Adisa_AzapagicESCAPE-ing into a sustainable future: Can we optimise our way to sustainable development?
Adisa Azapagic

The idea of sustainable development is now a widely accepted societal goal in many countries. However, despite numerous internationally agreed goals and objectives to support sustainable management of the environment and improve human wellbeing, the implementation of the idea has been much slower and the world continues to speed down an unsustainable path. Thus, one of the questions often posed is: how could these unsustainable trends be reversed to turn the concept of sustainable development from an aspiration into a genuine progress towards a sustainable future? Over the years, many methods, tools and approaches have been proposed in an attempt to help achieve this. Among these, systems modelling and optimisation have been suggested as powerful means for bringing sustainable development about. This talk will explore if and how they could play a role in contributing towards sustainability, examining the interplay between technology, economy, the environment and society. In particular, the following question will be posed: can we optimise our way to a sustainable future, or should we be doing something completely different?