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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sustainability Student Conference in Vienna

The last days I have spent in Vienna, Austria in ELLS student conference about sustainability. I was fortunate to get a grant to go there and present my thesis on responsible sourcing.



We were also invited to go on a tour of our choice in Vienna and I chose to go to tour number 2:

Tour 2: Environmental Protection Agency + City Tour
Their aim is to communicate that human actions should be based on deep respect for nature in all of its kind. In order to sustain and restore environmental health, humanly produced damages need to be avoided. The municipal department 22 works to improve the quality of the local environment as well as the general quality of life in Vienna. The department focus lies on supporting related research and cooperating with other departments as well as interest groups.

The head of the department spoke to us about how the city of Vienna is doing to buy Eco and responsible products by also also considering social and environmental criteria through public procurement . Vienna seems to be working quite a lot with this and they also try to keep city services public as the risk of privatization is that private companies will go for the cheapest option (which is not always the best for public health and environment). Vienna also has a program that business can join and they advice the business on sustainability. You can read more on their website but unfortunately it is only in German.

I also enjoyed two of the keynote speeches during the conference by DI. Dr.Franz Fischler and Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil. Helga Kromp-Kolb. Fischler speech was "On the Road towards a Smart, Inclusive and Green Future." His last slide was about sustainable agriculture, as most students came from agricultural universities, and he highlighted how important it is that we manage to have a sustainable food production chain by for example reducing waste and closing the natural cycles.

Kromp-Kolb spoke about "Climate Change: Can Technology Solve the Problem?" The answer to Kromp-Kolb's question was not a clear yes or no, but it was pretty clear that technology can not save us alone, we need to have many solutions and most of all we need to enhance resilience so we can manage the future challenges.



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