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Eco-sufficiency: moving beyond the gospel of eco-efficiency

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The European Economic and Social Committee

Rue Belliard 99

Jacques Delors Building - room JDE62

Brussels, 1040

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The term 'eco-sufficiency' refers to a strategy to complement the eco-efficiency approach that so far has been the main focus of the sustainable development debate. At Friends of the Earth Europe we believe that there are limits to the green growth approach in keeping the world economy within the planetary boundaries. Because of the rebound effect, an increase in resource efficiency alone leads to nothing, unless it goes hand in hand with an intelligent restraint of economic growth and consumption. Between the extremes of excessive energy and resource use and material poverty lays 'eco-sufficiency’, which is about using enough. Enough resources and energy for achieving human flourishing without compromising ecosystem stability.

To date the debate on eco-sufficiency has been mostly confined to the academic and grassroots level without a real engagement with decision-makers. We think that this conference can bridge this gap and stimulate a constructive debate on the limits of eco-efficiency. At the conference, several experts will present their research to a targeted audience consisting of representatives of NGOs and policy makers and will engage in a panel discussion with various stakeholders.

The conference will also be an opportunity for all the attendees to contribute ideas for advancing the policy agenda on eco-sufficiency at the EU level. This debate will be the starting point for elaborating policy proposals that will be included in FoEE's report on eco-sufficiency that will be published at the beginning of 2018.

The conference will be followed by a networking reception.

The experts who will participate in the conference are:

  • Anna Coote, head of social policy for the New Economics Foundation

  • Sylvia Lorek, chair of SERI Deutschland

  • André Reichel, professor of Critical Management & Sustainable Development at the Karlshochschule International University in Karlsruhe

  • Manu V. Mathai, professor at Azim Premji University in Bangalore (India)

  • Klára Hajdu, Senior Policy Officer at CEEweb

  • Blake Alcott, PhD in Ecological Economics and contributor to "Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era"

In collaboration with Oikos and European Economic Social Committee

Please note that all participants will need to pass through EESC's security check-point so please foresee time to wait in line. This also explains why participants are asked to provide information regarding ID number, nationality and country of residence. Organisers have a strict deadline by when they have to submit all participants' information and this means that registration for this event will be possible until 08:00 o'clock on Monday 13/11/2017. After this deadline organisers can no longer accept registrations. Thank you for your understanding.

Conference programme November 20th, 2017 (EESC, Brussels)

10h00 Welcome speech, Ms Jagoda Munic (Director of Friends of the Earth Europe), Ms Brenda King (President of the Sustainable Development Observatory of the EESC )

10h15 Keynote speech, Mr Joachim Spangenberg (Vice-President of SERI Deutschland)

10h25 Presentation of chapters, Sustainable consumption: Ms Sylvia Lorek (Chair of SERI Deutschland), Industrial strategies: Prof André Reichel (Karlshochschule International University)

10h55 Panel discussion, Moderator: Mr Dirk Holemans (Coordinator of Oikos)

Panelists: Mr Hugo-Maria Schally (Head of Unit 'Eco-innovation & Circular Economy', DG Environment, European Commission), Ms Josianne Gauthier (CIDSE Secretary General), Mr Mark Goedkoop (Founder of PRé Sustainability)

11h40 Coffee break (15 mins)

12h00 Presentation of chapters, Resource capping: Ms Klara Hajdu (Senior Policy Officer at CEEweb), Rebound effect: Mr Blake Alcott (PhD in Ecological Economics)

12h30 Panel discussion, Moderator: Mr Dirk Holemans (Coordinator of Oikos)
Panelists: Mr Philippe Lamberts (Co-Chair of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance in the EP), Ms Femke de Jong (EU Policy Director, Carbon Market Watch), Mr Patrick ten Brink (Director of Brussels Office, IEEP)

13h15 Lunch break (1.5 hour)

14h45 Presentation of the chapters, Work-time reduction: Ms Anna Coote (Head of Social Policy at the New Economics Foundation), Perspectives from the global South: Prof Manu V. Mathai (Azim Premji University, Bangalore).

15h15 Panel discussion, Moderator: Ms Deirdre De Burca (Advocacy Co-ordinator at International Forum for National NGO Platforms), Panelists: Ms Laura Sullivan (Regional Director for Europe and the Americas at ActionAid International), Mr Francois Schneider (researcher at Research&Degrowth), Dirk Bergrath (Director of the EU Liaison Office, Executive Board of IG Metall (German Metalworkers' Union) TBC

16h30 Networking reception

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The European Economic and Social Committee

Rue Belliard 99

Jacques Delors Building - room JDE62

Brussels, 1040

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