ISDRS banner3

ISDRS Q1 Newsletter 2021

facebook twitter website email 


1. Message from the President
2. Announcements
3. Call for Papers
4. Conference Announcements
5. Sustainability news
5.1 Grapheno production at University of Caxias do Sul (UCS) – Brazil
5.2 Universities - Entrepreneurial and Sustainable. Best of Both Worlds?
5.3 The unfortunate socio-environmental problems in today’s generation

1. Message from the President

Most parts of the world are now entering their second year under the strongholds of the Covid-19 pandemic. While some nations are well under way to “getting the vaccines into bodies”, as some health experts enthusiastically state in media, it remains clear that many other nations do not have access to vaccines at all. Injustice is reproducing itself throughout the world, and as scholars and as a community, we can contribute to undo injustice.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Environment Assembly had its meeting at the end of February 2021 (UNEA 5.1) restating their central theme to strengthening actions for nature to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Terms like Ecocide echo what Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme proposed at the 1972 United Nations Environment Program conference in Stockholm when voicing the following during his 15+ minutes speech:

“It is above all of decisive importance, that the declaration [Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment 1972] establishes the principle that all countries must accept the responsibility to ensure that their activities do not cause damage to the environment of others. This is an expression of a deepening understanding of the need for international cooperation and solidarity.” (starting at 6:05 into the video)

”The immense destruction brought about by indiscriminate bombing, by large scale use of bulldozers and herbicides is an outrage sometimes described as ecocide, which requires urgent international attention. It is shocking that only preliminary discussions of this matter have been possible so far in the United Nations and at the conferences of the International Committee of the Red Cross, where it has been taken up by my country and others. We fear that the active use of these methods is coupled by a passive resistance to discuss them”. (starting at 8.16 into the video)

Accessed on March 23, 2021: Available here

The seminal vision of Prime Minister Palme was to construct an international regulatory system to set limits to our large-scale destruction of nature, set limits to the human impact on the climate, set limits to how one generation can use natural resources and take from the next. EndEcocide Sweden is just one example of the many international NGOs working to achieve some of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In our own realm of the ISDRS community, and for the next two ISDRS conferences in 2021 and 2022, you and I will together walk in the legacy of Olof Palme and the first international United Nation environment conference, held in Stockholm June 5-16, 1972. At this year’s online-only conference, ISDRS 2021, the track that has attracted the largest number of international abstracts is 9d Legal aspects of sustainable development; clearly linked to the legal aspects of ecocide. At ISDRS 2022, ISDRS is inviting you to Stockholm, just days after the United Nations high-level meeting colloquially called “Stockholm + 50”, on the conference topic of “Sustainable Development and Courage. Culture, Art and Human Rights” (Click here for the website for the hosting university consortium)

I welcome you to join the vibrant ISDRS community, join our next ISDRS conference on July 13-15, 2021, or join the second seminar on April 13, 2021, between 9am – 12 am Stockholm time, in a series of seminars and workshops also held on May 19 (13-16 hrs) and June 11 (9-12 hrs) leading up to the ISDRS 2022 conference on June 15-17, 2022. The official conference call will be published in September 2021, but for current events of the ISDRS 2022 crew, please drop in here.

Peter Dobers
ISDRS President
March 2021 in Stockholm

isdrs top bar 50 800

2. Announcements

ISDRS 2021 Conference update

Banner_Web_1024x175 (1)

Mid Sweden University will host the 27th ISDRS virtual research conference. Conference special topic: Accelerating the progress towards the 2030 SDGs in times of crisis. The conference will bring together more than 500 researchers in the field of sustainable development. The conference has 420 submissions of abstracts, 10 special themes with a total of 32 tracks. Read more about tracks and themes.

The virtual conference starts with online PhD workshops on July 12, 2021 and online conference on July 13-15 2021. Read more about the PhD workshop.

Specially invited keynote speakers include:
  • Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Sachs is a University Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He is President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development.
  • Professor Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director, European Environmental Agency - EEA.
  • Marcos Regis da Silva, Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI).
  • Åsa Persson, Research Director and Deputy Director at the Stockholm Environment Institute, (SEI).
2. Keynotes_ISDRS_2021
Registration for the conference is open and early bird fee is available until April 30, 2021. To register on the website, click 'register' below.

