Future studies: Blossom
Client: European Environmental Agency
Many of today's pressing environmental problems are long-term challenges that unfold over the period of several generations. Policy-makers and business leaders must make strategic choices, the long-term outcome of which are uncertain. A number of tools and methods have been developed to assist in making more robust long-term decisions. These include, for example, horizon scanning, quantitative models of economic and environmental systems and comprehensive scenario planning approaches.
However, though researchers have invested significant efforts in developing tools such as quantitative models, few details are known about how these are actually used in environmental policy discussions and decisions.
Milieu, together with Collingwood Environmental Planning (CEP), carried out a series of country case studies for the European Environmental Agency (EEA). Each one reviewed the studies, tools and methods used for future analysis, and how policy makers used the results. Both researchers and policy officials were interviewed.
The project considered the types of problems considered in each country, the methods used, and the institutional structures. Each case study drew out strengths and weaknesses of the national approach. An overview report provided conclusions across the country case studies, and suggested areas for EU-wide action.
The results have been used by the EEA in planning its own activities on futures analysis. Moreover, the EEA has drawn on the study in its initiative to launch a network of Member State officials working on future studies for environmental policy.