D 2.3 Report on the role of user-driven and inclusive innovation and new business models for the low-carbon transition


This Deliverable focusses on two distinct issues, in Part 1 and Part 2

Part 1: The role of users and user-based innovation in the heat pump transitions of Finland and the United Kingdom

A typology of user-based innovation hypothesizes five different user types in low carbon transitions: User-producers, user-legitimators, user-intermediaries, user-citizens, and user-consumers. This part had three research questions:

1. Which user types are most salient, and at which times, in the heat pump transition in Finland, and the non-transition in the UK?

2. What types of learning, network development and expectation dynamics occurred, or did not occur, during the transition process?

3. What types of new rules emerged or became de- or realigned within the niche and the regime

The much greater diffusion of heat pumps in Finland compared to the UK is largely the result of sociotechnical factors—cutting across infrastructure, markets, regulation, research incentives and users, backed by user engagement and learning, strong intermediaries and networks, and consistent and credible national policy incentives. In addition, users can have an active role in shaping new markets. This is especially important as policies are not always fully able to reduce uncertainties for users, and can also be susceptible to political changes. The development of an active user base, performing a range of functions from user-producer,

to user-legitimator, user-intermediary, user-citizen to user-consumer is perhaps a more stable predictor of a successful transition process. Users’ role is not only salient in helping to start up transitions, and adopting new dominant solutions and integrating them into their lifestyles, but also in contributing to the acceleration process. Users therefore need to be involved in niche construction, as well as in regime destabilisation.

Part 2: Low-Carbon & Resource-Efficient Food in Cities – Policy Drivers and Barriers to Business

The purpose of this part is to assess how city-level (and where relevant, sub-city level) authorities in Berlin, London and Warsaw have used their ability to set and use strategy, policy and other support to drive or inhibit the development of business activities concerned with low-carbon and resource-efficient food.

Evidence from Berlin, London and Warsaw suggests that low-carbon and resource-efficient food business activities have been growing. Each of the three cities have some form of high-level strategy of relevance to low-carbon and resource-efficient food, either directly or indirectly. However, it appears that such strategies have little direct impact on the development of related business activities. They do, however, appear to be helpful in providing an overarching framework to help guide policy, and as such remain indirectly useful.

Environmental taxes and charges have been successful in London, particularly through the national Landfill Tax, in diverting food waste from landfill and towards anaerobic digestion. An increased focus on such a financial incentive is suggested by stakeholders in all three cities. Although public procurement activities appear to have had a negligible effect in Berlin and Warsaw, they have been a broadly positive force in London. Given the scale of public procurement in cities, stakeholders (particularly in London) suggest refocusing procurement criteria could be a substantial demand driver for these businesses. Business advisory services are present in Berlin and London, of which stakeholders are broadly in favour, particularly in the form of ‘one-stop-shops’ This is underpinned by a common belief by stakeholders in all three cities that there is a substantial economic incentive already present for low-carbon and resource-efficient food, but there is a broad lack of awareness of such incentives.

Stakeholders in all three cities emphasised the role of consumer demand for low-carbon and resource-efficient food (or lack thereof) as a key driver (or barrier). As such, the was broad agreement of the need for further policy to raise awareness through awareness campaigns, but also more specific initiatives, such as prizes and awards.

Overall, stakeholders across all three cities agree that the role of public policy, at any level of governance (EU, national or city), has been relatively limited in encouraging the development of such businesses. and that further policy action would be beneficial, complex if it is to be effective. However, stakeholders in both London and Warsaw stated that an issue perhaps more prominent than the policy landscape in these cities is presence or lack of appropriate political commitment.