ISDRS NEWSLETTER, Volume 2016, Issue 2

Editors: Olawale Olayide, Volker Mauerhofer and Pontus Cerin.

Dear reader,

We hereby like to bring you the latest information about recent activities and news about our Society and direct your attention to interesting developments and up-coming events.



Message from the President
ISDRS 2015 Overview
Lisbon Conference Update
Member's Essay
Upcoming Events
General Announcements
Thematic Working Group Updates


Message from the President


We welcome you to this second issue in 2016, shortly before our 22nd annual conference. The editorial team has been active bringing various viewpoints together. In this issue we also present a short review of the Society’s activities, as preparation of the annual member’s meeting during the conference. 

One of the core ambitions of the ISDRS can be described in one word: connecting. It is reflected in the central theme of this year’s conference, so successfully organised by our Portuguese friends. They do succeed in connecting the Old and the New World, in building a bridge over the Atlantic, with the additional special Portuguese spoken seminar focussing on Latin America. The presence of over 400 researchers in Lisbon working worldwide is another example of connecting. The ISDRS also connects to a growing number of research groups and to related global associations working in the same field. In 2016 ten university groups signed up as institutional members, seeing to potentials of connecting to our growing network. A challenging example of partnering is our new partnership with the World Community of Students in Sustainable Development (WSCSD), for which we ask your special attention. To those of you amongst our members who are working with students (at any level), we suggest to stimulate your students and their own organisations to link up to both the ISDRS (free as follower) and the WSCSD. See more information later in this issue.




Possibility to nominate for Board Membership 2016

If you have been an ISDRS Green Member for two consecutive years, you are entitled to nominate yourself for becoming an ISDRS Board Member. If you want to do so, please contact as soon as possible. 


Reminder to our Members:
to ensure you get all your benefits

The ISDRS would like to remind its members to benefit from their various privileges.
    -First of all, an important condition for Green (+) Members to really enjoy access to the four Wiley journals (see is a filled out and complete address in your personal account on the ISDRS website.

    -Also, both subscribers as Green (+) Members have the privilege to join the ISDRS LinkedIn group as long as they send a LinkedIn request andan email to with their ISDRS username.

    -The last reminder, and arguably the most salient at this point in time, concerns the significant discount Green (+) Members receive on purchasing a ticket for the 2016 ISDRS Conference in Lisbon. Your discount code can be found after logging in to your personal account on the ISDRS website.

For any further questions, please check the website ( or feel free to contact the ISDRS directly by emailing


Newly established partnership with the World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSCSD)

The ISDRS is delighted to announce the establishment of a highly promising partnership with the World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSCSD), notably the first collaboration with sustainability students.

The WSCSD is an international multi-disciplinary organisation of university students and young professional who aim for achieving sustainability through collaboration - just like the ISDRS. The WSCSD undertakes a large array of initiatives to accomplish its goals, collaborating with the ISDRS is one of those.


ISDRS 2015 Overview


Vice President’s Report

Pauline Deutz, Dept of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, University of Hull, UK

The main role of the Vice President is to advise potential conference hosts on what is involved in hosting and how to prepare a bid to the Board. On-going advice and support is provided as the selected hosts as they prepare for their conference.

Tomás Ramos and his co-Chairs are thanked for the fantastic efforts towards the upcoming conference in Lisbon, which promises to be a fabulous event.

In 2017 the conference will be in South America for the first time. Eduardo Wills Herres and his team are hosting the conference at the Universidad de los Andes, Bogatá, Colombia. The formal announcement of the conference for 2017 will be made at this year’s event in Lisbon. I have already had an opportunity to visit this exciting location, which will make a great venue for our conference. Over the summer, track chairs will be invited for to prepare calls or papers for next year. 

We are already looking towards the 2018 conference. According to our policy, the 2018 conference will be in Europe. Two Universities are preparing bids to host in 2018; these will be decided on by the Board. For 2019 we will be looking for a host outside of Europe. 


Secretary's Report

In early 2016, a Board Election resulted in the re-election of Rupert Baumgartner as Secretary, Pauline Deutz as Vice-President and Walter Vermeulen as President - with the biggest majority possible. They have effectively been re-elected for the period until mid-2018. 

