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ByPromo Committee

4 Tips to (de)motivate yourself

Physical lectures, Bouwpub, stale machine coffee and small talk in the bike shed made room for browser issues, quarantines, muted educators and Zoom showers. Concentration problems, motivation loss and lack of interaction are at the order of the day. In case you haven’t managed to lose your study motivation over the past near-year just yet and would like to join the lament, or when you find yourself being demotivated and are in need of some proper reverse-psychology* to get remotivated: this article might be exactly what you need.

1. Start doubting your academic ability. Let’s be honest: you didn’t end up getting accepted into this masters’ program because you’ve spent years and years of studying, examining the world around us, developing yourself, understanding the principles of research in an IE related field and mastering the art of earning ECTs. It was all a mere combination of paying thousands of Euros on tuition fees and stumbling upon an enormous amount of questionable luck that got you here. Assigning your current academic position to your intelligence or past efforts is sheer nonsense. In case you feel capable, make sure to avoid talking with novices/laymen about the courses you take, and looking back at previously taken hurdles or conquered challenges. Start the day by looking in the mirror while telling yourself that you’re dumb and end the day with a disparagement to boost your self-doubt.

2. Drop the towel. Aside from doubting your academic ability, be skeptical of your capacity to exert efforts at all. Studies show that students’ beliefs about their academic ability and capacity for effort are inherently linked to academic withdrawal (Legault et al., 2006). Past exams, papers, presentations and especially your bachelors’ dissertation all passed themselves and didn’t require any planning, efforts or coping strategies from your side. The last thing you’ve done during your pre-IE epoch is build muscles to make putting your shoulder to the wheel ever be fruitful. It’s hard to even throw in the towel when you don’t have any muscles, so just drop it. Scrap any new-course resolutions you might have and show the world your finest study flight behavior. If you’re not ready to scrap your resolutions just yet, start setting the bar way too high to make sure to disappoint yourself. Motivation is influenced by the perceived marginal value of progress (Heath et al., 1999), so stop celebrating small successes and complimenting yourself on taking any kind of effort because they have a strong potential of relighting your fire.

3. Grow antipathy towards the program. Do what you dislike, and dislike what you do. When tasks are perceived as uninteresting, uninspiring, monotonous or dull, they can severely temper students’ enthusiasm (Legault et al., 2006). Assume your teachers choose the most tedious types of assessment just to bully you, and pick the most boring topics for your assignments. Avoid interest triggers and choose electives that sound either utterly boring or extremely complicated for people with your bachelors’ background. Devalue course objectives and depreciate any of the insights you’ll gain. Burn your motivation letter, and never talk about the relevance of our field and what you hoped to achieve by registering for this degree. Reflecting on your choice of masters’ is ok, as it might make you realize that it’s probably best to drop out. By all means avoid sparking your interest or making course elements ‘fun’, and kindly request instructors to stop using Kahoot.

4. Avoid social interaction or seek discouragement. If you have roommates, try finding a place for yourself or lock your door and pretend you’re never home. Strengthen your isolation by being a jerk to others. In case you’re already on bad terms with your roommates it’s alright to roam around them so that you can occasionally pickup some negative vibes. When finding yourself in a social situation, stick to chitchat and abstain from sharing how you feel. Disable your webcam and microphone when attending lectures or group discussions. If you’re in a Shift committee, step out to upgrade your feelings of disengagement.

Although the presence of motivation isn’t necessarily related to academic achievement, it does lower distress while studying (Baker, 2004). Definitely something worthwhile pursuing in these home-bound times. Reverse-psychology doesn’t always do the trick but hopefully at least I managed to make you either smile or cringe. If not, I hope you know that we’re all in this together (a.k.a. you’re not alone) and that (re-)connecting with fellow Shifties is bliss.

By Esther Bliek


*= Is reverse-psychology not really your cup of tea and was this article of no use to you? Here are 5 ways to make yourself study when you have zero motivation.

References

Baker, S. R. (2004). Intrinsic, extrinsic, and amotivational orientations: Their role in university adjustment, stress, well-being, and subsequent academic performance. Current Psychology, 23(3), 189-202.

