Situating a sustainable bioeconomy strategy on a map of justice: a solution and its problems

Matti Häyry*, Maarit Laihonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The European Union’s 2018 updated bioeconomy strategy A Sustainable Bioeconomy for Europe: Strengthening the connection between economy, society and the environment aims to fulfill the requirements of sustainability and justice while transitioning economy from fossil-based to bio-based. We ask whether and to what extent the economically ambitious strategy succeeds in achieving its non-economic goals. We present a map of justice that shows the tensions and alliances between key interpretations of equality, identify the definition of sustainability informing the strategy, and show how this definition steers the strategy toward a limited view of justice that is geared to ignore social and ecological concerns. The governance framework that the strategy adheres to is the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals approach, which is an outgrowth of the 1987 Brundtland Commission’s view on sustainability. Since this framework forms the basis of many other international environmental agreements, our observations are largely applicable to them, too. From the viewpoint of justice, comprehensively understood, the whole system is, and has since the Brundtland Report been, fundamentally flawed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Oct 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Ecology
  • Environment
  • Equality
  • European Union bioeconomy strategy
  • Theories of justice
  • United Nations sustainable development goals

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