The world is facing a myriad of sustainability related challenges. Everything from acidification to climate change, unemployment to inequity. To solve all these problems one at a time can be inefficient, both in a terms of time and economy. Instead, we should look for solutions that contributes towards solving many problems at the same time. However, because these challenges look very different and are spread across many different social and natural systems the solution will be quite complex to evaluate and assess in a fair manner.
Questions that may rise when attempting to assess such multi-dimensional solutions are: by which parts of sustainability do we assess the solution?, who should choose these parts? or how could we compare between something that may be good for the climate and something that may be good for work environment in another country? These questions and questions similar are what I aim to answer in my research. To summarize, my research is about the methodology and methods used to evaluated, assess or compare different multi-functional solutions in regards to sustainability.
Most assessment methods used today focus on a certain aspect, measurement or goal which mean that multi-functional solutions often perform worse than specialised solutions. With a broader set of assessment criteria, which includes more external values and opens up the assessment process to stakeholder input, the many positive effects of the multi-functional solutions can be included and it can be judged fairly.
I propose in my research a method focused on flexibility, traceability and stakeholder interaction to achieve a broader assessment representing different societal norms, values and goals. The method will be applied in two cases, one is the assessment of different biofuels and the other is the assessment of different industrial symbiosis practices (industrial symbiosis a processes where companies and organisations who are normally separate cooperate in order to achieve a higher resource efficiency and performance).
I cooperate with many other people in my research. For example with Mats Eklund and Roozbeh Feiz around the assessment method and methodology and with Murat Mirata around the assessment of the benefits of industrial symbiosis. I also cooperate with Jonas Ammenberg in a project that aims to facilitate broader decision-making and assessment of biofuels in the public procurement process.