Theory, Evidence and Policy
Edited by Boelie Elzen, Frank W. Geels and Ken Green
Since the publication of the Brundtland report in 1987, the goal of sustainability has increasingly gained the attention of a variety of societal actors, including public authorities, NGOs, consumer groups and industrial ﬁrms as well as researchers in a wide range of disciplines. At the general level, there is widespread consensus that various characteristics of modern societies are not sustainable and should change. When things get more prescriptive, however, many feel that the goals of sustainability seem to clash with other vital societal interests. In recent decades, impressive results have been achieved in the environmental aspect of sustainability, for example by curbing the emissions of a variety of pollutants. Nonetheless, many feel that achieving the broader goals of sustainability is still remote since many problems appear extremely diﬃcult to tackle, such as obtaining large reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases. Furthermore, the scope of the term of sustainability has become broadened to include a variety of goals, including a healthy environment, a healthy society and a healthy economy. To achieve this multitude of targets we seem to need fundamental changes, and these changes are denoted by terms like system innovation, transition and industrial transformation. Across the world, researchers from diﬀerent disciplinary backgrounds have begun to try to understand the processes underlying these changes and policy makers have begun to use these insights. In the Netherlands, for example, various ministries have set up so-called ‘transition teams’ who wrestle with the issue of how to set in motion fundamental...