Editors: Olawale Olayide, Marlen Arnold

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.




1. Message from the President

2. Announcements 

3. News of New Appointment: From Nigeria, A Gift For Sustainability 

4. World Maps of GMOs and Organic Agriculture

5.  A Sustainable Tourism Development Advocacy

6. A Research on Philippine Ecotourism: A Synopsis

7. Packaging production from invasive species 

8. Management control mechanism that promotes Sustainable Development

 9. Calls for papers, session proposals and abstracts:

9a. Call for Chapters: Base of the Pyramid Markets in Latin America & the CaribbeanInnovation and challenges to sustainability 

9b. Call for Papers: Special Issue of Environmental Impact Assessment Review “Environmental Assessment and Industrial Ecology Tools: Exploring Integrative Approaches”

9c Managing Industry 4.0 Technologies and Their Impact on the Sustainable Performance of Territories




1. Message from the President  

It was a great pleasure to meet many of you at the conference in Nanjing in June.  Many thanks are due to Zengwei Yuan and Tianming Chen and the rest of their team for their work organising the event.  Over 140 delegates from across the world enjoyed the conference, which as usual combined the expected character of an ISDRS conference with a local flavour.  We had two days of talks, preceded by a well-attended and successful PhD student workshop, at the splendid Nanjing University conference centre. The third day was offsite in the District of Lishui, with all delegates participating in a guided tour of a park with both environmental and cultural features. The “Healthy Lishui International Summit” provided an opportunity for a panel comprising three of the keynote speakers for the conference to provide some suggestions for sustainable development of the district to the two attending deputy mayors and member of the Lishui communist party committee.  Key notes at the conference comprised Chinese and, notably, North American speakers reflecting on topics including the sustainable development goals, programme for sustainable management of household waste in San Francisco and a historical view of waste management in China.

This was our 25th anniversary conference, which gives the opportunity, and perhaps necessity, to consider on the progress of sustainability over that time.  As I reflected in my address at the conference, progress since 1995 has been decidedly mixed and very much open to interpretation.  For reasons of both tact and the plenitude of examples, I drew on the UK for illustration.  UK government data show, for example, that the reduction in the use of coal in electricity generation since the 1970s has coincided with a major expansion of aviation, as flying has become a widely affordable means of travel.  And whilst the government’s recently declared aim of a carbon neutral economy by 2050 seems a positive step, it has been variously greeted as hugely significant, under ambitious, and irrelevant given the scale of global emissions.     The policy driven rise in the use of diesel cars (in light of CO2 efficiency compared to petrol), followed by their rapid decrease in popularity (when linked to particulate emissions with serious public health implications), illustrates challenges of prioritising contradictory influences (and likely the influence of different stakeholder communities).   Such policy shifts are not without wider consequences. The drop in demand for new diesel cars has contributed to the upcoming closure of production facilities, with a predicted loss of hundreds of jobs, at a time already of increasing inequalities.  Of course there are opportunities for the manufacture and development of electronic vehicles, but no guarantee that these will follow the same logic of location as previous technologies.   In a different field, the statutory rights and legal protection now afforded to homosexuals in the UK cannot be taken as a sign of universal acceptance or tolerance, or as a guarantee that the balance of public opinion may not be reversed.   Indeed, and significantly, whilst recent legal/political events in the UK, and the responses to them, defy summary here, they are a signal that very little can be taken for granted.    

As a community of people researching, teaching, and/or implementing sustainability, we need to have in mind that our work is inextricably interwoven with the complexities of society beyond the narrow confines of our immediate concerns and experience.  Changing understandings, contradictory evidence, seemingly inexplicable responses, are precisely what we need to engage with in order to contribution to a sustainability transformation. 

‘Sustainability in transforming societies’, indeed is theme of the 2020 conference which I am delighted to announce will be in Budapest 15-17 July.  I thank the Chair, Prof Gyula Zilahy for taking on the task. You will see from his comments below that the conference promises to be a worthy successor to its previous 25. I very much look forward to continue debate, and one might hope, so signs of progress!

