It is widely acknowledged that no single actor can ‘win the race against unsustainability’. Cooperation is necessary to tap diverse bodies of knowledge, bundle resources, include various parties, and thus ultimately create more sustainable and socially robust solutions. Transdisciplinarity in research offers a way forward.
In all its facets, sustainable development has been a boundary spanning concept for the last 300 years. Looking back at Hans Carl von Carlowitz’s publication, Sylvicultura Oeconomica in 1713, his notion of sustainable forestry has spanned physical and temporal boundaries. In more contemporary political and scientific understandings of sustainability, countless actors have continued to step over national, cognitive, and temporal boundaries by pursuing the goals of inter- and intragenerational equity, social justice and ecological sustainability. However, many boundary spanning activities can hardly be labelled as sustainable. From excessive automobile and air travel to the international transportation of goods around the world, globalization comes with its pluses (value creation) and minuses (environmental and social burdens). In order to deliver added value while minimising negative impacts, sustainability management continually aims at encouraging “out of the box” thinking, while leaving the ivory tower for practice-oriented solutions and spanning its own boundaries with transdisciplinary approaches. Read Newsletter „Spanning Sustainability Management Boundaries“