Disclosing Sustainability

The Transformative Power of Transparency?

The Environmental Policy Group (Wageningen University) organizes a conference titled "Disclosing Sustainability: The Transformative Power of Transparency?", June 24-25 2016. 

Theme 3: Citizen generated (and citizen–centered) transparency

The relationship between transparency and sustainability is often approached through a top-down perspective, with a focus on institutions, rules and technocratic monitoring systems. An alternative to this approach is how transparency can be achieved bottom-up or through co-creation. Citizens, as individuals or organized in collectives, are increasingly involved in the analysis, provisioning and monitoring of sustainable development. Citizens detect environmental problems through innovative technologies, such as smart phones; monitor energy use and consumption through in-house displays; or analyze data on sustainable development through open data platforms.

What do these developments mean for promoting sustainability through transparency? Do citizens gain greater insight and influence over trajectories of sustainable development? Does this empower them to creatively self- or co-organize sustainable lifestyles? If so, who gets involved and in what ways do they become empowered? Or do new technologies of visibility actually control and constrain citizen involvement, demanding more top-down oversight?

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