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Advancing Sustainable Solutions

Author: IIIEE | Lund University

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Welcome to the podcast 'Advancing Sustainable Solutions', produced by the IIIEE at Lund University. The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) is an interdisciplinary research and education institute located in Lund, Sweden with activities focusing on the transition to low-carbon and resource efficient economies.

In this podcast, we will share ongoing research and activities through engaging conversation that is relatable and applicable to our daily lives. In essence, we wish to support listeners in their journey towards sustainability. Look for a new episode monthly!
23 Episodes
What happens when you take a bunch of people from different cultural and geographical backgrounds, ask them to integrate under one discipline or department, and share a profound and life-changing experience? In this episode, we unpack some of these stories as we look at the journey of a PhD Student at Lund University. We interview our colleagues Emma Johnson, who is at the start of her PhD journey, and Lucie Enochsson, who is about to graduate and defends her thesis in June. We also discuss with Martin Tunér, the Associate Dean at Lund University’s Faculty of Engineering responsible for PhD Studies. Finally, we share some tips to help existing and future PhD students navigate academic life. And, if you take away anything, we hope to convey the importance of PhD education in contributing to some of the latest breakthroughs in science and technology, especially to advance sustainable solutions!
Sustainable finance, non-financial disclosures, ESG, oh my! The world of sustainable finance may seem dark and scary. But, in this episode, we introduce many key concepts through dialogue as well as discuss how sustainable finance contributes to wider sustainability objectives. The finance sector is playing an ever growing role in supporting the transition to a Paris-aligned world by incorporating sustainability into their financial analysis and investment portfolios. We discuss these important trends within the sector, and share tips on how individuals may incorporate sustainable finance criteria into their portfolios, specifically, pension funds. We are joined by Emelia Holdaway, Policy Program Director at the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and by Mike Toulch, alumni of the IIIEE and a senior analyst in the Shareholder Engagement and Policy team at the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE). While we highlight research and findings about sustainable finance, it is of course important to conduct your own research when making decisions about your personal finances.
If we want to imagine a more sustainable future, we need to be emotionally connected with that vision. Providing the latest facts and figures alone won’t do the trick. We suggest storytelling can be a great way to convey these facts in a compelling way to envision and connect with a possible future. Stories are an effective narrative device, because they activate areas of the brain responsible for memories, emotions, and critical thinking. As such, stories can be a powerful tool to engage, inspire, and imagine. In this episode, we consider the why, what, and how of storytelling. Why do we need storytelling? What makes an effective story? And, how may we implement storytelling in our own contexts? To help imagine how we can tell our own stories, we discuss with Per Grankvist – Chief Storyteller at Viable Cities – and Ludwig Bengtsson Sonesson – project leader at Lund University involved in examples ‘Carbon Ruins’ and ‘Rough Planet Guide – Notterdam’. We hope to inspire the storyteller in all of us – to speak from our hearts while using our brains for the facts and figures.
We use energy in almost every aspect of our lives. Yet, often, we do not know the source of electricity that powers our homes or heats our food. In this episode, we explore energy communities as a form of decentralised and democratic energy production. Community energy sees people coming together to take control of their energy needs, by finding alternative ways to organise and govern the energy system. For example, initiatives may focus on the energy generation via local energy cooperatives, distribution via local smart grids, or energy efficiency projects. But, how may energy communities support the transition to a more sustainable and just energy system? We discuss with researchers Jenny Palm and Daniela Lazoroska. We also share preliminary research findings that point towards gender discrimination throughout our energy system. This, in turn, suggests that greater efforts are needed to increase participation and ensure a more just energy system is achieved.
Missions are being discussed widely within the European Union and beyond as a tool to steer policy, innovation, and research. Similar to other missions – to the moon, to cure cancer, and to eradicate smallpox – the missions-oriented approach seeks to set bold and radical goals to tackle our pressing environmental and social challenges. In this episode, we discuss the missions-oriented approach for innovation and governance, and provide highlights from the City Futures Summit on the same topic, hosted in October 2020 by the IIIEE. We also discuss with Kes McCormick – associate professor at IIIEE and moderator of the Summit – as well as Li Strandberg – IIIEE's new Communications Manager – about the event and the importance of communication and engagement when involving citizens and stakeholders in creating and implementing missions.
Working from home? We have you covered with several tips and tools for teleworking and virtual meetings. Building on decades worth of research and experience in teleworking for sustainability, we share with you some suggestions to make the sudden transition working from home easier. We discuss with Peter Arnfalk and Charlotte Leire their experience advising organisations and individuals on how to transition to working from a distance. For those that are fortunate to transition their work from the office to home, we hope this episode is meaningful to you. We also acknowledge so many others that have lost their jobs or have a position where working from home is not possible, including our healthcare professionals. Our thoughts are with you and our entire podcast community as we overcome the global pandemic together.
