The 11th bi-annual conference of the International Society of Industrial Ecology will return to Leiden, the Netherlands, 20 years after the 1st conference in 2001. The ISIE2021 conference will be co-organised by Leiden University and Delft University of Technology, and will take place in the period 5-8 July 2021.
The theme for the ISIE2021 conference will be “Transitions”. The world is at a point now where we realize that major changes are needed in the way humanity manages natural resources and impacts the planet. Industrial ecology plays a key role in identifying the directions to go.
One major transition is already on its way: the energy transition. Over the past years, industrial ecologists have produced significant insights into alternative energy systems, their benefits for greenhouse gas emissions, and their material requirements. We are beginning to see the contours of a new energy system, and start realizing what changes need to be made. Nevertheless, this transition is far from complete and industrial ecology research will be needed in the future as well to mark the way forward in this and other sectors.
Another transition key to industrial ecology is still in its earliest stages: the resource transition. Industrial ecology research has been invaluable to show that the magnitude of present-day resource use is already unsustainable, while significant growth may be expected in the next decades. Powerful drivers related to population growth, development and urbanization will bring benefits but will also increase pressure on our natural resources. We urgently need to find ways to reduce resource extraction without compromising (sustainable) development. Moving towards a circular economy may be a way out. In the coming years, we will need much insight and inspiration into this topic to further guide society in addressing the challenges related to this transition. Industrial ecology will play an important role in that process by identifying and assessing pathways towards a more sustainable resource use.
We look forward to welcome you in Leiden, to an inspirational conference that addresses major challenges of present day’s global society, and to a venue in the historical centre of our old university town.
On behalf of the organising committee
Ester van der Voet