[Report] UTCP Workshop “Sustainability and Ethics: Towards Establishment of New Metrics”

7 December, 2009 ISHIHARA Kohji, MURAMATSU Mariko, NAKAZAWA Eisuke, SEKIYA Sho

UTCP Workshop “Sustainability and Ethics: Towards Establishment of New Metrics” was held on November 10, 2009.


The purpose of the workshop was to examine sustainability and its metrics.


In his opening remarks, Prof. Carlo Naldi (Vice President, Polytechnic University of Turin) explained various efforts by Polytechnic University of Turin with regard to global issues of sustainability.


He also stressed that sustainability issues require global cooperation of engineering and philosophy. Then, in her keynote speech, Prof. Lombardi (Polytechnic University of Turin) pointed out that the very concept of sustainability has problems, and examined the need to fix the tangible metrics which will provide a common basis for sustainability issues.


Prof. Ishihara (UTCP) and Mr. Sekiya (University of Tokyo) responded to Prof. Lombardi's speech. Prof. Ishihara drew a conceptual map of sustainability and ethics. Then, Mr. Sekiya argued for the importance of metrics as a communicative tool.



The background of our workshop was as follows:
“Torino Declaration on Education and Research for Sustainable and Responsible Development” (Turin Declaration) was adopted at the 2009 G8 University Summit. In the Turin Declaration, university presidents and rectors attending the Summit raise four pillars of sustainability and formulate a framework for the concept of sustainability, that is: “economic development, ethical approach, energy policy, ecosystem” (4 E’s). Presidents and rectors declare also that each university takes responsibility for promoting sustainable development, through the promotion of social awareness of sustainability issues, education for young people, acceleration of research programs for construction of sustainable society through mulch disciplinary approaches and giving back their fruits to society.


We think time has come to start deciding on a specific plan for the realization of a society that is sustainable. To do this, it seems important that we establish “a new metrics to evaluate sustainable development.” In other words, to realize the sustainable society, it is needed to agree on an operational definition of the concept of sustainability and to establish goals for research programs. From this point of view, “Ethical approach to sustainable development” which is included in 4 E’s is important. In fact establishing a new metrics to evaluate sustainable development is a philosophical and ethical topic. We can identify the establishment of it as a question, or a series of questions like “If a society is sustainable, which conditions are needed for the society?” and “Are such conditions universally valid, and how we define them?” that tend to answer the fundamental question of “What a sustainable society should be”.


Eisuke Nakazawa (UTCP)

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