Ecological Economics 160:240-250 (2019)

Vivek Anand Asokan
University of Tokyo (PhD)
There is a need for enterprises to incorporate information on the environment into decision making and to take action on ecological restoration. Within academia, a comprehensive understanding of the impacts on how business can serve sustainability transformation is still lacking as diverging holistic approaches and reductive approaches cloud academic thinking. The authors take a science-policy interface perspective to cover the role of cognitive proximity, matching and coordination of scientific knowledge from diverse stakeholders for effective policy making and implementation. We show through a literature review that temporal and spatial scales, soil and land degradation, institutions and ecosystem, and the role of human behavior and narrative are not adequately emphasized in sustainability research. A scale-based picture, focusing on landscapes, institutions and practices is proposed which can be used to align diverse fields by acting as “bridge” for improved science policy interface and decision making, facilitated through cognitive proximity, matching, and coordination. A case study on a business association from South India is used to demonstrate the scales based approach in practice. A scale-based approach can play a key role in connecting human behaviour, a social science thematic topic, with ecosystems, a natural science thematic topic.
Keywords Scale-based approach  Sustainability science  Corporate responsibility  Ecosystems  Business association
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