New partnership charts a path for systemic change in the EU

The Systems Transformation Hub, a pioneering venture designed to drive systemic solutions for Europe, was launched on 24 January 2024 at the European Parliament by a coalition of five thought-leading organisations. This comes at a pivotal time of complex and interconnected crises in the lead-up to key elections in the European Union.

The world faces an unprecedented convergence of crises: conflict, climate change, biodiversity loss, public health emergencies, social unrest around migration and deepening inequality. These challenges are inextricably linked, demanding a holistic, systemic approach to policymaking. As the European Union gears up for forthcoming elections and a new five-year European Commission mandate, the urgency of creating a vision for an EU that prioritises environmental sustainability and social cohesion has never been clearer.

“While the European Green Deal has set the stage for a profound economic transformation, its implementation faces obstacles. Short-term crisis management, coupled with rising social, financial, and political tensions, have all underscored the need for a systemic approach to achieving Europe’s green and socio-economic goals”, say the Hub’s leaders in a common statement.

The Systems Transformation Hub aims to provide strategic and systematic guidance, supporting the European institutions and Member States in policy analysis, development, policy learning, and agile decision support. The Hub will focus on European policy, yet also on Europe’s relationship with the rest of the world. This Hub emerges from the collaboration of five organisations working on systems change: MetabolicEIT Climate-KICSystemiqThe Club of Rome, and the World Resources Institute, with an open invitation for others to join.

The Systems Transformation Hub will develop a roadmap with policy orientations, to inspire the upcoming European Commission in its early months of operation. The approach includes:

  • Modelling and research: Mapping the EU status with regards to the Sustainable Development Goals and European Green Deal and conducting a gap and incoherence analysis.
  • Crafting a new progressive narrative: Developing a narrative for policymakers rooted in systemic levers, robust scientific knowledge, and data analysis to support the European Green Deal in the changing political economical context.
  • Stakeholder consultation and communication: Stress-testing and disseminating results with relevant policymakers and world-leading experts in their respective fields.

The Hub will provide strategic capability for the EU, remaining independent, transparent, science-based and non-political.

The partners

The Systems Transformation Hub aims to drive systemic solutions for Europe through a collaboration of five thought-leading organisations: Metabolic, EIT Climate-KIC, Systemiq, the Club of Rome, and the World Resources Institute.

Club of Rome

The Club of Rome is a platform of diverse thought leaders who identify systems solutions to complex global issues and promote policy initiatives and action to enable humanity to emerge from multiple planetary emergencies. Drawing on the unique, collective know-how of over 100 members – notable scientists, economists, business leaders and former politicians – The Club of Rome is committed to facilitating the difficult conversations and to advocate for paradigm and systems shifts which will enable society to emerge from our current crises. The Club of Rome makes holistic proposals through research, concrete policy positions and the convening of high-level meetings, debates, conferences, lectures and other events. It also publishes a limited number of peer-reviewed “Reports to the Club of Rome”. The Club prioritises five key areas of impact: Planetary Emergency, Reclaiming Economics; Rethinking Finance; Emerging New Civilization(s); Youth Leadership.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève, co-president of The Club of Rome, said about the Hub: “The perma-crisis is our new reality. The only way to address today’s super wicked problems and complex challenges is to apply short and long-term systems logic to decision making. This is our insurance policy for a prosperous, resilient, green, and just Europe.”

EIT Climate-KIC

EIT Climate-KIC is Europe’s leading climate innovation agency and community, using a systems approach to shape innovation to support cities, regions, countries and industries meet their climate ambitions.

Together with partners across the globe, EIT Climate-KIC acts to bridge the gap between climate commitments and current reality by enabling decision- makers and investors to act. They find and implement solutions in integrated ways and mobilise finance. They build skills to accelerate learning and explore innovation, opening pathways to shift mindsets and behaviours. Through radical collaboration, EIT Climate-KIC orchestrates large-scale demonstrations that show what is possible when cycles of innovation and learning are deliberately designed to trigger exponential decarbonisation and build resilient communities.

Kirsten Dunlop, Chief Executive Officer at EIT Climate-KIC, commented: “Radical uncertainty requires radical collaboration. A just, climate-resilient, beautiful future where people and nature thrive is within our reach if we work collectively and quickly to integrate solutions and actions on the ground, connect communities, businesses and governments, and create the enabling conditions for the changes we need through coherent, timely policy. To drive the ambitious and lifesaving transformation to which we are committed across the EU we must address the critical relationships between innovation implementation and policymaking. The Hub will support EU institutions to do that, nurturing new capabilities, fostering collaboration to implement impactful policies for systemic change.”

Metabolic

Metabolic is a systems change agency striving to transition the global economy to a fundamentally sustainable state where people and nature thrive. We guide decision-makers and implement real-world projects that bring ambitious ideas to life. Metabolic has five core areas of operation. We conduct leading research, develop future-facing strategies, build software tools, scale impactful ventures, and empower communities on the ground.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, we have an international and interdisciplinary team. The circular economy is at the heart of our work. We have developed a suite of approaches that allow us to quickly map a system (whether a place, company, or sector), understand how it functions, and identify where we can intervene to make the greatest impact.

Eva Gladek, CEO and founder of Metabolic, explained: “At the core of the Systems Transformation Hub is a commitment to delivering actionable solutions rooted in decades of collective research and policy expertise. This Hub is not just a response to the pressing challenges of our time; it is a culmination of years of dedicated work by our friends and partners. Aiming to drive meaningful change, we will work on creating a roadmap for the European Commission.”

Systemiq

Systemiq, the system-change company, was founded in 2016 to drive the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, by transforming markets and business models in five key systems: nature and food, materials and circularity, energy, urban areas, and sustainable finance. A certified B Corp, Systemiq combines strategic advisory with high-impact, on-the-ground work, and partners with business, finance, policy-makers and civil society to deliver system change. Systemiq has offices in Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands and the UK. Systemiq brings to the Systems Transformation Hub world leading expertise in changing systems with and for our clients and partners in business, finance, government and civil society, alongside the connection to the transformative science-policy work of the International Resource Panel. We see the new Hub as the missing link for accelerating systems change in Brussels, through the perfect complementarity and practical focus of our partners.

Janez Potočnik, Former European Commissioner, Partner at Systemiq and Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel (IRP), said regarding the Hub: “Avoiding the extinction of elephants in nature requires getting rid of elephants in our rooms. A more holistic system change approach is needed to drive real systemic transformation and address the root causes of today’s polycrisis, such as demand side reduction and a focus on natural resource management. The Systems Transformation Hub offers a unique opportunity for accelerating this systemic change in EU policy making.”

World Resource Institute (WRI)

The World Resources Institute brings to the System Transformation Hub deep expertise around the interconnected goals of people, nature and climate at the center of everything we do. Our leading work as a trusted changemaker is supported by our international network and experiences in various parts of the world. Using research-based approaches, we work globally and in focus countries to meet people’s essential needs; to protect and restore nature; and to stabilize the climate and build more resilient communities. WRI has 14 offices around the world, including a regional office in Europe. Our over 1,700 staff work with partners to develop practical solutions enabling positive and systemic change.

Stientje van Veldhoven, Vice-President and Regional Director for Europe, of WRI commented: “Looking at each sector individually,or focusing solely on climate or nature will not lead us to the transformative action we need. Europe needs a systematic transition that is good for people, preserves nature, and ensures effective climate action at the same time. It needs strategies that encompass both immediate and long-term perspectives which enable a just transition, aligning with the EU’s objectives and ideals.”

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