The IÖW is a leading scientific institute in the field of practice-oriented sustainability research. It devises strategies and approaches for viable, long-term economic activity – for an economy which enables a good life and preserves natural resources.
European finance experts this week convened in Brussels to discuss necessary changes of the finance system for promoting the transition to a sustainable economy. Though the finance system has nearly collapsed in 2008 it is still largely in the same shape as before, claim the experts. Fundamental changes are needed in order to limit the “short-termism” of finance institutions and take a longer term perspective of financial allocations. In brief, the specialists call for less speculation and more investment, integrating ecological values in the finance system and the return of banks to their core function as intermediates between savers and businesses.
For two days more than 50 specialists from 15 countries discussed current food consumption trends and necessary reforms in order to achieve a sustainable food system. Identified hotspots that call for interventions are, firstly, the damages to environment that are caused within the food chain, such as soil degradation, water pollution or eutrophication. Secondly, also health issues are high on the agenda. About a quarter of the world population suffers from nutritional problems: About 800 million people around the world lack adequate access to food, in contrast to at least one billion people overweight, especially in industrialized countries. The experts emphasised the need of strong governance structures and actions in order to make food consumption more sustainable.
Berlin aims to be climate neutral in the year 2050 – how this goal can be reached is to be shown by a team of experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the IÖW and others, on behalf of the Berlin Senate. "Europe and the whole world is monitoring the Berlin metropolis," PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber says. "If the German capital is pioneering in climate protection, this is a contribution to maintain the two-degrees-limit in regard to global warming – to achieve this, states have to act as well as bold local authorities." Energy expert Bernd Hirschl from the IÖW, deputy head of the project: "A climate neutral Berlin will cooperate with the state of Brandenburg on different levels. We want to emphasize the economic advantages of climate neutrality".
Urban mobility is crucial for making Europe’s cities more sustainable. The key for improvement is concerted and goal-directed planning, say Europe’s leading mobility experts. It is important that the cities develop long-term goals for their respective mobility future. Last week, more than 60 professionals from 16 European countries discussed in Bratislava the trends, barriers and approaches for sustainable mobility in European cities. The experts agreed that it is necessary to focus on clever combinations of technological and infrastructural solutions with measures to stimulate changes on the demand side. In a nutshell, sustainable urban mobility in the future has to opt for clean technologies, smart infrastructures and to favour the change of modal split towards more walking, cycling and public transport.
Although we know that consumption patterns must become more sustainable, this knowledge has not yet led to a respective response in European policy making. Following a pan-European effort, consumption experts have today released the policy brief “Enabling Sustainable Consumption”. The policy brief shows how obstacles interfering with sustainable consumption can be overcome, in order to foster a low-impact lifestyle. The European project “CORPUS – Enhancing the connectivity between research and policy-making in sustainable consumption” has examined three crucial policy sectors of sustainable consumption and production (SCP): Mobility, food and housing. Within a three-year process, policy makers and researchers have tested novel ways for sharing knowledge.
Modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can have a great influence on shaping a more sustainable world. The mega-trends Cloud Computing and Smart Systems in the areas of energy, transport and housing, have the potential to substantially reduce environmental impacts and, thus, green Europe’s future. The time to adjust the future development of these technologies is now, say Europe’s leading ICT-specialists. Last week, more than 50 professionals from 20 countries across Europe, the US and Australia discussed in Vienna how ICT can increase energy and resource efficiency and make consumption more sustainable.
Today European science and policy experts released “The CORPUS Research Agenda for Sustainable Housing in Europe”. Having a significant impact on the environment, health and social cohesion, housing is widely seen as a major issue in the politics of sustainable consumption and production (SCP). More than 100 specialists from all over Europe have developed the research agenda in a unique joint effort. Within the agenda, they focus on the most urgent issues in sustainable housing. They allocate the identified hot research topics to four thematic strands that cover the economic and the social sides of sustainability as well as the environmental aspects of housing.