As mentioned earlier, there's a possibility for Green Members who have been member for two consecutive years to nominate themselves for Board Membership. 

Concerning the member's base, the ISDRS has been growing rapidly over the year 2015-2016, as opposed to a disappointing 2014-2015. In sum, the amount of followers went up with 30% since last year, the number of Green Members increased from 27 to 119 (+340%) and the Green + Members lost 10% of its totality.

Due to efforts in 2015, the beginning of 2016 was marked by the welcoming of nine Institutional Members, and one partnership with the WSCSD. 


Communication's Report

The previous year has been marked by the introduction of a quarterly ISDRS Newsletter, of which this is the third in succession. The number of opened and read newsletters increased significantly from the first to the second newsletter. 

Since the start of the recording is August 2015, the ISDRS website has seen almost 90.000 visits.  The LinkedIn Group increased slightly in size to roughly 2100 connections. 

Furthermore, increasing effort is put into the revitalization of the ISDRS Facebook and the same goes for the ISDRS Twitter. Social Media is sought to increasingly be a dynamic part of the ISDRS' aim to connect people and distribute knowledge. 


Treasurer's Report

The ISDRS has been able to generate more income than last year - by having more Green Members and through institutional memberships. It can be safely assumed that the ISDRS' financial position is  sound and solid so as to ensure the sustainability of the society itself in the foreseeable future. 


Lisbon Conference Updates


Possibility to display working groups outputs

There will be an opportunity in Lisbon to display outputs from ISDRS working groups. Len Blom, the Assistant to the ISDRS Board, will be attending the conference and hosting a display stand. The latter will promote ISDRS and membership, as part of which it would great to showcase activity from the working groups. 

So if you have produced, or contributed to, a journal special issue, or book connected to ISDRS activity, this would be a good chance to display them to the 350+ delegates. Equally if you are calling for contributions to future work, please print out the call for papers and bring a few copies along. Please would you let me and Len know if you will be bringing some materials? (or if you can’t come for any reason, it may be possible to post or email him something to take on your behalf:


Search for Papers for “The Routledge Handbook of Sustainability Indicators and Indices

Editors: Professors Simon Bell and Stephen Morse  

At the ISDRS conference in Lisbon in July - Simon and Stephen will be looking for one or two promising academic papers from early career academics and researchers to include in the book. This represents a tremendous opportunity to share pages with some of the leading lights of the SI&I discourse. 

Sustainability Indicators and Indices (SI&Is or “SI2") have been with us for many years and their integration into the sustainable development narrative is now well established. The numerous books and articles written on SI2 witness the popularity and topicality of the field and yet very few resources exist which tell the full story of the SI2 phenomena nor is the conflictual and contested story of SI2 development, assessment and use widely understood. The latter is especially under-reported. While we do have a plethora of SI2 that cover just about every facet of sustainable development the existing literature tends to focus almost exclusively on more technical assessments of their creation and application within a research context. Exploration of the use of SI2 within the policy and management domains – to help with the achievement of sustainable development – is still very much in its infancy.
The objective of this handbook is to provide researchers and more general readers world-wide with an oversight of the field of SI2 as applied in the wide variety of fields embraced by sustainable development. The handbook is intended to be provocative as well as being informative. In editing this book we have sought to include views from the centre ground of SI&I development but also divergent views which represent some of the diverse, challenging and even edgy observations which are prominent in the wider field of environmental indicator thinking. This exciting publishing event is scheduled to come to fruition at the end of 2017. 
Authors involved in the Handbook include: 

Peter Bartelmus; Tom Bauler; Paul-Marie Boulanger; Giangiacomo Bravo; Louis Cassar and Liz Conrad; Mercio Cerbaro; Jonathan Chenowth; Ian Christie; Robert Costanza; Arthur Lyon Dahl; Daniel C. Esty; Evan Fraser; Gilberto C. Gallopín; Tomáš Hák; Adnan A Hezri; Angel Hsu; Roefie Hueting; Jochen Jesinghaus; Laszlo Pinter and Dora Almassy; Tomas Ramos and Ana Rita Domingues; Lucas Reijnders; Ulla Rosenstrom; Yvonne Rydin and Simon Joss; Joachim Spangenberg; Jeffrey Sayer; Catalina Turcu; Farooq Ullah; Walter Vermeulen; Mathis Wackernagel 


