Sustainability has become an increasingly important attribute of economic activities describing methods of production, but also qualities of consumption and attributes of capital investment.
In part, this reflects popular concern with environmental preservation, but it may also reflect changes in tastes among consumers and investors.
“Sustainability” may also be a marketing device which can be employed successfully by large corporations and small businesses alike.
Maastricht University’s Studium Generale is offering a series of five separate lectures on sustainability:
1. Innovation for Sustainable Development(Kemp / 19 Sept)
The following issues will be addressed:
– Sustainable development as a conservation strategy, a modernisation strategy and a moderation strategy
– Does sustainable development require fundamental changes in systems of productions and consumption (transitions)?
– What are the possibilities for managing sustainability transitions? How to make sure that such attempts are not misguided or futile?
2. Responsible Investing (Bauer / 26 Sept)
This lecture will define and discuss the phenomenon of responsible investing. Many institutional investors have created financial products in which they integrate non-financial information into the investment decision making process. Bauer will show how this behavior might effect the pricing of securities on financial markets. He will also discuss the various ways that investors can engage the companies they invest in, e.g. private talks or the filing of shareholder proposals.
3. Sustainable Property, Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in the Real Estate Sector(Eichholtz / 3 Oct)
4. Sustainable Development from a Humanistic Perspective, the relation between needs and novelty (Van Lente / 10 Oct)
The celebrated definition of ‘sustainable development’ has been provided by the 1987 report Our Common Future: “a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Since then, most efforts of sustainable development have been geared towards the efficient use and just distribution of resources. The ‘needs’, however, have been less studied, in particular how needs change. According to the old wisdom, need is the mother of invention. When an innovation is successful, the argument goes, there must have been a need for this, albeit ‘latent’. On the other hand, history suggests that technological change will incite new needs. This raises the intriguing question how novelty and needs are co-produced. When needs are not pre-given, but dependent upon socio-technical configurations, and, in fact, both cause and effect of innovation, a range of philosophical, sociological and design questions come to the fore.
In this lecture Van Lente will address the central question by following two lines. First, the various uses of the concept of ‘need’ in technical change are studied and categorized. Here he explores various strands of innovation literature as well as technology and cultural critics. Central here are discussions on the distinctions between ‘basic needs’ and ‘non-basic needs’, and on the distinction between needs and wants. A recurrent theme is whether and how what is conceived of as needs depends on the historical period and the locality. Second, a reconstruction is made of how needs are part of the co-evolutionary process of technical change. Examples are used from developments in water supply (around 1800), photography (around 1900) and internet (around 2000).
5. Sustainable Banking, sustainable necessity and success in international finance (Bos / 17 Oct)
On speculation with food, the rising food prices and the relationship to sustainable banking.
Speakers: Prof. René Kemp, Prof. Harro van Lente, Prof. Rob Bauer, Prof. Piet Eichholtz and Prof. Jaap Bos, Maastricht University
Registration: You must register for the lecture series. Payment can be done after registration. Those who register for a whole series have priority to those who want to come to the seperate lectures. Those who register for the whole series and pay in time, get a 20% discount.
More information and registration: email@example.com
Price: UM-students € 2,50 per lecture / others € 12,50 per lecture (50% discount for UM-alumni and UM-employees or students from other schools).
Location: Karl Dittrichzaal, Student Services Center, Bonnefantenstraat 2
Source: Studium Generale Maastricht
Would you like to review one or more of these lectures for Talkin’Business? Please contact the editor for more information.
NB. The lectures would be free of charge for reviewers.