, strategy, business models
Session Description: Despite rising societal, political, and economic awareness to stop the climate change crisis and to promote the transition towards a sustainable future, scientists now call for an acceleration of adaption and mitigation action at all levels (IPCC, 2022). Acceleration means more rapidly creating transformative change, i.e., “global and disruptive change affecting whole systems and interactions between systems” (Markard et al., 2020, p. 2). Although corporations are main contributors to climate change and resource depletion, they struggle to accelerate strategies for adaption and mitigation. From business strategy and organization studies we know that some of the reasons behind this struggle are that corporations may translate sustainability into business-as-usual, prioritizing short-term wins that contradict climate action (Wright et al., 2017); incorporate and rapidly evade stakeholder critique and pressure, thereby avoiding making changes to business models (Ferns & Amaeshi, 2021); and even they “strategically protect their privileged position” to maintain their status-quo (Johnstone et al., 2017, p. 148). At the same time, corporations are imperative to shape sustainability transitions through market and technology innovation (Sachs et al., 2019), but we yet don’t know enough about how and when corporations will accelerate adaption and mitigation to address the urgency of sustainability transitions.
To facilitate broad discussions, we welcome both conceptual and empirical submissions, covering diverse industries and contexts, and including a variety of theories and methods. Some of the questions that the submissions may address include:
Conveners: Fanni Moilanen, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, University of Helsinki; Meri Jalonen, LAB University of Applied Sciences, Aalto University; Heli Clottes Heikkilä, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
One Liner: Work - An enabler or barrier of sustainability transitions?
Keywords: work; organization; occupation; industry; labour
Session Description: Systemic sustainability transitions demand major changes for the accustomed ways in the world of work (Lahikainen & Toivanen, 2019; Moilanen & Alasoini, 2023; Räthzel & Uzzell, 2019). Still, work has remained an unexplored topic in the fields of environmental social sciences and industrial relations. The aim of this session is to examine sustainability problems and solutions from the perspective of work. Work is an inherent part of any production process - Workers engage with every product or service produced and all production processes involve some kind of material resources and hence interfere more or less directly with the ecosphere (Hoffmann & Paulsen, 2020) However, most sustainability research on production investigates the role of technology, efficiency, growth and consumers of the end results of production. These approaches neglect workers and work organizations as central actors in production systems (Hoolohan et al., 2021; Moreau et al., 2017; Pedersen & Lam, 2018).
Examining sustainability crisis from the perspective of work allows the analysis of various levels, such as industries, labour unions, work organizations and occupations as well as individual workers’ identities, motivations and actions. Engagement with all these levels and groups of actors is essential for the fair and sustainable restructuring of the economy, since they have different opportunities to initiate and execute change.
The focus of this session is to discuss work-environment issues in particular from the perspective on wage labour, but the session is open for insights that stretch the boundaries of typical wage labour or examine alternative means of livelihood.
Key questions to be addressed in this session include:
References: Hoffmann, M., & Paulsen, R. (2020). Resolving the ‘jobs-environment-dilemma’? The case for critiques of work in sustainability research. Environmental Sociology, 6(4), 343–354.
Hoolohan, C., et al. (2021). Responding to the climate emergency: How are UK universities establishing sustainable workplace routines for flying and food? Climate Policy, 21(7), 853–867.
Lahikainen, L., & Toivanen, T. (2019). Working the Biosphere: Towards an Environmental Philosophy of Work. Environmental Philosophy, 16(2), 359–378.
Moilanen, F., & Alasoini, T. (2023). Workers as actors at the micro-level of sustainability transitions: A systematic literature review. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 46, 100685.
Moreau, V., et al. (2017). Coming Full Circle: Why Social and Institutional Dimensions Matter for the Circular Economy: Why Social and Institutional Dimensions Matter. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 21(3), 497–506.
Pedersen, R. L., & Lam, D. P. M. (2018). Second comment on ‘The climate mitigation gap: Education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions.’ Environmental Research Letters, 13(6), 068001.
Räthzel, N., & Uzzell, D. (2019). Environmental Policies and The Reproduction of Business as Usual: How Does It Work? Capitalism Nature Socialism, 30(1), 120–138.
