The EU funded project POLFREE (Policy Options for a Resource Efficient Economy) coordinated by Professor Paul Ekins from University College London ( on the one hand aimed to identify the ‘web of constraints’ behind why we do not use natural resources as efficiently as we might and on the other hand developed a vision for a resource-efficient Europe. This does not only include describing such a possible future economy, but also modeling different possible scenarios. The project’s goal was to devise recommendations for national and EU policy that could further a more resource-efficient European economy. In the first couple of years working on POLFREE, we used scientific research and political documents in dialogue with stakeholders to develop the three scenarios that were in turn quantified using economic and ecological models


The project’s main result: Using fewer resources and serious action against climate change can lead to more jobs, positive economic development and a high quality of life. To spread this message, SERI in cooperation with Bert Beyers also developed a website ( compiling the most important findings in videos, photos, graphs and texts.

Six Policy Briefs concluded the work on POLFREE (Policy Options for a Resource Efficient Economy), a project SERI and a number of European partners have worked on for over three years.

Related projects

Results for the Austrian economy were presented as part of the “Growth in Transition” initiative. Moreover, SERI and GWS have continued to work on the scenarios including calculations on the economic advantages of a European-wide nuclear power phase-out. In another project – meetPASS – SERI and GWS aim to find out how the 1.5 degrees target can be reached and what that would mean for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).



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