WP 3     Holistic scenario development P8(EV ILVO)


The objectives of WP 3 are:

  • Assessing of leverage effect of stakeholders’ knowledge and perceptions to promote the transition to sustainability;
  • Quantitatively modeling the leverage effects at a system level using different decision-making models of stakeholders and identifying their short term and long term effects on the value chain transition toward sustainability;
  • Qualitatively modeling potential scenarios to help taking measures for the future-oriented design of the food sector and to support the design of the control system for future changes to sustainable food production.



A sustainability transformation requires value chain members’ commitment. Stakeholders of different kinds perceive their environments non-homogeneously. Decision-making models of stakeholders follow path-dependent reasoning so that how stakeholders perceive and behave could be conceptualized as key levers toward sustainability transition. This work package investigates most promising key levers, under different environmental conditions (i.e. scenarios). In doing so, three tasks are defined. Task 3.1, using a Fuzzy Cognitive Map method, defines valuable components to communities in their decision-making and how they can react under environmental changes. Task 3.2, quantitatively, using an Agent-based Model, provides a system view on how actors and stakeholders' behavioral changes may affect the overall system structure. Task 3.3, qualitatively, focusing on future-oriented value chain systems, develops potential scenarios leading toward sustainability. This WP will be led by EV ILVO.


Task     3.1       Stakeholder decision making model

This task will map actors’ knowledge and perceptions in a Fuzzy Cognitive Map (FCM). FCM develops a behavioural model of the system exploiting the experience and knowledge of stakeholders. FCM will be used as a decision-making tool to help individuals and communities to understand the impacts associated with environmental, social and economic changes and to develop adequate policy actions and mitigation/adaptation strategies. The FCM analysis will focus on three goals: 1) define the important components relevant to a community; 2) define the strength of relationships between these components and 3) run “what if” scenarios to determine how components might react under a given scenario (range of possible conditions). Surveys will be performed to obtain: individual, combined and global cognitive maps. The lead partner will prepare guidelines and instructions on how to implement the surveys within the FCM framework. A specific meeting with the stakeholders will be organized in each participating country in order to collect the data (individual, combined and global cognitive maps). The lead partner will collect the data and will process the analysis. The Mental Modeler Software will be utilized to analyze the effects of variable categories on likelihood scenarios. FCM will be implemented in each FS case study adopting a common methodology provided by CNR.

Task     3.2       Agent-based modelling

In this task, quantitative methods will be used to give a dynamic in-depth insight into the assessment of levers. The main aim is to provide a holistic view of the complex interplay between different socio-economic and behavioural aspects within the food value chain and sustainability goals. To provide such analyses, Agent-Based Modelling (ABM) will be the primary method. The food value chain from farmers to consumers can be considered as complex systems, with multiple interacting agents. These systems are adaptive as the decisions and interactions of the agents along the chain may influence decisions made by other agents and thus the structural stability of the value chains. In ABM, the behaviour of individual agents and the environment in which they operate is modelled explicitly. Interactions between agents result from these behavioural rules and are thus modelled implicitly in which the value chain and markets are arising from these interactions. With this approach, we can investigate how a system-level change toward sustainability can result from micro-level changes (e.g. changes in incentives, willingness to buy local products, value chain length). ABM will incorporate data from the previous tasks. To validate the used data and to gain expert views, this task requires all partners to be involved in the ABM development. In doing so, 4 workshops (2 online and 2 during the project meetings) will be organized. This will be led by EV ILVO with contributions from IUNG and CNR.

Task     3.3       Qualitative scenario modelling

The scenario workshop is carried out as a participatory workshop with external experts (from agriculture, nutrition, sustainability) and the stakeholders from the innovative case studies. The scenario workshop focuses on the field of deep sustainability levers in order to project the effects of these levers for the future. The scenario workshops are intended to define variants of future developments based on qualitative expert opinions. We will define boundaries of development to highlight routes for the future-oriented design of food systems and derive policy recommendations for future changes towards sustainable food production

Milestone       3.1       Guidelines to carry out the FCM surveys

The lead partner will prepare guidelines and instructions on how to implement the surveys within the FCM framework. Each partner will organize a day workshop with stakeholders to obtain single, combined and global cognitive maps.

Milestone       3.2       Generic agent-based model, initial stage

The generic model incorporates initial results and data from the previous tasks across the four analytical dimensions of sustainability, actors, geographical, and temporal. The generic model will enable discussions between the project partners who are conducting other methods in the analysis of levers for a sustainability transition. Therefore, the model can be later modified and further developed based on data and experts’views.

Milestone       3.3       Common scenario preparation guidelines

Each partner will hold a scenario workshop based on a common methodology. This common guideline will reflect the results of the project.

Deliverable     3.1       Predictive decision making scenarios

Collection and analysis of the FCM implemented in each participating country, develop a global map in different socio-ecological contexts, provide policy recommendations to match the decision making process of different typologies of stakeholders.

Deliverable     3.2       Final agent-based model

The final model will be developed incorporating the final results from the previous tasks. Its main goal is to deliver the leverage effects at a system level using different decision-making models of stakeholders within their short-term and long-term effects on the value chain transition toward sustainability.

Deliverable     3.3       Scenario modelling report

Each partner will summarise the results of the work, based on the common guideline.