Browsing by Subject "sustainability transition"

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  • Lähteenmäki-Uutela, Anu; Rahikainen, Moona; Lonkila, Annika; Yang, Baoru (Butterworth Scientific, 2021)
    Food Control 130: 108336
    We ask how European food law impacts the transformative potential of alternative proteins, including single-cell proteins, plant-based novel proteins, cultured meat,macroalgae, and insects. The Novel Food Regulation may prove insurmountable for small companies, and it is demanding and time-consuming even for larger companies,dampening the transformative potential of all novel foods and traditional foods from third countries. Several microalgae and macroalgae are non-novel in the EU, which eases their way into the markets. The unclear novel food status of some potential green macroalgae species is a hindrance. All insects are novel, and none has EU-level authorization yet, although some Member States allow insect food. The GM Food Regulation is procedurally and scientifically demanding, and it forces GM labelling. The Regulation dampens the transformative potential of food GM technology. In addition to crops and fruit, GM Food Regulation applies to genetically modified or edited microbes,microalgae, cultured meat, and insects. The naming and labelling rules of plant-based products have caused controversy. From the business perspective, the health claims process is similarly challenging as the novel food process. EU food law must guarantee food safety and consumer rights while applying the principles of nondiscrimination and proportionality.
  • Ruggiero, Salvatore; Kangas, Hanna-Liisa; Annala, Sari; Lazarevic, David (Elsevier, 2021)
    Environmental Innovation and Societal Transition 39
    Demand response (DR) is an innovation emerging at the intersection of the energy and information and communications technology sectors. This paper aims to investigate the drivers of—and differences in—business model innovation (BMI) behaviours of firms operating in these two interacting industries. Results from 22 semi-structured interviews with representatives of Finnish DR companies show that external drivers of BMI include regulation, competition, and the demise of the telecom industry following the fall of Nokia. Whereas technology start-ups and companies from adjacent industries are motivated by entrepreneurial opportunities, incumbent energy companies are driven by the threat of losing their existing customers and need to increase efficiency. The BMI behaviours observed do not fall neatly into the often-used dichotomous categories of niche/new entrant and regime/incumbent, as firms show behaviours from both extremes. To overcome this binary thinking, we propose a morphological box model that represents the extreme states of firm BMI while allowing for flexibility.
  • Salmenperä, Hanna (Elsevier, 2021)
    Journal of Cleaner Production 292 (2021), 125986
    The European Union has set strict recycling targets for municipal solid wastes, but the implementation of circularity is still hindered by a variety of present set-ups. This paper addresses the recycling transitions and their complex nature in Austria, Sweden and Finland and points out the differences that are connected to the level of success in recycling. Furthermore, this study identifies present lock-ins in the waste management regime to provide an understanding on the factors preventing further development towards a recycling society. This is done by analysing different waste policy documents and interviews of national waste experts. The study employs the multilevel perspective (MLP) framework that is a commonly used approach in sustainability transitions research. The results highlight the variety of social, political, technical and economic elements, but also the connections between them that result in a stable regime. The pathways to achieve the recycling society differ between Austria, Sweden and Finland. National waste policy, the division of responsibilities, the variety of infrastructure and collection systems in waste management, the level of general awareness, public-private co-operation and the quality of waste data act as key characteristics that reflect the success in the recycling transition. Identified lock-ins for recycling seem to be slightly stronger in Finland compared to Austria and Sweden, while some of the lock-ins are the same in all countries, such as incineration capacity, malfunction of markets of recyclables or lack of product design for recyclability.
  • Matschoss, Kaisa Johanna; Repo, Juha Petteri (2018)
    Climate targets call for novel policy measures to facilitate widespread adoption of low-carbon solutions and innovations. The literature on socio-technical systems argues that experimentation has a prominent role in enabling sustainability transition. Experiments represent ways of testing new ideas and methods across a wide range of policy fields. Governance experiments in particular can support accelerated diffusion of new solutions, because they integrate policy with innovations. Here, types of success factors in the implementation of governance experiments to mitigate climate change are examined. Statistical analysis of sustainability innovations in the 28 European Union countries indicates that the types of success factors in governance experiments differ from those of product and social experiments. Governance experimentation is more positioned within socio-technical regimes than in strategic niches. These results suggest that governance experiments may indeed provide new transition opportunities towards low-carbon societies.