Best wishes,





2. Announcements 


a. Budapest, Hungary: the venue of the 26th Annual Conference of ISDRS announced 

Gyula Zilahy 

The venue of the 26th annual conference of ISDRS was announced during the final session of this year’s annual conference in Nanjing, China. The 2020 conference will be organised in Budapest, Hungary, at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics between the 15th and 17th of July, 2020. The special topic of the conference will be ’Sustainability in Transforming Societies’.  

The Budapest conference will aim at identifying the most important trends in today's societies happening either as a result or parallel to the environmental and social crises we face in both developing and developed countries. The conference will explore the sustainability implications of these large scale changes, including, but not limited to shifts in demographics and the polarization evident in many societies; the impacts of rapid technological innovation including the digitisation of the economy; the shifting centres of economic power and the spread of new business models, as well as resulting changes in lifestyles. 

traditional Ph.D. workshop will be held the day before the conference on the 14th of July, 2020 and several social programs will be organised to explore the city and its history. 

The web site of the conference is already available at, the call for abstracts will be published in October, 2019. 


b. ISDRS Board Membership Opportunities.

Would you like to take a role in the organisation of the Society?  If you are in your second consecutive year as an individual member (i.e., G+ member), you are encouraged to consider standing for election to the board when we hold the election later this year.  Overseeing the governance of ISDRS, including the selection of conference locations, the board also plays a substantial role in the conference (e.g., preparing calls for papers, chairing sessions at the conference, participation as adviser in the PhD workshop).  Board member also elect the executive committee, to which they are eligible to stand for election.  The election will take place later in the year, but if you might be interested, the conference is a great opportunity to speak to existing board members. 

Contact for more information


c. Nanjing 2019 Conference and Topic Group updates.

Please visit the website to see your Topic group news and updates from Nanjing.

 Available updates include:

1a. Assessing Sustainability

3c. Ecosystem services

4a. Predictions and Responses

5c. Circular Economy

6a. Innovation Levers

6d. Smart Transformations

9d. Law and Sustainability


Visit here to see emerging themes for 2020. 


d. Save the date, Education with Sustainability – Teaching for a Sustainable Future! 

EwS 2018 was the first in a series of international interdisciplinary conferences that will focus on the challenges facing all aspects of education, teaching for a sustainable future. The event addressed not only the challenges but also the opportunities for educators as we will have to weave the golden thread of sustainability into all aspects of the teaching curriculum. 
The EwS  conference 2018 draw together national and international educators and researchers in focused paper sessions with thought provoking keynote speakers and sessions on  Sustainability as a Pedagogical Tool, Sustainability in Higher Education and Outreach.



3. News of New Appointment: From Nigeria, A Gift For Sustainability 

By Edel-Quinn Agbaegbu, Nigeria Country Representative, VPR Process, CBD, UNEP 

From Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country come a new appointment which is bound to serve as a boost for sustainable development in the country and the wider worldEdel-Quinn Agbaegbu, renowned civil society advocate and Biodiversity campaigner from Imo State, South East of Nigeria, has been appointed to join UNEP CBD Peer review team heading for in-country visit to Uganda, in October, 2019 

Founder/Executive Director of Every Woman Hope Centre; (EWHC), a Nigeria registered Non-Governmental Organization, with strength in advocacy on gender & health, food security, biodiversity sustainability and good governance, Mrs Agbaegbu, is currently, Nigeria’s Country Representative in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Voluntary Peer Review (VPR) Process, of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) framework 

Agbaegbu’s current status and elevation generated excitement when the broke out a few weeks ago and it received good reportage by the media, especially, Verbatim Magazine, a popular medium, in its September 2019 edition.  

In the publication, Verbatim magazine quoted Mrs Agbaegbu to have said: ‘’Yes, I can confirm to you that I will be heading for an in-country visit to Uganda in October this year as part of a team to review Uganda. I have received a formal notification letter from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Environment Programme in Montreal, Canada. It will be a wonderful experience to cherish’’. 

