Technological innovation is necessary in order to respond to the most urgent sustainability challenges, a conference at Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) has said.
The conference, Big Challenges, Creative Solutions, held in Cambridge, brought together businesses, academics, NGOs and politicians to address future issues, especially related to environmental and social sustainability.
Participants discussed the role of technological innovation, which they said needs to be responsibly developed to avoid complications. This comes less than a week after the UN said science, technology and innovation had “great potential” in aiding sustainable development.
Delegates at the conference also stressed importance of co-operation rather than competition between different sectors and subjects.
Aled Jones, director of the GSI, said, “It is always a challenge to bring together people from a range of backgrounds to find common ground around solutions.
“However, by allowing space for creativity we hope that the GSI annual conference can provide a level playing field where economists, artists, scientists, business entrepreneurs and policymakers amongst others can work collaboratively and find a common language that will both challenge them but also enable them to take bold decisions as they return to their working lives.”
The discussion explored a different range of issues, including the need for short-term capital accumulation to ensure long-term prosperity, and the crucial role of political activity in meeting sustainability targets and tackling climate change.
Craig Bennett, director of policy and campaigns at Friends of the Earth, said, “To find solutions to today’s sustainability challenges we need both action on the ground as well as bold political leadership.”
Many of the topics discussed were illustrated in real-time by a cartoonist at the conference. Some can be found below.