“Society, Environment & Trust: Towards Sustainable Systems of Governance”

July 4–7, 2013 | Thistle Brighton, Brighton, UK

Conference Report

The European Conference on Sustainability, Energy and the Environment (ECSEE), was held with the European Conference on the Social Sciences (ECSS) on July 4–7 2013 in Brighton, the start of six new Europe based IAFOR conferences over three weekends. Though this joint conference was the smaller of the European events, with an attendance of 125, the energy was nevertheless palpable as the conference began with a wide-ranging speech by Jun Arima (pictured left), Director General of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) in London, seconded by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Mr Arima covered issues of economic regeneration, environmental sustainability, and governance on both the national and international level, and as someone who has been engaged at a very high level in shaping some of these debates, his words carried extra weight. From 1992 Mr Arima served in the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE). In 1996, he was sent to the OECD as Councilor (energy advisor), to the Permanent Delegation of Japan. He served in senior positions in ANRE following his return to Japan. From 2002, he spent four years in Paris as Head of the Country Studies Division for the International Energy Agency (IEA). His activities in international climate and energy issues have seen him recognised internationally, most recently as Japan’s chief negotiator at the UN Climate Talks in Cancun, Mexico in 2010.

The conference also included a number of featured presentations. Professor Jay Friedlander spoke on “Sustainable Enterprise: Unlocking Innovation & Preparing for the Next Economic Wave”. Professor Friedlander is the Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business at College of the Atlantic (COA) in Bar Harbor, Maine, USA, and founder of COA’s Sustainable Business Program. Professor Peter Oakley of the Royal College of Art is Research Leader for the School of the Material, and his work addresses the luxury goods sector from a social science perspective. His spotlight speech was on “Immanence vs. Provenance: Fairtrade Gold and the Social Complexity of Substance Identities”. Another featured presenter on sustainability was Professor George Martin, currently visiting professor at the Centre for Environmental strategy at the University of Surrey, and a sociologist specializing in urban sustainability looked at just that in his paper: “Urban Agriculture’s Synergies with Ecological and Social Sustainability: Food, Nature, and Community.”

Addressing the ECSS conference theme of governance was featured speaker, Dr Rob Gill. Dr Gill is the Discipline Leader for Public Relations and Advertising at Swinburne University of Technology, where he has worked since 2007. Rob completed his doctorate in 2006 on the theme “Employer of Choice and building a positive Corporate Social Responsibility reputation for the Australian Financial Sector.” and he gave a thought-provoking address entitled, “Using Corporate Storytelling to Build Internal and External Trust”. Professor Dan Sullivan, Cowles Chair in Media Management and Economics at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication, delivered the conference closing presentation on “Unrecognized Conflicts Between the Online Revenue Strategies and Social Media Strategies of Major Newspapers in the United States and Europe”. Professor Sullivan’s research involves helping advance the thinking of traditional media organizations regarding how they deal with change in the communities they serve and with changes in technologies that are altering their competitive and business landscapes.

We look forward to expanding and continuing the discussions next year in both Japan and the UK.