Our economic systems are shaken as a result of COVID-19 and the global impact the virus will have on individuals, organisations, and economies. Prior to the global pandemic, we recorded this episode to discuss ongoing research at Lund University about our economic systems to support the Sustainable Development Goals. In this episode, we collaborate with the Lund University Agenda 2030 Graduate School. Coordinator Kristina Jönsson and PhD Student Juan Ocampo join us to highlight the activities and research of the Graduate School to support Agenda 2030. We discuss complementary currencies as a community-tool to incorporate social and environmental values into our economic systems. We also highlight the need for financial inclusion to ensure all communities have access to basic needs. In light of the global pandemic, these discussions are more important now than ever before. As such, we share this episode with you to inspire discussion about the values of our current and future economic systems. In these difficult times, we are sending love and solidarity to our entire podcast community!
What do sheep have to do with intellectual property rights for sustainability? In this episode, we explore the ‘tragedy of the commons’, which often justifies the introduction of property rights to support conservation and reduced environmental impact. However, when it comes to ‘innovations of the mind’, do property rights help or hinder the transition towards more sustainable economies? We sit down with IIIEE researchers Nancy Bocken and Roberto Hernandez to discuss the sustainability implications of closed, semi-open, and open intellectual property models. A fully closed model prevents the diffusion of sustainable solutions while a fully open model disincentivises innovation. So, what can be done to encourage innovation as well as advance sustainable solutions? Find out in our new episode on intellectual property rights for sustainability!
A tree is so much more than just a tree! Trees provide habitat to support biodiversity, remove carbon dioxide and particulate matter from our air, cool our cities during summers, and inspire enjoyment by all. A tree planted deliberately to provide any of these services is considered a nature-based solution. In this episode, we present the concept of nature-based solutions as an approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and manage stormwater in our cities. We meet Associate Professor Kes McCormick and PhD Researcher Björn Wickenberg, who share their research on nature-based solutions. Kes introduces us to a new online course called ‘Urban Nature’ and Björn shares with us his perspective as a previous urban planner in how to invite nature into our cities.
Policies are needed to ensure a circular economy. In the final episode of our mini-series on the circular economy, we explore the role of policy and the need for research to ensure policies like the European Green Deal promote a circular economy for sustainability. We discuss the trade-offs of slowing resource loops and energy efficiency, for example, knowing when to exchange your LED lightbulb for a more energy efficient bulb? We talk to our colleague Carl Dalhammar who explains the policy field of the circular economy today and why policies should regulate the design of our products. Then, we sit down with Jessika Luth Richter, who shares her research on policies for a circular economy. We discuss policies for narrowing, slowing and closing resource loops and answer the question when longer product lifetimes are more or less desirable.
The global population living in cities is expected to reach nearly 70% by 2050. This trend in urbanisation will require massive amounts of infrastructure to be built from concrete and other natural and manufactured materials. In the second episode of our miniseries on the circular economy, we explore the business case for circular resource flows - such as concrete, wood, and glass - in the construction and building sector. We meet Associate Professor Yuliya Voytenko Palgan, who discusses why cities are so important in addressing our sustainability challenges. Then, we invite PhD Candidate Julia Nussholz as well as recent IIIEE Master’s graduate Felicia Gustafsson to join us to discuss their research. We explore examples of closing and slowing resource loops in the construction industry as well as consider how to design circular business models that facilitate customer acceptance. But, are businesses doing enough? And, what is the role of policymakers to promote a circular economy that truly delivers on its sustainability promises?
The circular economy is promoted by government and industry as an approach to reduce resource consumption while maintaining a high standard of living. In this episode, we explore circular business models that leverage strategies of closing, narrowing or slowing resource loops. This episode is the first of three episodes part of our mini-series on the circular economy. We invite PhD Candidate Katherine Whalen to join us to discuss her research on circular business models as well as her participation as a coach in C:/BOOT, an international coaching programme for circular entrepreneurs.
Our global sustainability challenges are complex and require partnerships and collaboration across disciplines and sectors. As such, as a society, we must value interdisciplinary perspectives and work together to address these challenges. In this episode, we discuss the value of interdisciplinary education to address our complex sustainability challenges. We share the experience from our two interdisciplinary Master's programmes as well challenge employers, educators, and students to consider the value of interdisciplinary knowledge and skills.
There is growing interest among funding agencies, governments, and society in general to understand the impact of research conducted within academia. However, evaluating research impact is tricky and finding as well as leveraging impact pathways can be daunting without first considering the desired impact early in the research planning process. This is especially relevant when considering sustainability research. We sit down with Master’s student Edward Dickinson to discuss his ongoing thesis research regarding research impact and knowledge dissemination. We provide listeners an overview of how research is funded, conducted and evaluated as well as call on all of us to think more deliberately about the impact of academic research. With this episode, we also celebrate 3000+ downloads of our podcast as well as the end of our first season by reflecting on the significance of the podcast to our Institute and listeners like you.
Given the global sustainability challenges that we face, we need new forms of production and consumption. However, will the sharing economy be a part of the solution? Or, part of the problem? In this month's episode, Sofie and Steven discuss the sharing economy broadly before elaborating on business models in the sharing economy. Speaking critically, they elaborate on aspects of the sharing economy that are more likely to lead to more sustainable consumption. They also interview Nancy Bocken - professor at the IIIEE in sustainable business management - as well as Ida Björling, Oskar Henriksson, Tove Lund, and Petter Olsson - who attended the event 'Sharing Cities' hosted by IIIEE during Lund University Sustainability Week.
A Town Of Ice And Fire

