First of all, I think it will pay dividends to reflect my, the authors position, in the here presented case of sustainability meets Neighbourgoods. I have a background in applied sustainability, meaning that I’m an alumni of a master’s programme in interdisciplinary sustainability. Additional to that I’ve spent the last 5 years, doing a Ph.D. in sustainability science. However, at this forum I am for the reason that I also happen to be a co-founder of the Neighbourgoods, although, it’s perhaps not a coincidence at all.
Neighbourgoods, as often cited, was born out of necessity, an intervention of crisis that the global pandemic created to our everyday life and to several socio-economic processes. As offices closed, and as workers were told to stay home we saw a simultaneous new demand to arise out of remote workers having to replan their lunch and afterwork meal routines, with a potential supply laying dormant at homes while several restaurant workers and other service sector employees were at home, waiting. Additional to this economic aspect of the crisis, social distancing started to create isolation and ripple through as loneliness especially in bigger cities where majority of the citizens live alone. Thus we had the elements of our problem, and solution, at hand: a new demand, potential supply, and both intersectional groups social lives hindered by distancing.
We as the rest of the world do believe this crisis will someday be beaten, if not fully then at least to a functional end. In thinking of how habits form, as were turning firm to a second year of the pandemic, some ways we used to live only a relative short while ago will never be the same. Thus we believe entrepreneurship, demand created by remote working and a new social and group behavior will at least partially be here to stay. Additional to our own western(ised) context where entrepreneurship seems somewhat right now forced upon many by the flaws of the employer-employee system being able to absorb crisis, there’s other global contexts we believe would innately be fruitful for Neighbourgoods kind of social practice in rather promoting entrepreneurship than joining (or continuing to be dependent on) the global wage labour.
Thus although we cannot ensure all items, goods, services and such listed on our platform are systemically sustainable, and I’m saying this with 10+ years of sustainability studies, research, and practice: coherently and systemically sustainable is a puritan endeavour and near impossible to accomplish – which is absolutely why I love and am engaged with the subject. However, the core idea, and the meta-level critique or a critical take, that I personally at least take away from this venture, is sustainable in ways that are unfortunately often neglected when thinking, talking or employing sustainability: universal economic and social wellbeing and justice. Unfortunately, since to me these two are somewhat more important dimensions of sustainability because they are neglected and debated, and because I do believe these dimensions presents us the critical areas of human development and betterment in the general human quality that might prove to be in the end the key, or the bottleneck to, achieving the more sustainable society we often speak of but don’t much do to achieve.