Climate change, the considerable stress put on our global ecosystems and the need for energy and resource conservation but also low economic growth and rising unemployment are just some of the recent challenges policy makers have to deal with. Importantly, Europe will have to decide how it deals with these challenges: reacting to problems or instead proactively facing issues to transform them into opportunities.

That is the central message of EU project POLFREE. Using fewer resources and serious action against climate change can lead to more jobs, positive economic development and a high quality of life. Respective policies allow economic and social innovation to happen  in the first place, while continuing with “Business as Usual” could have detrimental effects: climate change, food prices, unemployment would rise. The project coordinated by the University College London (UCL) with partners from the Netherlands, Germany and Austria (SERI) designed four scenarios of possible development until 2050.

A new project for the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management will aggregate the results for Austria to compare various economic sectors across the EU and the world and present these findings at a workshop as part of the initiative “Growth in Transition“. The final report is available in German here.

Find out more about polfree at and 


Fritz Hinterberger
Andrea Stocker


Go here to find out more about the research area Sustainable Economic Policy and Global Responsibility