4 November 2015, Brussels – The Innovation for Sustainable Development Network (inno4SD.net) has held its first symposium event, bringing together project partners and international stakeholders to discuss global conceptions of eco-innovation and the green-economy, and their links with sustainable development.
inno4SD.net aims to become a global ‘network of networks’, fit to address challenges related to how innovation can overcome sustainability challenges. Attendees from as far afield as Brazil, South Africa, China and Canada gathered for the symposium, which included representatives of international bodies, universities, and existing networks, amongst others.
The symposium discussed current barriers to policy uptake and diffusion in the area of eco-innovation. Alan Brent, from Stellenbosch University, South Africa, explained that different regional conceptions of terms such as ‘eco-innovation’ and ‘green economy’ are making policy-transfer more difficult. Policy-makers also lack awareness, according to Frank Geels, from the University of Manchester, and still view eco-innovation as an incomprehensible ‘black box’, often resulting in ineffective interventions.
By co-ordinating the activities of leading researchers, inno4SD.net will attempt to overcome these challenges. “Though concepts of innovation vary from region to region, we can learn from each other to self-accelerate eco-innovation,” explained co-ordinator Emile Elewaut. The network will review and consolidate terms related to sustainable development, green economy and eco-innovation, to enable better mutual understanding. Stakeholders will also assess the performance of current policies around the world to identify the most effective approaches. This will be incorporated into an evidence based compendium of successful strategies.