Walter Kahlenborn
Dipl.-Ing. Business Engineering, M.A. History/Philosophy
Managing Director

Walter Kahlenborn is a co-founder and Managing Director of adelphi research and adelphi consult. The core topics of his research and consultancy work are sustainable economic development, and climate and energy. He advises federal ministries, the European Commission, companies and organisations. Since 1995, he has managed more than 100 national and international research and advisory projects with inter-disciplinary teams, predominantly on issues concerning, climate adaptation and mitigation, green economy, sustainable consumption, sustainable financial services, corporate social responsibility, transformative environmental policy and sustainable digitalization.

As adelphi’s Managing Director, he has played a leading role in devising work programmes for international organisations, developing technology road maps, as well as designing and implementing environmental action plans. Projects led by Walter Kahlenborn were an important contribution to i. e. the advancement of the German strategy for adaptation to climate change and the design of the national action plan for sustainable consumption. Other projects focussed on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the advancement of the German sustainability strategy. He was commissioned by the German government to oversee and coordinate the foundation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). In parallel to these activities, he has initiated and managed numerous European research projects on environmental, economic and political issues and their interactions.

Walter Kahlenborn is highly experienced in evaluation processes. Furthermore, he has been responsible for coordinating and steering project secretariats (e.g. the German EMAS advisory board UGA) and organizing international awards (e.g. European Natura 2000 Award, EMAS-Award) on the European level for many years.   

Walter Kahlenborn has published more than 200 books, articles and technical papers on issues regarding environmental policy. His regional focuses are Europe, Southeast Asia and the USA. In the past, he has been a member of various scientific advisory boards as well as an expert evaluator for the European Commission’s Framework Programmes. He is also fully trained in Capacity WORKS.

He is founder of the German Sustainable Investment Forum and worked many years both as Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of the forum. For several years he also held the post of Vice President of the European umbrella organisation Eurosif, which he helped co-found.

Before working for adelphi, Walter Kahlenborn spent six years at the environmental consultancy company Ecologic and managed the Environmental Finance department. From 1994 to 1995, he worked at the Social Science Research Centre for Professor Meinolf Dierkes in Berlin.

Walter Kahlenborn studied industrial engineering (Dipl.-Ing.) and history and philosophy (M.A.) in Berlin, Bologna and New Orleans.

Selected Projects

Selected publications

  • Ländervergleichende Analyse industriepolitischer Maßnahmen und Instrumente – FFU-Report 01-2010

    Jacob, Klaus; Jutta Knopf und Walter Kahlenborn 2010: Ländervergleichende Analyse industriepolitischer Maßnahmen und Instrumente. FFU-Report 01-2010. Berlin: Freie Universität Berlin, Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik.
  • Meta-Analyse: Nachhaltigkeitsstrategien in Politik und Wirtschaft – Literaturstudie

    Knopf, Jutta; Esther Hoffmann, Lucienne Damm, Klaus Jacob und Walter Kahlenborn 2009: Meta-Analyse: Nachhaltigkeitsstrategien in Politik und Wirtschaft. Literaturstudie. Berlin: adelphi/IÖW.

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