World Resources Forum 2015: “Boosting Resource Productivity by Adopting the Circular Economy”

St. Gallen, 29 September 2015 Intense resource consumption still accompanies economic growth in most parts of the world: UN International Resource Panel projects the annual raw material extraction rate worldwide to more than double from 60 billion tonnes in 2005 to 140 billion tonnes in 2050. Consumption of metals has already grown by over 75% in the past 30 years, while built-up areas in developing countries are projected to triple by 2030. Over 500 leaders representing businesses, governments, academia and civil society will convene at the World Resources Forum, from 11 – 14 October 2015 in Davos, Switzerland.

Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency is the biggest global challenge of environment and resource scarcity affecting today’s world. One of the highlights of the World Resources Forum 2015 will be a plenary discussion of members of the UNEP International Resource Panel (IRP) with government representatives, representatives of the European Commission as well as of the OECD. In addition, high level scientists and policy makers, including UNIDO, EC, and Club of Rome will discuss responses to the latest G7 Declaration on Resource Efficiency, and worldwide circular economy policy packages. The conference will be opened by Bruno Oberle, Director of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), representing the hosting Swiss government.

speakers2Apart from the plenary sessions, over 20 workshops, masterclasses and scientific sessions will be held on topics such as circular economy and decoupling, technological innovation, business strategy and finance, governance and resource efficiency, targets, indicators, benchmarks for resource use, sustainable design, data-driven journalism, fundraising for NGO’s, and lifestyles and education.

A new addition this year is the WRF Cinema, where documentaries and short films related to sustainable resource use will be screened. The WRF Party will include a two-hour concert of the Queen of Blues from Nigeria, Justina Lee Brown.

As in the past, WRF 2015 will be a carbon neutral conference. South Pole Carbon, a carbon offsetting provider and a partner of the WRF Association, will offset CO2 emissions caused by travel and stay of all participants that will attend the Forum in Davos. Through this compensation, World Resources Forum is able to support the community development for forests projects in the region of Northern Zimbabwe.

Political Solutions for Global Resource Efficiency

One of the highlights of World Resources Forum 2015, this plenary discussion of members of IRP with government representatives debates resource-efficiency. Janez Potočnik, former EC Commissioner for the Environment and new co-chair of the IRP is chairing this session, together with IRP chochair Ashok Khosla, founder of the Indian NGO Development Alternatives, who received the ‘Nobel Prize’ of the environment world, the Sasakawa Prize. Other speakers include high-level representatives of the European Commission and the OECD. Furthermore, Paul Ekins, Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy and Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources at University College London and Ligia Noronha, Director of UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) are significant voices in this session. UNEP launches at the conference its new IRP report on international trade in resources, with a presentation by its lead author Marina Fischer-Kowalski, professor of Institute for Social Ecology in Vienna, and founder of the International Society for Industrial Ecology.

Sustainable Lifestyles and Education

“WRF 2015 brings together international decision-makers for reaching a sustainable use of natural resources worldwide”, said Harry Lehmann, head of the division “Environmental Planning and Sustainable Strategies” of the German Federal Environment Agency. He will be one of the chairs of the plenary session on Sustainable Education and Lifestyles. Another interesting speaker taking part in this session is Captain Charles Moore, who founded the Algalita Marine Research Institute in 1994 to protect and restore the marine environment. Lewis Akenji of the Japanese Institute for Global Environmental Strategies will update the audience about progress made with the major UN 10Year Framework Program on Sustainable Consumption and Production.

speakers1Circular Economy – The Business Case

Speakers participating in this session include Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, Director Interface, Inc., global manufacturer of modular carpet and a leader in sustainable design; and Jocelyn Blériot from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Dianne has been an environmentalist and human rights activist for 30 years and was appointed by the White House to the US delegation for the Earth Summit in Rio, UNGASS-’97 & WSSD in South Africa, making her the only person to serve on all three US delegations. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works in education, business innovation and analysis to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. IKEA Switzerland will present its new forward thinking circular economy and renewable energy strategies. Club of Rome co-president and former EU Parliament Member Anders Wijkman chairs this session.

Investing in Circular Economy

With Shiva Dustdar, Head of Innovation Finance Advisory, Advisory Services Department at the European Investment Bank, the World Resources Forum will gain a professional insight into the financing aspect of resource-efficiency. She will discuss the strategies and mechanisms to invest in Circular Economy. The new IBIS project – Igniting Business Investments in Sustainable Lifestyles – will be presented. IBIS is a platform that aims to to facilitate and optimise access of innovative resource-efficient businesses in emerging economies to venture capital and impact investors worldwide. Finally, Femke Groothuis will talk about progress made with the Ex’tax project, Ex’tax brings tax on resources up and tax on labour down, thereby enabling a circular economy and sustainable prosperity.

Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy – Understanding the Concepts

As co-creator of the Ecological Footprint and President of the Global Footprint Network Mathis Wackernagel will contribute interesting thoughts and ideas to the session about Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy. CML Leiden professor Arnold Tukker talks about the ongoing project on initiating a resource efficiency index for nations, while a new project on resource efficiency index for business will be discussed as well. Laila Iskandar, former Environment Minister of Egypt, will highlight impacts of circular economy on the informal sector.

Find the full conference program here.

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