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Conference report: “Innovations for sustainability: The perception of chances and risks” Protestant academy Loccum, 20 - 22 January 2014

Lisa Beiderwieden and Sarah Brockmann

elni Review 2015, pp. 32-34.

Sustainability is becoming more and more important in social discourses: new technologies are needed in order to face the problems of climate change and to use limited resources in an effective and efficient way. According to Kilian Bizer, Professor for Economic Policy and Director of the Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research (cege) at the Georg-August University of Göttingen, governmental incentives for the individual and situation-specific motivation of economic actors are not able to bring about an on-going dynamic innovation process that is based on the guiding principles of sustainable development. Instead, framework conditions are needed that allow for a process in which actors control the consistency between their actions and the normative goal on their own initiative. In the case of a detected discrepancy, creative and appropriate solutions should be developed without permanent accompanying government stimuli. Therefore, the question is how these conditions should be drafted and which incentives and obstacles for sustainable innovations exist. This amounts to creating an innovation-friendly legal framework that sets the appropriate incentives for actors to behave according to the established targets.
These questions were dealt with during the conference “Innovations for sustainability. The perception of chances and risk”, that was held in the Protestant Academy Loccum from 20-22 January 2014. The conference concentrated on chemical regulations with a specific focus on nano-materials and the relationship between breeder privileges and biopatents. This conference report summarizes the different discussion threads and positions.

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