Variety and Trajectories of New Forms of Organizing
Cover page of the book.
The sharing economy is one of the most influential developments of the last decade. The emergence of new forms of organizing it brings with it has affected modern (business) life at multiple levels: sharing organizations have blurred the distinction between the individual roles of provider, user, and employee; they have introduced organizational practices of coordinating members and communities; and they have sparked societal, political, and economic debates in multiple fields.
In food supply chains, products and services are continuously adapted to changing consumer demands. As the public becomes more concerned about environmental and social issues, sustainable business models are becoming more and more important. Altogether consumers' growing demand for local food has led to an increased importance of local food production and distribution networks.
In one of its focal areas the Evolution2Green project aimed to identify obstacles and path dependencies in the field of electromobility, to identify successful approaches to the transition
to electromobility, as well as necessary measures. The facts summarized in the roadmap answer many questions that are currently being raised in the field of electromobility:
Vocational education and training for sustainable development promotes competency in sustainable living and economic activities in order to preserve the natural basis of life for future generations. This requires bringing economic, social and ecological responsibility together in a harmonious way.
What can we do at the work bench, in the office or behind the counter in order to promote sustainable development? Which professional skills are necessary for a more sustainability-oriented work model? And what does a place of learning that facilitates these kinds of changes look like?
What do a sustainable economy, quality of life and urban transformation mean in cities such as Wuppertal, which are struggling with deep structural changes? How can impulses for more sustainability coming from the city’s civil society be described, structured and supported? How can quality of life be decoupled from material economic growth and resource consumption? The project WTW seeks comprehensive answers to these questions.
The final goal of this project is to develop and validate a toolbox of instruments and methods for small and medium sized enterprises (KMUs) that help to integrate sustainability in the whole food industry chain. Furthermore, the goal is to learn more about motives of action, structural and psychological barriers – respectively the behavior of the employees and the companies that have business relationships. It will also be evaluated how to establish transparency between the resource and the consumer and how to tackle insufficient consumer willingness to get product information.
Hardly any trend in Germany is discussed as intensely as demographic change. Rural regions will be particularly affected. It intensifies the internal migration already taking place and may lead to negative impacts on regional social structures. It also exacerbates the existing or expected lack of specialists, which especially affects small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and therefore the competitiveness of a region. The question emerges: which factors can increase the attractiveness of regions as a place to live and the attractiveness of SMEs as employer in a way that makes people want to stay. Given this context, the research project Regio TransKMU researches whether and how SMEs that act sustainably (in social and environmental terms) can shape rural areas and make them more attractive.
Are bioplastics in production, use and at the end of the life cycle really more sustainable than the fossil competitors and which challenges are caused by the sustainability assessment? Which ecological potential provides the cascade use? What is the common level of knowledge of bioplastics and how does the general public assess the use of bioplastics? Which information mediums are effective, if the topic has to be communicated adequate for the customer? These and further question are in the focus of the research platform BiNa.
In order to develop a sustainable food supply system, that enables food sovereignty and resilient food production on a regional level, the focus on local initiatives is increasing.
Initiatives with transformative potential are no longer exclusively situated in the sphere of either production or consumption, they are not only situated in either urban areas or the countryside, and are not only driven by economical success and/or limited by ecological demands. Instead these initiatives may diminish the impact of exogenous shocks and facilitate creative adaptation to changing environmental, socio-economic, and political conditions.
KoBeFisch has the hypothesis that European fisheries policies has not been able to prevent overfishing due to its current responsibility structures. In the current EU fisheries management, it is governmental actors that have the responsibility. For example, the council of ministries determines many regulations, including the catch quotas. At the same time, fishermen and fish consumers have almost no opportunity to influence the catch quotas in order to shift to more sustainable fishing. In KoBeFisch, alternatives are researched and developed on how governmental and non-governmental actors could share more responsibility for sustainability. Traditional coastal fishermen are considered alongside fish consumers as a point of special interest in the analysis.
Ornamental plants are an integral part of people’s life and consumption. Three out of four households buy a decorative plant at least once in the year. The project will take use of the big sustainability potential of the ornamental plant industry by developing new business models. Currently, the environmental conditions in the production sites are aligned to growth performance and sales quality, but not to later everyday – and environmental conditions at the consumers’ households. As a result, ornamental plants show there stress symptoms. In addition, many consumers lack the necessary competence in plant care. Product failures are the result.
The project demonstrates the potential of LivingLabs in the Green Economy. Within the project, innovations for assistance systems in the key areas of sustainable consumption (“living”, “retail”, “mobility”) are developed. In three German LivingLabs, companies and research organizations create and test new prototypes and business models with specific engagement of users.
