Browsing by Subject "ECONOMY"

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  • Obeng-Odoom, Franklin (2021)
    Nations and NGOs are promoting the idea of a transition from a petroleum-based civilization to one fueled by renewable energy. But there are many questions about how to proceed. The solution usually proposed is to develop "clean energy" as the underlying basis of a transition. Analysts tend to be concerned with climate change and land use change, with a focus on technical developments. Socio-ecological issues receive scant attention, especially if they relate to oil cities. This article starts from the perspective that progress in saving the planet from destruction can only be achieved by taking seriously past and present injustices and taking measures to rectify them. I use the situation in Port Harcourt, Nigeria to illustrate this proposition. I focus on three interrelated concepts: rent theft, social costs, and just transition. The central problem is rent theft because it is at the root of the "crime of poverty" and the social costs of plundering the land for energy sources. Until they address problems arising from historical injustice, campaigns for a just transition that promote clean energy in a bioeconomy will merely reproduce the central problem. Thus, reparations and land equity must be an integral part of any solution.
  • D'amato, Dalia; Gaio, Marco; Semenzin, Elena (2020)
    The emergence of politically driven bioeconomy strategies worldwide calls for considering the ecological issues associated with bio-based products. Traditionally, life cycle analysis (LCA) approaches are key tools used to assess impacts through product life cycles, but they present limitations regarding the accounting of multiple ecosystem service-related issues, at both the land-use and supply chain levels. Based on a systematic review of empirical articles, this study provides insights on using LCA assessments to account for ecosystem service-related impacts in the context of bioeconomy activities. We address the following research questions: what is the state of the art of the literature performing LCA assessments of forest-based bioeconomy activities, including the temporal distribution, the geographic areas and products/processes at study, and the approaches and methods used? 2. Which impacts and related midpoints are considered by the reviewed studies and what types of ecosystem service- related information do they bear? Out of over 600 articles found through the Scopus search, 155 were deemed relevant for the review. The literature focuses on North-America and Europe. Most of the articles assessed the environmental impact of lower-value biomass uses. Climate change was assessed in over 90% of the studies, while issues related to ozone, eutrophication, human toxicity, resource depletion, acidification, and environmental toxicity were assessed in 40% to 60% of the studies. While the impact categories accounted for in the reviewed LCA studies bear information relevant to certain provisioning and regulating services, several ecosystem services (especially cultural ones) remain unaccounted for. The implications of our study are relevant for professionals working in the ecosystem services, circular bioeconomy, and/or LCA communities. (C) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
  • Soininvaara, Ilppo (2020)
    In this article, I analyze the politics of urbanization and competitiveness-led state spatial transformations through political narratives. By analyzing empirical material, I search for ways of reasoning and rationalities that disclose the dynamics of the depoliticization and politicization of different spatial transformations of urbanization. Based on extensive interviews, I argue that a general understanding of urbanization as an external, global inevitability and as a force prevails among political elites. This key rationality and other sedimented knowledge duly opens up new political debates on the proper political management of urbanization and national adaptation. The order of reasoning is clear: the political elites argue that the perceived inevitability, common good and state of crisis necessitate national spatial transformations in order to secure the competitiveness of the state. As a result, new spatial hierarchies are forming as an adaptive strategy.
  • Resler, Megan; Hagolani-Albov, Sophia (2021)
    Food sovereignty has emerged as a leading sense-making framework for the nascent conceptualization of an agroecological urbanism – a radically new paradigm for urbanization, grounded in political agroecology. At present, discourses like food democracy are often isolated from food sovereignty and agroecology in the urban context, potentially resulting in missed opportunities for creating holistic, inclusive, and scalable transformation in the urban food system. This study used data from existing municipal food policy in Seattle, U.S.A. and interviews with Seattle community gardeners to probe resident practices and policy recommendations in relation to the conceptual frameworks of food sovereignty and food democracy. The findings identify two key dimensions of food democracy as notably absent from the food sovereignty framework within this contextualized landscape, including mechanisms that enable vertical deliberation between food system stakeholders and opportunities for strengthened self and community efficacy – thus, exposing a potential gap in the ongoing development of an actionable agroecological urbanism. Working in tandem within the frame of agroecological urbanism, the food sovereignty and food democracy frameworks may support transition from unsustainable growth patterns and enable agroecological massification in an urban Global North context.
