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Sustainability transformations in the balance: exploring Swedish initiatives challenging the corporate food regime
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3722-6084
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8626-7288
2016 (English)In: European Planning Studies, ISSN 0965-4313, E-ISSN 1469-5944Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores to what extent organic initiatives that go beyond mainstream organic (so-called Organic 3.0) can challenge the corporate food regime and how they can push the food system towards sustainability transformations. We depart from the assumption that individual initiatives may differ in their potential to influence the corporate food regime and that this potential can be assessed by examining traits linked to reformist, progressive or radical food regime/food movement trends that they may possess. Rather than establishing a dichotomy between niche and food regime or categorising Organic 3.0 initiatives within one of these trends, we explore the nuances in niche-regime relationships within the food system from a multi-level perspective, using the cases of two Organic 3.0 initiatives in Sweden. The results show that relations between these initiatives and the food regime share key characteristics, but also differ in important respects. While a reformist strategy facilitates niche growth, progressive and radical approaches are more likely to challenge the regime. The choice of approach in both cases involves trade-offs between growth and organic values. We conclude that one of the primary roles of Organic 3.0 initiatives may be to illustrate the viability of alternative models.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
Keyword [en]
Organic 3.0 initiatives, food regimes, sustainable food systems, sustainability transformations, multi-level perspective (MLP), Sweden
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-203336DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2016.1270908ISI: 000402629300003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-203336DiVA: diva2:1082024
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme
Note

QC 20170508

Available from: 2017-03-15 Created: 2017-03-15 Last updated: 2017-07-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Shorelines of adaptation and fields of innovation: Emerging sustainability transformations in sea-level rise planning and the food system
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Shorelines of adaptation and fields of innovation: Emerging sustainability transformations in sea-level rise planning and the food system
2017 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This licentiate thesis builds on the understanding that there is an urgent need for radical and systemic transformations towards sustainability in all parts of society, since current socio-ecological relations are highly unsustainable. The aim of the thesis is to explore emerging societal transformations towards strengthened sustainability through case studies within planning for sea-level rise and the food system, respectively.

A warmer climate leads to rising sea levels. Although it is uncertain how fast sea levels will rise, and by how much, preparing and adapting to sea-level rise is crucial for society. The global food system is profoundly unsustainable and in need of transformations to sustainability. This thesis links two separate studies, one examining the state of planning for future sea-level rise in Swedish municipalities, the other exploring to what extent organic food initiatives can push the dominant food system in the direction of sustainability transformations. In both studies, the main methods used are qualitative interviews and document surveys.

The results show that transformational change towards sustainability builds on different strategies in different fields. Whereas in planning for sea-level rise the emphasis lies on handling and adapting to one of the main impacts of climate change, rising sea levels, under conditions of uncertainty, the focus within food systems change directed at sustainability lies on creating sustainable alternatives that can challenge the dominant food regime. However, in both fields there is a need for moving from a currently dominant regime or paradigm to one characterized by sustainability and dynamic robustness, respectively. This requires a shift in understanding of socio-ecological relations, in turn connected to values and politics.

Key recommendations from this thesis include that planning for sea-level rise should be guided by dynamically robust planning approaches, worst-case scenarios for future sea-level rise should be taken into account, a long-term perspective should be considered, and a national strategy for sea-level rise planning in Sweden should be developed. To strengthen the sustainability of the food system, a variety of organic food initiatives, methods and models should be encouraged, organic food initiatives should persistently strive to build niches and alliances departing from Organic 3.0 values, and as sustainability transformations require radical and systemic changes in values, governance, social practices, policies and economic structures, food systems change should be aimed accordingly.

Abstract [sv]

Denna licentiatavhandling bygger på insikten att det finns ett brådskande behov av en radikal systemomställning i riktning mot hållbarhet i alla delar av samhället, eftersom rådande socioekologiska förhållanden är starkt ohållbara. Syftet med avhandlingen är att utforska framväxande samhällsomvandlingar i riktning mot stärkt hållbarhet genom fallstudier inom planering för havsnivåhöjning respektive livsmedelssystemet.

Ett varmare klimat leder till stigande havsnivåer. Även om det är osäkert hur fort och hur mycket havsnivån kommer att stiga är beredskap och anpassning avgörande för samhället. Det globala livsmedelssystemet är djupt ohållbart och behöver ställas om i riktning mot ökad hållbarhet. Denna avhandling kopplar samman två separata studier. Den första undersöker planeringen för stigande havsnivåer i svenska kommuner, medan den andra utforskar i vilken utsträckning ekologiska initiativ kan driva på det dominerande systemet för produktion och konsumtion av mat i riktning mot en hållbarhetsomställning. I båda studierna är kvalitativa intervjuer och dokumentstudier de huvudsakliga metoderna.  

Forskningsresultaten visar att en omställning i riktning mot stärkt hållbarhet bygger på olika strategier inom olika områden. Inom planeringen för stigande havsnivåer ligger tonvikten på hantering av och anpassning till en av klimatförändringarnas främsta konsekvenser, stigande havsnivåer, i ett sammanhang präglat av osäkerhet. När det gäller omvandlingen av livsmedelssystemet i riktning mot ökad hållbarhet ligger fokus istället på skapandet av hållbara alternativ som kan utmana det dominerande systemet för produktion och konsumtion av mat. Inom båda områdena finns det emellertid ett behov av att röra sig från ett dominerande paradigm eller en rådande regim mot nya system präglade av dynamisk robusthet respektive hållbarhet. Detta kräver en genomgripande förändring av vår förståelse för socioekologiska förhållanden som i sin tur är kopplad till värderingar och politik.

En viktig rekommendation från denna avhandling är att planeringen för stigande havsnivåer bör vägledas av dynamiskt robusta planeringsstrategier. Dessutom bör värstascenarier för framtida havsnivåhöjning samt ett långsiktigt perspektiv beaktas och en rikstäckande strategi för havsnivåplaneringen bör utvecklas. För att stärka livsmedelssystemets hållbarhet bör en mångfald olika ekologiska initiativ, metoder och modeller uppmuntras. Ekologiska livsmedelsinitiativ bör sträva efter att bygga nischer och samarbeten som utgår från värderingar som vilar på tankarna kring Eko 3.0. Eftersom hållbarhetsomvandlingar kräver radikala systemförändringar vad gäller värderingar, styrelseformer, sociala praktiker, politiska och ekonomiska strukturer, behöver förändring inom livsmedelssystemet inriktas mot detta mål.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. 31 p.
Series
TRITA-INFRA-FMS-LIC, 2017:01
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified Environmental Sciences Human Geography
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206734 (URN)978-91-7729-430-6 (ISBN)
Presentation
2017-06-12, Q26, Osquldas väg 6B, Stockholm, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20170508

Available from: 2017-05-08 Created: 2017-05-08 Last updated: 2017-05-08Bibliographically approved

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