Innovation for Sustainable Production - Bruges 18-21 April 2010

1. Sustainable Production - Theo Geerken

General Introduction

The focus of sustainable production varies across the world. In developed economies the focus lies on environmental improvements under acceptable socio-economic conditions, whereas the focus in the bottom of the pyramid economies is on socio-economic improvements under acceptable environmental conditions. Today the developed economies not only need to survive themselves, but also need to create environmental space for bottom of the pyramid economies. At the same time the interdependence across all economies for resources is increasing.
In this conference we would like to get a better understanding on the environmental and economic policies, tools and drivers for sustainable production.

Sustainable production already has a long track record, nonetheless the number of hard and soft policies for sustainable production are still increasing at all scale levels : substances, technologies, products, factories, companies, industrial area's, sectors, regions, countries, economic area's , world level etc. Also a wide array of policy instruments is applied ranging from informative and market based to command and control instruments. In one conference one cannot cover all these dedicated policy area's into detail but we would like to reflect on the success factors of these policies and their instruments, the need and practice for better regulation and the question whether there is still a need for more (complementary) policies.

Research actors and communities continuously are improving or extending existing tools, methodologies, general concepts and approaches like industrial ecology, material flow accounting, life cycle management, (hybrid) IO-LCA, eco-efficiency, circular economy, system innovation , transition management or trying to define new ones. We would welcome contributions from new developments in these fields, illustrated with their added value for sustainable production and some empirical evidence of their application.

Business actors and producers independently from policy measures increasingly have taken up sustainability issues as a strategic driver and are using for instance sustainability reporting as a communicating instrument but also as an internal driver for continuous improvement on sustainability performance. In this conference we welcome contributions from businesses on their experience and lessons learned about improving their sustainability performance.

Finally consumption and production are closely related, two sides of a coin, which means that also consumers and end-users have a role to play. Approaches that aim for sustainable production through demand side measures are for example carbon footprint labelling, eco-labelling, green public procurement, rating systems for green building. Both at international (UNEP), European and national level Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) is a subject of growing interest, sometimes called "sustainable development in practice". The SCP area, which addresses both production and consumption, is still under development and we would welcome contributions that show successful pieces or approaches for the SCP puzzle, or show a promising way forward to develop this new emerging field.

"The EU approach and new developments for Sustainable Production"
Key note speaker sustainable production Jos Delbeke Deputy Director General DG Environment, European Commission (tbc)

Theme 1: Policies for sustainable production

Contributions are welcomed that:

  • Evaluate the current success and need for updating existing policies (f.e. IPPC, EuP, ETS)
  • Provide insights into the relations between policy goals and policy instruments
  • Adress new complementary or integration of policy areas based on the existing framework of EU policies.
  • Encourage debate about the best options to drive sustainable production (command and control measures, stimuli for sustainable innovation, market based approaches ( like taxation), standardisation etc.).

Invited lecture:
"Success and failure of current policies and instruments and the way forward (tentative title)"
Paul Ekins (UCL Energy Institute, University College London, UK)

Theme 2: New approaches, methodologies, tools for sustainable production

Contributions are welcomed that :

  • Show results for sustainable production using new approaches, methodologies, tools.
  • Discuss the need for better tools and methodologies

Invited lecture:
"A view on tools and approaches for sustainable production (tentative title)"
Ester van der Voet (Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden, The Netherlands)

Theme 3: Sustainable production: Business examples and research cases

Contributions are welcomed that:

  • Show that sustainable production for businesses goes beyond "licence to operate and compliance"
  • Sshow why sustainable production is a priority even in time of economic crisis
  • provide insights in the balance between evolution and revolution

Invited lecture:
"Agfa's approach for sustainable production (tentative title)"
Peter Verschave (AGFA, Belgium)

Theme 4: No production without consumption: the two sided coin form SCP

Contributions are welcomed that:

  • Show evidence of green customer demand as a driving force
  • Show results from demand side policy measures
  • Show an integrated view on the way forward for SCP.
  • Elaborate on actions for the "triangle of change" (business, consumers, public authorities)

Invited lecture:
"Sustainable Consumption and Production a two sided coin (tentative title)"
Arnold Tukker (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Research, TNO, The Netherlands)

Scientific Advisory Board



Joost Duflou

K.U. Leuven, Belgium

Paul Ekins

UCL Energy Institute, University College London, UK

Theo Geerken

VITO, Belgium

Arnold Tukker TNO, The Netherlands
Ester van der Voet CML, The Netherlands
Peter Verschave AGFA, Belgium
Karl Vrancken VITO, Belgium
Wim de Wulf Group T, International University College, Leuven , Belgium

In association with:

the Flemish Environmental Coordinators