We understand ecological economic policy as the sum of all economic and ecological policy measures which directly or indirectly dematerialise highly industrialised economies, and promote socio-economic goals, such as jobs and prosperity at the same time. Such policy actions include, for example, environmental tax reforms, tradable permits for resources and emissions and redistribution of income, work and capital. The balanced interaction of different environmental, social and economic policy measures is a crucial precondition for the successful transition of our economy and society towards a path of sustainability.

At the end of the day, the question is how to rearrange the economic system to achieve well-being with substantial reductions in our energy and resource consumption. To answer this question we develop sustainable economic and socio-political concepts and offer solution-oriented and provide holistic consultancy. In our work, we highlight alternative and innovative economic strategies and ways of living which satisfy people’s needs with fewer resources. With our work we aim to support political decision-makers in their search for sustainable solutions.

Taking a holistic approach

Growth of world population, continued high levels of consumption in the developed world as well as the rapid industrialisation of countries such as China, India and Brazil are increasing the worldwide demand on natural resources and related pressures on the environment. While extraction of many non-renewable resources, such as oil and several metals, is already reaching or near a peak, renewable resources, and the ecological services they provide, are at great risk of degradation and collapse.

Developing countries need to augment their material wealth and escape poverty in the future. At the same time total global resource consumption must be stabilised in the short-term and reduced in the medium term.  “Globalisation” – just like the principle of sustainability – has to be understood as a multi-layered and complex process which is not only economic in nature. Therefore it is essential that all world regions recognise their specific global responsibilities to realise sustainable development.

In the thematic area ‘global responsibility’ SERI works on the quantification and illustration of global interrelations between the use of natural resources by different actors, transport originating from the interconnectedness of the international trading system, and resulting environmental pressures. One focus is set on tracing the impacts of the European life style on the living conditions and developing prospects of people in other parts of the world.

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