Charta and knowledge

Our shared mission — creating value — and acting accordingly

The ecological and societal effects of today’s production methods and consumption patterns are pushing nature and society beyond their capacity, and the limits of our planet are in sight. The United Nations has therefore developed the global Agenda 2030, which includes its ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), initiating wide-reaching transformation processes. At the European level, the Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan have set out key guiding principles for this transformation over the coming decades. It is no longer about developing individual regions, but about the principles of how economic activity is carried out and the associated measures of value in a market of 500 million people. Germany too is faced with a huge transformation process in order to put its economy and society on a sustainable, greenhouse gas-neutral and circular path by 2050. The first steps have already been taken on this path, which is characterized by climate action, the energy transition and the circular economy.

The basic idea is to make value chains flexible and, ideally, to close them to form circles in order to save resources and reduce emissions, but also to strengthen responsibility for sustainable value and to divide that responsibility among those involved. The concept of “value cycles” is not a new one. Its distinguishing feature is the integration of societal, political and economic demands for resilient and transparent supply chains, sustainable economies and the protection of the climate.

The term “value” covers all measures of value, whether environmental, societal or economic, that contribute to the concept of sustainable development. A value cycle is designed to increase these measures of value as they pass through the cycle.

Sustainability, circularity and sovereignty are the three categories that characterize sovereign value cycles. When these are combined successfully, the concept of sovereign value cycles will be a success and produce innovations for the economy and society.

  • This Fraunhofer charta is based on three key strategies for future sustainable production methods and consumption patterns:

    Consistent implementation of cycles

    Everything that is manufactured and used must be suitable for use as a resource for further production or consumption. Ideally, there should be no emissions into the environment. As well as reducing the pressure on natural sources of raw materials, the circular economy also calls for responsibility within society, politics and industry beyond the economic systems and lifestyles we are familiar with today.

    Creation of sustainable value

    To ensure that a cycle is permanently given precedence over linear value creation, it needs to create sustainable value as it progresses. This new value creation must be measurable using economic, social and ecological measures.

    Need for design sovereignty

    Sustainable cycles only happen if they are resilient enough to disruptions from inside and outside. In a globalized world, this sovereignty is based on transparency, cooperation and shared values. The concept of “sovereign value cycles” puts these strategies into practice.

    The charta can be implemented with the concept of sovereign value cycles.

  • A vision for sovereign value cycles

    The future of value creation needs to be more sustainable, more intelligent and more circular than anything we know today. Companies need to be enabled to manage the scope and complexity of this objective: Sovereign value cycles replace dependent, linear value chains and lead to “sustainable consumption and production” (the core requirement of Sustainable Development Goal 12).

    Principles of sovereign value cycles

    Integrating sustainability

    Sustainable value encompasses ecological, social and economic measures of value equally.

    Implementing value cycles

    In value cycles, materials and products are put through cyclical processes. As they pass through a cycle and when they start a new cycle, their cumulative sustainable value increases.

    Achieving sovereignty

    To measure sustainable value throughout the cycle, producers and consumers need reliable, verified, credible and tailored information about supply chains, production conditions and products, as well as about their effects. This information must be shared by all the parties involved in a cycle. This necessitates new forms of cooperation and digital support.

    Driving forward systemic innovations

    Systemic innovations are the basis of sovereign value cycles. They arise out of strategies that encompass the entire cycle and are directed equally at ecological, social and economic measures of value.

    Developing expertise

    The development of systemic innovations requires networked knowledge and expertise in social, ecological, technical, economic and regulatory matters.

  • A gap analysis analyzed the current and target situations relating to the targets for SDG 12 (e.g. legal frameworks, standards, commitments, results of studies, stakeholder requirements) and mapped out the gaps in the achievement of the SDG targets. The gap analysis was carried out for the following lead markets: the construction industry, the chemical industry, the energy sector and the agriculture and food industry. The results were consolidated into nine strategic areas of action.

  • A hub is a center or focal point, and the word has generally been used to describe nodes in computer or logistics networks. This characteristic also applies to the hubs that are now being established in sociotechnical contexts. These are central points for collecting and generating knowledge based on the pooling of distributed expertise from a dynamic network. Hubs bring together individuals, teams and organizations to build a resource pool with a specific focus that can be accessed by multi-project management.

    To stimulate innovation and the foundation of new businesses, innovation systems that are set up in a variety of different ways can be integrated and coordinated with the hub. The main purpose of hubs is to promote the networking, cooperation and resource pooling of areas of innovation, clusters or networks. The aim is to initiate, develop and carry out innovation projects and to promote the foundation and development of innovative businesses.

    A hub should:

    • create informal frameworks
    • provide collaborative working spaces
    • drive, manage, regulate and lay out ground rules for collaborative processes
    • supply and interpret data
    • identify (necessary) changes
    • motivate
    • create a foundation of knowledge, expertise and trust

    In the realm of practice, hubs are put to use as drivers of innovation in different formats and with a variety of different focus areas. The interpretation and designation can be seen in centers both inside and outside of individual businesses, set up as virtually or physically separated organizational units, as well as in the naming of science parks or project-based initiatives.

    Hubs act regionally, nationally or internationally, as well as industry-specifically, with living labs, pilot plants or showrooms. A hub supplies organizational structures as physical or hybrid (virtual and physical) points of contact. This also includes hubs that operate entirely virtually. Existing hubs are largely characterized by the interaction of science and industry.