Special Issue "Toward a Sustainable Wellbeing Economy"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Robert Costanza
Website
Guest Editor
Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University
Interests: transdisciplinary integration; systems ecology; ecological economics; landscape ecology; ecological modelling; ecological design; energy analysis; environmental policy; social traps; incentive structures and institutions
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Katherine Trebeck
Website
Guest Editor
Research Director, Wellbeing Economy Alliance
Interests: Wellbeing economics; governance; equity; human ecology; indicators; institutions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The great challenge of our time is to create a sustainable and desirable future—one that achieves the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In today’s ‘anthropocene’ world, human impacts on ecological life support systems are increasingly complex and far-reaching. At the same time, there are increased demands on the planet’s life support functions to maintain living standards in developed nations and to reduce poverty in developing nations. In this ‘full’ world, the emphasis in research, education, and policy needs to shift from addressing problems in isolation to studying whole, complex, interconnected systems and the dynamic interactions between the parts.

Our current economic systems have become addicted to “growth at all costs”, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). They assume that GDP growth is synonymous with increased wellbeing and prosperity. However, this approach has led to growing inequality, an escalating climate crisis, and the depletion of natural and social capital. We are no longer generating genuine progress. Our approach to economics and development needs to be fundamentally transformed.

This Special Issue is devoted to articles that address the following theme:

What are the characteristics of a Sustainable Wellbeing Economy and how do we achieve it? It is about describing the problems with our current system, but also describing solutions to make the transition to a better, more sustainable and desirable world.

Prof. Dr. Robert Costanza
Dr. Katherine Trebeck
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • wellbeing indicators
  • quality of life
  • governance
  • inequality
  • transformation
  • monetary systems
  • natural capital
  • social capital
  • institutions
  • commons
  • systems thinking and modelling
  • ecosystem services
  • planetary boundaries
  • Anthropocene

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Rethinking 21st-Century Businesses: An Approach to Fourth Sector SMEs in Their Transition to a Sustainable Model Committed to SDGs
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5569; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205569 - 10 Oct 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
With barely ten years remaining to reach the goals included in the United Nations 2030 Agenda (UN2030A), there is still no agreed-upon universal criterion regarding how businesses can move firmly forward to achieve them. A significant number of laudable initiatives have emerged and [...] Read more.
With barely ten years remaining to reach the goals included in the United Nations 2030 Agenda (UN2030A), there is still no agreed-upon universal criterion regarding how businesses can move firmly forward to achieve them. A significant number of laudable initiatives have emerged and been consolidated internationally, highlighting the need to change the outdated mainstream economic model based on continuous growth—whose maximum exponent is the macroeconomic magnitude “Gross Domestic Product” (GDP)—to another sustainable model which considers the ecological "people and planet-centered" oriented limits, prioritizing individual wellbeing and social prosperity, in line with the UN2030A. Facing the prevalent resistance to change, some innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are consciously addressing the transition on their own, but not without difficulties. The purpose of this article was to fill the gap in the social sciences literature by conducting in-depth interviews with Fourth Sector (4S) entrepreneurs, business leaders from purpose-driven companies, and academics, in order to approach and look into their perspective about the role that 4S SMEs are being called to execute to advance toward 2030. The two main contributions of this article are (1) 4S SMEs identify an urgent need to modify the current economic model with metrics aligned with UN2030A and (2) it is essential to assemble and build an “Engagement Ecosystem” through a systemic thinking approach to allow 4S SMEs to make real contributions to the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toward a Sustainable Wellbeing Economy)
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Open AccessArticle
Towards a Framework for Understanding Discursive Regime Destabilisation: A Case Study of a Social Movement Organisation “Economy for the Common Good”
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4385; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164385 - 13 Aug 2019
Abstract
Despite increasing scepticism about the conventional growth model, the topic of destabilisation of socio-economic regimes has not yet captured scholarly interest. This paper addresses this gap and serves a twofold purpose. First, it develops an analytical framework for studying discursive regime destabilisation based [...] Read more.
Despite increasing scepticism about the conventional growth model, the topic of destabilisation of socio-economic regimes has not yet captured scholarly interest. This paper addresses this gap and serves a twofold purpose. First, it develops an analytical framework for studying discursive regime destabilisation based on previous research by Turnheim and colleagues. The framework is novel as it allows for: (1) structured analysis of framing interactions between niche and regime actors; (2) visualised mapping of discursive actors; and (3) identification of phases of discursive destabilisation. Second, the paper contributes to the literature on an ongoing practice of socio-economic transformations by applying the framework to a case study of a social movement organisation, “Economy for the Common Good” (ECG), that seeks to advance socio-economic transition. The suggested framework was useful for analysing the ECG. First, it demonstrated that niche actors employed mostly motivational and prognostic frames supporting the alternative economic approach, while the regime diffused mostly diagnostic frames focusing on the perceived negative aspects of the niche. Second, by applying the framework, we identified three relevant destabilisation phases in this socio-economic transformation process: Blindness and Denial, Incremental Responses to Problems and Increasing Doubts and Diversification. We argue that the framing of the niche affects different actor groups differently: while representatives of high authorities remained in the first phase of destabilisation, regional authorities and private companies already appeared at the second and third phases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toward a Sustainable Wellbeing Economy)
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Open AccessArticle
Overcoming the Myths of Mainstream Economics to Enable a New Wellbeing Economy
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4374; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164374 - 13 Aug 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
Increasingly, empirical evidence refutes many of the theoretical pillars of mainstream economics. These theories have persisted despite the fact that they support unsustainable and undesirable environmental, social, and economic outcomes. Continuing to embrace them puts at risk the possibility of achieving the Sustainable [...] Read more.
Increasingly, empirical evidence refutes many of the theoretical pillars of mainstream economics. These theories have persisted despite the fact that they support unsustainable and undesirable environmental, social, and economic outcomes. Continuing to embrace them puts at risk the possibility of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and overcoming other global challenges. We discuss a selection of paradoxes and delusions surrounding mainstream economic theories related to: (1) efficiency and resource use, (2) wealth and wellbeing, (3) economic growth, and (4) the distribution of wealth within and between rich and poor nations. We describe a wellbeing economy as an alternative for guiding policy development. In 2018, a network of Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo), (supported by, but distinct from, the larger Wellbeing Economy Alliance—WEAll) promoting new forms of governance that diverge from the ones on which the G7 and G20 are based, has been launched and is now a living project. Members of WEGo aim at advancing the three key principles of a wellbeing economy: Live within planetary ecological boundaries, ensure equitable distribution of wealth and opportunity, and efficiently allocate resources (including environmental and social public goods), bringing wellbeing to the heart of policymaking, and in particular economic policymaking. This network has potential to fundamentally re-shape current global leadership still anchored to old economic paradigms that give primacy to economic growth over environmental and social wealth and wellbeing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toward a Sustainable Wellbeing Economy)
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