The Jatropha biofuels sector in Tanzania 2005-2009: Evolution towards sustainability?

Henny A. Romijn, Marjolein C. J. Caniels*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Biofuel production has recently attracted much attention. Some anticipate substantial social and environmental benefits, while at the same time expecting sound profitability for investors. Others are doubtful, envisaging large trade-offs between the pursuit of social, environmental and economic objectives, particularly in poor countries in the tropics. The paper explores these issues in Tanzania, which has been an African forerunner in the cultivation of a bio-oil shrub called Jatropha curcas L We trace how isolated Jatropha biofuel experiments developed since early 2005 towards a sectoral production and innovation system, and we investigate to what extent that system has been capable of developing and maintaining sustainable practices and producing sustainable outcomes. The application of evolutionary innovation theory allows us to view the developments in the sector as a result of evolutionary variation and selection on the one hand, and revolutionary contestation between different coalitions of stakeholders on the other. Both these processes constitute significant engines of change. While variation and selection are driven predominantly by localised technical and agronomic learning, the conflict-driven dynamics are highly globalised and occur primarily as a result of reflexive learning about problematic sustainability impacts. The sector is found to have moved some way towards a full sectoral innovation and production system, but it is impossible to predict whether a viable sector with a strong "triple bottom line" orientation will ultimate emerge, since many issues surrounding the social, environmental and financial sustainability still remain unresolved, especially relating to local and global governance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)618-636
    Number of pages19
    JournalResearch Policy
    Volume40
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2011

    Keywords

    • Biofuels
    • Evolutionary theory
    • Innovation systems
    • Sustainability
    • Stakeholder conflict
    • Learning
    • Tanzania
    • STRATEGIC NICHE MANAGEMENT
    • TECHNOLOGICAL-CHANGE
    • INNOVATION SYSTEMS
    • ORGANIZATIONS
    • COEVOLUTION
    • PERSPECTIVE
    • DYNAMICS
    • INSIGHTS
    • DENMARK
    • REGIMES

    Cite this

    @article{0aa33495fa864be1939c8df06a98a41c,
    title = "The Jatropha biofuels sector in Tanzania 2005-2009: Evolution towards sustainability?",
    abstract = "Biofuel production has recently attracted much attention. Some anticipate substantial social and environmental benefits, while at the same time expecting sound profitability for investors. Others are doubtful, envisaging large trade-offs between the pursuit of social, environmental and economic objectives, particularly in poor countries in the tropics. The paper explores these issues in Tanzania, which has been an African forerunner in the cultivation of a bio-oil shrub called Jatropha curcas L We trace how isolated Jatropha biofuel experiments developed since early 2005 towards a sectoral production and innovation system, and we investigate to what extent that system has been capable of developing and maintaining sustainable practices and producing sustainable outcomes. The application of evolutionary innovation theory allows us to view the developments in the sector as a result of evolutionary variation and selection on the one hand, and revolutionary contestation between different coalitions of stakeholders on the other. Both these processes constitute significant engines of change. While variation and selection are driven predominantly by localised technical and agronomic learning, the conflict-driven dynamics are highly globalised and occur primarily as a result of reflexive learning about problematic sustainability impacts. The sector is found to have moved some way towards a full sectoral innovation and production system, but it is impossible to predict whether a viable sector with a strong {"}triple bottom line{"} orientation will ultimate emerge, since many issues surrounding the social, environmental and financial sustainability still remain unresolved, especially relating to local and global governance.",
    keywords = "Biofuels, Evolutionary theory, Innovation systems, Sustainability, Stakeholder conflict, Learning, Tanzania, STRATEGIC NICHE MANAGEMENT, TECHNOLOGICAL-CHANGE, INNOVATION SYSTEMS, ORGANIZATIONS, COEVOLUTION, PERSPECTIVE, DYNAMICS, INSIGHTS, DENMARK, REGIMES",
    author = "Romijn, {Henny A.} and Caniels, {Marjolein C. J.}",
    year = "2011",
    month = "5",
    doi = "10.1016/j.respol.2011.01.005",
    language = "English",
    volume = "40",
    pages = "618--636",
    journal = "Research Policy",
    issn = "0048-7333",
    publisher = "ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV",
    number = "4",

    }

    The Jatropha biofuels sector in Tanzania 2005-2009 : Evolution towards sustainability? / Romijn, Henny A.; Caniels, Marjolein C. J.

