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all breakfasts, lunches and dinners will be held as group meals in order to strengthen the communication and foster the exchange.


Sunday, August 12th

Arrival before 6 p.m.

First orientation, get-to-know

Forming the workshop groups

Monday, August 13th

Introduction to the current state of Smartphone Research by Wuppertal Institute


Tuesday, August 14th

Expert Day with renowned experts from research, corporations, humanitarian organizations, and civil society


Wednesday, August 15th

Workshop sessions all day


Thursday, August 16th

Workshop sessions all day

Friday, August 17th

Workshop sessions all day

Saturday, August 18th

a.m.: Preparing the presentations of workshop results

p.m.: Presentation of the workshop results.

Farewell Party

Sunday, August 19th

Departure after breakfast

Download the programme
of the 8th Sustainable Summer School

The registration is online now.

Join the 8th Sustainable Summer School from August 12th to 19th 2018 in Jüchen/Germany


Workshop No.1

Smartphones, ressource use and human rights

Folkwang University of Arts, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy

The number of mobile phone subscriptions worldwide reached over 7.7   billion in 2017 In other words, we had as many mobile phone subscriptions worldwide as people on the planet. And this number only accounts for all actively used sim-cards, excluding old and unused mobile phones, that are stored in many drawers and cupboards all around the world. In Germany, for example, this number is estimated to account for more than 100 million mobile phones.


A mobile phone is made of more than 60 different substances, most of them extracted and produced in different countries with sometimes poor working conditions, severe environmental effects and long transport distances. Thus, the dynamic development of the mobile phone industry is closely linked to a high energy and resource use. The ecological rucksack of a mobile phone weights about 75kg (material use along the whole life cycle) – among of them about 28% are metals, including metals relevant for new technologies in the energy and mobility sector leading to utilization competition between these sectors.


Some of these metals can be recycled at a very high level. However, the average recycling rate of old mobile phones is very low; it reaches less than 10% worldwide. Therefore, the problem of return and use of old mobile phones is relevant for  circular economy worldwide.


Recycling, however, is only part of the solution. A sustainable and deliberate consumption behavior (buying, using) is highly important as well. Therefore, in this workshop, we want to look at alternative models of mobile phones, e.g. Fairphones, and the role of design for a sustainable production and consumption of mobile phones. Overall, the questions occur: How can we develop more sustainable production and consumption patterns concerning mobile phones by using the concept of the “ecological rucksack”? What does a more sustainable value chain of a mobile phone look like, including social aspects and human rights? And can we include environmental and social aspects in the decision process of buying a new mobile phone?


Workshop conducted by:

Anke Bernotat, Christa Liedtke, Jola Welfens

Workshop No. 2

Smartphone Cultures

Workshop ecosign/Academy for Sustainable Design, Cologne

Smartphone Cultures

How many times per day do you look at your smartphone? For what reason? — How would a refugee in Central Africa answer this question?

Within a decade, these small and beautiful (and complex) machines have radically changed our everyday lives and cultural practices. As disruptive as the invention of bookprinting and the industrial revolution, but at a much higher pace and intensity.

However, smartphones contain resources that are extracted in some global regions with disruptive effects: On human rights and well-being, on economy, politics, and peace. Our smartphone experiences force people of Central Africa into flight. And yet, a smartphone is an indispensable aid for refugees.

Our workshop will deal with these paradoxical cultural and humanitarian interdependencies of smartphones in a dialogue-oriented, creative and trans-disciplinary environment.

In our workshop, we will…

  1. explore the cultural impact of our smartphone use in the industrialized world.
  2. explore the cultural, political, and humanitarian impact of our smartphone use on those developing countries where resources for smartphone production are extracted.
  3. discover the meaning of smartphones for refugees.
  4. develop creative concepts of intervening along the cultural disruptions of smartphones, in order to foster their useful aspects, to minimize their damaging effects, and to protect human beings and their cultures where they are affected by smartphones.

Workshop No.3

Can the use of smartphones generate happiness?

Nowadays smartphones are an essential device of our everyday life: information, communication, organization, documentation, administration, banking and fostering social relations – the small device provides for everything. 


Besides many advantages the smartphone’s disadvantages should also be considered. It requires permanent attention and the availability of the users. These facts limit personal freedom, lead to dependencies and to the independent existence of each user’s data on the net. For producers and service providers the business with smartphones is extremely profitable, but for the environment and for the people who extract raw materials,  („rare earth“ like metals) the production and the excessive consumption of smartphones are disastrous.


In this workshop we will explore study

• the way we use smartphones and how they change, complicate or simplify life

(methodological approach: self observation)

• the economical, ecological and social effects caused by smartphones

(methodological approach: triple layered business model, life-cycle assessment, stakeholder approach)

• and we elaborate sustainable concepts for the alternative use of smartphones

(methodological approach: creativity sessions)


Workshop conducted by:
Prof. Dr. Brigitte Wolf und Dipl. Des. Daniel Einars


We´re sorry – Sustainable Summer School 2018 is cancelled