Upcoming Events


Law and Institutions as Central Foci in the De-Growth Debate

Event type: Academic Special Session. Theme: New forms of democracy and new institutions

Date: September 2, 2016

While degrowth debates have been centered (1) on ways to abandon GDP and productivity as drivers of a throughput economy, (2 ) on acknowledging that some very important attributes of a just society are not captured in markets, and (3) on ways to address wealth and income inequality, changing and challenging the economic paradigm has dominated the debate. This session argues that law and legal institutions, reflecting and implementing values of justice and fairness – such as the precautionary principle, Rawlsian justice, and distributive justice -- have been held hostage to economic thinking to the detriment of needed transformations. New forms of democracy and new institutions that are not subject to economic rationalism must emerge if we are to succeed in implementing a new social contract.  

Organizers and speakers:

Nicholas A. Ashford, MIT Technology and Law Program

Volker Mauerhofer University of Vienna, Austria and PRIMAFF - Policy Research Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, Japan

Joachim H. Spangenberg - Animal Ecology and Socio-Ecological Research Group, Department Community Ecology, UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research


The 7th edition of the Ibadan Sustainable Development Summit (ISDS)

The 7th edition of the Africa node of the Sustainable Development Conference tagged annual Ibadan Sustainable Development Summit (ISDS) will hold during 21-26 August, 2016 at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. The theme of the summit is Making the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Work for People in Africa.

The keynote speakers are: Amina J. Mohammed, Honorable Minister of Environment, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Walter J.V. Vermeulen, President, International Sustainable Development Research Society. 

For more details, please contact Dr Olawale Olayide, Secretary, Organising Committee via,, +2348035973449. Or visit


General Announcements


Post-doctoral fellowships

The Technology & Society Department at Stony Brook University invites applicants to apply for post-doctoral research fellowships in energy-environmental systems transitions, and/or science, technology and innovation policy. This is a 1 year appointment in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

These fellowships are part of programmatic thrusts that center on resilience, safety, security, and industrial development. Particular topics of investigation will include socio-technical factors that influence diffusion and learning amidst disruptive change, and inter-dependencies of critical infrastructure. 

Required Qualifications: 

PhD or foreign equivalent degree in hand by October 15, 2016. 

Preferred Qualifications: 
PhD in Energy and Environmental Systems; Science, Technology and Innovation Policy in hand by October 15, 2016. 

For more information and to apply, see


Thematic Working Group Update


Track 5e - Industrial Ecology and the Circular Economy

Developments in the Circular Economy

The building of the Circular Economy has been made a policy priority in China and the European Union, with related ideas in vogue elsewhere and enjoying the support of at least some prominent global brands.   A Circular Economy, in which resources are maintained in productive use for as long as possible, involves not just re-use and recycling, but also a whole range of activities to prevent loss of resources from any point in the web of activities comprising production and consumption.  These are not of course novel ideas, having been promoted and studied by the industrial ecology community amongst others for some decades.  However, as these ideas take root in policy circles in an unprecedented way, critical judgement of what is required and its wider social and economic implications must be maintained.  Part of that judgement should be related to the specificities of places, alongside recognition of the interdependences of places, topics which Geographers have long debated.  I was pleased to have an opportunity to put the Geography perspective in a keynote address to the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE) Americas conference at the Universidad de las Andes Bogotá, Colombia 25-26 May – generating some lively debate.   In exchange, we look forward to input from individuals at ISIE in this track at the ISDRS conference next year.

