UG Centre for Sustainable Development at the Conference of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States

The Conference of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States promotes the transfer of knowledge and good practices in the Baltic Sea Region to take further steps in the field of closed-loop economy and sustainable development. The research potential of the University of Gdansk and how it can be used in the newly established Centre for Sustainable Development was presented at the event.

Sustainable management of natural resources used in industry is a major challenge of the 21st century. Politicians and scientists stress the need for urgent action and support for green transformation, which can stimulate sustainable economic growth based on healthy and strong foundations. This requires innovative solutions in line with the principles of sustainable, environmentally friendly social and economic development. The Baltic Sea Region focuses on resource-intensive sectors such as textiles, food, construction and plastics. It will support businesses that will ensure a sustainable future.

These and other important issues concerning the economic challenges of today's world were discussed at a conference organised by the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) on May 26, 2021. The conference was attended by dr Krzysztof Szczepaniak from the Faculty of Management of UG, who presented the research potential of the University of Gdańsk and the possibilities of its use in the newly established Centre for Sustainable Development.

The meeting was also attended by: Directorate Circular Economy and Green Growth, DG Environment, EU Commission, Union of the Baltic Cities, representatives of ministries responsible for sustainable development from Norway, Lithuania and Latvia, as well as companies related to the circular economy who presented good practices used in their activities.

Conference participants pointed out that global food demand will double by 2050 due to continued global population growth and increased consumption. At the same time, about one-third of the food produced is lost or wasted in the food chain, from production to consumption. The textile sector is expected to grow further, accelerated by ever-increasing demand (fast fashion). (Twenty per cent of global industrial water pollution is caused by textile dyeing and processing).

Construction is the most material-intensive sector and generates a third of all global waste, most of which is not recycled or reused, making construction waste the most likely to end up in landfills. These societal phenomena demonstrate the waste of land, water, energy and agricultural inputs and indicate the often unnecessary emission of millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases.

It is therefore necessary to systematically shift economies towards sustainable closed-loop systems in all value chains in resource-intensive industries. For this to happen, there needs to be a coherent vision of the long-term direction of business development in individual countries and a search for invention and implementation of innovative solutions.

Ewa K.Cichocka / Press Office UG