Special Issue "Biotechnology and Sustainable Development"
A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2011)
Dr. Philipp Aerni
Director of Center for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CCRS) at the University of Zurich, Zähringerstrasse 24 CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland
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Phone: +41 44 634 40 60
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Interests: agricultural biotechnology; sustainable agriculture; political economy; environmental economics; stakeholder attitudes; consumer behavior; science and moral education
Technological change is often portrayed as a threat to sustainable development because it creates risk and uncertainty and makes social planning difficult. This politically popular rhetoric starts from the baseline assumption that nature conservation is better than technical innovation. But this defensive view might even pose a bigger risk for a sustainable future on this planet because the practices and technologies we use today might not be able to cope with the sustainability challenge we will face in the near future. An experimental approach is required to find out how economic growth can be reconciled with social and environmental sustainability through technological innovation. In this context, the modern tools of biotechnology have a great potential. They could play an important role in climate change mitigation (e.g. nutrient-efficient plants) and adaptation (e.g. drought-tolerant plants), renewable energies, biodegradable products, agro-biodiversity conversation, rural development and global food security.
Yet, the success of biotechnology depends on adequate institutional support that encourages public and private actors to collaborate in efforts to address sustainability problems and to tailor the technology to local needs. At the same time, it requires a progressive view in science. Such a progressive view of sustainable development unites social scientists, ecologists and molecular biologists in their joint objective to combine the potential of new technologies with existing sustainable practices.
In this issue, we would like to invite scholars who have embraced such an interdisciplinary and progressive approach in their research activities and have achieved promising results. Moreover we welcome contributions from practitioners who have been involved in successful public-private partnerships in the field of biotechnology and sustainable development.Dr. Philipp Aerni
- technological change
- institutional economics
- rural development
- genetic engineering
- industrial ecology
- public-private partnerships
- climate change
- food security