The EEA briefing ‘’ reflects on how social and technological innovation could contribute to more sustainable societies by avoiding technology-sourced, man-made environmental problems, and by shifting emphasis from technology-driven to people-driven solutions. New governance mechanisms and balancing experimentation and precaution can channel the potential of different types of innovation towards sustainability.
Many sustainability-driven technologies promise positive outcomes, but the consequences of such innovations are difficult to anticipate, the EEA briefing points out. For example, large-scale production of first-generation biofuels resulted in deforestation and other land use changes that affected ecosystems and biodiversity. Problems arise also when improved efficiency leads to increased consumption or when technological innovations lead to lock-ins and path dependency.
The EEA briefing argues for an innovation governance that enables citizens and societies to participate and engage in positive, transformative change beyond consumer choices.
The new briefing is part of the ‘Narratives for change’ series, which brings new perspectives to the fore that could trigger change in the way we think and act towards sustainability.