• Webinar on Economic Efficiency – Prof Rodriguez Mendez, Universidade de Vigo, Monday 21 October 2019, 11 am CEST. Presentation is available HERE.
  • Introductory talk on the Circular Economy to students of the Technical University of Dresden – Prof. Andrea Genovese (Project Coordinator, USFD. Tuesday 19 November 2019.  Presentation is available HERE.
  • WebinarCircular futures: What Will They Look Like? – Thomas Bauwens, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Tuesday 3rd November 2020, 3:30 PM CET. Recording available HERE and slides HERE.

The circular economy is argued to hold great promise for achieving sustainability. Yet, there is a dearth of research about what a circular future may look like. To address this gap, this talk proposes different plausible scenarios for a circular future, using a 2 × 2 scenario matrix method developed through a thought experiment and a focus group. Key drivers of change in this matrix are the nature of technologies deployed – high-tech or low-tech innovations – and the configuration of the governance regime – centralized or decentralized. From this, our study builds four scenario narratives for the future of a circular economy: “planned circularity”, “bottom-up sufficiency”, “circular modernism”, and “peer-to-peer circularity”. It delineates the core characteristics and the upsides and downsides of each scenario. It shows that a circular economy can be organized in very contrasting ways. By generating insights about alternative circular futures, these scenarios may provide a clearer directionality to policy-makers and businesses, helping them both anticipate and understand the consequences of a paradigm shift towards a circular economy and shape policies and strategies, especially in the context of so-called mission-oriented innovation policies. They may also provide a sound basis for quantitatively modelling the impacts of a circular economy.

  • Webinar – Sustainability assessment tools as value-articulating institutions: Implications and possible ways to rationalize selection – Alexandros Gasparatos, University of Tokio, Japan. Tuesday 17th November, 10am CET. Recording of the presentation is available HERE. Presentation available HERE.

Abstract of the talk: A series of economic, biophysical and indicator-based tools have been developed and applied to valuate a large array of sustainability issues and impacts. However, these tools adopt radically different valuation perspectives that affect directly the outcomes of assessment and valuation exercises. More importantly these perspectives are not always reconcilable. By adopting the concept of value-articulating institutions, this lecture will outline the different embedded assumptions integrated in these tools and how they might affect the perspective of sustainability assessments. The implications of valuation tool selection will be outlined, and some possible selection criteria will be discussed.

  • Webinar – Prospering without growth: Science, Technology and Innovation in a post-growth era – Mario Pansera, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. Friday 27th November 2020, 2:30pm CET. Recording available HERE and presentation HERE.

Dr Mario Pansera is one of Europe’s leading experts on Responsible Innovation and a 2020 recipient of a prestigious European Research Council Grant for his project: “Prospering without growth: Science, Technology and Innovation in a post-growth era” (PROSPERA). Mario discussed his upcoming project, tackling questions such as: Can our economies grow endlessly? And would there be space for ‘innovation’ in a post-growth model? Mario argues that untangling innovation from growth is key to imagining a post-growth era, and that we need new narratives for innovation that look beyond technology into cultural and institutional change, and social life and social order. But what would organisations look like in a system that is not based on, and does not rely on, endless growth? What levels of technological complexity can we reach in a non-growing economy? What policies, infrastructures and organisational forms are needed for this new innovation paradigm? These are questions that Dr. Pansera addressed so that we can learn how to thrive in a new way. 

  • WebinarCircular economy as an essentially contested concept – Jouni Korhonen, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. Friday 4th December 2020, 3pm CET. Link to attend available HERE.

The Circular Economy (CE) is currently a popular notion within the policy and business advocacy groups. Despite being visionary and provocative in its message, the research on the CE concept is emerging. The two intertwined objectives of the talk are; first to identify, discuss and develop the various definitions provided by the emerging literature. Secondly, to suggest an initial research approach with which research on CE can be conducted. Our analysis shows that the existing CE work is mainly done on the practical and technical levels of the actual physical flows of materials and energy in production-consumption systems. The focus of the extant literature is on concrete metrics, tools, instruments and computations. Therefore, the basic assumptions concerning the values, societal structures, cultures, underlying world-views and the paradigmatic potential of CE remain largely unexplored. We argue that CE has already become what Gallie (1955) more than six decades ago termed as an “essentially contested concept” (ECC).