The three pillars of the Net-Zero Lab presented at the Capital’s Net Zero Economy Forum

The highly anticipated third edition of the Net Zero Economy Forum, organized by Capital, unfolded on November 22nd and 23rd, 2023, in Sofia, Bulgaria. This prestigious event provided a platform for the Net-Zero Lab to introduce its innovative approach to a diverse array of stakeholders based on its three pillars.

Net Zero Economy Forum 

The Net Zero Economy Forum, convened by Capital, serves as a convergence point for leaders from corporations, governmental bodies, entrepreneurs, and financial sectors to delve into strategies for achieving net-zero emissions. Held both in-person and virtually over two days, the conference featured keynote addresses, panel discussions, and interactive sessions, fostering networking opportunities and facilitating collaborative initiatives.

This year’s edition of the forum addressed a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from policy frameworks and emerging innovations to financial instruments essential for transitioning to a net-zero economy. Special emphasis was placed on securing key raw materials for the transition and the challenges associated with supply chain decarbonization. Additionally, the forum delved into pressing issues such as water scarcity in the context of climate change and the evolution of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards.

The Role of Academia

Sofia University’s Faculty of Economics and Business Administration played a pivotal role in the discussions, with Vice Dean Marina Stefanova contributing insights into ESG standards evolution. Moreover, the university seized the opportunity to showcase its newly established Net-Zero Lab through a video message, emphasizing its commitment to collaborative partnerships with industry stakeholders and innovative businesses.

Net-Zero Lab at Sofia University

Established in 2024, the Net-Zero Lab is a research hub under the Department of Industrial Economics and Management at Sofia University’s Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. Focused on social transformation and technological transition towards carbon neutrality, the lab encompasses three main research dimensions:

  • Conducting Comprehensive Techno-Economic Studies: Specializing in focused techno-economic research, the lab conducts simulations and modeling exercises to assess the applicability of various technological solutions for energy and industrial sectors’ transformation towards net-zero emissions.
  • Developing Decision Support Tools: The lab’s initiatives include the development of tools such as regional technological roadmaps, indices, and assessment maps to facilitate sustainable transition and measure the carbon footprint across analyzed technologies’ life cycles.
  • Applied Research in Societal Transformation: Addressing the call for innovative approaches from the academic community, this dimension focuses on studying societal needs alongside technological or economic realities. It encompasses concepts such as justice, inclusion, and democracy in energy system transformations, conducting applied research to evaluate and promote skills necessary for a sustainable energy future.

The Net Zero Economy Forum provided a compelling platform for Sofia University to showcase its academic prowess and commitment to fostering sustainable transition initiatives. The university’s Net-Zero Lab stands poised to contribute significantly to the global discourse on climate action and catalyze collaborative efforts toward achieving net-zero emissions. 

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