Tyndall Centre Fudan Hosts Second Biennial Conference of the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption
1 July 2014
The Fudan Tyndall Centre hosted the Second Biennial Conference of the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption under the theme "Global Transitions to Sustainable Production and Consumption Systems."
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China – June 25, 2014 – The Fudan Tyndall Centre, a joint initiative of the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and the Research Institute for Global Environmental Change at Fudan University in Shanghai hosted the Second Biennial Conference of the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption (GRF-SPaC) from June 8–11 under the theme “Global Transitions to Sustainable Production and Consumption Systems.”
The conference brought together more than 100 scholars and practitioners, representing 23 countries and all five continents, to reflect upon latest findings in the field and connect with Chinese colleagues who have become increasingly active in drawing attention to the risks inherent in current domestic consumption and production trends. It featured over 30 parallel sessions, a world café reflection session, two panel discussions and four keynote presentations by eminent thinkers. Following opening remarks by Fudan Vice Presidents Shangli Lin and Xiaoyuan Feng, Philip Vergragt, co-founder of the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption and Trevor Davies, Co-director of the Fudan Tyndall Centre, the first keynote address was delivered by John Ashton, former Special Representative for Climate Change for the UK Office of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. John Ashton highlighted the domestic and global challenges associated with China’s growing volume of material throughput within the context of his personal vision of a Chinese dream. Ashish Kothari, founder of the Indian environmental movement organization Kalpavriksh, discussed opportunities to advance sustainable consumption in ways consistent with radical notions of ecological democracy. William Rees, Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia, devoted his keynote address to exploring prevailing cultural propensity to deny current conditions of global ecological overshoot and social inequities of the dominant development pathway. He sought to derive inspiration from the Chinese concept of “ecological civilization” as a way to transcend current circumstances. Finally, Dajian Zhu, Professor of Economics at Tongji University, outlined hopeful signs of a transition toward sustainable systems of production and consumption in China.
The focused parallel sessions enabled to cover both the width and depth of the conference theme, including presentations on the development of eco-cities in China and elsewhere, the creation of sustainable agro-food systems, the modeling of household energy use, the design of low-carbon innovations, and the facilitation of sustainable lifestyles. Other sessions considered business perspectives on sustainable consumption (and production), sustainable mobility, and carbon labeling. A particular emphasis on practitioner engagement was placed during presentations by leaders of sustainable consumption-related projects undertaken in China and Malaysia with financial support from the European Union-funded SWITCH Asia Network Facility. Another interesting series of sessions was devoted to food-waste recycling programs in large cities with a special attention centered on community-based initiatives in Shanghai.
Co-chairs of the conference were Maurie Cohen (New Jersey Institute of Technology), Philip Vergragt (Tellus Institute and Clark University), Leonie Dendler (SCI, University of Manchester), Lin Shangli (Fudan University), Trevor Davies (Fudan Tyndall Centre and University of East Anglia), Chen Shiyi (Fudan University), and Ren Yuan (Fudan University).
Conference sponsors included the SWITCH Asia Network Facility of the European Union, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (Japan), Tyndall Centre (UK), Tellus Institute (United States), New Jersey Institute of Technology (United States), OneEarth Initiative (Canada), World Resources Forum (Switzerland), and European Environment Agency. Complete conference details are available here. For further information on the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption and its current and future activities, please visit: http://grf-spc.weebly.com .