How do you hire a global star for your conference?
Dietrich Van Der Weken, G-STIC
The most influential conference in the world?
One of the driving forces behind the Love Tomorrow Conference is the Flemish knowledge centre VITO. This prime research and technology organisation on clean-tech and sustainable development is also the driving force behind G-STIC, the global sustainable technology and innovation community that wants to accelerate market-ready integrated technological solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals.
G-STIC’s annual conference is one of the most influential in the world. The 2023 session will include António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations. On this global stage, Circular Economy receives a lot of attention. This is no coincidence, says Dietrich Van Der Weken, General Manager of G-STIC.
“Circular economy is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and in different ways. People often think only of the classic waste paradigm, reusing raw materials as much as possible. But circular economy also has many spillovers to other sustainability compartments, such as climate. For example, we can realize a huge CO2 gain by using materials sustainably. Even for rare resources - used in renewable energy applications such as wind turbines and batteries - it is vital to create a closed loop. So we are facing a crucial transition for the climate, which will also have a major impact on the competitiveness of our industry.”
Circular economy has many spillovers into other sustainability spheres.
Budget plays a role, but is not decisive
“Another aspect, of course, is financial” continues G-STIC’s General Manager. “You can’t convince anyone with just a big budget, but it does help. Take Yuval Noah Harari, for example. That’s an investment that basically pays for itself, because profiles like this bring more participants but also additional partnerships. For example, we were able to secure a media partnership linked to Harari’s presence, which brings in new revenue. But you don’t have a guarantee of success, which is why not every organizer can or wants to take that risk.
But as I said before, it’s not just financial space that is important, but also a strong story. Harari also came mainly because sustainability is a hot topic, and because the link to Tomorrowland has great appeal. Even speakers of his level are happy to be there.”