Landmark conference in European Parliament on post-growth

From the 15th till the 17th of May a landmark conference on post-growth is taking place in the European Parliament. The conference will welcome major thought leaders such as Jason Hickel, Joseph Stigilitz and Kate Raworth as well as representatives of trade unions, civil society and academics. All will engage with the European policy environment to explore how post-growth strategies can help us out of today’s social and ecological crises.

Next week, as many as twenty members of the European Parliament (MEPs) representing five different political groups alongside trade unions and civil society organizations across Europe are co-organising the Beyond Growth 2023 conference.

The conference will be opened by Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission and Roberta Metsola, president of the European Parliament. This is the first time that post-growth and degrowth ideas are given such a prominent place within a European institution, marking an important point in the history of European politics.

Commons Network is a contributing partner in the conference and our team will be there in Brussels. Besides reconnecting with friends and colleagues from the landscape of new economic thinkers and doers across Europe, we are organizing two events in the conference.

Contributing civil society partners of the Beyond Growth Conference

A Fair, Social, Green, Autonomous Digital Future for a Postgrowth Economy

Commons Network together with MEP Kim van Sparrentak for the Greens/EFA, is co-organizing a session on what a post-growth transition means for the digital sphere. The impact of the digital sphere on the economy and society encompasses everything from material production to social dynamics online. Not only does ICT require enormous amounts energy, material resources and affect the environment, the digital transition has led to a more centralised economy with a large power over our online interactions, supply chains, consumer behaviour and even our democracy. The session will explore what the digital sphere looks like in a postgrowth economy. What are the necessary changes for social-ecologically sustainable business models and infrastructures with a fair distribution? How do we govern our internet, infrastructures and supply chains in the public interest?

The speakers in the sessions are:

  • Sophie Bloemen- Co-director Commons Network 
  • Rodrigo Fernandez – Senior researcher and author of SOMO report “Financialisation of Big Tech”
  • Corinna Schlombs – Associate Professor of History Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Asha Allen  – Advocacy Director for Europe, Online Expression & Civic Space for the Centre of Democracy and Technology

The session will take place on 16th of May at 11-13h CET. You can still register to join the panel here (although the physical gathering in the European Parliament currently has a waiting list, online attendance is still possible)!

Round Table with National MP’s: “Exchanging skills & strategies for advancing national post-growth policies”

Together with the Green European Foundation and the Beyond Growth 2023 Conference team, Commons Network is organizing a Round Table lunch event with national Members of Parliament and trade unions from Members States from across Europe. This Round Table lunch will utilize the momentum created by the Beyond Growth conference for discussing postgrowth policymaking at the level of EU Member States, and allow for national policy makers eager to further the discussion on postgrowth national policies to exchange and share among themselves. Tim Jackson, leading figure within the post-growth movement and Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), will open the round table.

The event builds on the informal post-growth intergroup at the Dutch Parliament and will be the first in a structural series of events. 

MPs involved in the Postgrowth Intergroup receive Jason Hickel in Dutch Parliament

Do you want to read more about our work on post-growth? Check out this book we published in 2021, this podcast in which we were interviewed about the book, or this series of blogs.