    In: Research Policy, Vol. 40, No. 4, 05.2011, p. 618-636.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - The Jatropha biofuels sector in Tanzania 2005-2009

    T2 - Evolution towards sustainability?

    AU - Romijn, Henny A.

    AU - Caniels, Marjolein C. J.

    PY - 2011/5

    Y1 - 2011/5

    N2 - Biofuel production has recently attracted much attention. Some anticipate substantial social and environmental benefits, while at the same time expecting sound profitability for investors. Others are doubtful, envisaging large trade-offs between the pursuit of social, environmental and economic objectives, particularly in poor countries in the tropics. The paper explores these issues in Tanzania, which has been an African forerunner in the cultivation of a bio-oil shrub called Jatropha curcas L We trace how isolated Jatropha biofuel experiments developed since early 2005 towards a sectoral production and innovation system, and we investigate to what extent that system has been capable of developing and maintaining sustainable practices and producing sustainable outcomes. The application of evolutionary innovation theory allows us to view the developments in the sector as a result of evolutionary variation and selection on the one hand, and revolutionary contestation between different coalitions of stakeholders on the other. Both these processes constitute significant engines of change. While variation and selection are driven predominantly by localised technical and agronomic learning, the conflict-driven dynamics are highly globalised and occur primarily as a result of reflexive learning about problematic sustainability impacts. The sector is found to have moved some way towards a full sectoral innovation and production system, but it is impossible to predict whether a viable sector with a strong "triple bottom line" orientation will ultimate emerge, since many issues surrounding the social, environmental and financial sustainability still remain unresolved, especially relating to local and global governance.

    AB - Biofuel production has recently attracted much attention. Some anticipate substantial social and environmental benefits, while at the same time expecting sound profitability for investors. Others are doubtful, envisaging large trade-offs between the pursuit of social, environmental and economic objectives, particularly in poor countries in the tropics. The paper explores these issues in Tanzania, which has been an African forerunner in the cultivation of a bio-oil shrub called Jatropha curcas L We trace how isolated Jatropha biofuel experiments developed since early 2005 towards a sectoral production and innovation system, and we investigate to what extent that system has been capable of developing and maintaining sustainable practices and producing sustainable outcomes. The application of evolutionary innovation theory allows us to view the developments in the sector as a result of evolutionary variation and selection on the one hand, and revolutionary contestation between different coalitions of stakeholders on the other. Both these processes constitute significant engines of change. While variation and selection are driven predominantly by localised technical and agronomic learning, the conflict-driven dynamics are highly globalised and occur primarily as a result of reflexive learning about problematic sustainability impacts. The sector is found to have moved some way towards a full sectoral innovation and production system, but it is impossible to predict whether a viable sector with a strong "triple bottom line" orientation will ultimate emerge, since many issues surrounding the social, environmental and financial sustainability still remain unresolved, especially relating to local and global governance.

    KW - Biofuels

    KW - Evolutionary theory

    KW - Innovation systems

    KW - Sustainability

    KW - Stakeholder conflict

    KW - Learning

    KW - Tanzania

    KW - STRATEGIC NICHE MANAGEMENT

    KW - TECHNOLOGICAL-CHANGE

    KW - INNOVATION SYSTEMS

    KW - ORGANIZATIONS

    KW - COEVOLUTION

    KW - PERSPECTIVE

    KW - DYNAMICS

    KW - INSIGHTS

    KW - DENMARK

    KW - REGIMES

    U2 - 10.1016/j.respol.2011.01.005

    DO - 10.1016/j.respol.2011.01.005

    M3 - Article

    VL - 40

    SP - 618

    EP - 636

    JO - Research Policy

    JF - Research Policy

    SN - 0048-7333

    IS - 4

    ER -