ISDRS Best Sustainable Development Article Award 2020

We are happy to announce that the shortlist is now available to view for the ISDRS Best Article Award 2020, to view the shortlist please click on the button below. Once you have read all four articles please continue to the voting page and cast your vote.

Thank you to the ISDRS 2020 jury for all of your hard work over the last few months.

Congratulations to the authors of the shortlisted articles. Good luck!

Marlen Arnold, Jury chair

New Professional Group - Update

Congratulations to Saurabh Biswas and Sara Persson for becoming the group leaders of the ISDRS New Professionals Group.

Saurabh gained his PhD in 2020 and now specialises in Energy-Poverty nexus, Sustainable energy solutions and community development.

Sara also gained her PhD in 2020 and now works as a researcher in Business studies at Södertörn University.

Congratulations to you both, and welcome to the ISDRS team!

Book published

Energy Efficiency in School Buildings: The Need for a Tailor-Made Business Model, by Prof. Dr. D. Franco (UHasselt/PXL)

The conditioning (HVAC) of buildings consumes a huge amount of energy and since fossil fuels are often used, it is also the cause of a lot of GHG emissions.

Energy reduction and flexibility are certainly necessary together with the switch to sustainable and renewable energy.
Another option is energy reduction. Lately this has been done more and more by executing a MEPC. Pooling of buildings can yield an enormous. Education buildings lend themselves perfectly to this as many m2 and volumes that are managed "together".

In this case, we highlight the possibility of applying a MEPC to the buildings portfolio of University College PXL and the Sint-Niklaas school association.

The PXL technology campus (a living lab) was taken as a pilot for the PXL. During the analysis, it soon became apparent that the energy reduction is significant, but other aspects such as co-creation, waste treatment, water-use, circularity, …. were also important. Therefore, it was decided to start up its new version of a MEPC with the Flemish Energy Company.

Due to the complex structure of the 54 schools in Sint-Niklaas and the own culture within each school board, it was also impossible to apply a copy-paste principle of an EPC and roll out an identical process in each school. Anyhow this study was the catalyst for energy savings projects in all schools taking part in this association.

In the end, energy efficiency (EE) projects have been carried out in both cases, but the study shows that (which was the intention because of the pooling of the buildings) to arrive at a standardized procedure just does not work in these school buildings and a tailor-made business model is needed.
Energy and Buildings
The full study with the potential of EE and the payback time can be found:
Franco D.V.H.K., Macke J., Schepers M., Segers JP., Maes M., Cruyplandt E. (2021) Energy Efficiency in School Buildings: The Need for a Tailor-Made Business Model. In: Littlewood J., Howlett R.J., Jain L.C. (eds) Sustainability in Energy and Buildings 2020. Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies, vol 203. Springer, Singapore.

Job, PhD and Masters opportunities

The Faculty of Business Economics of Hasselt University, Belgium seeks PhD student: The role of life cycle sustainability evaluation in sustainable public procurement. Click on link button below for more information. Deadline 31st March.
isdrs top bar 50 800

3. Call for papers

Screen Shot 2021-03-25 at 14.01.25

Sustainable Development invites contributions for a special issue on “Sustainability in Transforming Societies

Co‐Editors of this Special Issue: Prof Dr Gyula Zilahy, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary Prof Dr Peter Dobers, Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract submissions due: 30 March, 2021 (deadline extended to 15th April for ISDRS Newsletter readers).

Manuscripts due: 31 May, 2021


Dear colleagues,

On behalf of the editorial team, I invite you to submit manuscripts to Sustainability, Special issue – Exploring relationships between digitalization and sustainability.

We posit that the research domain outlined above is inherently multi- or interdisciplinary. We therefore invite manuscripts from a broad range of disciplines including but not limited to information systems, sociology, anthropology, political science, public administration, and urban planning.

The Special Issue seeks to contribute to an improved theoretical understanding of the relationship between digitalization and sustainability. We invite both conceptual and empirical papers that may provide new insights in the form of frameworks, theory development, and practical examples of the mentioned relationship.

