How ecological Value Chains Can Help Societies Tackle the Coronavirus Crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has cast a spotlight on the vulnerability of global value chains. Sustainable value chains at the regional level could bring more stability to the post-pandemic world. A team of researchers at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) has developed a typology of climate win-win strategies that can be used to identify sustainable regional value chains.

As part of the EU-funded Green-Win research project, the team focussed on three fields of action:

  • coastal management
  • rural energy poverty
  • and urban transformations towards sustainability.

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New paper on A typology for analysing mitigation and adaptation win-win strategies

A sustainability transition in line with achieving global climate goals requires the implementation of win-win strategies (WWS), i.e. socioeconomic activities that enable economic gains while simultaneously contributing to climate change mitigation or adaptation measures. Such strategies are discussed in a variety of scientific communities, such as sustainability science, industrial ecology and symbiosis and circular economy. However, existing analyses of win-win strategies tend to take a systems perspective, while paying less attention to the specific actors and activities, or their interconnections, which are implicated in win-win strategies. Moreover, they hardly address adaptation WWS. To address these gaps and support the identification and enhancement of WWS for entrepreneurs and policy-makers, we propose a typology of WWS based on the concept of a value-consumption chain, which typically connects several producers with at least one consumer of a good or service. A consideration of these connections allows an evaluation of economic effects in a meso-economic perspective. We distinguish 34 different types of WWS of companies, households and the state, for which 23 real-world examples are identified. Further, contrary to prevailing views on the lack of a business case for adaptation, we do identify real-world adaptation WWS, though they remain underrepresented compared with mitigation WWS. Our typology can be used as an entry point for transdisciplinary research integrating assessment of individual transformative socioeconomic activities and highly aggregated approaches assessing, e.g. the macro-economic effects of WWS.

The online version of the paper is accessible here