26th Annual KÖVET Conference – Global ’dematerialization’?

We are kindly inviting you to the 26th annual KÖVET Conference which is a prestigious professional meeting of KÖVET members and all companies committed to sustainability.


Is raw material scarcity a temporary symptom caused by the pandemic or a megatrend?

Is it the end to expansion economy and consumer society?

Is circular economy the answer?


Date: 21 October, 2021. (9:30-17:00)

Venue: MagNet Közösségi Ház, Hamvas terem (1062 Budapest, Andrássy út 98.)

personal event with possible online participation


(after registration we will send you the ZOOM link)


Global ’dematerialization’?

The title could mean something noble, a new decent step of humanity’s development. Homecoming from materialism – both poisoning communism and capitalism – to spiritualism, to the moral teaching of religions. It could mean the extension of services, triumph of eco-efficiency and smart systems, responsible use of products instead of their immoderate possession. Shortly it could mean Sharing Economy itself. But, alas, these thoughts could not become mainstream. Communism is over, capitalism has a huge trust deficit, religious moral must stay in private life, the meme of sharing economy has been overwhelmed by circular economy. Production and consumption is growing over the speed of eco-efficiency gains.

The Tower of Babel called World Economy is being built intensively. We had some pauses, most recently due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but investors and architects have not yet given up the core indicator of the investment: more floors! Stakeholders are not really listened to. God now tries a new strategy. He could confuse our languages again (fears of the Y2K bug), arrange a new flood (global warming), emerge a new “species” over failed humanity (artificial intelligence). But God is not trivial! He made an almost unremarkable narrowing: material scarcity.

We build more and bigger houses for fewer people. According to the analysis of Wayne Chen, the average size of newly built individual houses has increased 2.5 fold since 1920 in the USA. At the same period the number of dwellers has decreased from 4.3 to 2.5, on average. It means every first couple lives alone, every second together with one child, parent, etc. The per capita surface has grown from 22.5 to 97.2 square meters, which corresponds 332% plus. Hungary’s population has diminished by 10% since 1990, its built-up density has risen by 30%. Motorways, shopping centers, industrial parks and suburban areas sprout at the place of wild area and agricultural land. In six years the artificial coverage of soil has expanded by 14% in Hungary, 20% in the agglomeration of Budapest. In the EU only Greece and Slovakia has produced more alarming data, e.g. France and Italy only enlarged its artificial (and by that costly to maintain) soil surface coverage by 4-5%. Since 2014, building industry is the biggest carbon polluter, taking over energy production and the food industry. This needs a multitude of natural and man-made materials.

What do we need for a sky-scraper for instance? Tons of money and knowledge, but these will only indirectly generate walls, roofs, safety windows and engineering. For a new construction we basically need tons of building material. And precisely these materials are starting to run out. The scarcity of fossil fuels is a well-known fact, but the aggressive overbuilders convinced themselves and others. It is suggested that alternative energy, insulation and nuclear power can not only solve the problem of climate neutrality, but can give construction infinity. The so-called biodegradable plastics offer the same promise. Many are afraid from the lack of fresh water and suppose future wars for the remaining stocks, but care is only theoretical here. (Cape Town and California are only exciting and forgettable news for those living far.) But now we witness severe scarcity of the most everyday things like cheap concrete (i.e. river sand), building timber, electric wires, gypsum board, OSB.

There is now space here to analyze causes, we can explain the process with natural factors or as a “godly fuse”. The point is the same: we have to be ready to finalize our living tower. Not to abandon, but to finish it! We have to decide about the final number of floors, to move in and enjoy it. We have a highly comfortable living area for the whole humanity. But beware: with some greedy people we can’t find enough place even in a palace!


Dr. Gergely Tóth / KÖVET Association


9:30-10:00 Registration
10:00-11:30 Plenaries – chair: Katalin Herner executive director, KÖVET Association
10:00-10:10 Katalin Herner executive director, KÖVET Association

10:10-10:30 Dr. Donnie Maclurcan executive director, Post Growth Institute (USA), affiliate professor (SOU US, UT Sidney): Practical Steps towards the Post-Growth World our Heart’s Desire (in English, in person)

10:30-10:50 Prof. Dr. Sándor Kerekes professor emeritus, Budapest Corvinus University: Raw materials’ supply enough for 20 years!?

10:50-11:10 Dr. András Schiffer lawyer, ex-member of parliament, management member of the Gábor Karátson Circle: Planned obsolescence – the built-in enemy.

11:10-11:30 Prof. Dr. Gergely Tóth secretary general, KÖVET Association; full professor, MATE Kaposvár Campus: Building the Tower of Babel in case of raw material scarcity.


11:30-12:00 Coffee break
12:00-13:30 Plenaries – raw material scarcity and possible solutions in the different industries chair: Norbert Rőczei project manager, KÖVET Association
12:00-12:20 Erzsébet Ódor HSE Manager, Europe and Africa region, Sanofi Aventis Zrt.; president of board, KÖVET Association – Gábor Réti HSE director, EGIS Hungary Zrt.: Where to for the pharmaceutical industry?

12:20-12:40 Dr. Tamás Szigeti business development director, WESSLING Hungary Ltd.: Requiem for water that supplies life

12:40-13:00 Dr. László Ürge executive director, DBH Investment Zrt.

13:00-13:30 questions, debate

13:30-14:15 Lunch break
14:15-15:45 Round table discussion: solutions, best practices

chair: Katalin Herner


●      Márton Vitányi executive director, Inter-Metal Recycling Ltd.

●      László Berta founder, Cleanwashers.org

●      Szabolcs Töreki board member, Hungary Green Building Council, WING Zrt. project coordinator

●      Zoltán Békés founder, MR Sales, co-founder XForest press


15:40-17:00 Plenaries – closing presentations (in English, via ZOOM) – chair: Gergely Tóth
15:40-16:00 Dr. Hazel Henderson, British future researcher, evolutionist economist

16:00-16:20 Prof. Dr. Tim Jackson, British ecological economist, professor of sustainable development: Post Growth: Life After Capitalism (introduction of his book titled the same)

16:20-16:40 Dr. Riane Eisler, American system researcher and activist: Creating a Caring Economy: Beyond Capitalism and Socialism

Th language of the Conference is Hungarian, apart from the presentations of Dr. Donnie McLurcan, Dr. Hazel Henderson, Prof. Dr. Tim Jackson and Dr. Riane Eisler. 

Deadline for registration: 18 October 2021 (Monday)


Participation fees:

  • VIP ticket* for KÖVET members: 12.000 HUF
  • VIP ticket* for outside KÖVET: 18.000 HUF
  • Ticket for the event without lunch: 5.000 HUF
  • For non-business representatives/students: free
  • Online: free

*VIP ticket includes: admission throughout the event, coffee and lunch.


We are organizing the 26th Annual KÖVET Conference according to the Green Event Certification criteria.

Bring your old or broken mobile phone, tablet or GPS with you and drop it in the box as part of the Bring it back, Bro! mobile collection campaign.