A Town Of Ice And Fire


Kiruna, a small and industrious mining town in the arctic north of Sweden, is facing a unique challenge - the mine has expanded so far under ground that it is weakening the town’s foundations and will eventually pose a threat to inhabitants. City leadership and the mining company decided that much of the town would have to be demolished and moved. While many might see this as a problem, Kiruna instead sees an opportunity. “We have a unique situation that everybody actually should envy,” says Mats Nilsson, head of the Kiruna Sustainability Center. “We have a white piece of paper and the possibility to design, draw and build a completely new and sustainable city.” Guest-hosts and IIIEE Master’s students Alexandra Jonca and Kelly Delaney traveled to Kiruna to explore how one goes about moving a town and what sustainability means in an Arctic context.
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old young person from Sweden, has inspired a generation to take action on climate change. In this episode, we acknowledge and appreciate the actions of youth, like Greta, around the world in demanding action on climate change. Reflecting on our own experiences, fear and our own perceived lack of knowledge often hinders us. Therefore, together with guest host and Master's student Carmen Huidobro, we host a 'Crash Course on COP' to prepare and inspire youth to take action, specifically, in climate negotiations. In this episode, we interview Zsolt Bauer (Climate Reality Project EU) as well as Jamie Wylie and Katie Robins (2050 Climate Group). Will the Youth's voice be heard at COP25 in Chile?
There is growing urgency within the academic, political and public spheres to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in order to lessen or mitigate the impacts of climate change. To do so, many online are voicing their commitments by making a New Year’s Resolution to reduce their flying or to not fly at all in 2019. In this episode, we explore the reasons why many are making this New Year’s Resolution and provide suggestions to support those who wish to make similar pledges. We interview Jonas Sonnenschein, a PhD researcher who shares his findings about effective policy approaches from the field of behavioural economics. He shares his personal commitments, provides relevant policy suggestions, and asks all of us to consider the commitments that we can make to fly less.
Like so many, have you waited until the last minute to buy gifts for your family and friends this holiday season?? In this episode, we will provide some specific suggestions for those among us still in need of gift ideas, which are also applicable for all gifting occasions. Furthermore, we will discuss with our colleagues, researching sustainable consumption, the notion of gift-giving, the obligation to do so in society, and how to return to more meaningful gift-giving.
Individuals have their part to play in the transition towards a circular economy. In this episode, we will introduce the circular economy and strategies to facilitate a transition from our linear to a more circular economy. Furthermore, we visit a repair cafe and illustrate how you can extend product lifetimes. The episode is produced in connection to a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), called ‘Circular Economy: Sustainable Materials Management’, produced by the IIIEE together with European partners available on Coursera.
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