Heath, C., Larrick, R. P., & Wu, G. (1999). Goals as reference points. Cognitive psychology, 38(1), 79-109.

Legault, L., Green-Demers, I., & Pelletier, L. (2006). Why do high school students lack motivation in the classroom? Toward an understanding of academic amotivation and the role of social support. Journal of educational psychology, 98(3), 567.

ByIESA Shift

Life next to IE: transforming the food system with Gros

It’s big, edible and omnipresent; the food industry is everywhere. And so are its problems. The food system is notorious for its major issues such as resource over-extraction, eutrophication, underpayment and power abuse. With his recently founded organization Gros, Industrial Ecology student Simon Schilt seeks to find an answer to these worrisome developments. Lowik Pieters

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ByIESA Shift

Winter Activities

As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it becomes harder to do some Corona Proof activities outside. Therefore, we came up with some interesting indoor activities to get you through the coming winter. So put on your oversized sweater, get a steaming mug of tea and sit near the fireplace (read radiator) for some fresh ideas that do not include more Netflix time. 

Getting creative 

If you want to reduce your screen time, it is always an idea to get your creative side in the open. Ofcourse, you can draw or write things, but have you ever considered knitting a scarf or crocheting a stuffed animal (also works great as a Christmas present!).

You can start with knitting and crocheting quite easy: all you need is wool (around 1 euro a piece at Wibra/Action), a crochet hook (not even an euro) and knitting needles (you can all buy them at the Action/Wibra). 

Next, you will need some starting patterns. Since I can recommend you to start in your own language (translating different types of stitches can be quite confusing), you might have to Google some yourself. But it is a rewarding task: you can have hours of fun for a few euros, it’s relaxing after a day of hard work and: you can make something nice out of it! 

If you don’t know what you should make: you can also try to crochet or knit with waste plastics. This is how I made this bag. You first make plarn (plastic yarn), and then knit/crochet your pattern. 

Talking about Christmas, since we are kind of skipping a lot of important parties, bring Christmas inside your house! We did some research for you, and watched a lot of Hallmark movies to get inspired. You can create a lot of your own ornaments.

Create an ornament from old christmas cards, or make a garland from waste paper. You can also make garlands from popcorn! A lot of creative ideas can be found on Pinterest.

Next to decorating, the Christmas spirit is important. Spread some joy by creating the most amazing (Christmas) cards or letters. Send a heartfelt letter to your grandma which you couldn’t visit, your fellow students or to a random person who could use some love. Spread some joy with your words!

Food and drinks

Not in a creative mood? Or you prefer creating food and drinks?  Amaze yourself, and learn some new ways of cooking. Try to create vegetarian or vegan food, or create something from scratch from an entire different cuisine than you’re used to. Make your tastebuds familiar with new flavors by creating our new recipe we shared in the newsletter.

You can make your own Gluhwein with a bottle of red wine, an orange, 2 pieces of cinamon, 4 kruidnagels, 2 steranijs, 3 spoons of honey and 100 ml of cognac/brandy. In which you put everything together in a pan, and let it simmer for 15 minutes (Don’t let it cook!), get the rest out of the pan and serve your drink 😊.

You can find the dutch recipe here

Another idea for a rainy afternoon is to fill your day by baking some nice Christmas cookies or cupcakes! Believe me, you can fill a whole evening with decorating them (and eating them).

With all these kinds of nice foods and drinks you can also surprise your roommates with an evening of winter wonderland (or other theme night) with homemade Gluhwein and cookies, in which you can create your own Lichtjesavond!  

Zero Waste 

Now you might have some spare time, you can invest it in going zero waste! As we have a lot of single use products, you can reuse this by using sustainable products. You might even want to create a bag which you can bring when the festival season starts again. 

As you may notice, now we are home all day: we use a lot of single use plastics, even when we’re at home. Therefore you can make a lot of reusable products: did you know you can get a lot of fresh food in a reusable bag? Think of all the reduced plastics by buying at the local market, or at the baker. 

Or go through your bathroom cabinet: did you know you can make a lot of household products yourself? 

Visit this website to get inspired.

Reading

One of my favorite hobbies I picked up during the lockdown again is reading. When I was little I used to have a book with me all the time, and I have read my way through my local library. I rediscovered that it’s still the best way to escape our reality for a while. And, it doesn’t have to be expensive! Go to your local secondhand store, like Rataplan, where you can buy them for an euro per piece.

Another thing is the bookshare libraries, which you can see in the streets. In Delft there are a lot of these, where you can borrow a book, or leave a book.

Or, exchange books with your friends. You can even start your own book club.

Also, did you know the University of Leiden also has some reading books? Just search their library page for a specific book. No inspiration for a book? Check out Goodreads.

More ideas? Let us know! Send us a message and maybe your idea will be in the next newsletter! 

ByIESA Shift

Autumn Activity: Pumpkin Curry Recipe

When sitting at home in these windy, rainy autumn days you might be in need of some serious comfort food. With this easy recipe you can make a delicious vegan curry with the vegetable of the season: the pumpkin. Not only nice to carve out or put in your pumpkin spiced oatmeal latte, but also just for eating. I like to peel the skin off, but you can also leave it on for some more bite. Serve with naan, rice, (vegan) yoghurt, freshly chopped cilantro and lime slices!


Ingredients (4p):
Sunflower oil
2 tbsp. mustard seeds

2 tbsp. dried chili flakes

2 medium sized onions (chopped)

1 inch of fresh ginger (grated)

2 gloves of garlic (grated)

4 tbsp. curry powder

1 tbsp. cumin powder

2 tsp. Sereh (lemon grass powder)

1 tsp. dried mint

1 tsp. of salt

1 kg of pumpkin (peeled, in pieces)

1 lime (half for juice, the other for garnishing)

50 ml vegetable stock

400 ml coconut milk

Recipe:
Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds and chili flakes. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop, stir in the chopped onion. Fry the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and fry briefly.

Stir the curry powder, sereh powder, and cumin into the onions and fry for 30 seconds. Then add the pumpkin.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk and stir well before adding the stock. Season with a teaspoon of salt and the dried mint. Bring to the boil and cook the pumpkin without a lid for about 25 minutes (until you like it the texture of the pumpkin).
Season the curry with the lime juice and garnish with the finely chopped cilantro.

ByPromo Committee

Prosperity within limits: is it possible?

Book review by Lowik Pieters:
Prosperity without growth by Tim Jackson

It seems like the world is changing rapidly, but one thing has been stable for centuries: our need for (economic) growth. To date, the EU and the UN stick to the mantra of ‘green growth’, arguing that over time, our economic system will function separately from its resource demands. Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, UK, immediately exposes that ‘decoupling’ material and energy input from economic growth is a myth. In his book Prosperity Without Growth, Jackson doesn’t preach a post-material phantasy, he offers serious solutions to a flaw in the fabric of our economies.

Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations For The Economy Of Tomorrow was first published in 2010 and immediately gained attention among scholars and economy students: why was ‘post-growth’ economic thinking not part of their curriculum? When it’s second edition was published in 2017, the book was no longer regarded a radical narrative. Instead, it offered a clear vision for a post financial crisis world, with proposals for changes in the financial sector.

Tim Jackson inspired Kate Raworth to write her bestseller Doughnut Economics and his book is seen as a ‘landmark in the sustainability debate’. The Guardian called it a manifesto for an emerging movement that is trying to convince economists that there’s more than GDP growth. In fact, GDP growth is eventually limiting prosperity because of its unequal distribution. Today, many countries acknowledge that GDP isn’t a good indicator for prosperity measurements, but they seem to fear to take action on how to deal with prosperity issues differently.

The dilemma of growth

Tim Jackson’s ‘dilemma of growth’ resulted in his book Prosperity Without Growth and several scholarly publications. According to Jackson, prosperity means flourishing, a steady state that strives for wellbeing for everyone. This isn’t a very new way of thinking, though. Already in 1973 the book Small Is Beautiful was published by economist Fritz Schumacher, who urged economies to transition to regional systems, focusing on social and ecological principles. It reads like a hands-on economy focused sequel to Limits to Growth. 

In what way is this book different from Doughnut Economics and earlier publications that address the dilemma of growth? Jacksons work offers a solid theoretical background, but also includes concrete solutions to problems of capitalism (such as employee ownership, revitalization of social investment, changing investments in general). Would these solutions be the perfect answer to neoliberalism?

ByPromo Committee

Coastal engineering: going multifunctional?

By Ankita Singhvi.

A quarter of the world’s population lives within 100km of a shoreline, with urbanisation on the rise. Coastal space is scarce and valuable, but it is becoming increasingly vulnerable due to climate change. The main hazards that the coast needs to be protected against are erosion (the loss or displacement of land, or the consistent removal of rocks and sediment along a shoreline due to waves, currents, tides or storms) and flooding (when sea height exceeds the elevation of land and covers it, caused by high tides or storms). In order to protect the coast, various interventions are taken on the shoreline: e.g. dikes, dunes, seawalls, beach nourishment. In particular, multifunctional coastal protection has increasingly been receiving attention due to its promise of enhancing adaptation to the threats of climate change, as well as relieving the pressures of increasing urbanisation. Multifunctionality refers to the multiple benefits that an intervention can provide beyond risk reduction. The concept emphasizes the explicit interweaving of ecological, social, and economic functions. What does this look like in practise? Here, I will describe two cases in the Netherlands – one ‘nature-based intervention’ and one ‘grey’ intervention.

Sand Motor, Monster

The coast of Monster has a large, man-made hook-shaped peninsula (see image above) – one of the few interruptions to the otherwise uniform shoreline of the Netherlands. This peninsula is a beach nourishment project called the Sand Motor (also referred to as Sand Engine and Zand Motor). It was constructed by placing 21.5 million m3 of sand on the beach with the aim of reducing the speed of coastal erosion and protecting upland infrastructure from storm surges or high tides. Typical nourishment projects are a repetitive process; a coastline is artificially replenished every five years. In contrast, five times the volume of the average sand nourishment was used at the Sand Motor with the expectation that replenishment would become unnecessary along the Delfland Coast for the next twenty years.

The Sand Motor’s design uses an ecosystem-based conceptualisation of multifunctionality and emphasizes ‘building with nature’ in its design philosophy. In other words, the multiple benefits that the coast provides in addition to protection are dependent on the newly created sandy ecosystem. The hook-shape of the peninsula is crucial for the creation of a shallow lagoon, which supports kitesurfing, recreational swimming, fish habitats and soil organisms. The sediment size and grading of the sand, as well as the presence of shells allows dune formation, which supports an underground fresh water lens and above-ground vegetation and habitats for wildlife. The width of the beach supports recreation, and the entire system is a pilot project that benefits research and education.

Scheveningen Boulevard, The Hague

Scheveningen’s boulevard has a 2km long dike integrated into it for the purpose of flood defence. The boulevard has an undulating course that follows the historical coastline. On the sea side of the boulevard, the beach has been widened to reduce the impact of waves on the flood defence structure during extremely high water. This allows a lower crest height for the dike to suffice. Furthermore, sand supplementation has made the beach ~50 metres wider with the aim of creating a smooth transition from the boulevard to the beach. The core principles that guided the design of the boulevard are: accessibility, vitality, spatial quality and strengthening the identity of Scheveningen.

The boulevard takes a spatial planning conceptualisation of multifunctionality: it uses the dike-in-boulevard to increase the capacity of the shoreline to provide services such as parking spots, hotels, residential buildings and commercial zones – which are all built on top of the dike. The premise of this multifunctional dike is that it is more cost-effective than a conventional dike because it optimises land use by providing multiple real-estate development opportunities. In addition to coastal protection, the dike serves the town with a mixed-use program that should be interesting for both tourist and business visitors, and secure a year-round programme to attract more long-stay visitors. Scheveningen is the most popular seaside resort of the Netherlands, and the dike aims to support this function rather than subtract from it.

 

To summarise, both coastal protection interventions showcase multifunctionality in different ways: in the Sand Motor, it stems from the ecosystem, and at Scheveningen it stems from the urban system. In the context of increasing scarcity of space in urban areas, it no longer makes sense to build mono-functional infrastructure. The cases show how multiple functions can increase the adaptivity of an intervention to an uncertain future by making it useful even when there are no immediete flood or erosion hazards. Multiple functions help in building public and political support for large investments, and they support the creation of multiple lines of defence – leading to safer, higher quality spatial planning for our cities.

 

ByPromo Committee

Reviving the not-for-profit business model for a sustainable economy

By Lowik Pieters & Quirien Reijtenbagh.

It is often assumed that profit is to capitalism as sand is to a beach. The constant growth of resource extractions, essential in a for-profit economy, is aggravating ecological and social crises. Currently, many organizations are adopting a not-for-profit structure. How can these structures contribute to an economy that includes environmental and social justice? Hinton & Maclurcan (2018) developed a Not-for-Profit (abbreviated as NFP) World economic model. In this article, we will investigate the potential for a ‘real-world application’ and the possibilities for starting an NFP business after graduating from Industrial Ecology. 

What is the NFP business model?

Let’s start with a clear definition: a non-profit organization is legally excluded from making profits, whereas a not-for-profit business model should be understood as a not-only-for-profit business. For such organizations, profit is no longer the key focus. Practically, we use not-for-profit as an equivalent for non-profit in this article, since we think the long term strategies of both business models are the same. We do not favor hybrid structures, which we will explain later on.

Organizations that have adopted an NFP model are seen as mission-driven enterprises, usually with a changed nature of incentives and ownership structure (Hinton & Maclurcan, 2018). The successes of these companies are based on their impact in the community, rather than the profits they generate. NFPs don’t have private owners and financial surpluses should serve social and environmental benefits (Hinton, 2020).

The NFP business model isn’t new. Lately there has been renewed interest in old business models such as consumer cooperatives (Utting et al., 2014). Nowadays, consumer cooperatives often supply food or renewable energy. We think that the NFP business model has been on the rise because of a certain level of distrust in governments and new forms of financing, such as crowdfunding or community bonds.

 

Hybrid business models?

The profit/non-profit dichotomy is secured in most industrialized countries in regulations with a clear distinction between the for-profit and the non-profit legal status (e.g. foundations, associations are not allowed to make profits). This separation resembles the classic capitalist distinction between market and state. However, in practice, many companies already have diverging operations that make the profit/non-profit distinction questionable (Schmid, 2018). Scholars demand a hybrid structure (Alberti & Varon Garrido, 2017), but we specifically propose a revival of the not-for-profit with an obligation to clearly define objectives and values.

We chose this option because we think that the dynamics of a not-for-profit organization are key to breaking with the capitalist growth mantra. A hybrid structure is diffusing. Social housing corporations represent a pertinent example.  Many Dutch housing corporations prefer building profitable houses where returns are high, rather than serving their original objectives: essentially, these organizations should provide affordable household and community services.

 

The critical role of profit for sustainability

An unfortunate consequence of the for-profit structure is that it is built on the foundations of ‘limitless growth economy’. This system encourages depletion of natural resources, consumerism and social inequality (Hinton, 2020). A typical example of a for-profit structure is the shareholder model with profit maximization. Profits are usually the only incentive for shareholders to invest. Diametrically opposed to this, when the legal structures are well defined, a not-for-profit should only pursue social and environmental benefits. Any generated profits should be reinvested to ensure the continuation of the NFP’s socio-environmental strategy.

Moreover, the diversity of goals of not-for-profit organizations supports heterogeneous economic structures, which helps us to move away from the narrow-minded perspective that economics only includes for-profit enterprises (Schmid, 2018). Contrary to for-profits, NFP structures, such as cooperatives, are surprisingly resilient when coping with (financial) crises (Toia, 2013). The societal benefits of NFPs can be derived from the fact that NFP earnings are maximized for mutual or collective benefit rather than for individual investors (Utting et al., 2014).

 

Pros for non-profit startups

At the micro level of a company itself, the advantages of the NFP business model are as follows.

  1. A not-for-profit business is usually easy and cheap to start, as costs of legal assistance for founding the company are low.
  2. NFPs can enjoy tax exemptions in many countries (such as ANBI status for foundations in NL )
  3. But most importantly, NFPs create a lot of public goodwill and generally have more options for voluntary help from universities and research centers. This is particularly valuable for startups.

 

Is it always promoting sustainability?

Even though Hinton & Maclurcan (2018) argue that the NFP business model encourages sustainable decision-making by a changed ownership and incentive structure, NFPs are not obliged to have social and environmental aspects as part of their strategy. This is an important limitation that is lacking in legal requirements (Schmid, 2018). Also, the blurry legal structure allows for cheating. Limited supervision by authorities can promote abuse of the regulations such as misreporting on annual accounts (happens at ANBI foundations (In Dutch)).

Coal mining on South Kalimantan, Indonesia. Courtesy of Dominik Vanyi via Unsplash.

 

A Business Model for Sustainability

Schaltegger, Lüdeke-Freund, and Hansen propose a ‘Business Model for Sustainability’, that “helps describing, analyzing, managing, and communicating (i) a company’s sustainable value proposition to its customers, and all other stakeholders, (ii) how it creates and delivers this value, (iii) and how it captures economic value while maintaining or regenerating natural, social, and economic capital beyond its organizational boundaries” (Schaltegger,Lüdeke-Freund, and Hansen, 2016: 6). We agree with the three points of this definition, but would like to emphasize the need of supportive and transparent governments.

 

The role of the government

Due to their structured course of action and their enormous outreach, we see governments as perfect facilitators of bottom-up initiatives like cooperatives. However, they should not become initiators that try to function as a business. If citizens come up with initiatives, governments should find ways to support them, but not appropriate their ideas. Nonetheless, we encourage governments to arrange appropriate supervision to avoid cheating with the mutually agreed rules. An important condition of this collaboration is that a government should have the trust of its citizens. But a trustworthy government is unfortunately not a matter of course.

We stress that the NFP business model should not function as a substitute for failing government policies. This is how many NFPs started in the 19th century in The Netherlands. In this era, the night-watchman state model demanded self-sustainability of all citizens. Non profit organizations, such as housing corporations, were established to provide services for those who couldn’t afford it.

 

How to substitute for missed profit taxes

What if many businesses would really adopt an NFP business model? You might think that this article is just a range of utopian ideas. We couldn’t resist already thinking about practicalities that could help you to put these ideas in a realistic perspective. Considering this proposal from a government perspective, we might imagine that policy makers will wonder: What should governments do to replace the missed profit taxes? Let’s look at our current regulations: carbon taxing of current for-profit businesses has not worked so far and nations struggle to implement laws that include external costs of pollution, environmental damage and social inequality. NFPs are likely to be less harmful. For instance, they could be the big equalizers when adopting nature and environmental inclusive values and employing workers that have a distance from the labor market. This will prevent governments from making costs to fix these negative externalities. Even though NFP business models might lead to less tax revenues, we expect that government expenditures could likewise be reduced.

 

Cons for non-profit startups

In practice, many businesses start with a not-for-profit structure but eventually move to a for-profit model when they grow bigger. This usually has to do with the fact that NFPs have to publish a detailed report of their annual results to the general public. Public scrutiny makes companies more transparent, but also more vulnerable to competitors and prone to social pressure. Since many NFPs strongly depend on a sense of morality, their activities can face opposition. This is why we think that the legal statuses of NFPs should be protected by the government and so should be the level playing field of NFPs. We encourage policymakers to think about instruments for this.

 

An organization that advocates a separate legal status for NFPs as well is Social Enterprise NL (for info on legal status see here). This association aims to connect members that are businesses acting as a ‘social enterprise’ (read the criteria developed by EU here) by supporting them, inspiring them and facilitating an optimal business environment. An important step of the last goal is legal recognition.

 

Our proposal

In short, our proposal includes both a top-down and a bottom-up approach. For governments we underline that they should protect not-for-profits legally, they should demand goals related to sustainability and equality and check regularly if these strategies are complied with. For businesses that want to adopt NFP, we deem it important that they include social and environmental values in their statutes. The same holds for non-distribution clauses and asset locks. By including these values, they do not only serve as objectives, but as a pledge for a long term strategy.

 

Must reads if you are thinking about starting a not-for-profit business:

 

References

Alberti, F. G., & Varon Garrido, M. A. (2017). Can profit and sustainability goals co-exist? New business models for hybrid firms. Journal of Business Strategy, 38(1), 3–13. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBS-12-2015-0124

Hinton, J., & Maclurcan, D. (2017). A not-for-profit world beyond capitalism and economic growth? Ephemera, 17(1), 147–166.
http://www.ephemerajournal.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/contribution/17-1hintonmaclurcan.pdf

Hinton, J. B. (2020). Fit for purpose? Clarifying the critical role of profit for sustainability. Journal of Political Ecology, 27(1), 236–262. https://doi.org/10.2458/v27i1.23502

Schaltegger, S., Hansen, E. G., & Lüdeke-Freund, F. (2016). Business Models for Sustainability: Origins, Present Research, and Future Avenues. Organization & Environment, 29(1), 3–10. https://doi.org/10.1177/1086026615599806

Schmid, B. (2018). Structured Diversity: A Practice Theory Approach to Post-Growth Organisations. Management Revue, 29(3), 281–310. https://doi.org/10.5771/0935-9915-2018-3-281

Toia, P. (2013). Report on the contribution of cooperatives to overcoming the crisis (Nr. A7-0222/2013; Committee on Industry, Research and Energy Report). European Parliament. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&reference=A7-2013-0222&language=EN

Utting, P., van Dijk, N., & Matheï, M.-A. (2014). Social and Solidarity Economy: Is there a new economy in the making? (p. 71). United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. http://www.unrisd.org/unrisd/website/document.nsf/(httpPublications)/AD29696D41CE69C3C1257D460033C267?OpenDocument

 

ByIESA Shift

IPG: Sea, Sand and Sustainability

By Ankita Singhvi.

After months of studying in classrooms, the Interdisciplinary Project Group (IPG)  gives IE students the opportunity to put our knowledge to use in the ‘real world’. 

 

We were commissioned to support the beach pavilions at Scheveningen in aligning themselves with the climate goals of the Haags Klimaatpact. The Haags Klimaatpact (Hague’s Climate Agreement) was formulated as a statement of intent in 2018. It is a document that states that various political parties, local businesses and the municipality aim to operationalise and localise the international climate goals to the context of The Hague. Our aim was to propose collaborative measures that the beach pavilions could take to align themselves with these climate goals, suggest how they could be implemented, and then evaluate their environmental, social and financial impacts. In short, the three resulting measures that we came up with were:

 

  1. Organising a Transport Hub: A significant part of a beach pavilion’s environmental impact stems from trucks transporting goods to and garbage from the pavilion. Therefore, we propose a three-step strategy for decreasing truck movement and increase sustainable procurement. Step 1: Getting insight into transportation and procurement. Step 2: Collaborative procurement to decrease costs of sustainable products and number of suppliers. Step 3: A central location realised for the temporary storage of products; a Transport Hub. All the suppliers bring their products here, and then beach pavilions organise the ‘last mile’ from the Hub to their pavilion using electric bikes or vehicles.

 

  1. A collective biodigester: Around 90% of waste created by the beach pavilions is residual waste, and roughly half of this is organic waste. We propose small-scale, onsite biodigesters operated per cluster of beach pavilions to convert this organic waste into valuable electricity.

 

  1. Switching to alternative forms of terrace heating: Most of the pavilions in Scheveningen use gas and electrical heaters such as fireplaces running on gas and electrical heaters in parasols. The consumption of energy by terrace heaters is inefficient, but it is not possible for a single pavilion to discontinue their use for the fear of losing customers. Therefore, we propose five alternatives to the traditional terrace heaters that can be implemented per cluster of pavilions: heated tables, heated cushions for chairs, heated cushions for benches, heated benches and blankets.

 

These results, along with a list of individual solutions and funding opportunities for the beach pavilions was presented to the beach pavilions owners.

 

The main lesson to be taken from our research is that there is no single measure that can be the ‘silver bullet’ for reaching The Hague’s climate goal of net-zero carbon emissions. As with all complex tasks, this transition needs many steps to be taken in parallel. We recommend that the first step is gathering insight: the beach pavilions currently know very little about their own resource use and waste, so they should collect data to understand it better. This data can then be used to understand which collaborative measures would have the most environmental impact, which in turn would have to be supported by municipal and national government in order to spread the risk and initial investments needed. Armed with this knowledge, the next step can be formulated, bringing the beach pavilions closer to the climate goals of the Haags Klimaatpact.

