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The project Economics of Sustainability (EOS) is designed to address core sustainability issues which have been playing an increasingly important part in today’s business activity, individuals’ lives and have immense potential in contributing to the future development of the world.
Its main focus is on identifying areas where sustainability issues are critical, followed by suggesting solutions to be practically implemented.
The first stage of the project involves partners’ contribution to the development of the joint curriculum for the subject “Economics of Sustainability”. Research will be carried out by partners to name the most important sustainability challenges from the perspective of their regions and countries, including environmental and employment relations, marketing and sustainable production and consumption, tourism, and hospitality industry, sustainability of businesses, sustainable finance and management, cultural and social sustainability, etc.
The intellectual output of this stage will be a syllabus of a new subject “Economics of Sustainability” to be introduced into the curricula of tertiary education institutions participating in the project. The syllabus dealing with general issues of sustainable development will also incorporate local, country specific and cross-cultural issues. Such global and local approach will stimulate young generations’ openness to different cultures, tolerance and responsiveness to different needs, thus strengthening social potential.
The next stage of the project will involve a course book written by researchers following their findings in the first phase of the project. It will be targeted primarily to students of the partnering institutions as a support material for the new subject introduced into their curricula. Its secondary functions will be performed by means of a PDF downloadable open-access resource to be used by students and teachers of other institutions worldwide.
Thus, the intellectual outputs will cater for educational needs of the contemporary societies to tackle core environmental and social problems. The Partners of the project believe that in the process of educating students of economics current issues need to be approached both globally as well as locally, and to meet this objective cooperation between tertiary education institutions is indispensable.
The essence of sustainable development although clear, is hardly ever realised by individuals. Activities towards CSR or sustainability definitely improve the company image while they are not likely to be one of the criteria taken into account by individual consumers. This lack of individuals’ awareness may result in their ignorance of such beneficial actions and simultaneously in no positive feedback or support given to them. The technology diffusion is the root of behavioural changes which, on the one hand, lead to new expectations of product and service providers, and on the other hand, empower consumers to such an extent so as they get involved in co-creating or even creating market offerings themselves. However, people often lack creativity and therefore it should be stimulated and encouraged.
Modern technology proliferation plays the most important role in driving transition to sustainable development by, for example, the emergence of new business models, such as sharing/access economy that reflect social needs resulting from changing demographics and other megatrends. The new developing system is based on re-using, re-cycling and sharing, all activities leading to reduction of environmental impacts and thus contributing to values of CSR and sustainability. The project will be utilised to strengthen and support such positive behavioural trends.
At the final stage, the project’s results will be disseminated by creating an open-access platform where ideas for utilising game-dynamics will be entered to be used proactively by business leaders as well as consumers willing to combine fun with socially and environmentally desirable activities. The innovative idea of the platform consists in gathering both novel and tested solutions in one place thus enabling quick and easy access to a variety of ideas with potential to enhance sustainable choices. By utilizing game-dynamics, which have been proved effective in encouraging consumers to behave in a desired way, businesses can gain important benefits from marketing success, relationship building to CSR- related merits. The platform will also be useful for consumers with sustainability- conscious mindset to help them find eco- friendly solutions, associate them with relevant business and support socially important initiatives.
Roadmap of the project
Logo of the project worked out by all the Partners
Examples of the logo
Description of initial activities – Areas of research
The initial stage will be aimed at addressing the key issues to be later on elaborated on in the course of the project, particularly the syllabus and course book.
In order to decide on the content and substance of the course the partners intend to establish the following:
- Historical Context,
- Concepts and Definitions.
Sustainable Development Challenges are attributed to particular areas, which are:
- Enviromental sustainability
- Economic sustainability
- Societal sustainability
Apparently, particular Sustainable Development Challenges (or root-cause of the issues) need not to be unequivocally matched with particular areas. However, just for the sake of methodology, possibly clear and balanced structure of the topics will be aimed at.
The issue of sustainability is given different approaches as for the kind of relationship between the areas of analyses, such as the ones below:
In the project partners’ opinion the model presented in Fig.3 seems to be the most adequate as well as applicable for the methodology. This means, at the stage of syllabus development, the individual Sustainable Development Challenges will need to be matched to one of the three main areas.
As a result, in individual chapters of the course book structured in exactly the same way, a uniform system of references will be established and used (in form and content) to other areas.
Alternatively, Sustainable Development Goals , instead of Sustainable Development Challenges could be used for the framework of the syllabus, such as the UN Goals:
Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 by the United Nations
However, such structure could cause more problems than the Sustainable Development Challenges oriented. This is because to address each Sustainable Development Goal different Sustainable Development Challenges, that can apply to different Areas would need to be discussed and dealt with.
However, when applying the structure based on Sustainable Development Challenges, this uniform system of defining the goal to be achieved by reducing/ minimising specific threats could be used as well (also at the stage of course book writing).
The proposed issues were entered in the table to be discussed and elaborated on. This way a draft illustrating suggested Sustainable Development Challenges matched to specific areas was made and entered in the table with declared willingness to participate in addressing specific areas and priorities by each partner.
Other activities – cross-link cooperation
The project aims at training university students of economics, finance and engineering on the taking into account of sustainability issues in the provision of energy.
Its main expected results are:
(1) A Joint Master Degree in Green Energy and Finance targeting university students
(2) Professional Modules to train companies’ staff and experts already active in the labour market.
(3) The organization of two 2 Summer Schools on green energy finance