The Research Institute for Sustainability Science and Technology of the the Universitat Politècnica the Catalunya hold the 19th European Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption – ERSCP 2019 in Barcelona from the 15th to the 18th October 2019. More than 300 delegates – from 34 countries, 5 continents – have participated to the event, including academics and researchers, entrepreneurs, policy makers and students. Paper presentations and other activities such as keynotes’ lectures, workshops, discussions sessions, and thematic panels have been organised around the main conference tracks: Circular Economy, Sustainable Consumption, Sustainable Industry & Business and Sustainability Education.
The 19th ERSCP encouraged event sustainability among its participants and took action to organise a sustainable conference through diverse initiatives, such as proposing a voluntary CO2 compensation programme, promoting a zero-waste conference event, and fostering specific sustainable consumption practices (such as offering vegetarian catering services elaborated with local and organic food.
Different parallel events took place during the event, such as the ‘European Network for Research, Good practice and Innovation fur Sustainable Energy – ENERGISE’; a session on Sustainable Consumption and Care held by the ‘Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative – SCORAI Europe’; and the Circular Design Conference.
Specifically, the Circular Design Conference was based on the results of the Erasmus+ project ‘Learning for Innovative Design for Sustainability’, aimed at enhancing the creation and consumption of sustainable products and services, aligned with European Circular Economy policies through design. The event brought together international academic scientists, policy makers, young researchers, enterprises, designers and students, who discussed Circular Design project results, shared their experience and best practices and evaluated emerging trends and policies in Design for Sustainability. A workshop based on the results of another Erasmus+ initiative related to design, namely the Knowledge Alliance on Product-Service Development towards Circular Economy and Sustainability in Higher Education (KATCH-e), was also organised during the event.
The Circular Design Conference also promoted the creation of a sustainable European network on Circular Design. The aim of this network is to ensure that universities, enterprises and all professionals of the design sector could benefit from important key aspects for the development of innovative design for sustainability, such as: continued networking and collaboration for the exchange of good practices; the creation of business opportunities; innovative products and projects; and the promotion of policy actions.
Conclusions highlight that Innovative Design for Sustainability plays a crucial role in determining the environmental performance of products throughout their life-cycles, and in making products suitable for Circular Economy. Despite the progress made in recent years, the magnitude of many societal and environmental challenges require more efforts to ensure designers are equipped with sustainable design expertise and techniques, as well as news ways of satisfying customers and co-created solutions with all stakeholders.