Leveraging sustainability transformation (LEVERAGE)

Leverage points have been proposed as one of the boundary objects in sustainability science that aim to explain how sustainability transformation can be accelerated. The concept of leverage points (Meadows, 1999) considers places in a complex system, where a small shift may lead to fundamental changes in the system as a whole. The aim is to describe how one type of change in a system precipitates another, across different depths of leverage. The assumption is that if such chains do extend to deep leverage points, then a given chain of leverage has the potential to bring about transformation.


LEVERAGE project aims to identify and showcase various systemic changes that support the impact of SYKE research on sustainability transformation by:

  1. studying the leverage point approach as an accelerator of sustainability transformation in the context of SYKE research
  2. piloting the approach in the circular economy system (textiles and plastic packaging)
  3. introducing and building capacities among SYKE researchers in leverage points-thinking 

The aim is to explore and identify leverage points in all spheres of the system. Therefore, the project will utilize the outputs from particular circular-economy related SYKE projects. Furthermore, the aim is to highlight the interlinkages between leverage points to further strengthen the transformative potential of identified interventions that aim at triggering shifts in the system. Moreover, the project aims at engaging stakeholders and collecting their views by organizing a workshop on the topic.

In addition to the project team, the expertise of David Lazarevic (SYKE, circular economy and policies, system dynamics) and Laura Saikku (SYKE, circular economy and municipalities) will be consulted. The project also has an active collaboration group, including leverage point expert Dr. Maraja Riechers (Leuphana University, Germany), sustainability transformation and circular economy expert Dr. Dalia D’Amato (Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, University Helsinki) as well as circular economy experts from the Ministry of Environment, Annukka Berg and Sarianne Tikkanen, who are implementing the Strategic programme to promote circular economy. 

The project contributes to SYKE’s strategy’s impacting objective of advancing the transition to sustainable circular economy and bioeconomy.

Published 2022-03-18 at 12:10, updated 2022-03-18 at 12:40