Governing sustainable system innovations in livestock farming
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This thesis researched the feasibility and the moral adequacy of the policy for system innovations in the livestock sector, which is part of the policy program for sustainable livestock farming. The aim of this study has been doing recommendations for the governance of system innovations. To this end, the program theory that underlies the policy for system innovations has been assessed on its feasibility and its moral adequacy. The feasibility of the program was in addition examined in a case study to the application of the Rondeel system, an integral sustainable animal housing system for layer poultry. The policy for system innovations aims at the large scale application of such integral sustainable animal housing systems. The program theory that underlies this policy appeared to show several weaknesses. Overall, it lacked internal consistency. Whereas stakeholder and societal support for the program is sufficient, its enforceability is poor due unfeasible goals and objectives and a not completely adequate allocation of resources to the program. In addition, the program can not be regarded as morally adequate since avoidable suffering in the form of animals suffering from is still a policy consequence. The policy improves however animal welfare strongly and it is thus a moral improvement. Despite the weak feasibility of the program theory, the case study on the Rondeel system revealed factors of success for the development of integral sustainable animal housing systems and their application in practice. From this, recommendations for the governance of system innovations could be done. Factors of success are: extensive research to stakeholder demands; stakeholder involvement in the development and realization process; the presence of an organization that is deeply committed to make the product marketable, entrepreneurial courage and a good presentation of the new product to the consumer. These lessons can be taken to similar cases where a new sustainable system needs be developed that is marketable and/or where such a system needs to be brought in practice. With the recommendations this study gives, it will still be a challenge to realize new concepts in practice, but they should be sufficient to overcome the obstacles. A next challenge is the large scale application of sustainable animal housing systems, that is the development from niche market to mainstream. This study provided some suggestions from innovation literature. The conclusion of this study is that the policy for system innovations is not feasible, but that there is nevertheless perspective on feasibility. To this end, the policy should make two major improvements: (1) establishing time-dependent instruments with clear goals and (2) making more financial and knowledge resources available and allocating them to the program activities.