“Voluntary simplifiers” live more sustainably as they deliberately reduce their consumption

According to a current study by researchers on the BMBF project „Strategies and Potentials to Initiate and Promote Sustainable Consumption” (SPIN), 14.4% of the adult German population make a decision to consume significantly less than they could financially afford. Such people can be described by the term voluntary simplifiers.

Environmental impacts and abatement costs of food waste reduction: the case of bread

In this study, environmental impacts and abatement costs of reducing food waste in the life cycle of bread were calculated by connecting life cycle assessment with environmental life cycle costing. The life cycle includes production, processing, sale, consumption and disposal of mixed grain bread in Germany. The functional unit (FU) was set as 1 kg bread consumed.

Pathways to reduce Food Waste (REFOWAS)

May 2015 to May 2018

The production and consumption of food has an impact on the environment. In this context we question the importance of food waste. To analyse this, we quantify the agricultural and food sectors along the entire value chain. Food waste can often be avoided with relative ease. In different case studies we study the main points and reasons for the creation of waste and examine different ways to reduce them.

Transparency and transformation in the sustainable food economy. Collaborative approaches for more sustainability from the resource to the end consumer (Transkoll)

Apr 2015 to Mar 2018

The final goal of this project is to develop and validate a toolbox of instruments and methods for small and medium sized enterprises (KMUs) that help to integrate sustainability in the whole food industry chain. Furthermore, the goal is to learn more about motives of action, structural and psychological barriers – respectively the behavior of the employees and the companies that have business relationships. It will also be evaluated how to establish transparency between the resource and the consumer and how to tackle insufficient consumer willingness to get product information.

Slow Fashion (InNaBe)

Jan 2015 to Dec 2017

The focus of this project is on the question, if and how design related, technical, economical, and social innovations can contribute to a prolonging of the use phase of garments. The preconditions for a successful diffusion of innovative offers for more sustainable garments into mainstream milieus are another research topic. For this the factors hindering or promoting sustainable clothing consumption are explored. Cooperation with actors in the areas of production, retail market, and recycling of clothing are of great importance for the project.

New ways, strategies, business and communication models for bio-plastics (BiNa)

Apr 2015 to Mar 2018

Are bioplastics in production, use and at the end of the life cycle really more sustainable than the fossil competitors and which challenges are caused by the sustainability assessment? Which ecological potential provides the cascade use? What is the common level of knowledge of bioplastics and how does the general public assess the use of bioplastics? Which information mediums are effective, if the topic has to be communicated adequate for the customer? These and further question are in the focus of the research platform BiNa.

Sustainable consumption and management of marine fish (KoBeFisch)

Nov 2014 to Mar 2018

KoBeFisch has the hypothesis that European fisheries policies has not been able to prevent overfishing due to its current responsibility structures. In the current EU fisheries management, it is governmental actors that have the responsibility. For example, the council of ministries determines many regulations, including the catch quotas. At the same time, fishermen and fish consumers have almost no opportunity to influence the catch quotas in order to shift to more sustainable fishing. In KoBeFisch, alternatives are researched and developed on how governmental and non-governmental actors could share more responsibility for sustainability. Traditional coastal fishermen are considered alongside fish consumers as a point of special interest in the analysis.

Sustainable use and production of ornamental plants: demand driven development of new proce-dures and products (ProKonZier)

Jan 2015 to Dec 2017

Ornamental plants are an integral part of people’s life and consumption. Three out of four households buy a decorative plant at least once in the year. The project will take use of the big sustainability potential of the ornamental plant industry by developing new business models. Currently, the environmental conditions in the production sites are aligned to growth performance and sales quality, but not to later everyday – and environmental conditions at the consumers’ households. As a result, ornamental plants show there stress symptoms. In addition, many consumers lack the necessary competence in plant care. Product failures are the result.

Living Labs in the Green Economy - Real-world Innovation for User-Integration and Sustainability

Mar 2015 to Feb 2018

The project demonstrates the potential of LivingLabs in the Green Economy. Within the project, innovations for assistance systems in the key areas of sustainable consumption (“living”, “retail”, “mobility”) are developed. In three German LivingLabs, companies and research organizations create and test new prototypes and business models with specific engagement of users.

Consumer Behavior and Innovations for Sustainable Chemistry (KInChem)

Apr 2015 to Mar 2018

Whether a regulatory framework based on producing and disseminating risk information on chemical substances can contribute to the stated normative goals by inducing behavioral change of the relevant market actors is an unanswered empirical question. The project focuses particularly on the potential of demand driven changes in the market as a result of a change in consumer behavior. By studying consumers risk preference and perception of risk (information) the project aims at deriving policy implications regarding consumer protection rights with respect to the disclosure of information about products and chemicals. Furthermore, it is examined to what extent other societal actors can remedy the information asymmetry by making risk information stemming from scientific and regulatory contexts accessible and understandable to consumers.

Internet driven business modells for collaborative consumption contributing for a sustainable economy (PeerS)

Feb 2015 to Jan 2018

The project aims to assess the sustainability potential of peer-to-peer sharing. With the help of a strong partnership with practioners, the project shall contribute to a professionalization of the platforms and their establishment as a sustainable consumer alternative. Through a dialogue with practice partners from sectors such as mobility (Drivy, flinc), accommodation (Wimdu) and clothing (Kleiderkreise), the environmental and social impacts of peer-sharing will be examined. The project will also determine to which extent rebound effects can occur

Innovative logistics for sustainable lifestyles (ILoNa)

May 2015 to Apr 2018

The main objective of logistics is to co-ordinate activities in a way that meets customer requirements at minimum cost. In the past this cost has been defined in purely monetary terms. As concern for the environment rises, companies must take more account of the external costs of logistics associated mainly with climate change, air pollution, noise, vibration and accidents. ILoNa is examining ways of reducing these externalities and achieving a more sustainable balance between economic, environmental and social objectives. Through a better understanding of the interaction of consumer behavior and logistics services, ILoNa intends to develop innovative, integrative models and concrete measures for sustainable economic activity with forward-looking options.

Green Travel Transformation - A model for an integrated transformation process towards sustainable business practices in tourism

May 2015 to Apr 2018

The aim of the project is to significantly increase the share of more sustainable travel options in all booked travel products. Thus it is necessary that such travel products are visible (labelling) and bookable (within the information and booking systems). Targeted consultation by the travel agency staff regarding the realization of sustainable holidays can increase the sense of responsibility, efficiency and potentially sufficiency. Accordingly two aspects can be achieved: The advantages and chances of sustainability become visible to travelers and travelers have the possibility to specifically book sustainable products. Thus the sense of responsibility, efficiency and potentially sufficiency can be combined: The traveler consciously and frequently decides to travel sustainable. Hence travel products will be promoted, which use less resources, are bound to a favorable economic and social contexts and thus better correspond to the sustainability criteria.

Governance model for socio-ecological transformation processes in practice: development and testing in three areas of application

Apr 2015 to Mar 2018

Severe environmental problems seem to require a substantial and near-term shift towards greater sustainability in our production and consumption patterns. While many individual initiatives already exist in practice, comprehensive governance approaches targeted towards substantial transformations of whole socio-technical systems are lacking. In this respect, there is a great public need for systemically oriented and field-proven recommendations for forms of (more) successful governance of transformation processes.

The overall objective of the project is the development and testing of a heuristic, and the drafting of a manual planned as an E-Book to support practitioners in contributing to the initiation and in actively shaping socio-ecological transfor¬mation processes.

Evolution2Green - Transformation Paths towards the Green Economy: Shaping Path Change

Jun 2015 to May 2018

The Green Economy and related concepts such as Green Growth and the Green New Deal were seized upon with increasing frequency during the recent global financial and economic crisis. The concept of the Green Economy aims to identify new ways in which economic growth can go hand in hand with ecological sustainability, social inclusion and fairness.

The project’s potential for application is to be found first of all in the political arena. Additionally, the project’s findings will help businesses and NGOs to better perceive their role in the transformation to a Green Economy.

Development, testing and distribution of concepts for a sustainable out-of-home dining sector (NAH_Gast)

Mar 2015 to Feb 2018

Businesses based in the out-of-home dining sector (Außer-Haus-Gastronomie, AHG) work continuously on a range of dishes that are healthier and more sustainable to cope with these changes in lifestyles and demand. To do that they further develop their supply in response to consumer needs with the help of dialogues with them. This project aims to initiate and disseminate trans-formative processes for more sustainable production and consumption in the out-of-home dining sector.

A multi-stakeholder process for better standards for responsible mining (NamiRo)

Jan 2015 to Dec 2017

The project aims at improving transparency in the mining and supply chain of mineral raw materials. An in-depth analysis of existing standards and their institutional designs along with a multi-stakeholder process serves as a base to develop a blue print of a generic standard and its institutional design. The process will particularly account for impacts and chances for the various stakeholders including mining companies in Germany, down-stream companies in the supply chain and finance industry interested in sustainable financing but also consumers.

The Handprint A complementary measurement of positive sustainability impacts of products

Jun 2015 to May 2018

The Handprint is an innovative and holistic approach to facilitate the measurement, evaluation and communication of the ecological, economic and social sustainability impacts of products.

Education for Sustainable Consumption through Mindfulness Training (BiNKA)

Mar 2016 to Feb 2018

Over the last years, mindfulness was successfully used to reduce chronical stress and increase well-being as well as the ability to concentrate. Education for Sustainable Consumption (ESC) and mindfulness training are combined in the BiNKA-project by focusing on the long-known problem of ESC, the discrepancy of individuals’ ecological attitude and their actual behavior. ESC aims at enabling people to consume more sustainably and is known as a crucial lever for the implementation of Sustainable Development. Overcoming the so called “attitude-behavior-gap” is one of the central challenges of ESC. Existing theories of the effects of mindfulness training suggest that practicing mindfulness strengthens awareness of one´s own core values, attitudes and behavior. Mindfulness might thus provide a tool to overcome the gap, potentially aligning values and behavior sustainably.