CONstruction de ScENarios et exploration de Transitions pour le développement de modes de consommation SoUtenableS
Projet coordonné par le Centrum Voor Duurzaam Ontwikkeling (CDO) de l’Université de Gand et réalisé en collaboration avec le Centre d’Etudes du Développement Durable (CEDD) de l’Université Libre de Bruxelles.
Construction of Scenarios Towards Sustainable Consumption
Internationally, scenarios and scenario planning are being promoted as tools with a lot of potential for thinking about sustainable development and sustainable development policies. Scenarios are plausible, challenging, and relevant sets of stories about how the future might unfold. The goal of developing scenarios is often to support more informed and rational decision-making that takes both the known and the unknown into account. The use of scenarios is typically recommended in situations where complexity, uncertainty, cross-scale and cross-sector interactions, long-time horizons, non-linear dynamics and heterogeneity are the rule.
Sustainable development has exactly these kind of characteristics. The futures envisioned in desired scenarios are meant to lead to forms of public and political debate, policy-making and planning that eventually bring about the desired changes. A promising way to structure thinking about and discussing the necessary changes is the concept of transition management. The underlying idea of transition management is that a transition to a more sustainable society requires changes in various domains which are interconnected and interact: technology, economy, institutions, behaviour, culture, ecology. These systems and there complex interweaving are highly chaotic and cannot be steered by command-and-control, so transition management is supposed to be a governance strategy at systemic level improving the conditions for change and creating a learning environment, maintaining a variety of options.
Instead of keeping the research only at a theoretical level, in this research consumption patterns – one of the important drivers towards more or less sustainable development – are chosen as a case for which sketches of scenarios and contours of transition management will be developed for Belgium, relying on a participatory process.
Summarizing, the main objectives of the research are:·
- To appraise from a scientific point of view the characteristics of scenarios and transition management, amongst others through an analysis from a substantive point of view (what futures do they show us, which driving forces…), a methodological (what methods and tools were used) and a political point of view (what consequences for policy-making)·
- To evaluate their usefulness as tools for decision-making, and assess how the Belgian political community welcomes such approaches·to develop validated sketches of scenarios and contours of transitions for Belgium in the field of sustainable consumption, relying amongst others on a panel of experts to help develop scenarios·contribute to the study of the field of sustainable consumption, by choosing consumption patterns – one of the most important drivers of development patterns in the industrialised world – as case study for scenarios and transition management·
- To confront the interim and final results of the project with decision-makers (including stakeholders) and a wider public, amongst others through an internet forum and conferences·
- To experiment with ICT-based technologies in discussing envisioning processes and transition management.
- To foster capacity building on the strengths and weaknesses of innovative tools for decision-making in the Belgian scientific community and among decision-makers