Place Based Sustainability,
Ethics and Spirituality

Call for a New Economy Serving Life

Annual European SPES Conference

Sept. 14-16, 2020, Urbino, Italy

The University of Urbino “Carlo Bo” organizes the 2020 Annual European SPES Conference in collaboration with the European SPES Institute in Leuven, Belgium.
Sept. 14-16, 2020
Urbino, Italy

All of you are aware of the serious global virus COVID-19 issues which have continued to threaten lives on taking away people’s lives in different parts of the globe over the last few months. We have continued to monitor the situation, the incidence of the virus has continued to get worse in different part of the world. In Italy the situation is still critical.

We are therefore very concerned that it would be socially irresponsible to expose anyone’s life to the serious health risk posed by the virus incidence.

Accordingly, we have therefore, with regret, decided to postpone the Annual Spes Conference until the 14-16th September 2020.

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, 2020 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, 2020.


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

Dates to remember

  • 15th February 2020Submission deadline for abstract and bio

  • 15th April, 2020 Early registration

  • 30th April, 2020F ull paper deadline

  • 20th May, 2020 — 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.