In this chapter we address two research questions: (a) Does top-down transparency/information disclosure contribute or not to addressing the social-ecological challenges emerging from supply chains? (b) Do distinct types of transparency, top-down versus ground-up, differ in the way they can contribute to address these challenges and thereby to the enjoyment of the right to a healthy environment? To assess these questions, we use the mining industry as a case study, which faces increasing social-ecological challenges. First, we build on Ituarte-Lima and Stromberg (2018a), identifying the sustainability challenges of the sector. We then unpack information: from the common focus on accuracy and precision which we hold are necessary but insufficient for reaching positive socio-ecological outcomes, into seven sub-characteristics that we argue are sufficient for contributing to what we qualify as effective transparency. Thereafter we apply these characteristics to contrast how current top-down approaches versus emerging ground-up approaches contribute to effective transparency. This highlights ways in which recent technological advances make ground-up approaches necessary for delivering effective transparency that is conducive to circular and, above all, sustainable commodity chains.
- Citizen science
- Information disclosure
- Human right to a healthy environment
- Right to information
- Sustainability transformations
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We are grateful for useful comments received from the participants at the Sustainable Consumption and Production workshop, Stockholm School of Economics, 15–16 October 2019, particularly Professor Ranjula Bali Swain, Dr. Susanne Sweet, Dr. Örjan Sjöberg and Dr. Izabela Delabre. This chapter has greatly benefitted from participatory processes at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and United Nations Development Programme during the joint Environmental Governance Program, including feedback received in the SEPA-UNDP webinars “Environmental governance of the mining sector/ Gobernanza ambiental del sector minero” of the NBSAP Forum Webinar Series & GOXI Learning Series (October 2017); as well as presentations including the workshop SEPA-UNDP Mejorando la Gobernanza Ambiental en el Sector Extractivo Colombiano (in Bogota Colombia (November 2017) and at the Third Annual Meeting of the Policy and Technical Experts Committee (PTEC) of the World Bank (2014). We also acknowledge the thoughtful comments provided by Pekka Rinne and Ellef Hersoug. However, the authors remain fully responsible for the views expressed in it, and for any limitations of the final text. Claudia Ituarte-Lima’s research for this paper was funded by the Swedish Research Council (FORMAS) through the research projects, “Effective and Equitable Institutional Arrangements for Financing and Safeguarding Biodiversity” (no. 254-2013-13) and “Institutional Analysis of Ecological Compensation” (no. 2016-01556). She developed this chapter while conducting a visiting research stay at the Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia.
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Stromberg, P.M., Ituarte-Lima, C. (2021). The Trans-Formative with Trans-Parency: Untapping Ground-up Environmental Information and New Technologies for Sustainability. In: Bali Swain, R., Sweet, S. (eds) Sustainable Consumption and Production, Volume I. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-56371-4_10
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
Print ISBN: 978-3-030-56370-7
Online ISBN: 978-3-030-56371-4