SERI Germany e.V.

The Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI Germany e.V. is a decentralised, virtual, transdisciplinary research centre. As the name suggests our core activities are to explore and promote sustainable development options in and for Europe, and analyse the impact of European policies on other parts of the world.

We are dedicated to sustainable development research that is comprehensive, scientifically solid, socially robust and practically relevant, covering environmental, social, institutional and economic sustainability. Our research is carried out in interdisciplinary teams with expertise across natural sciences, economics, social sciences and humanities, sourced from our network of collaborators. As the composition of teams is adapted to the project focus, this structure permits a flexible response with high quality personnel to a wide variety of research issues. Often SERI fellows hold their own academic or other professional positions, and get involved with a part of their working capacity in our projects.

Next to research work SERI Germany is devoted to spread the word and to induce change in society. Thus, SERI Fellows are active in civil society organisations, from environmental and environmental justice organisations via trade unions to religious institutions. To facilitate broad outreach of our results and insights SERI Germany offers free access to all studies, publications and educational material we produce (as far as publishers’ restrictions permit doing so). We strongly support open access for all publications of research results.

SERI Germany e.V. was founded in 2005 as a private, independent, not-for-profit research centre. Independent means that we do not receive core funding, neither from public nor from private institutions. SERI generates income exclusively from projects, mostly commissioned by public authorities and research institutions. If any (usually small) surplus emerges from projects, these it is spent on sustainable development activities, supporting research or civil society projects suggested by the SERI membership.


The study "Towards Sustainable Europe" is an attempt to gather thoughts and ideas about a long-term perspective for Europe, which in return can provide guidance in current public policy debates.

Industrialism and colonialism emerged from Europe. Now that times are again changing and some people have begun to question the industrial paradigm as such, Europe could again be the source of new ideas and initiatives - environmentalism, a sustainable social system and sustainable technologies being the most important key words in this debate.

In fact, people from many countries in the South have put their hope in Europe, and for the sake of the survival of our cultural model, we must change it and meet these challenges. Europe not only has the capacity to do so, but the historical responsibility as well.

In this context, a study on Sustainable Europe becomes an important contribution to an essential debate. It is an attempt to link environmental, social and cultural considerations and reveal possible convergent tendencies in the different debates. Although many of the results are preliminary and need (and deserve) further investigation, this version of the study already provides significant food for thought - and that is one of the best things that can be said about any study.

Ernst U. von Weizsäcker

Full Report download link

Joachim H. Spangenberg (Ed.), et al., 1996. Towards Sustainable. 2nd Version, Wuppertal.