1a. Theoretical approaches

Track chairs:

Walter J.V. Vermeulen. Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands. w.j.v.vermeulen@uu.nl

Stefano Pogutz. Department of Management and Technology, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy. stefano.pogutz@unibocconi.it

Goals and objectives of the track:

Sustainability science stresses the interrelations and interdisciplinarity of sustainability challenges. It connects research and practice, local and global angles, and disciplines across all branches, like social sciences, natural science and, life science, and applied sciences. What are new or inspiring contributions of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary insights or solutions towards sustainability?
Resilience is a crucial capability and characteristics of dynamic systems. However, in permanent changing environments and anthropogenic caused accelerated development time, preconditions and structures might change. So, how is resilience formed and can be retained in different contexts light of sustainability?
Transformations highlight fundamental and groundbreaking or innovative long-term challenges and changes in society, environment, economy, and technology. The main question is how stepwise or radical, and targeted or unintended pathways can enhance and foster sustainability in manifold perspectives around the globe.
Post-normal science and transdisciplinarity emphasizes the uncertainties and conditions of decisions that real-world problems are based on. Black swans and black elephants have to be recognized and integrated in analysis and problem-solving strategies. What kind of new concepts and pitfalls are of importance in the light of sustainability?

Sustainable development has been described as the twin SD-agenda of integral ecological and societal fairness into that of planet and of people and prosperity, where the ‘people' element addresses (in the context of productive activities) the individuals and their communities directly related to value chain activities, and the ‘prosperity' element relates to the macro-economic institutions that are essential for creating fair and equitable development. We invite contributions to better embed the ‘prosperity' element in the theories of sustainability sciences and their assessment methods (see Vermeulen 2018)

Contributions shall focus on descriptive, normative or prescriptive approaches and theory development bringing different sciences together to address sustainability challenges. New methods and tools as well as lateral thinking are also invited.



Vermeulen, W. J. V. (2018) ‘Substantiating the rough consensus on concept of sustainable development as point of departure for indicator development', in Bell, S. and Morse, S. (eds) Routledge Handbook of Sustainability Indicators. Routledge, pp. 59-90.