Fighting from within—nudging the corporate to get things done

A blog by Franco Crudi

What if large corporations, in collaboration with other actors, could challenge the current unjust and unsustainable energy systems? In order to achieve such radical changes, technological innovations are not enough, we also need new ways of doing, thinking, and organizing, or put it simply, social innovations. During the past years, the city of Malmö (Sweden) has been an arena to test a number of initiatives in this direction.

Building on the main learning points of this case and a master’s thesis published last year, this blog aims to provide three policy recommendations to help local governments to work towards institutional change and transition to more just and sustainable energy systems.


A rapid deindustrialization process that started in the 90s, a highly dependent energy system from the north of the country and the lack of agency over the production and distribution of energy were some of the factors that led the city of Malmö to develop new strategies and get closer to the ambitious goal of supplying the energy system with 100% of renewable, efficient, and secure energy by 2030. During my master thesis, more than 20 SI-initiatives were identified, and three of them were analyzed in depth. The three projects range from a new climate district to a new energy market and a new initiative to facilitate the emergence of green energy communities. Although the three projects are different in nature, all of them emerged as the result of a process carried out by primarily the city of Malmö and later followed by other actors. 

In this blog, I unpack the main three policies that could be adopted by other municipalities and follow the same path of working towards institutional change and transition to more just and sustainable energy systems. The first policy recommendation is about reconnecting the internal structure of a big organization like a municipality in order to act as a single unit before other actors. The second one argues that municipalities should take the role of facilitators and provide room for co-creative and experimental processes. Lastly, the third recommendation asks cities to take advantage of translocal connections with other neighbourhoods, districts, cities, regions and countries. As social innovations could help to replace the current unjust system or reproduce the same institutions that are causing inequalities among the global population, the blog ends with a reflection on the concept of environmental justice.

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About the author

Franco Crudi is currently working as a Just Transition Officer at ICLEI-Europe in the department of Governance & Social Innovation. Previously, he worked as a research assistant at the JUSTRA Cities-Network project as part of the Vital Cities and Citizens Erasmus initiative. Franco holds a MA in Architecture from the National University of Cordoba (Argentina) and an MSc in Urban Studies from Malmö University (Sweden).

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