Social Innovation for Climate Neutrality: A Framework for Assessment

We are happy to share our open access publication: Bresciani S., Rizzo F., Deserti A. (2022) Toward a Comprehensive Framework of Social Innovation for Climate Neutrality: A Systematic Literature Review from Business/Production, Public Policy, Environmental Sciences, Energy, Sustainability and Related Fields. Sustainability, 14(21): 13793. EISSN 2071-1050, DOI:

Social Innovation (SI) is considered a key lever for supporting climate action and decarbonization. In addition to the adoption of technological innovations, novel social practices can lead to the reconfiguration of socio-technical systems toward more democratic energy transitions and heightened civic participation for climate action. Several frameworks and cases of social innovation for climate neutrality are described in the academic literature; however, this rich body of knowledge is scattered across different fields and the actual relevance of social innovation for climate is rarely measured. A core challenge remains regarding the systematic assessment of social innovation’s contribution to decarbonization. With the aim of developing a comprehensive framework for potentially assessing social innovations, the extant literature is mapped and the following key dimensions of social innovation for climate neutrality are derived: context, input (or resources), social innovation activities (capacity building, types of SI initiatives and scaling), and results (immediate outputs, medium-term outcomes, long-term impact toward wellbeing). The framework has both theoretical and practical relevance: it provides a structured pathway of social innovation mechanisms and related assessment categories, which can be deployed showing evidence of social innovation effects, gaining insights for actions’ improvements, as well as informing policy-making. View Full-Text

Keywords: decarbonisation; climate neutrality; social practices; social innovation; social change; social behaviour; urban policies; assessment; pathway


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