Conveners: Sabaheta Ramcilovic-Suominen, Natural Resources Institute Finland; Maria Ehrnstrom-Fuentes, Hanken School of Economics, University of Helsinki
One Liner: #SystemChange is untenable without #ontological change. #JustTransformations are by definition #postcapitalist and #decolonial
Keywords: post-human, multispecies justice, relational onto-epistemologies, decolonial(ity), post/degrowth
Session Description: Just socioecological transformations require engagement with and denouncing, or active undoing of the continued and continually perpetuated coloniality of our bodies and minds, the ways we live, the ways we know, the ways we see our place, roles and responsibilities in the world, and finally the ways we relate to other humans and to other-than-humans. It also requires an engagement and active undoing of the political and economic structures that perpetuate and profit from the violence of coloniality, but the later depends on the former, as the structures are socially constructed, embedded within the ontological tradition we abide to. Hence wide societal and socioecological transformations of the economy or political system demand first and foremost onto-epistemological change. Transformations can be approached as praxis, way of life, struggle and antagonism, as well as a theory. We invite contributions that engage and explore the following concepts and phenomena:
We call for contributions from diverse actors and societal groups; from scholars, to practitioners, activist, famers, citizens and artists who engage with the changes and transformations of the personal and socioecological in their work and life. We aim to provide a platform to meet and debate what transformations means to whom in what ways and traditions, highlighting the multiple ways of understanding, analysing, and fighting for radical existences. Within academic field, we welcome engagements with diverse knowledge systems, including western scientific, Indigenous, and situated knowledges, as well as embodied experiences and transdisciplinary approaches. The session format will be multiformat, including diverse ways of presenting and performing.
Conveners: Minna Santaoja, University of Eastern Finland; Aino-Kaisa Koistinen, University of Jyväskylä
One Liner: The session addresses the multiple entanglements of culture, art and sustainability.
Keywords: culture, art, cultural transformation, values, habits, worldviews
Session Description: In discussions on sustainability transition, fundamental cultural transformation is often called for. But what does ‘culture’ refer to in these discussions, and what is its relationship to sustainability? Culture is an elusive and multidimensional concept. It may be defined as the general process of intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic development; a particular way of life of a people, a period, a group, or humanity in general, or the works and practices of intellectual and especially artistic activity (Williams 1985). Culture is also commonly used to refer to visual and fine arts, literature, music, theater, architecture, films, games, concerts, performances, and the like. A single cultural production may or may not have a large environmental footprint, and it also may or may not communicate important messages for sustainability. Culture encompasses also habits, lifestyles, ways of organizing work, traditions, beliefs, values, societal norms, and worldviews that can be more or less sustainable.
In this working group we are interested in thinking about the relationship between culture (in its many forms outlined above) and sustainability.
We invite both theoretical and empirical analyses as well as artistic/activist contributions drawing from cultural practices. We want to keep the hybrid option open for the sake of accessibility but wish that participants would attend in person when possible.
Key questions to be addressed in the session:
Conveners: Heli Saarikoski, The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE); Kaisa Korhonen-Kurki, The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE); Janina Käyhkö, University of Helsinki
One Liner: Broadening the process of knowledge production to a diversity of participants and perspectives can promote sustainability transformations
Keywords: knowledge co-production, transdisciplinarity, actionable knowledge, joint fact-finding, sustainability transformations
Session Description: One-directional science-policy interfaces are often found ineffectual in addressing complex and contested science-intensive environmental questions. According to the knowledge co-production hypothesis, knowledge is more likely to become actionable and operational if policymakers and other key actors are closely involved in the knowledge generation processes (Lang et al. 2012). It is also suggested that broadening the process of knowledge production to a diversity of participants and perspectives, including local knowledge and place-based expertise, can further increase the relevance, legitimacy and reliability of knowledge and contribute to policy learning (Tengö et al. 2014). However, there is little empirical evidence of the capability of the approach to really contribute to transformative processes (Jagannathan et al 2020).
This session invites contributions that address knowledge co-production in sustainability transformations processes either empirically or theoretically. Can we find evidence on the assumed benefits of transdisciplinary processes and what does it take to organize genuinely collaborative knowledge co-creation processes?
Key questions to be addressed:
References Lang, D., et al. (2012). Transdisciplinary research in sustainability science: practice, principles, and challenges. Sustainability Science 7:25–43
Jagannathan, K., et al. (2020). Great expectations? Reconciling the aspiration, outcome, and possibility of co-production. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 42:22–29.
Tengö, M., et al. (2014). Connecting Diverse Knowledge Systems for Enhanced Ecosystem Governance: The Multiple Evidence Base Approach. AMBIO 43: 579–59.
Conveners: Stefan Wendt, Bifröst University and Þröstur Olaf Sigurjónsson, University of Iceland
One Liner: The session discusses how artificial intelligence can help provide environmentally friendly and socially responsible services and products via, e.g., process optimization, waste reduction, individualization and risk prevention.
