How to shift to absolute sustainability? One of the questions raised on CIRP Life Cycle Engineering Conference

Wednesday, 16 May, 2018

The CIRP Life Cycle Engineering Conference took place April 30- May 2 in Copenhagen. Ilaria Giovanna Barletta, PhD Student at the division of Production Systems, Chalmers, was there to present her paper and gave us a short report:

Why did you go to the conference? Why is it an important context for you and your research?

“This conference is highly relevant for my research, as I focus on technology assessment (economic and environmental) for sustainable manufacturing. Me and my co-supervisor, Mélanie Despeisse went together to the conference to present our two papers and to learn from other researchers.”

What were the main topics of the conference?

“The conference focused on the need for the shift from eco-efficiency to eco-effectiveness on a global and local scale through new technological solutions and circular economy (e.g., industrial symbiosis).

The questions being raised during the keynote speeches were:

How can we shift from marginal increments and relative sustainability, which at a certain point will plateau, to absolute sustainability? This shift of mindset underpins the possibility for countries and industries to consider a rightly-allocated safe operating space defined by the planetary boundaries. Do the Science-Based Targets provide a possible answer to this question? What are the opportunities for businesses which are willingly pursuing these targets?”

Anything that surprised you?

“At dinner of day one, we were asked to suggest through an online-voting system in which way the CIRP LCE community can help meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals. One of the findings that positively struck me was “promoting sustainable consumption” ranking the highest, as I was expecting a strongest focus on production technologies.”


Read Ilaria Giovanna Barlettas paper “A Methodology to Align Core Manufacturing Capabilities with Sustainable Manufacturing Strategies”  here:   

Read Mélanie Despeisse’ paper “Sustainability Leadership in Manufacturing: A Reflection on the Educational Benefits of the Board Game Factory Heroes”  here:


Read more about CIRP LCE 2018

Text: Ulrika Georgsson and Ilaria Giovanna Barletta