Best practices, challenges and great opportunities in the area of Sustainability and Regeneration were at the center of the discussion at the 1st International Conference - Launch Event of INSURE.hub. The new platform, whose vision is the promotion and implementation of innovation and management processes in a circular perspective, results from the mobilization of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, in Porto, through its schools - Católica Porto Business School and Faculty of Biotechnology - and Planetiers New Generation. Over 400 participants attended the launch event, which took place on October 27.
Isabel Capeloa Gil, rector of Universidade Católica Portuguesa, began by welcoming everyone present and involved in the launch session of INSURE.hub, which she characterized as a "platform for change" that can "inspire for a better world". The rector reinforces the commitment that the University assumes, stating that "leadership requires honor and commitment and therefore we believe that it is our responsibility to work with companies to find solutions to their challenges and collaborate in the transition to a more equitable and sustainable economic development model".
Isabel Capeloa Gil also recalled that "the Católica's task is to deploy education and research to achieve the goal and to promote a transition that is feasible, equitable and fair" and that the Católica is "the number one university in Portugal in impact driven research and for the third consecutive year is also the best university in Portugal according to the Times Higher Education ranking".
The welcome session also included Isabel Braga da Cruz, pro-rector of the Porto Regional Centre of the Universidade Católica, who stressed the importance of Sustainability and Regeneration: "Sustainability and regeneration are key areas for society. The Green Deal, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and as many other initiatives are urgent calls to action. But action is in the organizations hands and this was the motivation that inspires the creation of INSURE.hub, which, today, is launched here at Católica."
Isabel Braga da Cruz also explained that this first conference counts with speakers and participants from different geographies that will make this event a "stimulating and inspiring opportunity for change".
After the welcome session, a presentation of INSURE.hub followed, led by Manuela Pintado, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry, João Pinto, from Católica Porto Business School, and António Vasconcelos, co-leader of Planetiers New Generation. During the presentation the main elements of the platform were highlighted, its mission, vision and objectives: "INSURE.hub brings forefront knowledge and research labs, along with the capacity to mobilize practitioners to address the challenges ahead regarding innovation in Sustainability and Regeneration."
The event took place with a set of 9 presentations, led by different speakers, which aimed to discuss different topics related to the theme of Sustainability and Regeneration. At the end of the presentations, a debate took place, moderated by António Vasconcelos.
Some examples: Edwin Janssen and Rüdiger Rhörig (Sustainable Growth Associates - The Natural Step Germany) who presented a European study made to companies on Sustainability, Innovation and Leadership and showed how companies can create a vision of sustainable and regenerative future (backcasting), creating a roadmap of innovation and value creation to achieve it; Tom Bregman (Future-Fit Foundation, UK) who spoke about Future-Fit Business as a tool aligned with backcasting; João Pinto (Católica Porto Business School) and Sofia Santos (Caixa de Crédito Agrícola) debated with Tom Bregman (Future-Fit Foundation) about Financing and sustainable and regenerative investment; the theme about the new era of regenerative business was presented by John Fullerton (CEO Capital Institute, US); John Melo (CEO Amyris Inc) and Manuela Pintado (Alchemy project coordinator and director of CBQF/ESB/UCP) spoke about the case study of one of the largest European projects in biotechnology - Alchemy. The surprise at the event was the presence of Gunter Pauli, "father" of the Circular Economy.
The closing session included the interventions of the deans of the Faculty of Biotechnology, Paula Castro, and of the Católica Porto Business School, Rui Sousa.
The day ended with a dinner that brought together more than 80 representatives of national and international companies that allowed to present and open the debate on the importance of INSURE.hub, hear the testimony of John Melo, CEO of Amyris, about his partnership with the Universidade Católica under the Alchemy project, as well as listen to an inspiring lecture by Gunter Pauli on new ways of looking at management when talking about sustainability and regeneration.
The 1st international conference inaugurates what will be an intense and dynamic activity of this new platform that aims to promote Sustainability and Regeneration, as essential anchors to respond to global environmental challenges. INSURE.hub will act on four fundamental axes: support to companies and clusters in business development and new investments; promotion of sustainable and regenerative entrepreneurship; mobilization of society; and academic training.
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