Publication: Bioeconomy and Social-Ecological Transformation

Newly published study analyses bioeconomic innovations in terms of their contribution to a socio-ecological transformation

The current environmental crises underline the urgent need for a global socio-ecological transformation of the agricultural and food system. In this context, the bioeconomy and bioeconomic innovations are often seen as an instrument for more sustainable land use. However, the question to what extent bioeconomic innovations contribute to sustainability goals remains unanswered so far. Against this background, we examine four bioeconomic innovations using animal production and manure utilisation as a case study.

The results show that the innovations studied manifest existing styles of thinking and the established socio-technical regime rather than contributing to a more fundamental change. Therefore, the importance of developing alternative ideas in innovation design, the application of more integrative approaches, such as embedding innovation processes in transdisciplinary processes, and the development of adaptive and reflexive governance approaches should be emphasised. In turn, bioeconomic innovations should be oriented towards the design task of a socio-ecological transformation and involve a variety of actors to discuss and harmonise competing ideas and ethical concerns.

Friedrich, J., Bunker, I., Uthes, S., & Zscheischler, J. (2021). The Potential of Bioeconomic Innovations to Contribute to a Social-Ecological Transformation: A Case Study in the Livestock System. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 34(4), 1-26.