Special Issue "Green Growth Policy, Degrowth, and Sustainability: The Alternative Solution for Achieving the Balance between Both the Natural and the Economic System"
A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020) | Viewed by 13648
Interests: sustainable and responsible business; socially inclusive circular economy; green growth policy; sustainable supply chains and conflict in extractive industries
Interests: stakeholder management; stakeholder integration; environmental management; strategic management; management in degrowth contexts
The existence of an imbalance between the planet’s capacity and the conditions necessary to maintain high levels of economic growth is evident (Schneider et al., 2010). Clearly, the limitation of natural resources obliges companies to consider the possibility of facing critical situations in the future that make it extremely difficult to reconcile economic and sustainable objectives. In this context, some studies have hightlighted combinations of sustainability concepts, such as circular, Green, and bioeconomy, and of the development of models (included green growth or degrowth) which have lack of support (D’Amato, Droste, Winkler and Toppinen, 2019).
In this context of dependence on an environment with limited resources, the necessity is recognized of exploring the consequences of combinations of assumptions about social networks, psychological mechanisms, environmental dynamics, and connections between opinion distribution and environmental policy (Van den Bergh, Savin and Drews, 2019). Some approaches, such as Circular Economy, oriented to the maximum use of resources, are obtaining important contributions (Lewandoski, 2016; Blomsma and Brennan, 2017; Homrich et al., 2018). However, the reality is that the limitation of natural resources is still underway, and the circular economy approach is still very far from the reality of industries (Ghisellini, Cialani, and Ulgiati, 2016), and it is necessary to provide new approaches that address the imbalance between the economic system and the natural system.
In this context, two current trends address the search for this balance: on one hand, focusing on the generation of wealth from investments in the environment (Green Growth), and on the other, focusing on an economic approach that assumes the limitations of resources and is willing to accept smaller growth rates, even negative, which allow reaching a balance between the natural system and the economic system (Degrowth). Both concepts are focused on the organization of human society and economy and sometimes. Although these have been presented as alternatives (Sandberg, Klockars and Wilen, 2019), the fact is that both have points in common based on the importance of natural resources (Jakob and Edenhofer, 2014), and even more, both constitute an option to break the current imbalances between the natural system and the economic system.
Green Growth interprets climate change not as a cost, but as an opportunity and advocates investment in the environment as a driver for “recoupling” environmental protection with growth accumulation (Vazquez and Sarkis, 2012). It supports the reframing of economic progress through movement away from quantity and toward quality as well as away from the consumption of physical and toward that of nonphysical outputs, and from technological toward wider socially embedded innovation (organisational innovation, social networks and R&D intensive specialisation) (Csaba, 2010). Practically, the necessity is argued to promote future economic activity not harmful to, and which can support, natural capital. In this context, the potential contribution of green growth needs to be increased in order to strengthen the implications of the firms, because the main drivers for Green Growth are not only ecological but also economic (Hamdouch and Depret, 2010). Therefore, we call for the necessity to develop a more critical view of green growth that, in accordance with previous references, helps to create new firms’ behaviour that contributes to a more sustainable planet (both economic and ecological), strengthening the balance between the natural system and the economic system.
Degrowth Theory emerges as a collective economic approach, aimed at producing a substantial change in current habits of production and consumption, so that human and planet survival is a central axis of market orientation (Shrivastava, 2015 ). However, this theory has not been developed in the field of business management, nor the development of socially and environmentally sustainable practices, nor the widespread use of measures aimed at assessing the successful management of these practices. The lack of innovation in management to achieve these objectives is evident (Jackson, 2009; Desore and Narula, 2018). For this reason, companies and markets will have to face the new context in which they find themselves and the new paradigm that is presented, generating more environmentally and socially sustainable practices and behaviours, conserving natural resources, society and, in definitive terms, the planet. The responsibility of managers includes a sustainability perspective (Valentinov, 2014). The compatibility of economic objectives and sustainability in the company is difficult. In many cases, some parts of the company are so conditioned to the objectives of profitability, efficiency or productivity that the mere consideration of other objectives (e.g., Sustainability) implies the appearance of conflicts that only sometimes can be solved. This must be a task of managers to manage companies, trying to avoid conflicts and adapting the objectives of each business subsystem to the new contexts of degrowth and limitation of natural resources (Plaza-Úbeda et al., 2019).
