FI-15 :: Social acceptance and environmental regulation

Social acceptance of decisions affecting the environment is receiving increasing attention, as social sustainability and participation in planning are emphasised. Also the increasing scale of construction projects has highlighted the need to deal with social impacts. The social acceptance has been discussed e.g. in connection with mining and industrial activities affecting the quality of water, contaminated lands and wind mill construction. In sparsely populated Nordic areas, where people’s subsistence may depend on large areas, e.g. in reindeer-herding, social impacts should be considered broadly.
New tools and methods, such as e-participation and the use of social media, are being introduced to deal with social acceptability. Environmental regulation and de-regulation are also related to social acceptance. Functioning regulation can help to achieve social acceptance, but strict norms can also lead to outsourcing of jobs and negative impacts elsewhere.
Possible research questions may be:
Land management:
• What contextual factors have an effect on the acceptance of different land use and soil management issues by local residents and other stakeholders?
• Through what kind of measures and processes can social acceptance be addressed and achieved?
• How to develop the use of new participatory tools to promote the active role of citizens and stakeholders in planning processes and to increase common understanding of solutions?
• How to reconcile potential conflicts through negotiations and consensus-building methods?
• How to introduce new market-based mechanisms through which consumers can make sustainable choices?
• How to formulate environmental regulation nationally and internationally in order to avoid the loss of competitiveness in global markets and outsourcing of jobs and negative impacts elsewhere?