Sustainability and social innovation in a time of climate and biodiversity emergency

Stream #14

Chairs: Fergus Lyon ( Middlesex University), Irene Garnelo-Gomez (Henley Bs, University Of Reading), Rafael Ziegler (Hec Montreal)

At a time of climate emergency and rapid biodiversity loss, there is a need for transformation to a more sustainable economy and society. The rapid change needed requires social innovations of different types and at different scales. This theme will examine how social innovation and social entrepreneurs can contribute to this deep transition, and also the challenges facing social innovation. 

The need for more research in this area is increasing rapidly as some governments call for net zero emissions and citizen movements campaign for greater acceleration of change. Innovations to address the climate emergency range from technological solutions via changes in consumption and pro-environmental behaviour to more directly political forms of social innovation. Such a transformation also requires different ways of thinking about the economy and growth, with social innovations focusing on living well within planetary boundaries. This challenges the assumptions of endless economic growth but also requires the scaling up of beneficial innovations and transitions in many sectors. The climate and biodiversity emergency requires a greater understanding of innovation that breaks down the silos of thinking between social and environmental goals, and that also bridges the worlds of academia, practice and policy.  

We welcome papers in the following topics as well as others related to the theme of the stream:

  • Bringing the social and environmental together to research innovation
  • Role of social innovation in ‘greening the build back’
  • Post growth, de-growth and growth agnostic approaches to understanding the economy and social change
  • Social innovation for corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility
  • Forms of building resilience and adaptation to climate change and biodiversity loss, including managing the commons and building natural capital
  • The scaling of impact of those particular sectors that are relevant to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss
  • Urban based social innovation for tackling climate change and biodiversity loss
  • Niche restoration of sustainable but often marginalized forms of living with the natural environment 
  • Social innovation and activism by NGOs, individuals, lawyers, other businesses and academics
  • Democratic innovations for sustainability
  • Legitimacy building, certification approaches and other regulatory systems for the climate and biodiversity emergency
  • Community based innovations for sustainability
  • Investment and divestment for the climate emergency and biodiversity loss
  • Policy approaches for social innovation for the climate emergency and biodiversity loss