Keywords: artificial intelligence, sustainability, process optimization, waste reduction, individualization, risk prevention
Session Description: Purpose of the session is to discuss how artificial intelligence can support sustainability of businesses and societies. In this context, artificial intelligence can serve analytical purposes covering measurement and analysis of data that are relevant to sustainability and, by doing so, support decision and policy making. This allows to help shape behavior of individuals and organizations, such as businesses, public administration as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations, in order to achieve more environmentally friendly and/or more socially responsible outcomes. More sustainable outcomes relate to, e.g., more efficient use of resources and optimization of production and distribution mechanisms, reduction of waste and emissions, individualization of services and products and, hence, better adaptation to individual needs and wants, and reduction of risks. The session is intended to cover the role of artificial intelligence in sustainable development from an academic and practical perspective. Contributions from academia, industry, public administration as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations are welcome.
Key questions to be addressed in the session include, but are not limited to:
Conveners: James Obeng, Finnish Natural Resource institute (LUKE); Atefeh Safarabadi Farahani, University of Jyväskylä
One Liner: In this session, we will discuss hopeful pathways and how transdisciplinary sustainability transitions research can promote the social inclusion of all people, especially the most vulnerable communities.
Keywords: transdisciplinary research; social inclusion; sustainability transition, ecosocial pathways of hope
Session Description: The session aims to share and promote research that combines transdisciplinary research for the search for pathways for sustainable social inclusion. With social inclusion, we refer to the needs of vulnerable communities and individuals who face diverse challenges often connected to environmental and economic unsustainability. We also argue that the main challenge of sustainable development is to negotiate the complex interconnectivity between the urgently needed transition processes in various societal systems. The session points out the gap that social inclusion, which is often stated to be one of the significant societal challenges in the world, cannot be effective without considering its deep interconnectivity with environmental and economic sustainability. Social inclusion is often regarded as most challenging for such groups as young people in precarious situations, people with a migration background, and vulnerable local communities. However, different target groups and agencies relevant to social inclusion are also welcome to be discussed in the session. The persistent and complex challenge of an inclusive society demonstrates how a sustainable social foundation of human life can only develop in an inherent interdependence with the overall ecological boundaries and regenerative and distributive economy. In the session, we would like to discuss how far transdisciplinary contributions can be applied to promote social inclusion in a way that is not patronizing but values and strengthens the own competencies of the social communities in charge. We invite abstracts presenting pathways bridging the gap between social sciences and further disciplines involved in transdisciplinary research.
Conveners: Paula Schönach, Aalto University; Vesa Kanninen, University of Helsinki
One Liner: Methodologically oriented session with focus on sharing theoretical insights and/or experiences on co-production of integrated knowledge for sustainability transitions on local level.
Keywords: methodology, transdisciplinary research, co-production of knowledge, local level, municipalities, stakeholder engagement
Session Description: Local level actions are crucial in our efforts to advance sustainability, including achieving carbon neutrality by 2035. E.g. municipalities’ zoning monopoly and the implementation tasks of legislative obligations from the national and EU levels are significant areas for sustainability impact. Additionally, municipalities are important enablers or inhibitors of choices towards more sustainable life styles of individuals. Thus, municipalities are important arenas for sustainability transitions within varied local level sectors and jurisdictions, and most importantly, beyond sectoral boundaries. At the same time, local authorities have declared a pressing need for research support and science-base for decision making and preparation. Transdisciplinary research, i.e. crossing disciplinary boundaries, engaging stakeholders and non-academic collaborators to co-produce integrated knowledge is a convincing approach for impactful research—with—society, instead of—for—society (Seidl et al 2013).
Contributing to the call for transdisciplinary approaches to sustainability transitions on local level, this session invites both theoretical and practical oriented presentations about methodological insights into transdisciplinary research with focus on municipal level.
The session is organized around presentations on transdisciplinary studies conducted on local level, followed by a joint discussion of presenters with the audience.
Conveners: Stef Spronck, University of Helsinki; Ekatarina Gruzdeva, University of Helsinki; Pirjo K. Virtanen, University of Helsinki
One Liner: How can linguistics, social sciences, digital humanities, Indigenous Studies, and other disciplines contribute to the creation of actionable knowledge to enable sustainability transformations particularly affecting people living in endangered language com
Keywords: sustainability, linguistic diversity, language endangerment, language revitalization, language community
Session Description: The rapid loss of biodiversity and that of cultures and languages constitute two fundamental crises of our times. The relevance of biodiversity loss to sustainability science is uncontested, but the protection of languages is not surrounded with a similar sense of urgency. As an example of cultural marginalisation, language endangerment clearly falls within the scope of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but its impact appears to be more local than the global threat of climate change exacerbated by the dwindling of ecosystems. Nevertheless, people living in endangered language communities often testify to the close connection between the dual crises in biodiversity and language loss, either because both are caused by similar socio-economic mechanisms, e.g. colonisation, or because the two are perceived to be even more directly linked: language and culture loss coincide with an epistemic loss of traditional practices in land tenure and sustainable co-existence with fragile ecosystems.
Under the theme "Understanding how actions can generate actionable knowledge" we will organise a presentation session, where the following questions will be discussed: