3S at the forefront of transforming social engagement with sustainability

shutterstock_482369401On the 20th and 21st September, a Social Sustainability Summit organised by the 3S Research Group at the Enterprise Centre, UEA, will bring together a select group of leading thinkers and practitioners in sustainability, innovation, and public engagement from across different sectors to co-produce a set of guiding principles for transforming social engagement with sustainability.

These principles are intended to guide major social, political and cultural changes. We want these principles to be practically useful for policy-makers, activists, researchers, innovators, practitioners, community organisers and sustainability entrepreneurs alike.

A diverse range of organisations are involved in the Social Sustainability Summit: The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Scottish Government, the Sustainability Literacy Project, Forum for the Future, Involve, Sciencewise, Norfolk County Council, Anglian Water, Adnams Brewery, Liftshare, and the 3S Research Group.

The delegates include (in alphabetical order): Andy Brown (Head of Sustainability at Anglian Water), Simon Burall (Senior Associate of Involve), Jason Chilvers (Chair of the 3S Research Group), Kate Cooper (Campaign and Community Manager at Liftshare; Conscious Consultant, Stylist and Fashion Activist at By Kate Elizabeth), Anna Coote (Head of Social Policy for the New Economics Foundation), Tom Hargreaves (3S Research Group), Joel Hull (Head of Waste for Norfolk County Council), Irene Lorenzoni (3S Research Group), Helen Mansbridge (Head of Climate Change Delivery at the Scottish Government), Fraser Macleod (Principal Research Officer within the Clean Growth Directorate of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Martin Mahony (3S Research Group), Benedict Orchard (Environmental Sustainability Manager for Adnams PLC), Helen Pallett (3S Research Group), Sara Parkin (Principal Associate of the Sustainability Literacy Project, Co-founder and Trustee of Forum for the Future, etc.), Gill Seyfang (3S Research Group), and Phedeas Stephanides (3S Research Group 3S).

The need to develop these principles has been identified through over half a decade of research by the 3S Research Group. As highlighted in our recently published booklet ‘Seven Key Insights to Transform Social Engagement with Sustainability’, it is critically important to account for societal values in processes of sustainable innovation and decision-making. Generating more sustainable ways of living demands an inclusive approach that understands and explores multiple ways of knowing, doing and being sustainable as they are being generated, developed and practiced by multiple social groups. Unfortunately, these societal aspects of sustainability have too often been ignored – with civil society being routinely excluded from the process of contributing answers to sustainability challenges, and with too much hope being placed in science and technology instead. We believe that generating more sustainable ways of living demands an inclusive approach to practicing sustainability.

This two-day Summit forms part of the ongoing efforts of the Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) Research Group to improve relationships between science, innovation and society in addressing pressing sustainability challenges.

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