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.


It is less the size of the present gross domestic product than the distribution of jobs on (relative) few employed person, which causes high levels of unemployment, and thus distributional problems. Unemployment affects the well-being of humans negatively and causes also a dismantling of human capital (loss of knowldedge) and social capital (the personal networks necessary for managing, relations, social co-operation in a society), thus raising the social inefficiency. For an increase of the total social and economic efficiency (= competitiveness) it is necessary, to generate more human and social capital. However, the genaration of these assets requires time to form and maintain relationships, to spend time with the family and children, ect.

Policy relevance

A meaningful possibility to increase the individual well-being in the (Austrian / German / European) society and to augment the competitiveness of the economy at the same time, is to re-distribute work, whereby both the work for money and unpaid work must be considered. This means to distribute less employment (Erwerbsarbeit) on more capita as well as to provide more time to (more than) full time employees for relations, self implementation, education and care, social commitment.

Less employment causes less market production and consumption thus reduced resource consumption, with which the circle closes again. For the society as a whole this means:

  • less environmental consumption,
  • more "well-being"
  • to create more jobs in a
  • more competitive Europe.

Specific contribution by SERI

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.

Other areas of activity:


Biodiversity loss, the most significant transgression of the planetary boundaries so far, is going...

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Strong sustainable consumption

Where can households make a difference to reduce the environmental aspect of their every day life?...

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Environmental justice

The access to a healthy environment and to natural resouces is rather unevenly distributes between...

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Resource efficiency and demateralisation

The reduction of natural resource use – in terms of materials, energy and land area – for...

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Degrowth, labour and reproduction

Work and ecology are policy issues highly relevant on the agenda for both the EU as a whole and all...

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Ecosystem services

Ecosystem services ESS are providing the benefits humans derive from nature. Many services are at...

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Stakeholder activation

Vox populi, or: democracy requires listening. Conceptually, stakeholder participation...

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Science-Policy Interface

“Truth speaks to power, and power implements” is still how many scientists understand their role (if...

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