Transformation towards the sustainability paradigm is not an easy or quick task to accomplish. Our ambition is based on frustration with this slow process of change and on our understanding that sustainable development policy involves contradictory but interrelated issues. We identified three major knowledge gaps:
Realisable policy goals
Concepts such as sustainable wellbeing, doughnut economics, degrowth and postgrowth have been developed at the margins of the existing growth paradigm, yet they carry significant transformative potential. However, a more sustainable wellbeing economy is still a policy idea without shared, scientifically robust and realisable policy measures.
By bringing green growth and postgrowth initiatives together, we aim to construct a novel growth paradigm that supports sustainable welfare states, producing wellbeing within planetary boundaries. Through a conceptual framework, meaningful indicators, we hope to identify innovative policy guides allowing stakeholders to assess policies multidimensionally.
New databases and systemic empirical analysis
It is unclear whether and to what extent traditional pro-economic growth policies are effective in promoting sustainable wellbeing as well as how different social, economic and environmental policies are connected and what kinds of consequences these connections have. Synergic sustainable development policies have been difficult to establish due to a lack of policy coherence and knowledge gaps regarding the interrelationships between different dimensions.
Combining quantitative indicators with qualitative concepts, we aim to create a thorough knowledge base through statistical methodologies that implement new technologies such as AI or image-processing algorithms.
Knowledge of paradigmatic changes and their implementation
Theories of sustainability transformation do exist, sharing the awareness that transformation requires actions at many different levels and places and is driven by various actors. This massive change involves a lot of “unknowns” and implementation challenges, calling for further research.
We aim to develop a multidimensional typology that provides a systemic and dynamic understanding of how changing policy goals, mindsets, indicators, innovations and policies could work together in a virtuous way for accelerating sustainable development.