IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Sustainability Dilemmas and their Solution Strategies by Committed Food Businesses

Listed author(s):
  • Mikkola, Minna
  • Risku-Norja, Helmi
  • Post, Anna
Registered author(s):

    Food businesses feel the call for sustainable development (SD). This paper about the Finnish and Swedish food system actors about their understanding of and activities towards sustainability shows that there is commitment for solving aspects of sustainability and different strategies to do this. However, the food businesses also seem to get entangled with various dilemmas regarding sustainability, and to perceive contradictions between economic, environmental and social issues; however, these situations may also turn synergistic. The businesses studied expressed commitment to sustainable solutions interpreted by their sustainability strategies. The first identified strategy was a 'self‐made' effort, whereby businesses absorbed economically, environmentally and socially 'positive' ideas and implemented them in their activities. The second strategy was based on labels and included the certification of the environmental and/or social quality management system, the use of particular labelled products and local food. The third strategy for critical co‐operation within the chain meant learning about one’s food networks in co‐operation with other network actors, experts or brokers. These strategies seemed to impact differently on the sustainable development of the organizations on the one hand and the chain level on the other. Label based strategies offered more visibility than ‘self‐made’ strategies, which may, however, support extensive sustainability efforts or remain narrow saving strategies implying the risk to miss the opportunity for chain level development. As a rather rare approach, the critical co‐operation strategy may upgrade sustainable developments both on the organizational and chain level. Participatory research supporting creative and contextual sustainability developments was suggested as a promising future option for food businesses to aim at organizational and system wide SD.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by International European Forum on Innovation and System Dynamics in Food Networks in its series 2010 Internatonal European Forum, February 8-12, 2010, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria with number 100462.

    in new window

    Date of creation: Oct 2010
    Handle: RePEc:ags:iefi10:100462
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:iefi10:100462. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.