CIRCOMOD Team Leaves a Mark at ISIE2023 Conference

Undoubtedly a pinnacle on the global scientific calendar for the CIRCOMOD team was the ISIE2023 – the 11th biennial conference of the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE), which unfolded its intellectual space in Leiden from the 2nd to the 5th of July, 2023. This gathering, which can be dubbed the quintessential convergence of integrated assessment and industrial ecology researchers from across the globe, served as a platform for the exchange of research findings.

Themed “Transitions in a World in Turmoil,” the conference spotlighted the pressing need to chart a sustainable course in our energy and resource usage practices. In the face of current environmental challenges, there’s an urgent call to reshape our energy systems to align with climate neutrality, and to forge pathways towards a more sustainable utilization of land, water, and material resources. A transition to a circular economy, coupled with equitable transformations, emerges as the beacon of hope to avert further environmental degradation.

Amid the discourse of addressing global challenges, attendees delved into the paradigm shifts required to safeguard our planet within its ecological boundaries. The conference served as a platform for dissecting solutions – spanning technological, behavioral, and organizational realms – that could steer us towards a future that remains in harmony with our environment.

The CIRCOMOD project seized this momentous occasion with a resounding presence at ISIE2023. Dr. Tomer Fishman and Prof. Ester van der Voet of Leiden University, alongside their academic compatriots, notably hosted this prestigious conference. Janez Potočnik, representing Systemiq and the UNEP International Resource Panel, delivered a keynote speech, lending insightful perspectives on the conference’s inaugural day.

Oreane Edelenbosch, the CIRCOMOD leader from Utrecht University, took the reins as a session chair and unveiled an analytical framework designed to evaluate circular actions that contribute to climate change mitigation – an endeavor crafted within the realms of the CIRCOMOD initiative. Lucas Straub of Utrecht University, in collaboration with PBL and Leiden University, presented a study titled “Adding Materials to the Climate Mitigation Picture: Material and Circular Economy Dynamics in Cost-Benefit Integrated Assessment Modeling.”

The hosts, Leiden University, had a formidable lineup of presenters, including Tomer Fishman‘s study on building material stocks and Martijn van Engelenburg‘s exploration of circular infrastructure.

The CIRCOMOD team’s contribution continued to unfold as researchers from Leiden, NTNU, CMCC, Freiburg presented their works. Meng Zhang (NTNU) showcased an in-depth analysis of Material Footprints of Machinery Capital, illustrating the intricate dynamics at play across global economies. Edgar Hertwich (NTNU) delved into aligning policy responses to rising energy prices with the overarching goal of long-term climate neutrality. Darius Corbier (CMCC) presented the CIRCular Energy Economy (CIRCEE), a stylized dynamic general equilibrium model that keeps track of physical material and waste flows/stocks and incorporates key elements of industrial ecology.

Stefan Pauliuk, a key figure from Freiburg University team, exhibited a conceptual model linking well-being and prosperity to service provision within the energy service cascade, while Johan Velez, his colleague, unveiled insights into securing decent living standards without triggering undue material demands.

The legacy of ISIE2023 resonates with Tomer Fishman and René Kleijn, the conference co-chairs, who jointly reflected, “With over 850 passionate individuals from around the world, we made waves! The conference celebrated the power of Industrial Ecology in finding science-based solutions for sustainability problems. We, scientists, need to stick together and work towards a better future in this turbulent world.”

The International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE)  promotes industrial ecology as a way of finding innovative solutions to complicated sustainability problems, and facilitates communication among scientists, engineers, policymakers, managers and advocates who are interested in better integrating sustainability concerns with economic activities.

The mission of the ISIE is to promote the use of industrial ecology in research, education, policy, community development, and industrial practices. The ISIE organises biennial conferences for its members and other interested professionals, scholars and students.

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