Place Based Sustainability,
Ethics and Spirituality

Call for a New Economy Serving Life

Annual European SPES Conference

May, 19-21, 2022, Urbino, Italy

The University of Urbino “Carlo Bo” organizes the 2022 Annual European SPES Conference in collaboration with the European SPES Institute in Leuven, Belgium.
May, 19-21, 2022
Urbino, Italy


We would like to provide you with updated information about the changes and opportunities tied to the SPES Annual Conference in Urbino.
Due to the still critical global situation and the current and future uncertainty, we have decided to further postpone the conference. Therefore we announce that the SPES Annual Conference will be held in the same location, University of Urbino, on May, 19-21, 2022.
We agreed on this decision according to the spirit underpinning the SPES network that rests on the value of people nurtured by direct and personal relationships on the place. We are confident that we could have a great opportunity to meet next year and celebrate a regular face-to-face conference.
At the same time, we are pleased to invite you to take part in the special pre-conference meeting, that will be organized as an on-line SPES Workshop “Nurturing the Place and its Communities” on May 20, 2021 from 15.00 to 18.00 (CET).
The participation in the workshop is free of any charge. The program will include keynote lectures and an open space for sharing ideas, perspectives and insights among the participants.
We would like to point out that already accepted submissions are fine. Authors should not re-send their abstracts. Further instructions about the reset of the deadline for sending the final papers and about the publication opportunities will be communicated later. In case you has already completed your paper and wish to publish it, you are free to submit it to a journal or book before the conference. Independently from this you can present your paper in our conference in 2022 in Urbino.
Moreover, we would like to inform you that both the registrations and fees payment already made are confirmed and will kept valid for the 2022 conference.
We will update the Conference website with the new agenda, including the announcement of the on-line SPES Workshop and the deadline for sending new abstracts (submission re-opened), contributions and the registration.
For any further clarification and additional information you can contact by;
We look forward to your participation in our 20 May 2021 SPES Workshop and hope to see you at the Annual SPES Conference in May 2022.

We regret to inform you that due to the challenges associated with the COVID-19 outbreak and the sanitary situation in most countries in the world we have decided to further postpone the SPES Annual Conference 2020 which was due to take place at the University of Urbino Carlo Bo (Italy), on 14 - 16 September 2019. Therefore we announce that the SPES Annual Conference will be held in the same location, Urbino, on May, 19-21nd, 2022.

We took this decision after much consideration. However we believe that this dramatic and critical situation is a reason for being even more active in nurturing additional research and reflections useful to provide the scientific, economic and civil society with further contributions leveraging on our knowledge.

Undoubtedly the present crisis will have long term effects on societies and institutions throughout the world. A number of beliefs, values and behaviors will have to be re-considered and altered both at a collective level and at the individual level.

As academics, we are convinced that we have a role to play in the re-shaping of our communities, whatever their roles in our societies.

Therefore, we took the chance to extend the call, opening to additional contributions that could also take into consideration a think-tank dedicated to the present crisis, its origin, as well as its manifestations, consequences and new answers to it.

We look forward to your participation and to see you at the Annual SPES Conference in May 2022.

The Topic of the Conference

Without respecting and nurturing ‘place’ we cannot achieve a state of ecological sustainability. Place-based organizations are not run on a purely materialistic basis. The non-materialistic features of a place (aesthetics, cultural heritage, community feelings, and transcendence, and so on) should be integrated into sustainability management. Place-based organizations break with the economic logic of efficiency and profit maximization and organize their activities around the ideal of encompassing feelings of identity with and attachment to a place.

Place based sustainability requires a radical rethinking and reforming of our economies. The vision of Pope Francis “Economy of Francis” calls for a new economy “one that brings life not death, one that is inclusive and not exclusive, humane and not dehumanizing, one that cares for the environment and does not despoil it”.

The conference aims to contribute to the ecological transformation of humankind by exploring theoretical and practical models that integrate the sense of the place, ethics and spirituality in new ways of organizing of economic and social life.

Issues to be Addressed

The material and spiritual aspects of the present economic and environmental crisis

  • Working models of placed based sustainability

  • Aesthetics and grace in our relationship with nature

  • Frugality and simplicity in consumption and production

  • Limiting the scale of the economy relative to the ecosystem and restraining uneconomic growth

  • The role of business in society and nature for achieving sustainable Earth

  • Purpose-driven and benefit corporation: emerging insights and perspectives for sustainability

  • The inner connection between ecology and social justice as framework and compass for the economy

  • Responsible business and earth spirituality

  • Art and Literature as representing sane and healthy living alternatives

  • Developing ecological consciousness in organizations

  • Good practices of ecological accounting and auditing

Download here the Call for Paper


Interested participants should send a detailed abstract of their planned presentation (about 500 words) accompanied by a short biographical note (100 words) electronically by February 15, 2022 to:

Laszlo Zsolnai, President

European SPES Institute - Leuven


Conference organizers are interested in receiving proposals for academic papers as well as practice-oriented submissions.

Full papers should be submitted by April 30, 2022.


Selected papers presented in the conference are considered for a volume edited for the Palgrave Studies in Sustainable Business.

Dates to remember

  • 15th February 2022 —Submission deadline for abstract and bio

  • 15th April, 2022 Early registration

  • 30th April, 2022 —F ull paper deadline

  • 20th May, 2022 Selected papers presented in the conference are considered for a volume edited for the Palgrave Studies in Sustainable Business.

Draft Program

Palazzo Battiferri
c/o School of Economics
University of Urbino Carlo Bo

Day 1

14:00 - 14:30 Registration
14:30 - 15:00 Opening
15:00 - 17:00 Talks
17:00 - 17:30 Coffee break
17:30 - 19:00 Talks

Day 2

9:00 - 11:00 Talks
11:00 - 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 - 13:30 Talks
13:30 - 14:30 Lunch
14:30 - 17:00 Talks
17:00 - 17:30 Coffee break
17:30 - 19:00 Talks

20:30 Social Dinner

Day 3

9:00 - 11:00 Talks
11:00 - 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 - 13:00 Talks

Contact and Information

Inquiries concerning general information about the Conference, registration and accommodation, please contact the Organization Office at: | 0039 0722 369406

Inquiries regarding scientific issues on the topic of the Conference should be direct to the following e-mail address:

Scientific Committee

  • Members of the Scientific Committee of the Conference include:

  • Maria-Gabriella Baldarelli, University of Bologna

  • Luk Bouckaert, Catholic University of Leuven

  • Luigino Bruni, Lumsa University Rome and Sophia University Institute

  • Mara Del Baldo, University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”

  • Hendrik Opdebeeck, University of Antwerp

  • Elisabetta Righini, University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”

  • Antonio Tencati, University of Brescia and Bocconi University Milan

  • Laszlo Zsolnai, Corvinus University of Budapest and European SPES Institute, Leuven

We look forward to welcoming you in Urbino!

Urbino is a walled city in the Marche region of Italy, south-west of Pesaro, a World Heritage Site notable for a remarkable historical legacy of independent Renaissance culture, especially under the patronage of Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482. The town, nestled on a high sloping hillside, retains much of its picturesque medieval aspect. It hosts the University of Urbino, founded in 1506, and is the seat of the Archbishop of Urbino. Its best-known architectural piece is the Palazzo Ducale, rebuilt by Luciano Laurana.