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Welcome to the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW)

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.

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Group photo with 9 women and 6 men from different countries in the IÖW conference room

Increasing weather extremes are putting cities and countries under pressure worldwide. Adaptation is a comparatively new and complex field of activity that benefits from exchange and mutual learning. The Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut have invited leading experts from fifteen countries on a trip to provide insights into climate change impacts and adaptation measures in Germany. On May 13, 2024, the delegation visited the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW). Professor Jesko Hirschfeld and Johannes Rupp discussed climate adaptation strategies and the costs of the climate crisis with the visitors. more


Since January 2024, the political scientist Jonas Pentzien is head of the research field “Business, value chains and consumption” at the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) in Berlin. He heads the field together with the sustainable business researcher Dr. Christian Lautermann. more


Since December 2023, the agricultural scientist and environmental economist Dr. Alexandra Dehnhardt is head of the research field ‘Ecological Economics and Environmental Policy’ at the Institute for Ecological Economic Research (IÖW) in Berlin. She jointly leads the research field together with the sustainability and transformation scientist Dr. Florian Kern. more


Who can take responsibility for steering problematic developments in AI back in the right direction? This is the question addressed in the third and final issue of the SustAIn magazine. Before the EU starts the final negotiations on the AI regulation on 6 December 2023, AlgorithmWatch, the IÖW and the DAI Lab at TU Berlin provide an up-to-date overview of the sustainability impacts of AI – from AI resource consumption through online marketing to the water footprint of AI systems. The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment. more


To strengthen economic and social cohesion within the European Union, the European Commission provides “cohesion funds”. These make up around a third of the EU budget. To date, the funds have mainly been used for roads, motorways and bridges in structurally weak regions. Since 2021, cohesion policy should also take much greater account of environmental goals, such as the Paris Climate Agreement. An Academic Sounding Board is now to help channel investments in a sustainable way. Florian Kern, research group leader at the IÖW, has been appointed to the board, which will meet for the second time on 22 November 2023. more

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Existing consumption and production systems, which use natural resources to meet societal needs for food, shelter, energy and health, are unsustainable. Although researchers from different disciplines have long investigated how these systems can become more sustainable, scientists from socio-technical and socio-environmental research communities are now seeking to join forces. A special feature in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which was guest edited by researchers from the University of Manchester, the Institute for Ecological Economy Research, and Harvard University, presents new findings about transitions in electricity, food, and mobility systems. more


Which alternatives exist to replace coal, oil and natural gas? Hydrogen increasingly gains attention in connection with decarbonization internationally. In Germany, hydrogen has become a central component of climate protection policy and is seen by some players almost as a panacea for decarbonization. An article by IÖW authors analyzes the expectations of relevant stakeholders regarding the future development of the energy carrier. Conclusion of the researchers: A targeted political prioritization of hydrogen applications could defuse tensions and support a common vision. more


Our Responsibility

The IÖW endeavours to make its own work as sustainable as possible. And at the same time we try to consider the social concerns of our employees. Read more here.

IÖW – Partner in Ecornet

The IÖW is a partner in Ecornet, the network of leading non-university institutes of sustainability research in Germany.