The Run4Life project has been active in four demo-sites in Europe, located in Ghent in Belgium, Vigo in Spain, Helsingborg in Sweden, and Sneek in the Netherlands. At each of the demo-sites, groups of stakeholders have been addressed through interventions and activities. These stakeholders have been divided into three groups in order to categorise their proximity to and involvement with the project and its technologies. The three groups are:

Group 1: The key stakeholders closely associated and directly involved with the project, such as the engineers of the Run4Life technologies, the fertiliser companies affected by changes caused by the project, and the city developers associated with the areas surrounding the demo-sites.
Group 2: Other interested groups with direct or indirect interest in the project, including potential users of the Run4Life technologies, farmers using the end-product as fertilisers, environmental interest organisations, estate agencies, and the workers installing the technologies.
Group 3: The general public in the immediate regions surrounding the respective demo-sites, which are Galicia, Scania, and Friesland.


Engagement Strategies, Acceptance Profiles, and Communication Frameworks

Work package 6 (WP6), which was led by WE&B, focused on the development of the social, institutional, and legal features of the project’s innovative technologies to gain the social acceptance among the stakeholders. The WP seeked to better understand the expectations from the stakeholders as well as the social aspects related to the implementation of the Run4Life technologies. The activities of WP6, involved three main objectives that each addressed the acceptance profiles for nutrient reuse technologies of the relevant stakeholders and other interest groups, these were:

• To identify the stakeholders’ expectations towards the project, both between disciplines and across all levels of impact, and to map the stakeholders’ network to better visualise the interactions around each demo-site;
• To develop the social profiles of the relevant stakeholders. The profiles are based on the data collected from the stakeholders’ attitudes, opinions, and behaviour in relation to the Run4Life technologies; and
• To provide recommendations for effective engagement strategies and a communication framework.

Deliverable 6.1 identified the stakeholders as well as the social and political context. It also described the primary steps to foster stakeholder engagement.

Deliverable 6.2 is built on a continuation of the objectives of Deliverable 6.1, with the purpose of addressing the social engagement strategies to overcome social barriers to technology uptake for nutrient reuse. For this reason, it proposes several recommendations for each demo-site.


Stakeholder Analysis

Based on the initial state of the four demo-sites, such as technologies, location, and investors, the consortium and the work carried out in WP6 provided a preliminary identification of the stakeholders related to the Run4Life project. A subsequent Social Network Analysis revealed the social structure of these stakeholders and their internal connections – a visual of the stakeholder maps from Sneek, Vigo, Helsingborg and Ghent provide further insights into these connections. Through a snowball process, the four stakeholder maps grew throughout the lifetime of the Run4Life project, with additional stakeholders being identified and added to the initial maps.

 

 

 

 


Social Acceptance Analysis

Deliverable 6.1. identified the social acceptance of the innovation technologies for efficient nutrient recovery as the main enabler for the wider application of Run4Life to the global market. For this reason, a Social Acceptance Analysis was carried out as part of WP6 to shed light on the psychosocial factors that can influence the level of acceptance and effective public engagement. The results of the analysis are presented in Deliverable 6.2, with associated factsheets for ease of reading with the main results summarised.

For each of the four demonstration sites, the social context, the stakeholder acceptance profiles and opinions of each stakeholder group is included below.

Sneek


The demonstration of the Run4Life concept in Sneek has been incorporated into 32 rental houses in the Lemmerweg neighbourhood, with the implementation of new innovative anaerobic technology as well as new vacuum toilets for reduced water consumption.

Sneek stakeholder opinions on the technology advantages and disadvantages

The stakeholders from Group 1 and 2 made many references to the advantages of these technologies, particularly in relation to the socio-economic aspects and the political will to implement the technology solutions. As for the disadvantages, the largest number of references were related to the associated drawbacks of the systems, such as the noise of the vacuum toilets. Only a few stakeholders mentioned disadvantages in connection to the legal, economic, and social issues. For group 3 stakeholders, a correlation analysis of the online questionnaire found that a greater willingness to use the Run4Life technologies was related to a positive attitude towards the fertilisers produced with these technologies, as well as positive emotions, perceived benefits of the technologies, and trust in those involved in the process of making fertilisers. In contrast, the higher the perception of risk and negative emotions, the lower the intention to use these technologies.

The engagement strategies for Sneek to over the social barriers
Group 1 and 2 stakeholders should be addressed with regards to the relevance and added value that contributes to the green transition of the Sneek demo-site. The communication should simultaneously be focused on the associated drawbacks of the technologies, such as odours, noise, leakages, which was a great concern for many of the stakeholders. Group 3, messages should emphasise the quantifiable benefits of the products and aim to generate a positive attitude towards the Run4Life technology.

Ghent


The city of Ghent has adopted the Run4Life concept for water treatment and nutrient recovery through ZAWENT, which simply implies treatment through ‘closed loops for water, energy, and nutrients.’ This technological approach has already been implemented in 90 residential units and a municipal building.

Ghent stakeholder opinions on the technology advantages and disadvantages
Group 1 stakeholders made references to the advantages of the technological approach. The participants frequently emphasised the added value of the technology as well as the environmental benefits associated with its implementation. In terms of the disadvantages, the largest number of references were related to the associated drawbacks of the system, such as the noise of the vacuum toilets or the level of effort required by the user to employ the technology. Another concern that was mentioned was the social reluctance to implement the Run4Life technologies.

