Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption

erscp19-circular europe for sustainabilityOn 16th and 17th October, Gillian Foster, researcher at the Institute for Ecological Economics of Vienna University of Economics and Business, will attend the 19th  European Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production (ERSCP), “Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption”, taking place this time in Barcelona. The main goal of the 19th ERSCP is to encourage discussion amongst stakeholders involved in sustainable consumption and production (businesses, public institutions, universities, institutes and research centres, NGOs, SMEs, professional associations, decision-makers, etc), favouring the exchange of thoughts, knowledge, experiences and SCP proposals as well as the creation of a European (also worldwide) community of research and practice in sustainable consumption and production.

This will be the occasion to present two works developed under the CLIC project.

Specifically, the paper  “Placing Culture In An Ecological Economics Ontology Beyond A Pillar Approach (Gillian Foster and Sigrid Stagl), defines a new model
based on current ecological economics thinking, emphasizing the critical role of culture in organizing complex socio-economic systems including the economy. Actually, just in recent years, cultural economics and cultural heritage economics scholars have begun to grapple with sustainability and the role of culture, defined as beliefs, customs, values, attitudes and social behaviors of human groups. Undoubtedly culture shapes human societies in distinct ways over time and space, including how people produce and consume goods and services and value nature. There are many models that add culture to the somewhat outdated three-pillar model of sustainability (Environment, Economic, and Social). However, an up-to-date ecological economics ontology places all complex systems of human societies within the limits of biophysical systems that support life on earth. Until now, this central element was missing from many culture-centred approaches. The new model impacts the understandings of cultural capital; the relationship of humankind to nature; and the fundamental and evolving methodologies for measuring culture’s impacts in a transition to a sustainable economy. Gillian Foster will  discuss on circular economy to illustrate how this new model may be applied.

The second work that Gillian Foster will present will focus on the “Circular Economy Strategies For Adaptive Reuse of Cultural Heritage Buildings To Reduce Environmental Impacts”, showing how it is possible to revitalize neighborhoods whilst achieving environmental benefits by refurbishing and reusing underutilized or abandoned buildings, preserving at the same time the local cultural and historic characteristics that define communities. Therefore, extending their useful lifespan has multiple benefits that extend beyond the project itself to the surrounding area, contributing to economic and social development. Unfortunately decision makers lack knowledge of the environmental benefits of adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings as well as tools to implement these projects. A new comprehensive circular economy framework for the adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings to reduce environmental will be then presented. This framework integrates methods and techniques from the building and construction literature that aim to reduce lifecycle environmental impact of buildings with a circular product supply chain approach.