Making Progress Towards Sustainable Development: Marshalling Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Timing For More Sustainable Production-Consumption Systems.
Peter S. Hofman

CSTM – University of Twente

P.O. Box 217

7500AE Enschede, The Netherlands

P.S. Hofman@utwente.nl

The progress towards sustainable development is connected to a range of interdependent factors. It involves a process of systems change with business and their practices forming a crucial part in a sequence of changes in actors (their routines, competences and interactions), in technological and organisational forms, and in institutions (the formal and informal rules which guide actors). My research is focussed on understanding the occurence of these sequences of changes, the direction they take (especially understanding how these are directed towards more sustainable practices) and the timing of these change processes. Some conclusion are that systems change involve:·        Interaction of change processes at different levels and dimensions (changing actor routines; macro factors such as changes in market structure due to liberalisation; policy changes such as a greening of tax system; societal attention for green products; changing role of civil society such as through NGOs less adversarial strategies and collaboration with business)
·        Cases involve a sequence of changes with emergence of new practices through entrepreneurs who think ‘out of the box’, reactions triggered by it, it involves processes of negotiation, building legitimacy, credibility and trust for new organsiationala and technological forms, and the formation of new governance patterns
·        Role of heterogeneous networks to introduce new practices, the importance of developing new creative ways of developing and expanding products;
·        The importance of timing such as to exploit windows of opportunity for creating strong momentum and potential seeds for systems change
·        Importance of solidifying new practices through institutional change, and the establishment of new governance patterns (such as presumably CSR).
Apart from assessing past developments the focus is also on the development of new tools to explore systems change. Existing tools are much focusses on business as usual trends or macro drivers of change. The tool of sociotechnical scenarios focuses particulary on the interaction between technological and societal change and between micro, meso and macro levels and describe how they may influence one another to give a ‘richer’ picture of possible pathways towards sustainability.

All Submissions
7:00 AM-5:00 PM, Thursday, 28 April 2005, Oral

The Netherlands 2005 Meeting