INNOVATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
CIOS’ portfolio of interests supports the meeting of the sustainable development goals, as defined by the United Nations, aiming to have initiatives on a number of dimensions, especially harnessing and maximizing the potential of the technological innovation. Examples of such technologies include: carbon capture, storage systems, more efficient irrigation methods, essential medicines, household water purification devices and manufacturing processes which minimize waste and pollution.
While some needed innovations can be fostered through existing public and private mechanisms, at national level, such efforts have proven inadequate to meet global sustainability goals, particularly with regard to meeting the needs of the world’s poorest, most vulnerable or marginalized current and future generations. Too often, technologies for sufficiently profitable markets are either not developed at all or, if developed, are not accessible or well-adapted to end-users’ needs. Our aim is to advance knowledge and understanding of how to equitably improve the functioning of the “global innovation system” for sustainable development technologies. We want to run research and studies regarding scenarios of the system’s functioning, in order to meet needs for food, energy, health, manufactured goods, water, etc., with a special focus on social equity.
The initiative wants to focus on examining specific cases of “system’s interventions” (e.g., interventions on policy, institutional innovations, new approaches to shaping the innovation process, etc.) intended to strengthen the global innovation system, with the broader aim of developing policy recommendations which rise from, and can be generalized across multiple sectors. We hope that our findings will contribute to realizing the potential of science and technology to meet the most pressing sustainable development challenges.
Integration of the sustainable development into policy making, planning and implementation is a continuous challenge.
Therefore, CIOS’s analysis focuses on the three pillars of the sustainable development: society, economy and environment.
It is widely accepted that human activity is responsible for global warming, resulting in climate changes. Our planet is about to overpass the limit of 1.5 to 2 degrees (average global temperature increase defined by the United Nations as the upper limit in order to avoid a devastating impact on people and on their ability to live on this planet). To stay under this limit, significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases are required. In order to create a comprehensive policy framework for addressing this issue, 195 countries adopted the Paris Agreement at the UN Conference on Climate Change in 2015. Now, that the long term goal of a "zero waste" economy has been set for the second half of this century, a move to a more prosperous economy and to lower carbon dioxide emissions will be accelerated. For example, the Paris Agreement establishes that all national climate action plans must be revised and improved every five years. CIOS aims to develop solutions which make a contribution to GHG (Greenhouse gas emissions, set by the Kyoto Protocol) reduction, as soon as possible. CIOS believes that effectively tackling climate changes is both a responsibility and a business opportunity.
Therefore, we focus on:
• Reducing carbon footprint;
• Scenarios for developing a low carbon economy;
• Assessment of the impact of climate change actions on people and on the ecosystems.
Global warming has already had a major impact on nature, including loss in biodiversity, ocean acidification and more frequent extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods. These effects cause environmental damage and affect humans’ needs, such as: clean air, access to water, food production, availability of productive land and, therefore, health.
CIOS considers that there is a very important link between the environment and the social development and, for this reason, we intend to develop partnerships for improving humans’ nutrition, thus contributing to the sustainable development of our planet. It is necessary to change the current energy system based on fossil fuels with what we call "renewable fuels".
CIOS aspires to a low carbon economy, where the products and services are sold and used in a sustainable way. The world needs alternative energy competitive systems, which include increasingly more sustainable biomass, solar, wind and hydro-energy. Collaboration is needed among enterprises, scientists, governments and civil society, in order to allow a quicker transition to this type of energy.
The concept of circular economy emerged as a tool for supporting sustainable growth, within the context of an increasing pressure put on the finite resources of the planet, in the production and consumption processes. The circular economy model aims to replace the so far used "purchase- production – waste” linear model, by closing the loop. Through the transition to a circular economy, the focus moves on: reuse, repair, refurbish and recycling of the existing materials and products. In other words, what is considered to be “waste” turns into a resource. The new circular model of economy can be applied to most sectors, from food preparation to infrastructure and buildings construction, consumer goods production or energy provision.
Also, through "restorative design", we aim to help nature regenerate resources which humans usually use for consumption. In other words, CIOS aims to develop reliable solutions for resources’ restoration for elevating the economic production – consumption chain to its highest potential.
Recycling is obviously a good practice, but the circular economy can conceive from materials more durable products, easier to repair, reuse and with a smaller use of resources (e.g. use of fewer resources by reducing vehicle’s weight) and, by consequence, prevents the accumulation of waste, in the first place.
The projected increase of the world’s population, out of which, of the middle class, especially, will lead to a greater demand for food, materials and energy. Some of the resources which we rely on for making these products simply cannot be replaced in kind at the rate we consume fossil fuels. This rate of consumption creates not only shortages in natural resources, but also gaps in the production chain of our daily food and other consumables. It also harms natural cycles, often with adverse side effects, such as climate changes and pollution. In this context, a circular economy approach will make use of the products, of their components and materials at their highest value, for the longest time possible, within a strategic growth view. Therefore, CIOS aims to have contributions to developing new methods, technologies, processes and products for ensuring the future availability of natural resources and unlock more value from the limited available resources. CIOS continues to support the circular economy, with special focus on the following aspects: Reuse, Repair, Restoration and Recycling of existing products.
CIOS also cultivates partnerships in order to contribute to the transition towards a circular economy, working with governments, companies, universities and NGOs. CIOS promotes the switch from the linear economy model to the circular one, as an economic opportunity for businesses and as a better way to offer substantial benefits to business, society and ecosystems.
BRIGHTER LIVING SOLUTIONS
The circular economy optic unlocks new sources of value creation, both for the economic environment, as for the individuals. It significantly changes the operation of the business, from the product’s design to distribution and even to the way the value is created. The approach based on the maximization of the products’ life cycle is used to determine whether products and innovations are solutions of intelligent life. It implies an assessment of the products’ life cycle from raw materials’ extraction, through production, manufacturing, transport and end user interaction, throughout or until the end of the products’ life cycle and recycling. Solutions for intelligent life will profoundly change the way we were used to create business value generated by information technology and interconnected devices and products which will become critical components in generating value.
Circular economy and interconnected solutions for intelligent life provides fertile ground for innovation and value creation. By consequence, CIOS aims to contribute to the transition to a circular economy, which includes materials’ lifecycle extension, assets’ utilization maximization, efficiency and regeneration of the natural capital on the one hand, and living solutions with added value, on the other hand.
HEALTH AND FOOD SUSTAINABILITY
Two billion people worldwide suffer from malnutrition, half of whom go to bed hungry every evening. Poor nutrition causes nearly half of all deaths in children under five years on the planet (3.1 million children each year). In addition, one in four of the world's children suffer from stunted growth, meaning that their bodies fail to develop fully, because of malnutrition. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal no. 2 - vision 2030 is to “end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture!”. In order to achieve this goal, all sectors of the society must work together. CIOS aims, through its programs, to run research projects for developing products and services which can have a worldwide impact on the nutritional status, health and development. CIOS focuses especially on malnutrition and it is an active supporter of the global platforms promoting increased action for improved nutrition.
CIOS aims to develop solutions and innovative products designed to serve the needs of the poor, and to run research of new social business models that can fight against hunger. CIOS wants to improve the capacity of key government officials and representatives of the business sector with regard to sustainable development, as well as to contribute to the development of partnerships among academia, institutions and businesses. Education, public awareness and training are essential in achieving sustainable development and in improving the capacity for addressing the environment and development. Strengthening the capacity of the communities and concern for the social environment are also essential. Sustainable commercial success needs solid foundations and strong convictions. Thus, CIOS believes in creating value based on equitability, transparency and business ethics.