The aims of sustainable development are to satisfy human needs and to maintain the environment. To reach these aims, it is necessary to work in different systems and research areas. As explained below, SERI works with several different aspects of sustainability, although we can of course not cover all of them. The choice of topics shows the necessity of a trans disciplinary and multidimensional approach to sustainable development. On the other side, it is also important to specialize in certain core areas to provide high-quality analysis and recommendations.
In the context of biodiversity we point out the relations between
societal, social and economic developments and different driving forces
of and pressures on biodiversity as well as changes of ecosystems.
These insights build the basis for the development of strategies to
maintain ecosystems and their diversity with its entire dynamic. More...
Where can households make a difference to reduce the environmental
aspect of their every day life? How can the external factors shaping
consumption decisions set supportive incentives? To which extend does
consumption contribute to our happiness and societal wellbeing? These
are the questions SERI deals with in its sustainable consumption
Europe’ s global responsibility
According to the newest data on consumption, the material- and
energy consumption as well as greenhouse emissions in Europe are far
above global sustainable levels. In addition, there is a movement of
environmentally intensive sectors (such as mountain farming, fishing,
etc.) from Europe to single regions in so-called developing countries.
To realize sustainability in Europe we need new political concepts and
support of the goal to make Europe the most resource- and energy
efficient continent in the world. More...
The transition to a sustainable development requires environmental- and socio-political goals to make frameworks giving more freedom to the individual actions of households and companies than traditional interventionalist politics. A reform of the social and fiscal systems would be important to achieve this. Tools such as resource control, reduced working hours and negative income taxes should complement existing policy measures to fight the interconnected problems of economic growth, unemployment and environmental damages. More...
Scientific results must be accessible and useable, not just for other
scientists, but also for decision makers who are implementing this
knowledge with policies. The participation of a large number of
stakeholders from different areas in sustainability research ensure
that we ask relevant questions and give relevant answers.
Sustainability is a complex concept, that in spite of several
insecurities requires long term perspectives. A dialogue on all aspects
of sustainable development can only be achieved trough broad
participation. This dialogue is important to create trust between
scientists and those people who are directly affected by scientific
results. Hence, we examine different ways to bring these stakeholders
into a dialogue. More...
The reduction of natural resource use – in terms of materials, energy and land area – for production and consumption activities is a central prerequisite for achieving environmentally sustainable development in Europe.
SERI develops new approaches of environmental governance, which take a systemic view of the economy-environment relationship, acknowledging that many current environmental problems are related to the overall scale of resource use rather than to toxicities of specific substances. SERI favours input-oriented policy strategies (such as the concept of dematerialisation) as the means to tackling persistent environmental problems at their source. More...
Sustainability Strategies are integrated frameworks for policy
development. SERI develops and applies economic, social, environmental
and intuitional criteria for their monitoring and assessment.
Work and social capital
Work and ecology are policy issues highly relevant on the agenda for both the EU as a whole and all Member States. The European Treaties require an integration of environmental, economic and social policies in order to allow for a Sustainable Development. This is of special importance for the link between environmental and employment policy. In addition to financial and produced capital the natural, human and social capital become more important for economic and societal development. SERI investigates these relationships theoretically as well as empirically and develops policy suggestions for a more effective policy integration. More...