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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.

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.

Comparing common good economy with corporate sustainability strategies (GIVUN)

Mar 2015 to Feb 2018

The aim of the scientific project “Comparing common good economy with corporate sustainabil-ity strategies (GIVUN)” is to provide a historical and economic-ethical context as well as empiri-cal research for an economy that is oriented after the common good. Furthermore, there will be an evaluation of the concept of the common good economy and other Corporate-Social-Responsibility (CSR) instruments. This will look at their transformative potential for integrating sustainability objectives into the corporate orientation.  Focus of the project will be research about the impacts of the corporate common good orientation on concrete working and production conditions.   Special regard will be paid to environmental effects and exploring conditions for the up-scaling and diffusion of common good economy for big corporations.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Integrating Employees as Consumers into Sustainability Innovation Processes (IMKoN)

Apr 2015 to Mar 2018

Companies as well as consumers depend on sustainability innovations for contributing to an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable economy. So far, the number of genuine sustainability innovations is, however, still limited in their scope and scale. Open Innovation, that is integrating e.g. customers into the innovation process, is one way of promoting the development and diffusion of sustainability innovations. Plenty of research has been conducted on the integration of customers as consumers by now, yet little attention has been paid to employees in their role as consumers. But there is evidence that employees in their double role as both company members and consumers bear a substantial potential to foster sustainable innovations tailored to the companies’ and the consumers’ needs.

Mobile Living – Innovative Housing and Mobility Services

Jun 2015 to May 2018

The research project wants to initiate a knowledge brokerage process between joint housing initiatives and housing companies. Innovative ideas from joint housing and mobility concepts are going to be designed to be compatible and economically viable. Furthermore, the research project offers a knowledge pool containing promising ideas and concepts.

Research Project: „Well-Being Transformation Wuppertal (WTW)

May 2015 to Apr 2018

What do a sustainable economy, quality of life and urban transformation mean in cities such as Wuppertal, which are struggling with deep structural changes? How can impulses for more sustainability coming from the city’s civil society be described, structured and supported? How can quality of life be decoupled from material economic growth and resource consumption? The project WTW seeks comprehensive answers to these questions.

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.

Transformation: an analysis of economic, social and technological transformation pathways (InTrans)

Jun 2015 to May 2018

The goal of InTrans is to show pathways of transformation towards an economy that is ecologically and socially just. The focus will be medium- to long-term perspectives with regards to a changing environment. This project is constructed in an interdisciplinary way and brings together researchers from the fields of philosophy, economics and sociology. Concrete policy recommendations shall be derived. The targeted incorporation of practitioner partners ensures a high scientific quality and the relevance of all parts of the project.

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.