Sustainability Science Lectures
An der Fakultät Nachhaltigkeit
Prof. Dr. Jörn Fischer
May 5th, 2017, 2:30pm, lecture hall 5 (HS 5)
Dr. Jörn Fischer is professor sustainable landscapes at the Institute for Ecology at the Leuphana University Lüneburg since November 2010. His interdisciplinary activities combine lanscape ecology, research of ecosystems and biodiversity as well as ecosystem services.
Title of his presentation: "Addressing the intersection of food security and biodiversity conservation"
Ensuring food security and halting biodiversity decline are two of the most urgent (and interconnected) challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Drawing on both the natural and social sciences, we are implementing an interdisciplinary research agenda to address these challenges. Our goal is to develop and test a theory that explains which properties of social-ecological systems benefit both biodiversity conservation and food security (and which may benefit one but not the other). Such a holistic, systems-oriented approach radically differs from existing work: Especially in the natural sciences, the most prominent framing at present focuses on the question how to increase agricultural yields without compromising biodiversity. However, at a global level, a lack of agricultural yields is not the cause of hunger – hence, attaining higher yields on its own cannot guarantee improved food security. Similarly, many poor countries lack the institutional mechanisms needed to safeguard biodiversity, sometimes both in high-yielding and low-yielding landscapes. Because of the limitations of emphasizing agricultural yield above other (at least equally important) variables, our work therefore aims to develop a more holistic framework that considers agricultural yield as just one of a range of interdependent properties characterizing rural landscapes in developing countries. Our work considers agricultural landscapes around the world, but has a specific emphasis on a case study in southwestern Ethiopia. This presentation gives an update of the research findings to date.
Vergangene Sustainability Science Lectures
Prof. Dr. John Holmberg
Chalmers University of Technology
January 25th, 2017, 5:15pm, lecture hall 5 (HS 5)
"Challenge-driven innovation and Challenge Lab"
Unlike incrementally adapting ideas-driven or demand-driven innovation, challenge-driven innovation starts from the analysis of a desired future state. In the case of sustainability this is a radically different state to the status quo and forces leaders to square a time-lag or delay: the double challenge of reaching long-term complex sustainability goals at the same time as continuing to try to meet short-term operational targets. The sustainability goals call for a substantial change of existing systems, while the governance, planning methods and tools often are adapted to existing operations. Hence, there is a need to build capacity for dealing with complex and long-termed challenge-driven innovations in a transformative and integrative way. Challenge lab is design to create this kind of capacity. The methodology used at Challenge lab will be presented together with relevant learnings and results.
Dr. John Holmberg is professor of Physical Resource Theory and holds Sweden's first UNESCO Chair in Education for Sustainable Development. His main research interests are sustainable consumption, energy efficiency, industrial ecology, decoupling, back-casting, principles and indicators for sustainability and education for sustainable development (ESD).
Dr. Rodney Irwin
December 15th, 2016, 4:15pm, Lecture hall 3
Honorary Professorship Ceremony
"Enhanced Risk Disclosure for Effective Decision Making that advances Sustainable Development."
Mainstream corporate reporting and stock exchange requirements in many jurisdictions require businesses to disclose those risks that the business acknowledge. Investors use this information in their investment decision. Similarly, over the past 10 years there has been a growth in the number of companies that report to a wider range of stakeholders on material issues that stem from the business impacts and dependences on the natural world and society. In many regards, the later also could be considered as risks. When is a material issue per a sustainability disclosure also a risk that should be on the radar of the management and investors of a business? This presentation will present, for the first time, the results of research led by Dr. Rodney Irwin within the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in 2016 on risk management and sustainability across 169 WBCSD members.
Dr. Sonia Valdivia
December 15th, 2016, 4:15pm, Lecture hall 3
Honorary Professorhip Ceremony
"Mainstreaming Life Cycle Thinking Worldwide: A Contribution"
Sonia Valdivia is a Programme Manager at the World Resources Forum since August 2014 on the areas of ‘sustainable recycling industries’ and ‘life cycle management’. She is also co-chair of the capacity building area of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative whose Secretariat she coordinated between 2005 and 2014 as staff member of the UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics.
She has a PhD in environmental management and policies from the Technical University of Karlsruhe is a co-author of the UNEP “Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment” and UNEP publications on “Life Cycle Management”, Towards Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment”, “Opportunities for national life cycle network creation and expansion around the world” and "the state of natural resource management in Latin America".