• The challenges of applying planetary boundaries as a basis for strategic decision-making in companies with global supply chains

      Clift, R.; Sim, S,; King, H.; Chenoweth, J.L.; Christie, I.; Clavreul, J.; Mueller, C.; Posthuma, L.; Boulay, A.M.; Chaplin-Kramer, R.; et al. (2017)
      The Planetary Boundaries (PB) framework represents a significant advance in specifying the ecological constraints on human development. However, to enable decision-makers in business and public policy to respect these constraints in strategic planning, the PB framework needs to be developed to generate practical tools. With this objective in mind, we analyse the recent literature and highlight three major scientific and technical challenges in operationalizing the PB approach in decision-making: first, identification of thresholds or boundaries with associated metrics for different geographical scales; second, the need to frame approaches to allocate fair shares in the 'safe operating space' bounded by the PBs across the value chain and; third, the need for international bodies to co-ordinate the implementation of the measures needed to respect the Planetary Boundaries. For the first two of these challenges, we consider how they might be addressed for four PBs: climate change, freshwater use, biosphere integrity and chemical pollution and other novel entities. Four key opportunities are identified: (1) development of a common system of metrics that can be applied consistently at and across different scales; (2) setting 'distance from boundary' measures that can be applied at different scales; (3) development of global, preferably open-source, databases and models; and (4) advancing understanding of the interactions between the different PBs. Addressing the scientific and technical challenges in operationalizing the planetary boundaries needs be complemented with progress in addressing the equity and ethical issues in allocating the safe operating space between companies and sectors.
    • Circular economy versus planetary limits: a Slovak forestry sector case study

      Beckmann, A.; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Irani, Zahir (2021-11)
      Purpose: Circular economy is presented as an approach to economic growth that is in line with sustainable development. However, the recent literature has highlighted the limits of the concept in terms of environmental sustainability. The study examines the relationship between circular economy and conservation of ecosystems, using a case study on the implications of a circular economy for Slovak forests and forest sector. Design/methodology/approach: This study adopts a qualitative methodology through a focused review of the relevant literature on circular economy and sustainable development and primary data gathered through semi-structured interviews with 15 experts and practitioners in the forest sector, forest conservation and circular economy context, both from within as well as outside of Slovakia. Findings: The study finds that the forestry sector has an important role to play in a shift to a circular economy in Slovakia, with significant opportunities for improved efficiency as well as substitution of wood for non-renewable resources. There is also growing potential for ecosystem stewardship and restoration. However, the increased application of biomass could crowd out other needs, including for biodiversity. Safeguarding these services depends ultimately on good governance. Originality/value: The study highlights that circular economy taken in a narrow focus on resource efficiency is insufficient to ensure environmental sustainability but rather needs to be set within the broader environmental and social context.