Online conference on precaution and innovation in Germany and beyond

On the 18 and 19 November 2021, the German non-governmental organization NABU organized the online conference “Vorsorge und Innovation - Fit for Future?”. The meeting was set up to discuss the relationship between innovation and the precaution principle. For two days, the conference gathered experts including academics, government officials, and industry actors.

On Thursday 18 November, after an opening by Michal Schäfer (NABU representative) and Dr. Carsten Neßhöver (representative of the German Environment Agency), Prof Andrew Stirling presented and discussed the current challenges for the governance of technological innovation. Dr Heidi Stockhaus the presented the results of the RECIPES project regarding the effect of the precautionary principle. She explored the legal status and current implementation of both principles in different legal orders. The presentation was followed by a comment by Ulrich Petschow.

On Friday 19 November, the conference continued, and Prof Sebastian Pfotenhauer discussed the role of the precaution principle in risk governance and innovation governance, for a responsible and sustainable innovation process. Dr Pia-Johanna Schweizer then presented the methodology and preliminary results of the RECIPES project, focusing on the co-creative approach.

The event ended with a round table discussion on precaution and its role for future innovation challenges, as well as its possible adaptations. Prof Christian Calliess, Prof Katharina Hölzle, Max Müller and Prof Martina Schraudner discussed different point of views and possibilities – considering the various stakes and challenges of innovation and precaution and suggesting conciliation possibilities.


Dr Heidi Stockhaus, Ecologic Institute



Dr Pia-Johanna Schweizer, IASS


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