The detailed schedule is as following:
  • Abstract (maximum 500 words) submission March 26, 2021
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: April 16, 2021
  • Full manuscript deadline: September 10, 2021
Please note that an online author workshop will be hosted on Thursday April 22 at 3-5pm (CET). All authors of accepted abstracts will be invited.

The call for papers can be accessed by clicking on the image below.

We look forward to receiving your manuscripts.

Kind regards
Prof. Leif Skiftenes Flak
Prof. Devinder Thapa
Prof. Alexander Ruser
Dr. Vito Laterza
Guest Editors
Sust 32021

ERSCP 2021 Graz

The 20th “European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production” (ERSCP) will be organized from 8 to 10 September 2021 in Graz/Austria with the motto “Production, Consumption and Resilience in a +1.5oC World”. Abstracts, papers and posters are welcome for the topics “Consumption in a sustainable society”, “Production in a sustainable society”, “Resilient cities and their infrastructures as pioneers of change” and “Cross-sectional topics”.

Furthermore, contributions are welcome for some thematic sessions - such as “New trends in Circular Economy”, “Circular design” or “Regional SCP through life cycle management” - and for the PhD Day, which is scheduled for 7 September 2021. Deadline for submissions is 26 April 2021. More information is available here.

Special Issue "Biocultural Diversity and Nature Conservation"

Dear Colleagues,
The aim of this Special Issue on “Biocultural Diversity and Nature Conservation” is to stimulate learning and debate on the role of biocultural and conservation approaches in understanding the relationship between local cultures and natural environments. The main scope of this Special Issue is to capture new insights through contributions related to biocultural diversity and nature conservation from cross-sectoral fields of social–ecological systems for the development of new ideas, knowledge, approaches, policies, and learning on sustainability science.

Special issue editors:
Dr. Ranjay K. Singh and Prof. Dr. Volker Mauerhofer


Special Issue "Building Back Better Tourism in Times of Pandemics and Climate Change for the Sustainable Development Goals"

Dear Colleagues,
We would like to cordially invite you to contribute an article to the Special Issue entitled “Building Back Better Tourism in Times of Pandemics and Climate Change for the Sustainable Development Goals”, launched by the open access journal Sustainability (EISSN 2071-1050, published by MDPI, IF 2.576), in section “Climate Change”.
Tourism plays a pivotal role in accelerating the global pathway toward the achievement of the objectives in the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. For a prompt, responsible recovery of the tourism sector after the COVID-19 pandemic, a global commitment is needed in order to mainstream better practices to support sustainable tourism as a driving force for the restart that will be respectful of the environment and people.
The scope of the Special Issue is to provide a suite of solutions to address the trade-offs between socio-economic benefits tied to tourism systems, and their impacts on climate and ecosystems. This Special Issue also aims to analyze local development policies and business strategies to support sustainable tourism, giving a voice to both businesses and local authorities. Research dealing the issue of sustainability in the tourism development of territories, tourism business management, tourism market analysis, and traveler behavior is also welcome.
Contributions of original, cutting-edge, multidiscipline research, showcasing either the methodology development or findings of environmental assessments, or feasibility studies in support of transformative changes are expected.

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Guest Editors:
Prof. Dr. Camillo De Camillis
Prof. Dr. Anna Mazzi

Life Cycle-based Assessment Methods for Circular Economy Strategies in the Agri-food Sector

Special Issue Scope Circular Economy (CE) strategies have become of relevant interest in the public and business agendas, with the aim of overcoming the current take-make-waste model focused on linear systems (Korhonen et al. 2018). According to Bocken et al. (2016), the core of the CE concept refers to three strategies: closing loops (recycling), narrowing loops (increasing resource efficiency) and slowing loops (extending product life). Among the scientific international literature, different studies have so far proposed and evaluated the implementation of CE strategies at different levels (macro, meso and micro), focusing on products, companies, networks between industries, cities, and nations (Ghisellini et al. 2016). Despite this, the measurement of CE related impacts and the necessity of developing and applying dedicated CE indicators, or adapting existing tools and methods, as well as the evaluation of sustainability implications, are still contested issues (Elia et al. 2017; Sassanelli et al. 2019; Blum et al. 2020). At the same time, there is no unified definition on what the CE concept means (Kirchherr et al. 2017).
isdrs top bar 50 800