Dr. Pauline Deutz, University of Hull


Track 5f - Sustainable Supply Chains and International Trade

Our working group is organising a track at the 22nd ISDRS conference in Lisbon. We do this in cooperation with Valerie Nelson (Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, UK) and Ximena Rueda (Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia). Our call for papers referred to the fast growing implementation of (mostly) private voluntary sustainability standards (like RA, MSC, FSC, ASC, Utz Certified) and of corporate strategies towards substantial or fully sustainable sourcing (examples are Unilever, DSM, Tesco, IKEA, Adidas, Nestlé, Cargill, Mars, Mondelez, Dangote, Nescafe, Nespresso, Kingfisher). In both cases these approaches aim at transforming unsustainable practices of production, trade and consumption in international supply chains towards improved environmental and social conditions (workplace and community) and the creation of shared value.These new approaches have recently been termed  ‘global market transitions'. Some scholars suggest an analytical framework for understanding these transitions towards sustainable global markets, based on empirical evidence. Such frameworks illustrate this by using a S-curve, which describes various different stages of a market transformation process progressing towards sustainability. These authors explore the role of voluntary sustainability standards and other instruments at each stage of the S-Curve (see for example Molenaar et al., 2013; van Oorschot et al. 2013). It is essential to analyze to what extend we can find evidence for this, and which factors are crucial for success. A key role is given to transdisciplinary collaborative approaches in engaging the key economic actors in the center of global supply chains as major leverage points, which may work well with concerted smart pressures from market, civil society and governments.

Some of the key questions are whether voluntary sustainability standards and other associated corporate responses to sustainability are suited to achieving a circular and fair global economy? Also, while it may be possible to identify thresholds for environmental services, it is not so straightforward for social goals. What are the experiences with regard to government sustainable procurement programmes; with ‘all-inclusiveness' of these supply chain governance approaches (addressing the triple-P); with successful uplifting production and trade practices of all suppliers; and with making voluntary standards addressing the major issues of unsustainability.

In Lisbon some 20 researchers from all parts of the world will share their most recent research around these question. We are also working towards a special issue in Business Strategy and the Environment based on this conference session.

Dealing with these kind of questions aggregation of the many research outputs around the world is crucial. In this respect we bring to your attention a recent review of voluntary standards addressing seafood.

The “State of Sustainability Initiatives Review: Standards and the Blue Economy”.

The SSI Review: Standards and the Blue Economy takes a deep dive look at the market and performance trends of the 9 most prevalent seafood certification schemes operating at the global level. The Review documents the distribution of certified production while underlining how and where these initiatives aspire toward the implementation of sustainable production practices in the global seafood sector.

This Review provides an important reference document for businesses, policy makers and stakeholders seeking to build more sustainable supply chains in the seafood sector. The Review is a collaborative effort of IISD, IIED and FAST. For more information on SSI visit .

Dr. Walter J.V. Vermeulen, Utrecht University, Netherlands 


Track 7e: Legal Aspects at the 22nd ISDRS Conference Lisbon

Within the track 7e we envisage a broad range of topics addressing legal aspects of sustainability at multiple scales. Accepted contributions come several continents (esp. Asia, Europe, Latin America) and the discussion during the track will hopefully bring in view points from other continents.

The goal of this track is to discuss key concepts, methods and applications of legal aspects of Sustainability and lessons learned. We will further map opportunities of and challenges for legal aspects in a sustainable development in various thematic and strategic subjects, thereby contributing to the development of these domains scientifically and practically. 

Contributors will address the challenge to appropriately define, implement and enforce the scale of the human- and non-human use of resources, the distribution of these resources to different users and their allocation to different products regarding horizontal and sectorial topics.

 The rule of law is an instrument that exclusively is available to public authorities while it interrelates with all other available instruments whether applied by public or private actors. This interrelation can led in terms of sustainability to absolute improvements durably stopping or even turning around a negative development. While in other situations just relative improvements may be achieved in the mid- or long term. Law has also sometimes limitations, e.g. due to its introduction on various geographical levels. And it has its restrictions as envisaged changes are often better addressed by other instruments or a combined approach. 

Dr. Volker Mauerhofer, University of Vienna, Austria



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Contributions to the newsletter and announcements of relevant activities are welcomed.

Please send any contribution to the editor:

Olawale Olayide, Volker Mauerhofer and Pontus Cerin.

Followers and Green(+) 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.

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