Giving greater insight on the upcoming meeting in Uganda, Mrs Agbaegbu explained that she was selected in her capacity as Nigeria’s VPR Country Representative and that the assignment is to be undertaken by four Countries which include; Philippine, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Nigeria with a three-man support team from the UNEP CBD Secretariat, Montreal, Canada. 

She further stated that the four counties will be represented by one person each, together with the three representatives from the Secretariat of the Convention to make up the 7-man Ugandan team. ‘’The assignment is already in progress with the desk study review of the country which shall be preceded by the in-country visit hopefully in October, 2019 ’’, She said. 

The overall objective of the CBD voluntary peer review process is to help Parties (countries) to improve their individual and collective capacities to more effectively implement the Convention. The specific objective is to access the development and implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) in the context of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and produce specific recommendations for the Parties under review. It also provides opportunities for peer learning for Parties directly involved and other parties.  

Since her appointment as Nigeria’s Country Representative in April 2019, Mrs Agbaegbu has participated in some CBD activities such as the 2019 International Day for Biological Diversity in May, with the theme; ‘‘Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health” and the Open-Ended online discussion on Post-2020 Biodiversity Implementation Plan, in July 2019. 

The excitement in Nigeria which Agbaegbu’s recent elevation is generating is anchored on the realisation it has great potential of positively affecting biodiversity in the country. It is of public knowledge that biodiversity contributes to sustainability in many ways.  

Indeed, the mathematical equation of the symbiotic relationship of the two terminologies is captured in this popular dictum: higher/more biodiversity=more sustainability. Conversely, lower/less biodiversity=less sustainability.  

Edel-Quinn Agbaegbu is a Microbiology graduate, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). She also holds a post-graduate training Certificate in ''Livelihoods and Markets'' from Coady Institute, St. Francis Xavier University, AntigonishCanada and a Certificate on Strategic Communications and Legal Dimensions of Biotechnology Access” from Cornell Alliance for Science, Cornell University Ithaca, New York USA. Edel-Quinn was one of the Nigerian delegates to the ‘‘2018 United Nations ‘‘Biodiversity, Convention”, COP14 at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. She is a strong voice in biodiversity based economy for future.    


4. World Maps of GMOs and Organic Agriculture 


Dr John PaullUniversity of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia & 

Dr Benjamin Hennig, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland 


New world maps of two competing agricultures reveal striking differences in the uptake and the global distribution of certified organic agriculture and GMO (genetically modified organism) agriculture (Fig.1 & Fig.2). Organic agriculture is reported from 181 countries (69.8 million hectares). This compares GMO agriculture which is reported from 24 countries (189.8 million hectares). 

Figure 1. World map of certified organic agriculture hectares (density equalising cartogram). 

Figure 2. World map of GMO agriculture hectares (density 
equalising cartogram).

Certified organic agriculture has grown at 13.2% per annum for the past five years and organic produce attracts a price premium. This compares to GMO agriculture which has grown at 2.2% per annum for the past five years and GMO produce attracts a price penalty. 

 The world organics map reveals the achievement of Australia (with 35.6m ha) which, after decades of being the global organics leader, now accounts for the majority (51%) of the total global organics hectares. Argentina is in second place, with 3.4 million certified organic hectares, followed by China (3.0m ha), Spain (2.1 m ha), and USA (2.0m ha). These are followed by Italy (1.9m ha), Uruguay (1.9m ha), India (1.8m ha), France (1.7m ha), Germany (1.4m ha), Canada (1.2m ha), and Brazil (1.1m ha). Other countries each report less than a million hectares of certified organic agriculture hectares. The organics map reveals the great opportunities for the uptake of organics in Africa which is just a vestigial presence on the world organics map. 

