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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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News

From Amazon to Zalando, online platforms are shaping our society. Corona has given a further boost to many digital corporations. Shaping and regulating the platform economy politically is a generational task. Based on current research, the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) recommends that Germany and the European Union should focus more on the common good and user participation in platform policy. The market power of a few dominant monopoly-like platforms must be reduced. Democratically constituted platform alternatives should be strengthened so that users can become more independent and participate more. And the public sector should create its own offerings in critical areas as a service of general interest. more

 

Certain large enterprises in the European Union are required to publicly disclose sustainability information. In this way, especially financial market participants shall obtain a more comprehensive picture of the sustainability risks enterprises are exposed to and of the impacts they have on environment and society. A recent study by the German Environment Agency (UBA), carried out by the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) together with the management consultancy Arqum and the Fair Finance Institute, shows that even though German companies increasingly report on climate, water, resources and waste, significant gaps remain. Only about 20 percent disclose information on air pollution and biodiversity. Apparently, the identified gaps in corporate reporting are often due to insufficient legal provisions. UBA suggests, among others, to require more detailed reporting on individual environmental topics at EU level. more

 

Communities or individual citizens producing, using and selling their own renewable energy could provide up to 89 percent of the electricity demanded in the residential sector by 2050. The European research project PROSEU carried out in cooperation with the IÖW has concluded that, in the coming years, European, national and local governments have a unique chance to support ‘prosumerism’ and thus an effective and socially just energy transition. more

 

A solution for pressing sustainability challenges? Or an impediment for socio-ecological transformation? As of today, it is rather impossible to draw an overall conclusion on how digitalisation affects sustainability. In this first digital and open access issue of the journal Oekologisches Wirtschaften (Ecological Economy), the authors argue that there is no “black and white” answer to this question; instead, the answer is complex and overarching. The issue is edited by the research group “Digitalization and Sustainability”, a cooperation project between the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF)/Technical University of Berlin and the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW). 12 articles present the topics of the group’s science-policy workshop series “Forum Bits & Bäume“ (Forum on Digitalisation and Sustainability); the research group is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). more

 

After it has triggered significant debate in Germany, the report on the precautionary post-growth approach is now published in English language. With it, the researchers are seeking a new consensus in the sustainability debate at a crucial time when billions are being poured into economic stimulus programs. more

 

The circular economy is a concept that not only can help us reach climate neutrality and reduce environmental burden, but also support European economy to be innovative and competitive. The report “Products and circular economy“ presents the findings from more than one hundred EU-funded research and innovation projects, highlighting product circularity ideas related to design, manufacturing, use and afteruse. An independent expert report was compiled by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission. IÖW scientist Dr Frieder Rubik contributed among nine independent experts to the identification of key lessons for policy makers with regard to possible future research and policy action. more

 

In their book „Smart Green World“, Steffen Lange and Tilman Santarius investigate how digitalization influences environmental and social sustainability. The information revolution is currently changing the daily lives of billions of people worldwide. At the same time, the current economic model and consumerist lifestyle needs to be radically transformed if society is to overcome the challenges humanity is facing on a finite planet. Can the much-discussed disruption potential of digitalization be harnessed for this purpose? The book is published in May 2020 and is result of the project „Digitalization and socio-economic Transformation“. more

 

Our Responsibility

The IÖW also 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.

www.ecornet.de/en