Local Chain Sustainability Circle (LCSC)

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Alternative names: 
Lokaal ketenoverleg
Level of process: 
Intent or purpose: 
Improve the sustainability in a specific product or material chain, within the boundaries of a municipality or province. This method is experimental - feedback is welcomed.
Used as component of: 
Regional Network for Sustainable Innovation
Recognizable Components: 
Brainstorming, action planning
Types of Participants: 
Always 6 interest groups: - Supply (representatives of local entrepreneurs), - Demand (representative of entrepreneurs or consumers), - Recycling (often municipal environmental services), - Knowledge institute representatives - Government (municipal economic affairs or sustainability policy), - NGO's (environmental groups, political parties, religious groups, networks)
Recommended size of group: 
Remarks about group size: 
Core team 8 to 10 people, whole circle can be 100+
Optimal amount of time needed: 
The core team meets quartely for 2 hours. Working groups or project teams may gather more frequently.
Dutch congress trailer. Says about this: "Steering without money in regions. During the Learning For Sustainable Development congress, the contribution of social instruments to sustainable regions is highlighted. One such instrument is CODIN's Local Chain Sustainability Council, where thinking together, working together and acting together have led to remarkable results." "We pick one objective, and ask every council member what individual action he could take to contribute. Without funding. Actions are merged into a package and all chain parties (supply, demand, recycling, government, knowledge) are asked to join in. Then a public event is organized as a start up and media moment. The council chooses sustainable objectives freely. I usualy includes increasing local demand for sustainable products, to leverage local investments in sustainable innovation. CODIN develops this method as open source, aiming at wider usage and further development." "Want know more? On June 9, 2011, we get deeper into this."
Usual or Expected Outcomes: 
Enthousiasm about getting started and synergy. Repeated irreversibel steps towards chain sustainability.
Level of participation: 
Participants should be prepared and able to make small contributions to sustainability objectives.
Ideal Conditions: 
The municipality supplies initial facilitation, a meeting place and a volunteer fee for the chairman.
Potential Pitfalls: 
Continuity depends on key persons
How is success evaluated: 
Developing a set of process and effect indicators is included in the committee assignment.
Examples of successes and failures: 
In Groningen, The Netherlands, a Local Chain Sustainability Council was set up for concrete (the building material), which represents the second largest local material flow (after drinking water). See http://www.codin.nl/betonketenoverleg-gemeente-groningen (Dutch only, so far). The method has been copied into several other chains in the region.
Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: 
The facilitator should be familiair with the local culture of collaboration and reaching agreements.
Level of Difficulty to Facilitate: 
Facilitation skills required
Facilitator Personality Fit: 
The facilitator should have a genuin interest in contributing to sustainability
Setting and Materials: 
Standard meeting room. Data projector would be fine.
Resources Needed: 
A chair person from the local chain, preferrably an entrepreneur, needs to be recruited.
Pre-Work Required: 
A study should be made up front. The report should include: a logistic diagram of the chain within the boundaries of the municipality, a stakeholder analys (including who is interested in participating in the committee); a contact list of involved companies, institutes and networks; a description of sustainability issues; an indication of sustainability objectives.

Meeting ONE
1. Agree about the mission of the committee. E.g. "The local concrete sustainabilty chain committee is an informal collaboration between parties involved the local chain for concrete: municipality, producers, buyers, recyclers, consultants, networks, knowledge institutes. The common objective is to make the local chain more sustainable, with cradle-to-cradle as an end goal. The working principle is that all participants take synchronous measures to shift the chain in small but permanent steps towards sustainability."
2. Select a qualitative (non-SMART) objective, like "Increasing the market share of granulate (recycled) concrete".
3. Invite all participants to mention what they are able to contribute to this objective, without subsidy, and within their commercial, economical or political boundaries. This will result in a list of relatively modest proposals, often about communication.

Meeting TWO
4. Detect and develop synergy between the proposals by asking how each participant can support proposals from others.
5. Set a date on which all actions will become effective.
6. Communicate the set of proposals and the action date to all known parties in the local chain. Ask them to join the effort. Gather feedback.

Meeting THREE
7. Summarize the feedback and adapt the set of proposals.
8. Prepare a public event on 'action day' and invite all chain parties, local press and politicians.
9. Prepare a press release, announcement, website, etc.

10. Do a short event (or a flash mob), including a symbolic kick off for the action set.

All meetings
- Introduce new participants
- Review process and effect indicators (choose new ones)
- Review mission and objectives (add new ones)
- Review current action sets (expand, optimize, synergize, synchronize)
- Review committee development (members, facilities, planning)
- Review external communications

Remark: at the time of writing we've done meeting TWO for the first experiment with this method.

Update july 2011:
- As the number of (potential) participants grows, an association like structure seems to work fine. This means that any company or institution can join the circle, as long as they do business in the chain, and as long as they have a publicly stated ambition in sustainability. A smaller group acts as a board and is elected by the council as a whole.
- Membership administration for multiple LCSC's may be combined using a company profile database.

Update may 2012:
- CODIN now provides facilitator training for LCSC.

How flexible is the process?: 
The method is intended for use in all product and material chains recognizable at a local level.
Follow-Up Required: 
Knowledge institutes could be invited to carry out effect studies.
Peter Bootsma / CODIN (p.bootsma@codin.nl)
Epistemological Framework: 
Complexity theory, self organization, emergent behaviour
Coverage in national newspaper: http://www.metronieuws.nl/planeet/groningse-bouwers-recyclen-beton/SrZjkk!ZCkJGdC19zUPw/
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