  • Moilanen, Fanni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Sustainability transitions literature addresses societal challenges relating to sustainability and offers alternative visions as solutions. Transition of the energy system is central in mitigating climate change and attaining sustainability. District heating is a fundamental part of the Finnish energy system, and the majority of heat is produced with fossil fuels. This case study investigates the low temperature and two-way district heating experiment of Skanssi in Turku. Transitions evolve from local experiments i.e. niche innovations, which propose visions of sustainable alternatives. The implementation and diffusion of these alternatives is challenged by various hindrances, such as institutionalized practices. The aim of the study is to investigate the district heating experiment of Skanssi by utilizing sustainability transition literature. In addition, the study examines the institutions that hampered the implementation of the local niche innovation. The research data was collected by interviewing the central actors related to the development and implementation of the local district heating experiment. The interview data was analyzed using theory-guided content analysis. Internet based material of the case was utilized as secondary data. The local district heating experiment was initiated by the regional energy company in cooperation with the city of Turku. The experiment was expected to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and to provide decentralized heat production in the Skanssi area. The implementation of the experiment had halted in 2018, and a two-way heating system had not been realized. Slow construction of the houses in the area hindered the implementation of the experiment. In addition various regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive institutions effected the planning and implementation of the experiment. The lack of regulation concerning two-way heating systems increased uncertainty around the experiment. Furthermore, the experiment did not suit the practices, roles and interests of both the inhabitants and housing developers. The findings show that two-way district heating systems are still highly uncommon, and thus their implementation is inert and uncertain. After the data collection of this study there have been changes in the district heat sector, which may have influenced the development of the experiment in Skanssi. Since local experiments are essential in advancing the energy transition, it would be important to continue implementation of the local district heating experiment.
  • Mesimäki, Johannes (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Collisions and near accidents between pedestrians and cyclists can result in serious injuries and death but have received limited academic attention. Using an online survey, this thesis aimed to increase knowledge of such events, assess the sense of safety of pedestrians and cyclists in traffic as well as identify safety-related constraints to the uptake of walking and cycling with practice theory. Practice theory considers human behaviour to be guided via participation in established social practices constituted by interconnected elements of meaning, material and competence. As such, this thesis contributes to debates concerning barriers to walking and cycling from a safety perspective. The survey was directed to Finnish cities with over 100,000 population and asked frequent pedestrians and cyclists to report details of collisions and near accidents between pedestrians and cyclists that they had experienced in the previous three years. Additionally, the survey asked questions concerning respondents’ sense of safety in traffic when walking or cycling. Survey data was analysed with chi-square tests of independence and ordinal logistic regression. Constraints to the uptake of cycling and walking and ways to overcome them were identified with a practice theory analysis. This involved examining the implications of survey results for the elements constituting the practices, their interrelations and how the practices influenced each other. According to the results, near accidents are roughly 50 times more frequent than collisions. Only 16 respondents had experienced a collision, whereas roughly a third had experienced at least one near accident. Additionally, shared paths were associated with more collisions and near accidents compared to separated spaces, and respondents felt less safe and less willing to travel on them compared to separated paths. The most common type of collision and near accident involved both road users travelling in the same direction. Constraints to cycling and walking were found to surface from meanings of danger associated particularly with shared infrastructure, a material element of the practices. These issues are evidenced by a high near accident frequency, low sense of safety and low willingness to travel on shared spaces. In addition, these issues were exacerbated by a lack of competences concerning space sharing, resulting in poor rapport and respect between pedestrians and cyclists. Significant effects regarding sense of safety were detected between pedestrians and cyclists and across age and genders with ordinal logistic regression, suggesting variance in how different groups experience meanings of danger. Intervening in the material element of the practices by preferring the provision of spatially separated infrastructure was considered to have potential to help overcome these constraints due to their associated safety benefits and respondents’ more favourable position toward them. In addition, working to develop a shared code of conduct for travel on shared environments could further mitigate constraints. Overcoming these constraints could assist the promotion of active travel and help improve the sustainability of transport while improving traffic safety and increasing physical activity.
  • Malila, Roosa-Maaria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The food system is not in a sustainable state. The current ways of producing and consuming food are significant contributors to climate change and biodiversity loss. In order to be able to feed the growing population of humans and ensure the living conditions on the Earth in the future there needs to be a sustainable transition in the food system. In this study, consumer-centric approach towards understanding how the transition to more ecologically sustainable food system can be made is taken. It is essential to take this bottom-up approach to the larger transition in ecological sustainability from the adolescents viewpoint, as they are the consumers of the future, and in early stages in creating their independent food consumption patterns. In addition, there is an apparent need for research on adolescents perceptions on the topic. Therefore three research questions were opposed: Firstly, are Finnish adolescents interested in ecologically sustainable food consumption? Secondly, what does ecologically sustainable food consumption mean for them? Thirdly, how would they change their food consumption habits in order to make it more ecologically sustainable? Research questions were approached qualitatively by collecting the data in eight online focus groups. Participants in the focus groups were 16 to 25 years-old Finnish adolescents. The data was analysed with discourse analysis. As the theoretical background for this research was in sustainability transitions, the results were organized by using the Five O’s framework, which consists from objectives, obstacles, options, opportunities and outcomes. According to the study, this sample of Finnish adolescents were interested in ecologically sustainable food consumption. They were convinced of the possibility that an individual consumer can make a difference through his/her consumption choices. From the adolescents viewpoint, ecologically sustainable food consumption was mostly about reduction of animal-based food products, and the emphasis was on reducing meat eating. The adolescents mentioned also the importance of local and organic food. Food waste did not have that big of a role in relation to ecologically sustainable food consumption, but it was mentioned in a context, that people should buy food only as much as they need. Food should not be wasted. Small carbon footprint and less plastic in food packaging were mentioned as well. The adolescents were willing to change their habits to more ecologically sustainable in many ways, but still they were not willing to compromise radically their current ways of consuming food. In the present everyday life, it was mainly about reducing meat intake and favoring local and organic food products. Still poor taste and structure of meat alternatives, in addition to high price of ecological food in general were seen as the central obstacles. In order to be able to change their ways of consuming even more ecologically in the future, adolescents stated that less-animal based diets should be normalized. There was also a need for reliable and clear information.
