6th World Materials Summit: outcome

Council of Europe, Strasbourg - 20th & 21st November 2017

Council of Europe - European Youth Centre, Strasbourg, France - 18 & 19 November 2017



The purpose of the Sixth World Materials Summit, as was true of its five predecessors, is to bring together policy- and decision-makers, experts in markets and industrial technologies, and leaders from the science research community. They assess the status of the many global challenges we face today, identify the best paths forward, and recommend actions that will get us moving along those paths. This year’s program focuses on Materials Innovation for the Global Circular Economy and Sustainable Society. The economic model that focuses on eliminating waste and inefficiency and promotes greater resource productivity — what we call the ‘circular economy’ — has been discussed in many forums. Sustainability is part and parcel of that concept.

What is unique to our series of Summits is our recognition of the crucial and ubiquitous enabling role played by advanced engineering materials — present in almost every aspect of the challenges the world faces, yet formerly taken for granted or ignored. It is now widely appreciated that materials development and innovation are key to meeting and overcoming virtually all the challenges facing the world, if the sustainable circular economy is ever to be achieved.

The list of global challenges is long and complex. Adding to the complexity of these issues is their extreme interconnectedness. With population growth as a driving force (world population is estimated to increase more than 30% by 2050), we can see regionally non-uniform deficiencies becoming more severe in food, potable water, energy, and critical materials, as well as degradation and disruption of the environment — land, water and air.

Obvious examples of multifaceted interdependence are seen among food supply, water for irrigation of arable land, and fertilizers and pesticides that increase food production but potentially contaminate the ground water that would otherwise supply potable water in many regions. Finding new sources of clean fresh water, as well as efficient ‘green’ desalinization technologies for sea water, is an urgent need. In addition, the energy required for agriculture itself and for subsequent preservation and distribution of its produce can, as a side effect depending on its means of generation, increase greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, thus contributing to global warming and a consequent impact on climate change.

Download the full report HERE.

World Materials Summit   Forum for Next Generations Researchers