Creating Change

In 2018-2020 the SMART team moved from research to concrete results.

Our comprehensive analysis on the state of art on market actors’ contribution to sustainability was completed in August 2018. Concentrating on the global value chains of products sold in Europe, our analysis bring together the results of research done on the level of international law and policy, on the EU level, and the level of selected Member States. We have identified the barriers, gap and incoherencies in the regulatory frameworks that keep market actors form making more sustainable decisions. We have also identified possibilities that need to be enhanced if we collectively are to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Supporting the transition to sustainability

With our comprehensive analysis as the foundation, we have developed reform proposals to achieve the necessary change. We strongly believe that achieving sustainability is possible. The transition to sustainability has strong legal basis in the EU’s overarching goals set out in its Treaties, with duties to protect the environment, human rights and human dignity, within the EU and in the EU’s relations with the wider world. To achieve sustainability, we need to change the way business operates. The SMART project has developed an elaborate set of reform proposals to support the transition to sustainability, aiming to change the way business and finance operate, and the way products are produced and consumed. We aim to make it possible and easy for business and finance to create value in a sustainable manner, and for products to be produced and consumed in a way that contributes to securing a safe and just space for humanity within planetary boundaries. Our reform proposals concern the EU as a global actor, and the EU as a legislator and policymaker.

We have also developed SMART guidelines to make the EU’s policy coherence for development fit for purpose, and SMART guidance for the sustainability assessment process in business.

Working together with market actors

We initiated the SMART Business and Investor Forums to engage with market actors, as our main platforms for industry engagement. The Forums provide a space for mutual learning and exchange of knowledge in an inclusive and friendly environment where people can feel free to speak their mind.

As a part of our SMART legacy, we are interested in continuing to work together with business and investors to learn from them and receive feedback on our research, as an essential part of the co-production of knowledge that sustainability necessitates. The core SMART team will continue the outreach under the auspices of the Oslo Research Group Companies, Markets and Sustainability, including through the Business and Finance Forums.