Baltic herring for food: Shades of grey in how backcasting recommendations work across exploratory scenarios

Authors: Simo Sarkkia and Mia Pihlajamäki

Type of publication: Article peer review

Scenario methods can be used to cope with future uncertainties by envisioning plausible futures and identifying paths to reach desirable targets. The objective of this paper is to develop novel proposals revealing generalised dynamics on “HOW” the different normative recommendations can work under different exploratory scenarios. Previous literature has focused more on developing methods for integrating normative and exploratory scenarios than on theorising dynamics of the HOW question. We examine this theoretical question via a case study on potential futures of use and governance of Baltic herring catch. The case study: 1) develops recommendations on how the use of Baltic herring as food can be increased based on a participatory backcasting workshop with fisheries experts; 2) identifies four exploratory scenarios on the future of Baltic fisheries governance based on a literature review; 3) assesses how the recommendations work under four alternative plausible futures. We identify and discuss six generalised dynamics answering the HOW question. Together, these stress the need to analyse simultaneously multiple drivers, stakeholders, exploratory scenarios, normative recommendations, and synergies and frictions between recommendations. This work contributes to capacities to cope with future changes and proactively develop practical means to make our world more sustainable.

Sarkkia, S. and Pihlajamäki, M. 2019. Baltic herring for food: Shades of grey in how backcasting recommendations work across exploratory scenarios. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 139: 200-209
DOI 10.1016/j.techfore.2018.11.001