 The world GMO map reveals the dominance of the GM4 countries of North and South America: USA, Canada, Brazil and Argentina. Taken together, the GM4 account for 85% of the worlds GMO agriculture hectares. USA (79.0m ha) accounts for 40% of global GMO hectares, followed by Brazil (50.2 m ha; 26%), Argentina (23.6m ha; 12%) and Canada (13.1m ha; 7%). India (GM cotton) and Pakistan (GM cotton) give Asia a presence on the GMO world map. South Africa (GM corn, soy, cotton) gives Africa a presence. Australia is just a skeletal presence on the GMO world map. 

 Just four GMO crops account for more than 99% of the global GMO hectares: GM soy (50%), GM corn (31%), GM cotton (13%) and GM canola (5%). USA leads the uptake of GMOs, growing not only the big four’ GM crops (soy, corn, cotton & canola) but also reports modest plantings of GM sugar beet, alfalfa, papaya, squash, potato, and apples. 

 In contrast to the very narrow range of organisms in GMO agriculture, organic agriculture embraces the full spectrum of food crops including fruits, vegetables, fungi, beverages, spreads, and animal products. 

 Globally, consumers remain skeptical of the merits and safety of GMO foods. Only 10% of Australian consumers agree with the proposition that GMO agriculture is safe. Resistance to GMO foods is widespread globally. In China 60% of consumers avoid GMO foods. These sentiments along with the reliance on herbicides, particularly, glyphosate, are a brake on the further uptake and diversification of GMO agriculture. In contrast, as consumers seek out organic products, the diversification of organic choices expands in the marketplace, and global demand for organic produce continues to grow. 

 Technical note:  

These maps are density equalising cartograms. For such maps, equal areas of a cartogram account for equal measures of the parameter being mapped. These maps use an algorithm of the Worldmapper project <>. 


Further reading: 

Paull, J., & Hennig, B. (2016). Atlas of Organics: Four maps of the world of organic agriculture. Journal of Organics, 3(1), 25-32. <> 

 Paull, J., & Hennig, B. (2018). Maps of Organic Agriculture in Australia. Journal of Organics, 5(1), 29-39. <> 

 Paull, J., & Hennig, B. (2019). New world map of genetically modified organism (GMO) agriculture: North and South America is 85%. Acres Australia, 101, 66-67 

 Paull, J., & Hennig, B. (2019). New world map of organic agriculture: Australia is 51%. Acres Australia,101, 28-29 





In accordance to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, the numerous environmental laws in the Philippines, and the number of issues concerning culture, heritage, and natural assets, Mr. Mark Gabriel Wagan Aguilar, a Tourism Management Educator, Practitioner, and Researcher by profession, and an ecotourism advocate by passion, has shown commitment in contributing to the conservation of culture, heritage, and nature by exerting his effort and giving his time in disseminating and teaching concepts, laws, and practices relevant to ecotourism through seminars and trainings conducted in Universities and Colleges in the Philippines.  

Ecotourism has been his primary objective since he started his journey in the Tourism Industry, but aside from it, he is also versed in Tourism Education not limited to teaching Ethics, Front Office Operations, Research, Organizational Management, Marketing, Tour Planning and facilitation, and Tourism Development Planning.  

His recent seminar was in Royal British College where he discussed Tourism Industry Career Opportunities, but the one about sustainability with emphasis on environmental conservation was in Laguna State Polytechnic University – Los Banos, Laguna, where he spoke for a total of three (3) hours before Tourism and Hospitality Management Students. He gave a heavy emphasis on sustainable development, which for him is a balance between environmental, economic, and socio – cultural aspects. Negative and positive impacts of Tourism were highlighted, which was used as a basis for the practices he inculcated to the mind and hearts of the participants.  Mr. Aguilar pointed out Laguna Bay that is the largest lake in the Philippines, which happens to be the main source of living of people residing along the shorelines, however, very much polluted, and considered nearly dead. Pushing to save Laguna Bay and other polluted areas in the country, actions should include management of inhabitants along the shoreline, regulation of business owners utilizing natural areas, and continuous education and training to everyone.  