The engagement strategies for Ghent to over the social barriers
There is a need to incorporate a reflection session on lessons learned from other social research activities. The session should have a particular focus on the social perception of the Ghent technologies and results in a co-produced position paper. In relation to the concern for social reluctance, a dedicated communication channel should be established. The channel should stress the relevance of the demo-site and, indeed, incorporate a co-creative communication process that illustrates how expressed concerns are being addressed to improve the Run4Life approach. Also, the associated drawbacks of the technologies, such as odours, noise, and leakages, as well as the need for circularity should be clearly acknowledged and communicated to the users of the technologies.

Vigo


As a part of the Run4Life project in Vigo, treatment technologies were installed in the Porto do Molle Business Centre, with the aim to recover nutrients for fertiliser production, energy in the form of biogas, and reclaimed water.

Vigo stakeholder opinions on the technology advantages and disadvantages
Both Group 1 and 2 only made a few references to the advantages of these technologies, including the juxtaposition of social acceptance and successful implementation. They rather emphasised the perceived disadvantages of waste treatment and nutrient recovery, particularly in relation to the economic and social issues related to the implementation of these technologies. Similar to Group 1 and 2, a correlation analysis of the online questionnaire found that Group 3 also viewed the willingness to adopt the Run4Life technologies to be in conformity with the perceived benefits of these technologies; that is, the lower the perception of risk, the higher the intention of adopting the Run4Life technologies.

The engagement strategies for Vigo to over the social barriers
The costs of implementing the Run4Life technologies should be further explained, because they have been perceived as an issue of concern. The stakeholders who are not close to these innovative technologies should also be involved more directly in the project to create more awareness, i.e. through bottom-up approaches. In addition, messages towards Group 3 should emphasise the quantifiable benefits of these technologies and, indeed, stress the positive emotions that are related to the usage of these technologies, such as pride and satisfaction.

Helsingborg

Helsingborg is highly focused on its sustainable and environmental endeavours, and the decision to implement the Run4Life technologies into its water system has indeed ensured part of these interests. The technology is based on a source separation system of wastewater by means of anaerobic digestion through which effluents will be converted into fertilisers.

Helsingborg stakeholder opinions on the technology advantages and disadvantages
Both Group 1 and 2 made many references to the advantages of the Run4Life system. For example, the participants frequently emphasised the added value, the social willingness for implementation, as well as the environmental benefits associated with the Run4Life approach. In relation to its disadvantages, both Groups mentioned the inconveniences associated with the use of the system, such as memorising the procedures or relaying the information to new tenants. Disadvantages related to the economic aspects of implementation were also, albeit to a lesser extent, included. As for Group 3, the online questionnaire can be compared to the Sneek and the Vigo demo-sites where the willingness to adopt the Run4Life technologies was related to their perceived benefits, particularly in relation to the fertilisers and trust in those who are involved in the process of making them.

The engagement strategies for Helsingborg to over the social barriers
In connection to the perceived disadvantages of the Run4Life technologies, the consortium recommends a communication strategy with Group 1 and 2 that addresses the relevance and added value of contributing to the green transition. The quality of the end-product fertilisers must also be effectively communicated to both farmers and environmental companies and, thereby, facilitate dialogue in product use. In relation to Group 3, messages should emphasise the benefits of the products and aim to generate a positive attitude towards the Run4Life technologies.


Discussion

Deliverable 6.2 has provided an in-depth analysis of the stakeholders’ expectations to the Run4Life project as well as their levels of interaction as each of the four demo-sites. The analysis itself examined the social profiles of the stakeholders in relation to their attitudes, opinions, and behaviour towards the technology uptake for waste treatment and nutrient recovery. In its final parts, the deliverable also provided recommendations on the communication of risks and the creation of social engagement strategies.
In relation to the acceptance profiles for the Run4Life technologies, the relevant stakeholders generally had favourable opinions towards them, focusing largely on the required changes to allow for further development of the Run4Life system itself. It is therefore important, for future references, to involve these stakeholders in the discourse of benefits that will be addressed at the social, legal, and economic level, as well as in the process of the short-term and long-term investments. Group 2 also had aspects of concern, though these were primarily related to the usage and maintenance phase of the system. The Group did express, however, that such concern could not surpass the added value of having a closed resource cycle, which is among the great potentials of the Run4Life system. For a greater willingness to adopt the Run4Life technologies, then, Group 3 emphasised the necessity to communicate the messages that generate a positive attitude towards these technologies. The messages could, for example, focus on the benefits of the products to minimise the risk perception of their consumption and, in particular, pay attention to who communicates these messages.
Besides the social profiles of the various stakeholders, part of the discussion did also involve the lessons learned about methodological implications. The social context of each demo-site, for example, had inherent differences which complicated the replicability of approaches. It was therefore difficult to carry out and, subsequently, homogenise a comparative analysis across Ghent, Sneek, Vigo, and Helsingborg. In conjunction to the Run4Life project, this study could also have benefitted from a social science perspective, because it could have led to a more participatory inclusion of stakeholders. It was the number of participants involved in the various activities that largely made the final number of interventions possible. However, the number of participants varied greatly between the four demo-sites, and, therefore, it was decided that the use of relative percentages rather than the frequency of mentions would facilitate the most accurate comparison of results and subsequent interpretation.


Video

A video is created about innovation in Social Network Analysis to generate better understanding in water reuse and nutrient recovery: