Sustainability: Our region is under the microscope
Are we so green as we think? Linköping and the region are now seen as a testing ground for sustainable development. This autumn, Professor Leo Baas will welcome the world's sustainability experts to the Greening of Industry Network conference, GIN2012.
“We realized that close collaboration between academia, business and authorities, what you call a triple helix, is the key to sustainable development, “says Theo de Bruijn, active at Twente University Centre for the Study of Technology and Sustainable Development.
In conjunction with several colleagues, he started the 1991 Greening of Industry Network, GIN. They realized that to move towards a greener and more sustainable society they needed an open dialogue with trade & industry.
“The network began as a partnership between the U.S. and Europe where the issue was to reduce emissions from factory chimneys. However since then, the debate has changed enormously and even the conference. In 1998, Asia entered the collaborative frame seriously and the focus is now on sustainable development’s social dimension,” says Theo de Bruijn.
The conference is in to its third decade; so far it has travelled between Europe, USA and Asia. Now for the first time, the conference will focus on an entire region of East Sweden - Östergötland.
The region is seen as an important testing ground for sustainable development, and conference participants will put regional cooperation under the microscope. What are the advantages and disadvantages? Which conditions need to be met in order to achieve a successful outcome? How far can we reach, and much more.
“Leo Baas is, of course, also a valued member of our network, he has been with us almost from the start. He will be an excellent host for the conference,” said Theo de Bruijn.
Leo Baas, Professor of Industrial Ecology at the Division of Environmental Engineering, and his associates are now busy taking stock and determining which regional companies and ventures will receive research visits during October.
“We work in a reference group of 24 people from companies, organizations, municipalities and academia. Governor Elisabeth Nilsson is the president and we have been met with overwhelming interest from all stakeholders,” says Leo Baas.
The conference will last for three days, 22-24 October, and the first day will be devoted to traditional scientific presentations and seminars.
“For instance, we will provide a background for the large regional biogas venture and how we have turned a problem into a profitable business. It is also a great opportunity for our scientists to present papers and reports for their PhDs or licentiate theses,” says Leo Baas.
The best contributions to the conference will be collated in a special edition of the prestigious: Journal of Cleaner Production.
Leo Baas believes visitors will find the investments for Bo16 interesting, which is a national program for energy and energy-smart construction. The municipality will work to get citizens involved in planning a new residential area in the new Linköping suburb of Västra Valla.
Other topics to be addressed during the conference include the characteristics of an industry with zero emissions, a resource-efficient production and remanufacturing. They will discuss cities and landfill sites as mining, industrial symbiosis and several others fields where LiU and the region retain leading expertise.
During the second day of the conference, the visiting researchers will then be divided into groups across the region for workshops. Once there, they will exchange experiences and knowledge between international researchers and the public, for example
- Vreta Cluster: An innovation centre for the green industry in the region
- Tekniska Verken: Working on the symbiosis of waste, cogeneration, biogas and bio-fertilizer
- Händelö: Working on the symbiosis of industrial enterprises where waste or waste products of one industry is a valuable commodity for another).
However nothing is clear yet.
The conference continues into day three, hopefully with more open discussion and greater exchange of experiences.
“We expect between 150 and 200 participants and we hope they will appreciate this type of conference and the work we do,” says Leo Baas.
Theo de Bruijn is looking forward to this autumn's discussions:
“Greening of Industry Network is not a purely academic network, we value an open debate with the business world, government agencies and organizations. My hope is that we learn more about regional cooperation (triple helix) and that we can inspire the participants so that they take the initiative to collaborate within their own regions,” he states
- Professor Leo Baas
- Division of Environmental Technology and Management at LiU
- Theo de Bruijn
- Twente University Centre for the Study of Technology and Sustainable Development
- Östergötland in East Sweden
- Journal of Cleaner Production
- Vreta Cluster Technology Park
LiU Electronic press
Last updated: 2012-08-31