 

IPG project by: Eva Aarts, Marin Visscher, Tessa Baart, Quirien Reijtenbagh and Ankita Singhvi 

Full report can be seen on request 🙂

ByIESA Shift

Synthetic Kerosene: A Take-Off to CO2-neutral aviation?

By Lowik Pieters.

The course Sustainable Innovation and Social Change (SUISCY) gave us the opportunity to investigate the innovative way of making synthetic kerosene from renewable sources in North Holland. Our case study showed the possibilities and limitations of the implementation phase of this sustainable innovation.

Let’s first take a look at how synthetic kerosene is produced. Kerosene is made from hydrocarbons. Synthetic Kerosene is an artificial kerosene from carbon and hydrogen atoms. To make it carbon neutral, CO2 captured from the atmosphere or industrial plants can be a source of carbon atoms (CO2 is split into CO – and O2). The hydrogen comes from water through electrolysis when there is a surplus of wind/solar electricity production. The picture below shows how Synthetic Fuel can be produced.

In 2018, a report called “Carbon Neutral Aviation” was published for synthetic kerosene in The Netherlands. In that scenario, production should be based on carbon sourcing from Tata Steel (yes, the graphite rain company), hydrogen sourcing via water from ‘t IJ / the North Sea, Energy from an offshore windpark near the coast of IJmuiden and transport and storage through the Port of Amsterdam towards Schiphol Airport, the proposed consumer.

 

To see if this could be an option for The Netherlands, and in particular Schiphol Airport we took four perspectives on the case: starting with 1) the Innovation System Perspective, through which potential actors were identified and the technologies were analyzed in further detail. This analysis was followed by 2) the Niche-Transition Perspective (adapted from Loorbach et al., 2017) that allowed us to make a comparison between the niche of Synthetic Kerosene and current regimes of airplane fueling. Thereafter, we included a 3) Sustainable Business Model Perspective  for checking if the value proposition could lead to a viable business case. Lastly, a 4) Visioning and Backcasting (i.e. the opposite of forecasting) Perspective paved transition pathways and scenarios that could be useful to predict future developments.

 

We concluded that synthetic kerosene developments in The Netherlands are depending on different technolgical aspects and various actors. This can be called a complex sociotechnical system, which can threaten a successful implementation. According to our analysis, traditional oil companies could play a key role, but they need to be willing to change the current regime and infrastructure. However, we see many advantages, since the Fischer-Tropsch process is a well established technique, since synthetic kerosene will – unlike biofuels – not compete with agriculture, and since resources and energy are expected to be widely available in the near future.

This project was carried out by: Martijn van Bodegraven, Nico van Eeden, Joel de Saint-Ours and Lowik Pieters.

The full report can be seen on request.

ByIESA Shift

The resource problem of the Energy Transition | VVM Café 16 October 2019

Dr. Benjamin Sprecher will discuss the (critical) raw materials that are needed for the energy transition, from an Industrial Ecology perspective. The event will take place on Wednesday 16 October 2019 from 17:30 at VVM, 2e Daalsedijk 6A, Utrecht.

Nowadays, it can be considered common knowledge that society needs to drastically change its energy system due to the relation to climate change. But what consequences does this have on global material demands to make this transition happen?

Dr. Benjamin Sprecher will show us this resource perspective, which is often overlooked in energy transition debates. Is there even enough metal, cobalt and neodymium to built all those wind turbines and photovoltaics? Can we mine them fast enough and what geopolitical issues can arise when doing so?

These and other questions will be addressed during this VVM café, as a typical example of the field of Industrial Ecology. It is being co-organised by the student association for Industrial Ecology, IESA Shift, and will be held in English, to ensure non-Dutch speaking students and professionals can also participate.

Please register here (website is in Dutch, but the event will be in English). Note that student members can attend the event for free. Not a member of VVM yet? Use the code ShiftVVM and pay EUR 20 instead of EUR 40 for a membership.