 In the seminar, the Challenges for Sustainable Tourism Development authored by Mr. Jeremy Smith of the World Travel Market in London, United Kingdom, were also highlighted. The following are the exact words from Mr. Aguilar:  

Can Destinations deal with overcrowding and dissatisfaction among locals?  

Overtourism is very much the issue of the moment. And it is really difficult to say that we can control the flock of Tourists, especially if the demand is very high. There will always be options between conservation and profit making, unless stated in the law, and the law is strictly implemented. The best example of this, is the City of Calamba, which is assumed experiencing OvertourismThe roads cannot accommodate the number of vehicles passing by, and it seems like the number of lodging establishments are not enough, and today, it is a fact that we are not doing anything about it. So it is really a tough question, Can we really avoid overcrowding?, this is the challenge.    

 Will the Government lead the way or wait for the companies?  

I am teaching Business Ethics, and there are two types of Ethical Societies, one is called Individualistic Society, and the other one is Communitarian Society. In Individualistic Societies, the Government allows individual firms to make their own decisions about what to produce and how to do so, while in Communitarian Societies, Businesses are mandated by the Government based on the needs of the community. So, which society should be adapted? It is very easy to say Communitarian, but will the private companies allow us to do so? Given the fact that in most countries, especially here in the Philippines, the Economy is reliant on investments made by business owners. So back again to the question, Will the government lead the way or wait for the companies, and if we will wait for the companies, will the companies give in? It is really a challenge for all of us.  

 Can Tourism save wildlife?  

Wildlife refers to non-domesticated animals such as Lions, Elephants, Snakes, Tigers, Crocodiles, Birds, and the likes. We have a responsibility of saving species from extinction. But students, please understand that we don’t need to wait for a certain animal to be endangered before we act on it. Prevention is better than cure, if we can prevent it from being endangered, then we should do so. But, then again, there is a question, can we really save wildlife? We keep on developing forest to commercial zones, we are amused on clothing made from animal skin, and we keep on buying souvenirs made from animal parts. So can we really save wildlife, my dear friends, it is matter of sincerity and accountability. Please keep that in mind.  

 Can Tourism develop by promoting real life or authenticity rather than add on attractions?  

Tourism is a business. Since its introduction, it has been always coined for profit making, which contributes to economic growth. If you happen to know Business Management, you will understand that businesses are successful because they adapt to the changing demands of the customers. Now, the challenge in Tourism Sustainability is, can we develop by promoting the authentic features of a destination, we will not change anything. Can we do that, even it is not the demand of the market? Can we settle on minimal revenue, though we have an opportunity to raise the bar, by adding more activities, and more attractions? This is an Ethical Dilemma that we Tourism Management Professionals should analyze. So I think as we continue to discuss this, we realize that the challenges we are facing towards Sustainable Tourism are really serious. So, we really need to know our priorities, we really need to identify which decisions are more beneficial than the others.   

Will the Industry learn how to effectively communicate the benefits of Sustainable Tourism to consumers, and will it become a norm?  

This is really a major problem now, because based on my observations, and based on studies, whenever people talk about Environmental Conservation and Heritage Sustainability, everybody seems to show lack of interest, everybody tend to turn away their attention. This is the challenge; we need to have people listen to what is needed to be heard. We should have the government focus on this; we should have our hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, tour guides, and educators to focus on communicating the benefits of responsible tourism.  We are not just talking about the future of Tourism Businesses here; we are also talking about the future generations.  

After knowing these, I would like everybody to understand that we are here for a reason, you are learning about Tourism Development and Sustainability because of a purpose and in that purpose is where the Tourism Industry of the Country and the World relies upon. It may seem general, but let me make you understand it by providing you our detailed roles.” 

In response to these challenges, he shared his Green Initiatives to all of the participants, which was compiled from various studies and books concerning sustainable development. This undertaking for him should not stop, that is why he will still continue doing this. Sustainable Tourism Development plays a vital role in economic growth and community development; everybody should be inclined with its provisions.  



