The Wicked Problem of Plastics and the Discourse Surrounding its Governance
How we perceive plastic has changed drastically in the previous half-century even as its use has become more widespread, from a world-changing opportunity to an environmental catastrophe. It is the very durability of plastic that makes it so useful for preserving food and maintaining hygiene that also makes disposing of it one of the key global challenges recognised for their fiendish complexity as “wicked problems” requiring multiple types of solutions to be developed by multiple academic disciplines and sectors of society.
Aims and objectives
This project seeks to improve how we use and dispose of plastic by looking at how we talk about plastic. It examines how local and national governments and organisations frame written, visual and verbal communication about plastic and asks how this can be translated into behaviour change and activism that leads to better laws and more effective governance.
The project investigates these discourses to learn how the “plastics story” is told in different countries and how this influences consumers, activists, regulators and other key decision-makers.
I am an environmental lawyer and I specialise in looking at the ways law can be used to protect the environment. Recently I have been working on the 'wicked problem' of the polluting waste from plastics and how a circular economy might help to stop the problem of waste. So I look at laws around the ecodesign of products and how they can be implemented to stop the production of waste and pollution. I look at the whole governance frameworks for environmental law including not just the legislation but policy, implementation, enforcement and compliance as well as the impact of property rights. I have been working on the rights to water and sanitation and how they can be used to ensure a decent standard of living for people especially in developing countries. I believe that we will not solve the problem of the degradation of the earth unless we work across disciplines seeking solutions together so I specialise in multidisciplinary research working with social and natural scientists and engineers.
I am the Director of the Environmental Regulatory Research Group (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/errg/) which is a research grouping of individuals and organisations engaged in research, teaching and consultancy into environmental regulation, compliance and enforcement and is part of the Surrey Centre for International and Environmental Law.
I am an associate member of the Centre for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey and I also practice as a barrister from Guildford Chambers.
Professor Nicholas Oguge
Professor of Environmental Policy, Centre for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law & Policy, University of Nairobi, KenyaSee profile
Itziar Castello is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the Department of Digital Economy at Surrey Business School in the UK.
Itziar is an expert on corporate social responsibility and sustainability in digital transitions. Itziar's research and advisory work has informed organisations including GE, IBM, CEMEX, Manpower, Cargill, Telefonica, Novo Nordisk, eBay.
Itziar's research offers insights how entrepreneurs and business intrapreneurs make sense and lead change towards more sustainable business in the digital economy. Specifically, she looks at the communication and governance challenges and opportunities.
Itziar has published in peer-reviewed journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies, Research Policy, Journal of Business Ethics, Business & Society, Corporate Governance and Journal of Management Development. She has recently received three research awards (Best OMT Entrepreneurship Paper at the Academy of Management Conference 2015; Shortlisted for the Max Boisot Award at EGOS 2016 and Faculty of 1000 (F1000) as one of the top 2% world papers published in Medicine and Biology during April 2011). Her research also frequently appears in general and management venues such as The Huffington Post and Deusto-Harvard Business Review. She is Associate Editor in Business & Society.
Beyond her academic career, Itziar has been working for the past fifteen years as business advisor in developing integrated business strategies on sustainability issues and digital transitions. Prior to her academic career in academia, Itziar had 8 years management experience working in companies such as AccountAbility (a leading think tank in sustainability), PricewaterhouseCoopers and General Electric as strategy advisor and internal consultant in process improvement and sustainability.
Itziar's has consulted, given masterclasses and executive education for top management in major corporations in the US and Europe. She teaches Strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Digital Transitions and Qualitative Methods at undergraduate, MBA/ MSc, PhD and executive level. Itziar has received teaching awards at Master's and undergraduate program levels. In her teaching, she combines different innovative methods that include simulations, cases, readings, role plays, social media, project management and use her own case studies, working experience as sustainability expert, manager and certified as Master Black Belt in Six Sigma.
Itziar lectures regularly at leading business schools such as Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, IE, Spain and University Carlos III. Before joining Surrey, she held academic positions in management departments at Carlos III University in Spain and Copenhagen Business School. Itziar was awarded a PhD in Management Science and an Executive MBA from ESADE, a Master in International Economics from the College of Europe and a Master Degree on Development Economics from the University of Valencia.
The network project will build knowledge and expertise around different governance approaches to plastics waste across Development Assistance Committee (DAC)-listed countries.
This information will be lodged on the website database and will be publicly accessible. The database will be a forum for knowledge and information exchange.