Making Products Sustainable as Materials Become Scarce

Saturday, 15 February 2014: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Toronto (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
In 1798 Thomas R. Malthus wrote: "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man." In 1972 Club of Rome published the report Limits to Growth, which for the first time predicted that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of the limited availability of natural resources. Today, we are indeed facing unsustainable pressure on resources and on the environment, and the global economy needs a drastic transition from simple linear consumerism to a more resource efficient system. This symposium describes the challenges of today's situation with increasing materials demand for finite amounts of all elements available on Earth. In particular, it will address the situation for raw materials that are critical to high-tech industries. The symposium will show how science and technology can provide innovative solutions for improved eco-efficient use of resources all along the value chain, from tapping into new, unconventional sources to the reduced use or even complete elimination of critical materials, leading ultimately to their high-tech recycling. Product design and moving from a resource-based to knowledge-based industrial economy will be explored.
Aud Helen Alming, European Commission
Erno Vandeweert, European Commission
Renzo Tomellini, European Commission Directorate-General Research
David Peck, Delft University of Technology
Critical Metals, Awareness and Activity in Product Design