Six modes of co-production for sustainability

Chambers, Josephine M.; Wyborn, Carina; Ryan, Melanie E.; Reid, Robin S.; Riechers, Maraja; Serban, Anca; Bennett, Nathan J.; Cvitanovic, Christopher; Fernández-Giménez, María E.; Galvin, Kathleen A.; Goldstein, Bruce E.; Klenk, Nicole L.; Tengö, Maria; Brennan, Ruth; Cockburn, Jessica J.; Hill, Rosemary; Munera, Claudia; Nel, Jeanne L.; Österblom, Henrik; Bednarek, Angela T.; ... (2021). Six modes of co-production for sustainability. Nature sustainability, 4(11), pp. 983-996. Springer 10.1038/s41893-021-00755-x

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The promise of co-production to address complex sustainability challenges is compelling. Yet, co-production, the collaborative weaving of research and practice, encompasses diverse aims, terminologies and practices, with poor clarity over their impli- cations. To explore this diversity, we systematically mapped differences in how 32 initiatives from 6 continents co-produce diverse outcomes for the sustainable development of ecosystems at local to global scales. We found variation in their purpose for utilizing co-production, understanding of power, approach to politics and pathways to impact. A cluster analysis identified six modes of co-production: (1) researching solutions; (2) empowering voices; (3) brokering power; (4) reframing power; (5) navigating differences and (6) reframing agency. No mode is ideal; each holds unique potential to achieve particular outcomes, but also poses unique challenges and risks. Our analysis provides a heuristic tool for researchers and societal actors to critically explore this diversity and effectively navigate trade-offs when co-producing sustainability.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Human Geography > Unit Political urbanism and sutainable spatial development
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Human Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Gerber, Jean-David, Haller, Tobias, Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
900 History > 910 Geography & travel
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics








Louis Karl Zwyssig

Date Deposited:

23 Sep 2021 15:09

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:53

Publisher DOI:





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