4. Conference announcements

isdrs top bar 50 800

5. Sustainability news

5.1 Grapheno production at University of Caxias do Sul (UCS) – Brazil

Written by Diego Piazza – University of Caxias do Sul

UCSGRAPHENE is a business unit of the Science and Technology Park of University of Caxias do Sul - south of Brazil. The unit was inaugurated in April 2020 to attend regional and national demands for research and development on graphene thematic.
The unit gathers the expertise of more than 16 years of experience in advanced research in nanotechnology associated with composites, nanocomposites and multicomponent materials, allowing the production of graphene and high-quality derivate in a range of technological innovation.
The unit conduces PD&I projects, and concomitant has a pilot plant for the production of graphene, that reaches 5 tons / year.
UCSGRAPHENE is considered a green plant, since all the inputs used are biodegraded, and the by-products of the process are re-supplied / reincorporated in the productive chain. Also, the main raw material of graphene is graphite, abundant material in national territory, of mineral origin.
Furthermore, the production uses water from the rain, and the effluents generated, are treated according to the standards of the university.

5.2 Universities - Entrepreneurial and Sustainable. Best of Both Worlds?

As universities seek to become both entrepreneurial and sustainable, they will redefine their role as smart actors in entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Written by Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Segers

isdrs top bar 50 800

5.3 The unfortunate socio-environmental problems in today’s generation

By: Mark Gabriel Wagan Aguilar, MHMT, MBA
School Director, ABE International Business College - Fairview Campus, Philippines

“Environmental problems are social problems anyway. They begin with people as the cause and end with people as the victims” - Edmund Hillary

I am sharing the results of the study I conducted three years ago and published during the first quarter of this year in International Research Journal of Environmental Sciences. The study focused on environmental problems as social problems since it has been proven than it is man’s actions causing all this chaos. The title of the research is “Attitude versus practices of the local community of Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines toward ecotourism”, and it aimed to specifically determine if the perspective of people towards green practices and other environmental conservation efforts are consistent with their daily practices, eventually leading to knowing the real problem behind environmental problems.

Los Baños, Laguna is considered as the Special Science and Nature City of the Philippines, establishing an assumption that among all places in the country, this community should have the highest appreciation of nature, hence should record the highest percentage of awareness towards environmental conservation efforts. Unfortunately, this is not what I discovered when I finished writing the study. Though results show that awareness towards ecotourism is evident as people were able to identify the correct terms to describe ecotourism and they were able to determine the cause and effects of environmental issues, it has been proven that the attitude of people towards ecotourism is inconsistent with their practices; despite having the right attitude, people contribute to environmental issues with their actions. In figure 3 for example, when people where asked about their perspective towards various kinds of pollution, a very high percentage of people were recorded as believing that these are serious problems, however when these same people were asked about their practices, 63.97% - 90.34% admitted that they have done things in the past weeks that might have contributed to these problems.

It saddens me to learn about this. We, people undeniably are benefiting from nature, but instead of taking care of it, we have become its problem.

To read more about the study, you may visit this link:
isdrs top bar 50 800


This newsletter is presented by the International Sustainable Development Research Society on a regular basis to all registered Followers and members. If you want to receive this newsletter, please register here.
Contributions to the newsletter and announcements of relevant activities are welcomed.

Please send any contribution to the co-editors:

Janaina Macke, Olawale Olayide and Marlen Arnold

Followers and members are invited to share innovative, creative and critical ideas about about the further enhancement of sustainable development in a short essay form. This would have a size of between 500-2000 words, follow the general rules of academic publishing (proper references etc.), but it would fill the gap between journal/conference abstracts and official journal publications.

Please provide submissions in a word document and not PDF format, any images must be submitted as a media file (.jpeg, .png or similar).

Disclaimer; the ISDRS is not responsible for any content displayed on the websites that are hyperlinked in this newsletter.

Get more involved with ISDRS

ISDRS maintains several topic groups closely related to the UN SDG's with the goal of organising the annual call for papers preceding each conference. These working groups focus on different areas of sustainable development corresponding to each theme.
isdrs top bar 50 800