Project

Flagship 3: Collaborative design of transformative pathways towards a bio-based circular economy

Connected circularity: the study and design of transformative pathways towards a biobased economy. The transition towards a circular biobased economy requires us to identify pathways leading to fundamental changes. In this project, an interdisciplinary team of Wageningen researchers collaborates with civil parties through (action) research of cases in which small steps have been taken towards a biobased economy.

Connected circularity: the study and design of transformative pathways towards a biobased economy

The transition towards a circular biobased economy requires us to identify pathways towards fundamental change. In a biobased economy, biomass from land and sea is transformed into food, fuel, chemicals and materials. The guiding principles of a circular economy are: Replace the 'end-of-life' concept by restauration; shift towards sustainable energy; removal of waste materials; zero emissions; redesign materials, products and systems. Pathways towards a biobased economy are essential to a sustainable future. This requires transformative change: a fundamental and deliberate change in technological, organisational, behavioural, market and institutional practices. This transition is challenging due to the subconscious preferences for existing practices.

In this project, WUR researchers develop pathways in collaboration with civil parties. The concrete routes for a circular biobased economy rest upon: (1) ex-post research of successful small steps and their accumulative effect (for example the vegetarian butcher, Kipster, green deal Herenboeren); (2) ex-post investigation of failed or stagnating initiatives such as 'new combined business'); (3) experimentation in selected existing projects that have been identified as small steps (for example Geofoods, Pixel farming); (4) ex-ante studies based on scenario development or back-casting. The results are socially accepted evidence-based pathways consisting of (1) collectively formulated ambitions, (2) series of governance interventions, stakeholder activities and new business models. The results are also translated into a research agenda for transdisciplinary research.

Publications