Nearly all the countries in the world have subscribed to the vision of a sustainable future. But how do we achieve it? What obstacles are in the way? What roles should various players have, and how do we make the transition go fast enough?
These are the kinds of questions that transition researchers focus on. In June, many such researchers will gather in Gothenburg when Chalmers hosts the 8th International Sustainability Transitions Conference.
“The conference focuses on the leadership and learning needed to speed up the transition to a sustainable society,” says Hans Hellsmark, transition researcher at Chalmers and coordinator of the conference.
In addition to researchers, the conference is also for government agencies and ministries, organisations working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and companies that want to take the lead in sustainability transitions. The conference will feature over one hundred sessions under eleven themes, including leadership; entrepreneurship; urban, regional and corporate transitions; policy instruments and politics.
“Our dialogue sessions are probably especially exciting for non-academics,” Hellsmark says. “They involve interaction between different players, making a point of collaboration and learning from each other. Monday’s panel discussion on political leadership and scientific knowledge in sustainable transitions also looks to be really exciting.”
The keynote speakers are typical high points of any conference. They include Peter Senge from the MIT Sloan School of Management, who wrote the bestselling book The Fifth Discipline. He will be talking about what kind of leadership is required in sustainability transitions, and the challenges to different organisations when taking the lead.
“The conference can give valuable insights into everything from the importance of grassroots involvement to the most effective policy instruments,” Hellsmark says. “And of course it’s a great opportunity to make good connections.”
For Chalmers, the conference is an opportunity to showcase its strong research environment in the field of sustainability transitions. The researchers come from a variety of disciplines and are united under Chalmers Initiative for Innovation and Sustainability Transitions
The conference will be held on 18–21 June. Read more and register at the conference website: 8th International Sustainability Transitions Conference
Text: Ingela Roos