Co-creating solutions to complex sustainability challenges  

LIVE Challenge Networks:

  • Build Back Circular- working with the construction industry
  • Business opportunities of re-wilding – in collaboration with Cornwall Wildlife Trust
  • Sustainable Food Systems- supporting community food box schemes
  • Mental Wellbeing and Nature
  • Community Resilience

Individually enterprises can make substantial sustainability improvements to their operations. However, many of the most pressing sustainability challenges we face require systemic change and a multitude of organisations to collaborate in order to deliver a solution, or change in process and behaviours.  

Systemic change requires people and organisations to work together and look beyond the impact of their direct activity. For example, the challenge of harnessing food waste and connecting habitat call for a joined-up approach to enable knowledge exchange, collaboration and partnership. 

Tevi’s Challenge Networks work to support this change and bring into being solutions to complex sustainability challenges. Since March 2019 seven networks have been launched bringing together hundreds of organisationspractitioners and researchers across a range of topics.

  • Tevi as a Multi-Stakeholder Initiative (MSI)

    Truly collaborative in their approach, Tevi’s Challenge Networks strive to foster action and ownership of sustainability issues by bringing together a diverse range of opinions, experience and knowledge across society, industry and academia.  

    The environmental problems that networks address are multi-layered, complex and interconnected – characteristics that led us to brand them ‘wicked problems’. ‘Wicked Problems’ is a term applied to issues such as climate change, public safety and rural growth stimulation that are characterized as hard to define and require co-ordinated action across a number of stakeholders to tackle.  

    ‘Wicked Problem‘ characteristics: 

    • Change over time with certain factors become more of an issue than others over time depending on the changing relationship between them. 
    • Causes and effects are scientifically uncertain. The shifting impact of changing factors makes finding a cause and effect and applying one solution to the problem extremely difficult.  
    • Involve value conflicts among different stakeholders. With many come divergent values and approaches.  

    Solving these problems cannot be achieved by simply applying greater resources. They demand new ways of thinking and approaching issues. This involves the application of specialised knowledge, managing complexity and negotiating the competing demands of stakeholders. We aim to avoid oversimplifying the problem, but also to avoid paralysis through belief the problem is too big to tackle.  

    Tevi embodies an incremental and collaborative philosophy, drawing on multi-disciplinary teams within University of Exeter, partners, contributing businesses and government. Our networks, as a multi stakeholder initiative improve communications around issues, establish new norms, build collaborations and implement solutions that create shared value; where profits, benefits to the local community and natural capital are all priorities. 

  • Alignment with regional strategies and policies
    Challenge Network   Links to local and national strategies  
    EV charging optimisation  Clean Growth Strategy (UK Gov) 

    10 Point Green Plan (UK Gov) 

    Vision 2030 (CIoS) 

    Sustainable food systems  24 Year Env Plan (UK Gov) 

    Environment Bill (UK Gov) 

    LIS Distinctive Opportunities (CIoS) 

    10 Opportunities (CIoS) 

    Seagrass regrowth   24 Year Env Plan (UK Gov) 

    10 Opportunities (CIoS) 

    Environmental Growth Strategy (CIoS) 

    Maritime Strategy (CIoS) 

    Woodland creation  25 Year Env Plan (UK Gov) 

    Environmental Growth Strategy (CIoS) 

    Forest for Cornwall (CIoS) 

    Biodiversity Action Plan (CIoS) 

    Georesources  LIS Distinctive Opportunities (CIoS) 

    10 Opportunities (CIoS) 

    Pollinators  Nature Recovery Network (CIoS) 

    Environmental Growth Strategy (CIoS) 

    Biodiversity Action Plan (CIoS) 

    Habitat connectivity and regeneration  Nature Recovery Network (CIoS) 

    Environmental Growth Strategy (CIoS) 

    Biodiversity Action Plan (CIoS) 

Challenge Networks to date:

Challenge Networks: Aims & Outcomes

  • Seagrass regrowth and boat moorings

    To support the regrowth and protection of seagrass meadows by adding to the knowledge base of how Advanced Mooring Systems (AMS) impact seagrass, and how these moorings will behave in Cornish harbours. 

    Partners and collaborators:
    Natural England ReMEdies team, Royal Yachting Association, Ocean Conservation Trust, as well as Falmouth, Fowey, Mylor, St Mawes and Truro harbours and Exeter Marine.  


  • Electric vehicle charging optimisation

    To support the preparation of Cornwall’s visitor and hospitality organisations for rapid growth in EV ownership and charging requirements, while ensuring the charging assets are operated for maximum utility and the benefit of the wider community.  

    Partners and collaborators:
    Western Power Distribution, Co Cars, Driveenergy and Mr Electric. 

    Digital tool to guide SME investment in the most appropriate EV charging system, and potentially share costs and use with neighbouring organisations.


  • Circular food systems

    Gain a better understanding of the food system in CIoS and where the opportunities lie for designing out waste and reusing unavoidable surplus, while ensuring production and processing approaches benefit local communities and the natural environment.

    Partners and collaborators:
    University of Exeter Business School, The Hive, South West Food Hub, AgriTech, LEP Rural Sub Group and Circle Economy

    The scale and complexity of the food systems challenge resulted in stakeholders (over the course of 2 workshops) identifying the need for research into 4 possible pathways for this Tevi Challenge Network. To achieve this Tevi commissioned Circle Economy to explore the possible pathways and recommend which route is most appropriate for Tevi. The report can be accessed here:

    This Challenge Network will continue through to December 2022 and the report is being used to guide future activity as we work towards identifying and delivering interventions that address certain challenges within the food system, while avoiding harmful knock on effects.

  • Business-led solutions to pollinator decline

    To facilitate innovative business-led solutions to mitigate against the main causes of the pollinator decline problem, using locally sourced wildflower seed

    Partners and collaborators:
    South West partnership for Environmental and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP), National Wildflower Center, Gardens of Eden UK, Lost Gardens of Heligan and Trelonk. 

    Report highlighting business case studies and recommendations to policy makers to reverse the pollinator decline  

    Report highlighting how ‘wicked problems’ can be overcome using a multi-stakeholder approach [Link Hugh-St Albans report]

  • Georesources and sustainable development

    To explore the role of geo-resources in sustainable development and its potential for Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly  

    Partners and collaborators:
    Camborne School of Mines, Satarla, Cornish Lithium, United Downs and Cornwall Mining Alliance.  

    Report outlining the diversity and potential of geo-resources and sustainable development for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly: Tevi_Georesources for Sustainability

  • Increasing Cornwall's tree canopy cover

    To support the Forest for Cornwall initiative by actively engaging organisations to participate in planting using sustainable practices and local stock. 

    Partners and collaborators:
    Cornwall Environmental Consultants, Duchy of Cornwall, Working Woodlands, Moor Trees, Arup
     and Tree Investments.  

    Interactive guide outlining sustainable planting practices, local stock options, and the economic, social and environmental benefits woodland provides:


  • Connecting and regenerating habitat

    To enable rewilding at a small scale by bringing neighbouring enterprises together to connect and regenerate pockets of land, providing benefits for nature as well as securing sustainable tourism futures 

    This network launched in Summer 2020 so is ongoing. Outcomes will be published in due course. 

Future networks and getting involved

In December 2020 Tevi was awarded further ERDF funding so the programme can continue to December 2022. This allows us to continue our Challenge Networks; continuing some of the existing networks while also launching a handful of new ones 

If you are interested in participating in any of our Challenge Networks please get in touch at [email protected] 

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