  • Kaljonen, Minna; Ott, Anna; Huttunen, Suvi; Kuusela, Assi-Jutta; Lonkila, Annika (CENDES, 2022)
    International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food
    Legumes receive increasing attention in sustainability transition research as they can contribute to more sustainable food systems. Previous research has established the need for policies relating to both production and consumption to tackle the marginalisation of legumes in European cropping systems and diets. In this paper, we apply the policy mix framework to food system transition and develop it further into an interpretive policy mix framework to evaluate policy mixes for more vital legume value chains. The interpretive policy mix framework facilitates a better understanding of competing policy frames in designing more consistent, coherent, and comprehensive policy mixes for transitions. The paper analyses three competing policy frames promoted by the food system actors, who are engaged in the development of legume production and consumption in Finland. A comparative analysis of the frames highlights that the policy objectives do not align well; currently, there is no shared understanding among food system actors of what kind of policy mix is needed for more vital legume value chains. The results emphasise networking as a key element in building more coherent policy mixes. The paper shows how the interpretive policy mix framework can support in this endeavour by unveiling conflict lines and possible compromises between the different policy frames.
  • Laakso, Senja; Aro, Riikka; Heiskanen, Eva; Kaljonen, Minna (Taylor & Francis Online, 2020)
    Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy 17 1 (2020)
    Two streams of literature have become especially prominent in understanding social change toward sustainability within the past decades: the research on socio-technical transitions and applications of social practice theory. The aim of this article is to contribute to efforts to create dialogue between these two approaches. We do this by focusing on the concept of reconfiguration, which has become a much-used, but poorly defined notion in the discussion on sustainability transitions. To understand what is defined as reconfiguration in systems and practices, and how the understanding of reconfiguration in regimes could benefit from insights about reconfiguration in practices, we conducted a systematic and critical literature review of 43 journal articles. The findings showed a trend toward a focus on whole-system reconfiguration and interlinked dynamics between practices of production and consumption. However, our study suggests that a less hierarchical understanding of transitions utilizing insights from practice theory might be fruitful. Future research on sustainability transitions could benefit from addressing the tensions between and within niche and regime practices; the dynamics maintaining and challenging social and cultural norms; the efforts in creating new normalities and in recruiting actors in practices; and investigating the different roles the various actors play in these practices.
  • Salminen, Jani; Määttä, Kalle; Haimi, Henri; Maidell, Marjo; Karjalainen, Anna; Noro, Kirsi; Koskiaho, Jari; Tikkanen, Sarianne; Pohjola, Johanna (Butterworth-Heinemann, 2022)
    Journal of Cleaner Production
    The Circular Economy (CE) is a concept that has gained considerable global attention during the past decade amongst private and public sector actors, politicians and policymakers, citizens and media, and scientific communities. Water and water-related ecosystems, despite their vital role in practically all human activities, have been largely missing from conceptualisations and scientific definitions of the CE. Therefore, this paper presents a definition and concept for a water-smart CE that incorporates water and water-related ecosystems. A water-smart CE would (i) reduce losses of water, energy and valuable substances, (ii) improve water efficiency and productivity, (iii) reuse treated wastewater, and (iv) better protect and lessen pressure upon water-related (both aquatic and groundwater) ecosystems. The paper also touches upon the potential risks of the CE to water-related ecosystems. Policy instruments that could be used to promote a transition towards a water-smart CE in Finland – the setting of the present study – and beyond were also sought. Additionally, actors who provide and/or use water-smart CE solutions were interviewed to shed light on their perceptions about the drivers of, barriers to and potential policy instruments for promoting a transition towards a water-smart CE. Based on the analyses of policy instruments and stakeholder interviews, a mixed use of economic, regulatory and informative instruments is suggested to support the desired transition towards a water-smart CE in Finland and elsewhere.