Lectures 2020

How to reconcile digitalization & environmental protection?

The COVID-19 pandemic increased the penetration of already-existing digitalization capabilities into numerous services. Unfortunately, however, digitalization of  services also comes with environmental costs: power and energy consumption, use of resources, new products and materials to recycle. What kind of solutions and best practices already exist to reconcile digitalization and environmental concerns? How can we make the digital sector more respectful of our planet? How can digital development serve environmental protection?

French and Danish experts and entrepreneurs presented their findings and innovative solutions in this Zoom webinar organised by the Sustainability Science Centre, as a part of the Sustainability Lecture Series, and the French Institute of Denmark as a part of their Digital November, with the support of INSTITUT FRANÇAIS in Paris.

The webinar took place on 25 November 2020 and was moderated by Katherine Richardson, Professor of Biological Oceanography and Leader of the Sustainability Science Centre. Introduction by Caroline Ferrari, French Ambassador in Denmark.


Laura Brimont, Coordinator, Ways of life in transition at IDDRI (Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations), France: How to turn the digital transition in an accelerator for the ecological transition (The report mentioned can be found on their website).

Romain Rouvoy, Professor at Lille University - Université de Lille, project member of “Spirals” at Inria (National Institute for Research in digital sciences and technologies), France: How the digital industry can become more respectful of the environment?

Olivier Corradi, Founder and Leader of Tomorrow , member of La French Tech Nordics, Denmark: Digital solutions to support the ecological transition.

Christian Igel, Professor at the DIKU Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and François Bernard Lauze, Associate Professor at DIKU Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Enabling State: Building the Ecological Transition on Social Innovations

The societal transformation required to remain within planetary boundaries requires changes at multiple levels, in various sectors of society, and in a variety of contexts. Accelerating collective learning through local experimentation in social innovations shall be essential to that effect. To support this, we need an Enabling State: a form of government that could empower local communities to experiment with new ways of producing, consuming or sharing, to win the race against the degradation of the ecosystems. While the Welfare State, in its classic insurance and redistributive functions, remains essential to the ecological transition, it should now combine these functions with that of supporting social experimentation.

Olivier De Schutter (LL.M., Harvard University ; Ph.D., University of Louvain (UCL)), the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and the former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food (2008-2014), is a Professor at UCLouvain and at Sciencespo. He has also taught in the past at Columbia University, at Yale University, and at UC Berkeley, and was awarded the Francqui Prize, the most prestigious scientific award in Belgium, for his work at the intersection of human rights and governance. He chairs the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food).

The webinar took place on 30 October 2020 and was moderated by Katherine Richardson, Professor of Biological Oceanography and Leader of the Sustainability Science Centre.

The event was organised by the Sustainability Science Centre at the University of Copenhagen as a part of the Sustainability Lecture Series. Further reading on this matter can be found in the UN General Assembly report mentioned by the speaker.

Sustainability Science and Activism: Prospects and Approaches to a Global Crisis

Last year saw a flurry of grassroots movements pop up around the world and in Denmark, as a consequence of the growing global climate and biodiversity crises. This event will feature a mixed panel of world-renowned academics involved in sustainability science, in conversation with representatives of activist groups that have emerged as key drivers of the movement to bring attention to these crises in Denmark: Fridays For Future Denmark, Extinction Rebellion Denmark and Den Grønne Studenterbevægelse.

The event aimed to answer a variety of questions about sustainability science and activism: What are the different approaches to activism that have popped up in the last few years? How do these groups operate, and what are
their motivations? What role should scientists and academics play as the crisis unfolds? Should they be only seen as knowledge-providers, or as active supporters of these causes? How can we better engage with the public citizenry, in order to better divulge facts and prospects about the consequences of these crises?

Speakers: Katherine Richardson - Professor of Biological Oceanography and Head of the Sustainability Science Centre at the University of Copenhagen, Jens Friis Lund - Professor of Political Ecology at the Department of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Copenhagen, Caroline Bessermann, representing Den Grønne Studenterbevægelse and Tiem van der Deure, representing Extinction Rebellion Danmark. Moderated by Michael Krabbe Borregaard, Associate Professor and Luisa dos Santos Bay Nielsen, Research assistant, both at the Globe Institute.

The webinar took place on 28 April 2020 and was hosted by the Sustainability Science Centre, as a part of the Sustainability Lecture Series, and the Globe Institute, as a part of their Sustainability Initiative. The recording of the webinar can be found at their youtube channel