REPAIR is THE FUTURE conference 27th March 2020 (English)

REPAIR is THE FUTURE conference 27th March 2020 (English)


The shift towards a more sustainable economy will require investing in repair and repairability. Prolonging the lifetime of products is the most efficient way to reduce the use of raw materials and to avoid waste. As we are faced with great ecological challenges, this topic will continue to gain importance in public debate. So, let’s share our findings and exchange ideas on how to move forward.


The conference REPAIR is THE FUTURE will invite experts and inspirational speakers to share their views and proposals. They will explore concrete policies, projects and campaigns developed by civil society groups, repairers, policy makers and producers. A great opportunity to exchange best practice knowledge. 

Practical information

Date and time

Friday, March 27th 2020 from 9:30 am to 5 pm 


Cera, Muntstraat 1, 3000 Leuven (within walking distance to the station) 

This conference welcomes

Repairers, producers, distributors, policy makers and everyone who wants to participate in the development of the repair sector 




All participants are kindly requested to register via this online registration form
The conference is free. However, if you register but don’t show up (without letting us know beforehand that you can’t make it) we will charge a no show fee of € 35


Netwerk Bewust Verbruiken and Repair&Share / Together with Cera, Vlaanderen Circulair, KU Leuven, Vito and Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats / With support from the City of Leuven, the Flemish Government and the European Union as part of the Interreg North-West Europe project SHAREPAIR / Thanks to Maakbaar Leuven, Repair Together, The Restart Project, iFixit, HOP, ECOS


09:30 Welcome

10:00 Plenary session: keynote

Repair revolution? The practice of repairing consumer goods in its past and current context
How did the practice of repairing consumer goods evolve over time? How can we connect the repair movement to other social movements campaigning for environmental sustainability?
With: prof. Tine De Moor, expert institutions for collective action – Utrecht University (NL)

11:00 Parallel sessions

A. Never take broken for an answer: how to cross the thresholds for repair
Why do we repair less than we used to? How can we counter this trend? Several European organisations are invested in tackling this issue.
With: Adèle Chason – HOP/Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée (FR); Tom Thysen – Test Aankoop/Test Achats (BE); Eva van Velzen – Netwerk Bewust Verbruiken (BE) / Moderator: Inez Louwagie – Repair&Share (BE)

B. Let’s save the repair business, shall we?
As long as our economic system is focused on growth and speed, investing in repair seems futile. A lot of independent repair businesses have a hard time surviving. What business models can overcome the difficulties of this sector? What policies can support repair and make it more mainstream? 
With: Yoko Dams – Vito (BE); Ward Dumon – Servilux (BE); prof. Karel Van Acker – KU Leuven (BE) / Moderator: Olivier Beys – Bond Beter Leefmilieu (BE)

C. How to repair the flaws of product design?
The declining repairability of products is an important and growing obstacle for anyone who cares about durability. This is a shared responsibility. How can producers enhance repairability and extend the lifetime of their products? Do we need more binding legislation?
With: Ernestas Oldyrevas – ECOS/European Environmental Citizens’ Organisation for Standardisation; Ellen Bracquene – KU Leuven, Centre for Industrial Management (BE); prof. Maja Van Der Velden – University of Oslo, Dept. of Informatics (NO) / Moderator: prof. Joost Duflou – KU Leuven (BE)

12:30 Lunch

13:30 Plenary session: Repair & Empowerment / Right to Repair

Speech by David Dessers – City of Leuven, Deputy mayor for Mobility, Climate and Sustainability, Agriculture and Consumption

Tomorrow’s repair sector as a vehicle for social inclusion and empowerment
With: Joren Verschaeve – HERW!N (BE); Corine van Kelecom – MAAKbar (BE); Rosalie Heens – Netwerk Bewust Verbruiken (BE) / Moderator: Caro Debruyn – Cera (BE)

In several European countries consumers, community repairers and environmental organisations are advocating for the ‘right to repair’. They want repairable products, access to spare parts and repair manuals and financial incentives for repair.
With: Chloé Mikolajczak – European ‘Right to Repair’ campaign; Rosalie Heens – Flemish ‘Recht op Repareren’ campaign’

14:30 Parallel sessions

D. Information is key: data collection for the repair community
Repairers need technical information, consumers need to know whether they can get something fixed, producers need feedback about the quality of their products, and policy makers need data about repairability and its environmental and social impact. How can we collect, centralise and publish this information?
With: Ugo Vallauri – The Restart Project (UK); Martine Postma – Stichting Repair Café & Repair Monitor (NL) a.o.

E. Is the future of repair Cooperative?
Many small repair businesses have stopped their activities. Newcomers are struggling to survive. Can a repair cooperative overcome some of the problems the repair sector faces? Entrepreneurs, experts and dreamers take the time to exchange.
With: Hannes Hollebecq – Cera (BE); Tine De Moor – Utrecht University (NL)

F. New local repair ecosystems on the rise?
Is there such a thing as a healthy ‘repair ecosystem’? Could a local network of citizen initiatives, businesses, schools and governments collaborate to boost repair? 
With: David Dessers – City of Leuven, Deputy mayor for Mobility, Climate and Sustainability, Agriculture and Consumption (BE); Markus Piringer – Umweltberatung (AT); Erik Béatse – Maakbaar Leuven (BE) / Moderator: Jan Mertens – Federal Council for Sustainable Development (BE)

16:00 Plenary session

Performance by Cie Tartaren (in Dutch)

16:30 Reception