The project aims to assess the sustainability potential of peer-to-peer sharing. With the help of a strong partnership with practioners, the project shall contribute to a professionalization of the platforms and their establishment as a sustainable consumer alternative. Through a dialogue with practice partners from sectors such as mobility (Drivy, flinc), accommodation (Wimdu) and clothing (Kleiderkreise), the environmental and social impacts of peer-sharing will be examined. The project will also determine to which extent rebound effects can occur
Companies as well as consumers depend on sustainability innovations for contributing to an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable economy. So far, the number of genuine sustainability innovations is, however, still limited in their scope and scale. Open Innovation, that is integrating e.g. customers into the innovation process, is one way of promoting the development and diffusion of sustainability innovations. Plenty of research has been conducted on the integration of customers as consumers by now, yet little attention has been paid to employees in their role as consumers. But there is evidence that employees in their double role as both company members and consumers bear a substantial potential to foster sustainable innovations tailored to the companies’ and the consumers’ needs.
The research project wants to initiate a knowledge brokerage process between joint housing initiatives and housing companies. Innovative ideas from joint housing and mobility concepts are going to be designed to be compatible and economically viable. Furthermore, the research project offers a knowledge pool containing promising ideas and concepts.
The main objective of logistics is to co-ordinate activities in a way that meets customer requirements at minimum cost. In the past this cost has been defined in purely monetary terms. As concern for the environment rises, companies must take more account of the external costs of logistics associated mainly with climate change, air pollution, noise, vibration and accidents. ILoNa is examining ways of reducing these externalities and achieving a more sustainable balance between economic, environmental and social objectives. Through a better understanding of the interaction of consumer behavior and logistics services, ILoNa intends to develop innovative, integrative models and concrete measures for sustainable economic activity with forward-looking options.
Various business models of sharing economy organizations promise to contribute to achieving economic, social, and ecologic goals. However, whether this promise is fulfilled, is still an open question. We lack a systematic comparison of different business models, an analysis of their positive and negative impacts and an estimation of the current and future societal contribution of the sharing economy.
As a result, the aim of the research project i-share is to capture the economic, ecologic and social impact of the sharing economy in Germany. To do so, we have developed an approach in which we answer the following questions:
The aim of the project is to significantly increase the share of more sustainable travel options in all booked travel products. Thus it is necessary that such travel products are visible (labelling) and bookable (within the information and booking systems). Targeted consultation by the travel agency staff regarding the realization of sustainable holidays can increase the sense of responsibility, efficiency and potentially sufficiency. Accordingly two aspects can be achieved: The advantages and chances of sustainability become visible to travelers and travelers have the possibility to specifically book sustainable products. Thus the sense of responsibility, efficiency and potentially sufficiency can be combined: The traveler consciously and frequently decides to travel sustainable. Hence travel products will be promoted, which use less resources, are bound to a favorable economic and social contexts and thus better correspond to the sustainability criteria.
Severe environmental problems seem to require a substantial and near-term shift towards greater sustainability in our production and consumption patterns. While many individual initiatives already exist in practice, comprehensive governance approaches targeted towards substantial transformations of whole socio-technical systems are lacking. In this respect, there is a great public need for systemically oriented and field-proven recommendations for forms of (more) successful governance of transformation processes.
The overall objective of the project is the development and testing of a heuristic, and the drafting of a manual planned as an E-Book to support practitioners in contributing to the initiation and in actively shaping socio-ecological transfor¬mation processes.
The aim of the scientific project “Comparing common good economy with corporate sustainabil-ity strategies (GIVUN)” is to provide a historical and economic-ethical context as well as empiri-cal research for an economy that is oriented after the common good. Furthermore, there will be an evaluation of the concept of the common good economy and other Corporate-Social-Responsibility (CSR) instruments. This will look at their transformative potential for integrating sustainability objectives into the corporate orientation. Focus of the project will be research about the impacts of the corporate common good orientation on concrete working and production conditions. Special regard will be paid to environmental effects and exploring conditions for the up-scaling and diffusion of common good economy for big corporations.
The Green Economy and related concepts such as Green Growth and the Green New Deal were seized upon with increasing frequency during the recent global financial and economic crisis. The concept of the Green Economy aims to identify new ways in which economic growth can go hand in hand with ecological sustainability, social inclusion and fairness.
The project’s potential for application is to be found first of all in the political arena. Additionally, the project’s findings will help businesses and NGOs to better perceive their role in the transformation to a Green Economy.
Businesses based in the out-of-home dining sector (Außer-Haus-Gastronomie, AHG) work continuously on a range of dishes that are healthier and more sustainable to cope with these changes in lifestyles and demand. To do that they further develop their supply in response to consumer needs with the help of dialogues with them. This project aims to initiate and disseminate trans-formative processes for more sustainable production and consumption in the out-of-home dining sector.
The project aims at improving transparency in the mining and supply chain of mineral raw materials. An in-depth analysis of existing standards and their institutional designs along with a multi-stakeholder process serves as a base to develop a blue print of a generic standard and its institutional design. The process will particularly account for impacts and chances for the various stakeholders including mining companies in Germany, down-stream companies in the supply chain and finance industry interested in sustainable financing but also consumers.
The project COWERK intends to examine the adoption of cooperative ways of organizing the economy by using the example of open-access labs. The project has the aim of analyzing the adoption of new technological methods in the context of decentralized and community-based production, and relating them to ways of sustainable development.