Abstract for: Sustainability and System dynamics: some case studies

While Being Green may be in fashion, sustainability has yet to gain such traction. Meanwhile, sustainability challenges are prevailing in many sectors and across wide ranging disciplines. The climate change threat is just one component of this challenge, together with sustaining global health and development without jeopardising intergenerational equity. This paper scrutinizes the concept of sustainability with specific focus on understanding its system boundary conditions. Case studies are presented to illustrate the value of a system dynamics view in formulating sustainability strategies. Each of the cases presented, from metals to fertilizers and ICT to forestry, offer unique challenges, yet share common threads: finite non-renewable resources, losses in renewable resource loops, and an economic system incapable of managing them sustainably. Each study reinforces the need for better understanding of integrated systems for adaptive management, societal learning, and policies to manage transitions towards a more sustainable society.