Tools of Transformation: From Small Scale Progress to Structural Change

  • Guus ter HaarEmail author
  • Lucas Simons
Part of the Natural Resource Management in Transition book series (NRMT, volume 2)


As the preceding chapters should make clear, we are still far from anything resembling sustainable production and consumption of agricultural commodities. In spite of the growth of sustainability initiatives and tools such as Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), and the certification schemes that drive their adoption, grave sustainability problems persist. How can this be? This chapter takes a step back, and asks why our current approaches to sustainability fail to have the impact we might expect—and should demand. It describes the unsustainable nature of our global food system, and how this is a logical outcome of the way this system is organised. A transition towards sustainable agricultural sectors, we argue, can only be successful if initiatives manage to affect the broader forces which shape agricultural sectors. Adopting a more comprehensive approach is the logical next step—and a critical one. Fundamental to this approach is the understanding that there is no single ‘silver bullet’ approach, but that instead the levers for change differ based on the dynamics of a sector, and that these also change based on the progress of the sector as a whole.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NewForesightUtrechtThe Netherlands

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