Within the framework described above, this Special Issue invites authors to contribute (economic, management, and sociology perspectives are well received) in the following fields (or keywords):
- Proposal solutions to balance natural and economic systems both from a Green-Growth and Degrowth perspectives;
- Literature review between the synergies in both focus: Green-growth and Degrowth;
- New gaps for contributing literature both from Green-Growth and/or Degrowth focus;
- Cases studies in Green-Growth contexts;
- Cases studies in Degrowth contexts;
- Partial or Global solutions in business to Green-Growth or Degrowth contexts;
- The role of the manager in the transition to Green-Growh or Degrowth contexts;
- The firm performance on a Green-Growth or Degrowth context;
- The role of stakeholders in the transition to a Green-Growth or a Degrowth-context;
- Which are the firms’ characteristic that achieve a better adaptation to both contexts;
- New innovation perspectives to face environmental challenges in Green-Growth or a Degrowth-context;
- Proactive collaboration practices, between firms and other stakeholders, for a Green-Growth or a Degrowth-context.
Blomsma, F., & Brennan, G. (2017). The emergence of circular economy: A new framing around prolonging resource productivity. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 21(3), 603-614.
Csaba, L. (2010). Green Growth - Mirage or Reality?, Intereconomics 13, 151-156
D'amato, D., Droste, N., Winkler, K. J., & Toppinen, A. (2019). Thinking green, circular or bio: Eliciting researchers' perspectives on a sustainable economy with Q method. Journal of Cleaner Production, 230, 460-476.
Desore, A., & Narula, S. A. (2018). An overview on corporate response towards sustainability issues in textile industry. Environment, development and sustainability, 20(4), 1439-1459.
Ghisellini, P., Cialani, C., & Ulgiati, S. (2016). A review on circular economy: the expected transition to a balanced interplay of environmental and economic systems. Journal of Cleaner production, 114, 11-32.
Hamdouch, A.; Depret, M.H. (2010). Policy integration strategy of the ‘green economy’: foundations and implementation patterns, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 53, 473-490.
Homrich, A. S., Galvao, G., Abadia, L. G., & Carvalho, M. M. (2018). The circular economy umbrella: Trends and gaps on integrating pathways. Journal of Cleaner Production, 175, 525-543.
Jackson, T., 2009. Prosperity Without Growth? Sustainable Development Commission.
Jakob, M., & Edenhofer, O. (2014). Green growth, degrowth, and the commons. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 30(3), 447-468.
Lewandowski, M. (2016). Designing the business models for circular economy—Towards the conceptual framework. Sustainability, 8(1), 43.
Plaza-Úbeda, J.A.; Perez-Valls, Payán-Sánchez, B. and Céspedes-Lorente (2020). The contribution of systems theory to sustainability in degrowth contexts: The role of subsystems. Systems Research & Behavioral Science, 37 (1), 68-81.
Sandberg, M., Klockars, K., & Wilén, K. (2019). Green growth or degrowth? Assessing the normative justifications for environmental sustainability and economic growth through critical social theory. Journal of cleaner production, 206, 133-141.
Schneider, F., Kallis, G. and Martinez-Alier, J. (2010): ‘Crisis or opportunity? Economic degrowth for social equity and ecological sustainability. Introduction to this special issue’. Journal of Cleaner Production, 18: 511-518.
Shrivastava, P. (2015): ‘Organizational sustainability under degrowth’. Management Research Review, 38(6).
Valentinov V. 2014. The Complexity–Sustainability Trade-Off in Niklas Luhmann's Social Systems Theory. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 31(1): 14-22.
Vazquez-Bruist,. D. and Sarkis, J. (2012). Green Growth: Managing the Transition to a Sustainable Economy: Learning by Doing in East Asia and Europe. Springer Science & Business Media, 2012.
Vazquez-Brust, D., Smith, A. M., & Sarkis, J. (2014). Managing the transition to critical green growth: The ‘Green Growth State’. Futures, 64, 38-50.
van den Bergh, J. C., Savin, I., & Drews, S. (2019). Evolution of opinions in the growth-vs-environment debate: Extended replicator dynamics. Futures, 109, 84-100.Prof. Diego A. Vazquez
Prof. Jose A. Plaza-Ubeda
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- Post-growth economies
- Sustainable strategies
- Stakeholder management
- Circular economy
- Sustainability-oriented case studies
- Social systems
- Green supply chain
- Ecological economics
- Social and sustainability problems