As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of climate change, environmental degradation, and social inequality, the question of how best to achieve sustainable development has become increasingly pressing. On one hand, proponents of green growth argue that economic growth and environmental protection can be reconciled through technological innovation and market-based solutions. On the other hand, supporters of degrowth contend that the pursuit of endless growth is incompatible with a finite planet and that a radical transformation of our economic system is necessary to achieve ecological and social sustainability.
In this debate, organised in the context of the course Sustainability Economics at the VUB, we will hear from experts on both sides and explore the strengths and weaknesses of their respective arguments. The goal is not to reach a definitive conclusion, but rather to foster a thoughtful and constructive dialogue about the complex and multifaceted challenges facing our world today. We hope that this debate will inspire all of us to think more deeply about the path forward towards a more sustainable and equitable future.
We invited three experts to share their views:
Gregory Berleur: He is an eco-marketeer who co-founded the Markitects, a company with the aim of accelerating sustainable growth by using marketing science for the products, services or mindset changes of their clients. They mainly focus on scaling up green pioneers.
Prof. Philippe Roman: He is a professor at ICHEC Brussels Management School where he teaches courses on Economics and the Environment. His research focuses on topics such as doughnut economics, alternative economic indicators, circular economy etc.
Karel Volckaert: He is the COO of the independent think tank Itinera Institute which focuses on research and provides policy recommendations. Itinera is in the process of gathering close to 200 experts in its "Brain Trust" initiative to discuss three of the wicked problems our country is challenged with : an inclusive society, a strong democracy - and a road map towards a more sustainable "system-Belgium".
After an introduction by the moderator, Prof. Cathy Macharis, the three experts will present their views on the different perspectives for growth. Then they will engage in a panel debate, in a fishbowl-style. This means that there will be empty chairs on the stage where anyone from the audience can go sit down and ask questions or join the ongoing discussion. To close the panel, the moderator will reiterate the key points brought up from both the green growth and degrowth perspectives.
10:00 – 10:10 Introduction by the moderator
10:10 – 11:10 Presentation of the expert’s views on green growth or degrowth
11:10 – 12:45 Panel debate in fishbowl style
12:15 – 12:30 Conclusions by the moderator
Registration is free of charge.