  • Masiero, Mauro; Secco, Laura; Pettenella, Davide; Da Re, Riccardo; Bernö, Hanna; Carreira, Ariane; Dobrovolsky, Alexander; Giertlieova, Blanka; Giurca, Alexandru; Holmgren, Sara; Mark-Herbert, Cecilia; Navrátilová, Lenka; Pülzl, Helga; Ranacher, Lea; Salvalaggio, Alessandra; Sergent, Arnaud; Sopanen, Juuso; Stelzer, Cristoph; Stetter, Theresa; Valsta, Lauri; Výbošťok, Jozef; Wallin, Ida (2020)
    This article provides useful information for universities offering forestry programs and facing the growing demand for bioeconomy education. An explorative survey on bioeconomy perception among 1400 students enrolled in 29 universities across nine European countries offering forestry programs was performed. The data have been elaborated via descriptive statistics and cluster analysis. Around 70% of respondents have heard about the bioeconomy, mainly through university courses. Students perceive forestry as the most important sector for bioeconomy; however, the extent of perceived importance of forestry varies between countries, most significantly across groups of countries along a North–South European axis. Although differences across bachelor and master programs are less pronounced, they shed light on how bioeconomy is addressed by university programs and the level of student satisfaction with this. These differences and particularities are relevant for potential development routes towards comprehensive bioeconomy curricula at European forestry universities with a forestry focus.
  • Lehtiniemi, Tuukka; Haapoja, Jesse (2020)
    Data activism has emerged as a response to asymmetries in how data and the means of knowledge production are distributed. This article examines MyData, a data activism initiative developing principles for a new technical and commercial ecosystem in which individuals control the use of personal data. Analyzing material collected at a formative event shaping MyData activism, we examine how more just data arrangements are framed to enhance equal participation. Our analysis shows agreement on what is ultimately at stake: individual data agency and fair competition in the data economy. However, two alternatives are offered for what participation involves. Collaboration with commercial actors favors framing participation as agency in data markets, thereby potentially limiting the scope of what is at stake. The alternative framing presents a rights-based understanding of economic and civic agency, potentially leading to a broader understanding of participation in a datafied society.
  • Koppelmäki, Kari; Helenius, Juha; Schulte, Rogier (2021)
    Although a circular economy promotes economic and environmental benefits, knowledge gaps remain surrounding the application of these concepts to food systems. A better understanding of the connection between different flows of biomass and energy at different spatial scales is needed to facilitate effective transitions towards circular bioeconomies. This study provides a framework for assessing the circularity of food systems, which we exemplify by identifying key steps towards circularity for three contrasting farming regions in Finland. For each of the regions, we quantified the flows of biomass, nutrients and energy. We found large differences in circularity, depending on the chosen indicator. Most biomass and nutrient flows were related to livestock production, which implies that it plays a key role in circular food systems. Current livestock production was found to be connected to national and global food systems through the international feed trade. This trade generates imbalanced nutrient flows between regions and countries, resulting in excess accumulations of nutrients in regions with net imports. In terms of circularity in energy systems, we found that substantial amounts of energy could be produced from manure and plant-based biomasses without causing food-fuel competition in land use. We also observed that, the inclusion of human excreta would further improve recycling but this was significant only in the region with a high population density. Thus, in this study, we propose a concept of nested circularity in which nutrient, biomass and energy cycles are connected and closed across multiple spatial scales.
  • Ghinoi, Stefano; Wesz Junior, Valdemar Joao; Piras, Simone (2018)
    The literature on rural development focuses on the socio-economic effects of agricultural support policies; the process of policy design, however, is devoted less attention. Identifying policy coalitions may help provide clarity on the motivations behind a given agricultural support system. Using Discourse Network Analysis, this paper studies the debates preceding the approval of the National Program for Strengthening Family Agriculture (Pronaf) in Brazil in the Nineties. This represented a relevant overturn of the preceding policy framework. Two coalitions that opposed each other have been identified: while large farm business associations favoured measures to enhance productivity, movements comprising of family farmers aimed at introducing credit instruments for small producers. The strong pressure from social movements was key to the adoption of Pronaf. However, findings suggest that the Workers' Party, which found itself in a less conflicting position, played a brokerage role in the negotiation of the final policy package.
  • Finer, Lauri; Ylönen, Matti Ville Samuli (2017)
    This paper contributes to recent discussions of corporate tax avoidance and global wealth chains. Drawing on multiple case studies, we outline the key strategies adopted by Finnish mining companies as they seek to lower their tax burden. After screening the accounts of the companies mining metallic ores in Finland, we provide an in-depth analysis of the tax avoidance arrangements at three of these mines. The mines were operated by two Canadian enterprises that utilized seven different tax avoidance arrangements. The multiple case study approach adopted in this paper is helpful in developing both quantitative and qualitative tax avoidance research, since our findings highlight major deficiencies of datasets commonly used in the dominant quantitative tax avoidance research. Our qualitative approach helps tackle some of the limitations imposed on tax researchers as a result of the considerable secrecy surrounding tax matters. In particular, we argue that the existing tax avoidance research has focused too much on statutory corporate income tax rates even though today, tax minimization relies mostly on specific tax incentives and other loopholes in tax laws. We argue that the arrangements we describe mirror a wider phenomenon where multinational enterprises exert societal power commonly associated with sovereign states. Crossing the disciplinary boundaries of accounting, political economy and tax law, we also contribute to the emerging research agenda on global wealth chains. We call for more attention to the intersections between accounting and tax law for understanding how enterprises can separate their value chains from the intra-firm flows of wealth. (C) 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Kallio, Maarit Helena; Hogarth, Nicholas John; Moeliono, Moira; Brockhaus, Maria; Cole, Robert; Bong, Indah Waty; Wong, Grace Yee (2019)
    The rapid expansion of hybrid maize in the uplands of northern Laos is viewed by the government as meeting policy aims related to green economic development. Yet, growing evidence of negative consequences of maize expansion are emerging. Based on farmers' perceptions, we study: (1) farmers' reasons for adopting and abandoning maize, and; (2) implications of commercial maize expansion on local livelihood security and inclusiveness (food supply, income, risk coping, and ability to join maize growing), and environmental sustainability (productivity, and soil and forest quality) over time (2013 and 2016). Results show that maize has advantages in terms of labour allocation, and it provides much-needed cash income. Yet, swidden is the main food provider and an essential safety net for unforeseen risks (including maize crop failures or price fluctuations). The way that maize was produced did not meet the criteria of green economic development due to its negative effects on the environment (soil and forest degradation) and socioeconomic sustainability (household differentiation, increased economic risks, debts, and food insecurity). By providing a local perspective, this study encourages a critical reflection of the underlying assumptions and conceptualization of the green economy approach in Laos, and argues for policies and measures that consider a more holistic perspective of human wellbeing and the environment.
  • Eskelinen, T.; Ylönen, Matti (2020)
    The contemporary world continues to suffer from a number of social problems that are global in scope but impact the Global South disproportionately. While broad and coordinated policy responses to overcome these problems exist, such policies are not shaped solely by the political will to address the problems. On the contrary, their content largely depends on how societies in general and the social problems in particular are routinely explained and conceptualized. We refer to these as explanatory tendencies or paradigms of explanation. As complex problems always have multiple root causes with long causal chains, explanations of these causes necessarily involve some assumptions about relevant causalities. Typically, the main choice in explaining international politics relates to the extent to which social phenomena should be explained by domestic institutions, decisions and events. Social science in general has been noted to have a bias toward a "nationalist" approach to explanation [Beck, 2007; Brenner, 1999; Gore, 1993; Pogge, 2002]. This means treating the state as the primary and even sufficient object of analysis, so that problems are explained by the malfunctioning institutions and misinformed policies of states. Such explanatory biases become naturalized in everyday politics and social analysis [Amin, 2004]. While this has been widely discussed as an epistemological issue, the interplay between international organizations and explanatory tendencies has received less attention. The present article addresses this gap. We argue that explanatory tendencies and biases should not be treated exclusively as an epistemological matter. They need to be accompanied by an analysis of the role of international organizations as both influenced by an explanatory tendency and upholding it. Paradigms of explanation are reflected in the priorities and relative powers of international organizations, as their very structure can reflect particular explanatory tendencies. As an example, we will use the ascent and descent of the United Nations work on the power of multinational enterprises.
  • Morone, Piergiuseppe; D'amato, Dalia (2019)
    As bio-based chemicals become more technically and financially competitive, spurring the further development of the chemical industry, they are also presented as more sustainable alternatives to petrol-based chemicals. We argue that an ad hoc and coordinated regulatory and standards framework channeling sustainability efforts would legitimize sustainability claims for bio-based products.
  • D'Amato, Dalia; Veijonaho, Simo; Toppinen, Anne (2020)
    In line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda, the circular bioeconomy concept is gaining greater political momentum and research interest. A circular bioeconomy implies a more efficient resource management of bio-based renewable resources by integrating circular economy principles into the bioeconomy. These ideas have been well received at industry level since they are deemed to foster cost reductions, innovation and competitiveness. While recent scientific literature has dwelt on sustainability-related circular business models, empirical research on company-level implementation is only just emerging. Our study contributes to addressing this research lacuna by seeking answers to two questions: 1. How do small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) propose, create and deliver, and capture value through circular bioeconomy business models?; and 2. What are the business challenges and opportunities related to the operationalization of such business models? To this end, we employed content analysis on interview data gathered from managers in Finnish SME companies from the field of packaging, textiles, composite materials, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. We outlined the main business model archetypes, and identified the key characteristics that enable value capture and delivery for various stakeholders. The contribution of this study is duly two-fold. From the perspective of a theoretical contribution, we expand and refine the conceptualization of sustainable circular bioeconomy and related business models. In addition, based on our findings, we provide insights and recommendations for researchers and policy-makers to advance the sustainability transition to a circular bioeconomy in the context of the forest-based industry, and for the management of SMEs to reflect on company viability and growth.