Mr. Mark Gabriel Wagan Aguilar, a Tourism Expert who has a lot of professional achievements, and currently the Tourism and Hospitality Management Programs Chairperson of South Mansfield College, in partnership with Mr. Rainiel Bryan Domasian, Research Associate of Laguna State Polytechnic University, is conducting a study on Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices towards Ecotourism in a first class municipality in the Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna. Los Baños is known as the “Special Science and Nature City of the Philippines” through Presidential Proclamation No. 349 in recognition as a center for science and technology in the development of agriculture and preservation of the environment. The Proclamation is in recognition of the town’s important contribution in country. It has remained the country’s hub of science and nature with the presence of national and international research institutions collaborating towards the advancement of science research in view of preparing the country for global competition.  

Nowadays, hundreds of excursionist, out-of-towners, and travelers drop in at any given day, still drawn by the mountain, the lake and the hot springs resorts though most seeking not cures but momentary escape from the urban grinds. Its jungles have been sets of location shootings of the Hollywood and local films. 

With this recognition, the researchers would like to determine if its people has enough knowledge, right attitude, and policy aligned practices towards responsible tourism also known as Ecotourism since it should be them who must act as catalysts.  

Respondents would be from distinct groups, which are as follows: Professors who handle Tourism Courses, Students who are pursuing Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism Management, Staffs in the Municipal Tourism Office, and Employees working in Ecotourism Destinations. The Director of the Tourism Office will also be interviewed to know plans, policies, and practices implemented in the municipality aligned to Ecotourism.  

Result of the study will benefit the local government unit of Los Baños, and the entire country as well. This could be used as a basis for Tourism Planning and Development, specifically for Tourism Manpower empowerment.   




7. Packaging production from invasive species - kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) valorization


Dra Helena Cristina Vasconcelos (PhD in Materials Engineering), Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University of Azores.

The Portuguese archipelago of the Azores is located in the Atlantic Ocean, between the American and European continents. Like other archipelagos in the world (New Zealand, Hawaii and Reunion Island), Azores faces an overgrowth of areas invaded by kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum), a native plant from the Himalayas that is on the list of the 100 more invasive species in the world. A group of researchers from the Azores University teamed up with local business entities (Cooperativa União Agricola - in order to prevent excessive overspread of the plant and reuse it. The big challenge was deciding what to do with this waste after harvest. The team, led by Helena Cristina Vasconcelos (Azores University, Portugal) and Roberto Amorim ( in place a research project to give value to the kahili ginger and reuse it as a raw material for the development of disposable products and packaging.  

The packaging manufacturing initiative from kahili ginger gave the Azores an opportunity to find creative solutions to deal with this invasive plant while also putting the circular economy into practice in the archipelago. The team also recognizes the great potential of starting a systematic hands-on strategy that uses invasive plant to develop new sustainable products aligned with a zero waste approach. 

Impact harvesting - From Ideas to Practice 

The harvested stems and sheets were ground and mixed with a binder glue and made into packaging and disposable products after uniaxial pressing and drying. Kahili ginger allows the manufacture of materials that can replace plastic packaging. Its great potential lies in the use of this biodegradable biomass from renewable sources. Nowadays, when the planet shows obvious signs of degradation, huge amounts of pollution and accumulation of waste, these products made from this 100% natural raw material still serve as fertilizer in agriculture after disposable. This approach stimulates the circular economy with great benefits for the environment and on waste treatment on the archipelago. 

A positive outcome 

The production of kahili ginger packaging has attracted significant attention from other researchers and was also very well received by entrepreneurs and populations, especially because it solves the problem of this invasive plant while creating useful products for society. The team has already make several talks at public events and discussed results at scientific meetings with experts and is now working in partnerships with Spanish and Czech researchers to develop new products, as the use of kahili ginger fibers as reinforcing elements for biocomposites. But the team plans to create new products that will be designed and produced in the future based on nanotechnology and intended for advanced applications.