Final SMART conference: Sustainability is Possible!

Sustainability is possible, but for it to be achieved, we need to change the way business operates. Join us in Brussels, 19 February 2020, to take part in the discussion on how we can make this transition to sustainability, and how we can make European business the market-leaders of tomorrow.

We aim to make it possible and easy for business and finance to create value in a sustainable manner, and for products to be produced and consumed in a way that contributes to securing a safe and just space for humanity within planetary boundaries.

The SMART project has submitted its introductory report outlining a set of reform proposals aiming to change the way business and finance operate, and the way products are produced and consumed. Our reform proposals concern the EU as a global actor, and the EU as a legislator and policymaker.

This is a very brief overview of our proposals, concerning business, finance and products:

Business must shift to sustainable business models and be encouraged to innovate sustainably. To achieve this, the purpose of business and duties of the board needs to be redefined towards sustainability, to protect the decision-makers in business against the pressure to maximise financial returns.

Finance must be redirected to achieving sustainability and away from unsustainable investments. We propose changes to broaden and strengthen the EU’s Sustainable Finance Initiative and we propose changes also to the banking system – vital for the financing of European business.

Products sold in the EU must be produced in a manner that supports sustainable circular production and consumption. Today, products are the objects of the linear business models based on overconsumption, and sold to private consumers and public procurers.

We invite you to join us on 19 February in Brussels where we will present our final reform proposals.  


The final SMART conference - Sustainability is Possible - will take place at Thon Hotel EU on Rue de la Loi/ Wetstraat 75, 1040 Brussels.

Please save the date and register now!

Draft programme:

09:00 Registration with coffee and refreshments

09:30 Welcome, by Hughes Belin, freelance journalist and conference moderator

09:35 Market actors and Sustainability

  • Ensuring market actors' contribution to sustainability, by Beate Sjåfjell, leader of the SMART project and law professor at the University of Oslo
  • Keynote speaker (to be confirmed)
  • Two business representatives (to be confirmed)
  • Discussion with the audience

10:30 Coffee break

10:45 Business session

  • Securing the future of European business, by Beate Sjåfjell, leader of the SMART project and law professor at the University of Oslo
  • Comments by: 
    • Salla Saastamoinen, Director for Civil and Commercial Justice, European Commission's Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers
    • Olivier Boutellis-Taft, CEO of Accountancy Europe
    • Michel de Fabiani, chair of the policy committee at EcoDa
  • Discussion with the audience

11:45 Coffee break

12:00 Finance session

  • Financing the transition to sustainability, by Jay Cullen, SMART team member and Professor at the University of York
  • Comments by: 
    • Martin Koch, Policy Officer, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union
    • Representative from Finance Watch (to be confirmed)
    • Eleni Choidas, European policy manager at ShareAction
  • Discussion with the audience

13:00 Lunch break

14:00 Products session

  • Towards a sustainable circular economy, by Eléonore Maitre-Ekern, SMART team member and researcher at the University of Oslo 
  • Comments by: 
    • William Neale, adviser on circular economy at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Environment
    • Representative from the European Environmental Bureau (to be confirmed)
    • Representative from business (to be confirmed)
  • Discussion with the audience

15:00 Coffee break

15:15 Towards sustainable market actors?

  • Discussion with the audience moderated by an MEP (to be confirmed) and conference moderator Hughes Belin 

16:30 Drinks reception for all conference participants and speakers, with display of SMART results from work packages on mobile phones and textiles, and SMART scholars available for informal discussion

18:30 Event end


Tags: Final conference
Published Dec. 6, 2019 12:57 PM - Last modified Jan. 17, 2020 5:41 PM