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These necessary ingredients are discussed and illustrated through the examples given in the sections that follow.


24.3.1 Visions to guide systemic innovation towards sustainability


An increasing number of governments, cities, companies and communities are expressing compelling visions of a more sustainable future and sharing their strategies and plans for achieving those visions. Many of these visions realize that new ways of measuring progress are also needed (Midgley and Lindhult 2017).


The concept of gross national happiness (GNH) as an alternative to monetary values to measure societal progress was introduced in Bhutan’s 1999 strategy for sustainable development (Niestroy, Schmidt and Esche 2013; Jacob, Kannen and Niestroy 2014). Since then it has been evolved as the core vision for Bhutan’s governmental and economic activities. Policies and investments are assessed against their contribution to increased GNH instead of their monetary cost and benefits. GNH is key for Bhutan’s five-year plans and is included in its Constitution. A GNH commission monitors the implementation. GNH is based on four pillars:


i. equitable socioeconomic development (equity between individuals, communities and regions to provide social harmony and stability);


ii. conservation of the environment; iii. preservation and promotion of culture (appreciation of the country’s cultural heritage and the preservation of spiritual and emotional values); and


iv. promotion of good governance (developing institutions and human resources and providing opportunities for participation).


In response to a regrettable history of deforestation and environmental degradation (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2016), Costa Rica has developed a vision of modernity that gives environmental quality a prime place (Silva 2002; Johnson 2016). The 1994 Constitution of Costa Rica provides for “the right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment” (United Nations, General Assembly 2014). Some recent policy approaches to attaining that vision include payment for ecosystem services, forest preservation for carbon credits, forest credit certificates, legal protection and preservation of iconic species, a ban on open pit mining and, most recently, a pledge to become carbon neutral by 2021. Although challenges remain in relation to water quality and marine protection, significant environmental improvements have stemmed from this overarching vision. For example, forest cover has improved from 26 per cent in the 1980s to 52 per cent in 2010 (United Nations, General Assembly 2014).


An increasing number of cities, communities and regions worldwide aim to reduce their carbon footprint and aspire to become zero-emission or carbon-neutral places (Yamanoshita and Aamano 2012). A clear definition for the scope of emissions (e.g. internal emissions based on the geographic boundary, or external emissions directly caused by municipal activities) addressed by such labels at the city level is under development worldwide (Kennedy and Sgouridis 2011; Straatman et al. 2018). Globally, 19 cities have committed to making net-zero-carbon buildings and infrastructure a central


piece of their investment strategy by 2030, and to revisit their current planning policies and regulations for existing buildings infrastructure to make them net-zero carbon by 2050 (C40 Cities 2018). Zero-emission city prototypes have been attempted by using renewable energy, cutting-edge technology, innovative urban planning and an emphasis on total reuse (Premalatha et al. 2013). Other initiatives focus on helping existing cities to get on a pathway towards net-zero emissions (e.g. World Business Council for Sustainable Development 2017) in which municipalities work together with businesses to jointly reduce CO2


emissions, while focusing on sustainability priorities (Zadek 2004; Moore, Riddell and Vocisano 2015).


ProjectZero (2016) in the Sønderborg region (77,000 inhabitants) in the south of the Kingdom of Denmark has the declared vision of becoming CO2


-neutral by 2029, based on


sustainable growth resulting in new green jobs. This vision is being implemented by a public-private partnership involving the municipality and major businesses in the region. A milestone of a 25 per cent reduction in CO2


(at 35 per cent) (World Future Council 2016). Technological initiatives are taking place in cities and regions worldwide, such as expanded district heating networks, the conversion of supplies to CO2


-neutral sources and the installation of


onshore wind turbines and photovoltaic facilities, coupled with programmes that involve citizens and industries, such as the ZEROhousing and ZEROcompany programmes (Bulkeley and Betsill 2005; Betsill and Bulkeley 2006; Frantzeskaki, Wittmayer and Loorbach 2014; Fujino and Asakawa 2017; City of Melbourne 2018).


Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), a Malaysian federal government agency overseeing the country’s economic and physical development, formulated a vision known as the Low-carbon Society Blueprint 2025. IRDA developed the Green Economy Guideline Manual as a means to implement this vision with the active participation of the business operators in the region, where there is significant domestic and foreign investment (Ho et al. 2013; Iskandar Regional Development Authority [IRDA] 2014).


24.3.2 Social and policy innovation


There is no single blueprint for the achievement of these visions, as they are all socially and ecologically embedded in national and local contexts, historical developments, cultural norms and values, and so on. Accordingly, transformation encourages massive social and policy innovation with no guarantees about which forms will ultimately prove successful and worthy of emulation in other domains. One emerging approach that is finding multiple applications is the concept of the sharing economy (e.g. shared accommodation and mobility systems), helping to move societies away from wasteful consumption of both renewable and non-renewable resources (see Section 23.3; Frenken 2017). Sharing accommodation and mobility to reduce environmental impacts is potentially transformative. Private vehicle ownership and solo use, with the high running costs of insurance, parking, maintenance, fuel, and so on, may be reduced by as much as 80 per cent within a decade if sound regulations and incentive schemes are implemented (Arbib and Seba 2017). Trust is no longer based on personal ties but on mechanisms such as peer ratings, business and liability regulations and third-party verification (Lan et al. 2017).


The Way Forward 585


emissions in 2015 was exceeded


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