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.

SMEs and rural areas under demographic change – opportunities by social-environmental acting? (Regio TransKMU)

Jan 2015 to Dec 2017

Hardly any trend in Germany is discussed as intensely as demographic change. Rural regions will be particularly affected. It intensifies the internal migration already taking place and may lead to negative impacts on regional social structures.  It also exacerbates the existing or expected lack of specialists, which especially affects small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and therefore the competitiveness of a region. The question emerges: which factors can increase the attractiveness of regions as a place to live and the attractiveness of SMEs as employer in a way that makes people want to stay. Given this context, the research project Regio TransKMU researches whether and how SMEs that act sustainably (in social and environmental terms) can shape rural areas and make them more attractive.

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.

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.

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.

Commons-based Peer Production in Open Labs (COWERK)

Nov 2014 to Oct 2017

The project COWERK intends to examine the adoption of cooperative ways of organizing the economy by using the example of open-access labs. The project has the aim of analyzing the adoption of new technological methods in the context of decentralized and community-based production, and relating them to ways of sustainable development.