Analysing environmental trends and make them addressable for environmental policy at an early stage

Future developments, be they societal, economic or technical, are often associated with positive or negative future impacts on climate, nature, resource consumption and human health. The complexity of estimating the environmental impact of future trends requires intensive, scientifically sound analysis. Trend analyses can help do the following: limit future trends; identify key actors, markets and possible fields of application; highlight direct and indirect environmental effects; and determine research gaps and environmental policy needs. This creates an important knowledge base.

The aim of this project is to continue the previous efforts of the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) in the field of environmental trend analysis. Based on previously prepared trend reports and a concept of ‘anticipatory governance’ (to be formulated in the context of the project), the project will develop a communication and transfer concept for future trend reports. A one-day future conference will inform the (specialist) public about the results of the former ecologically focused trend analyses, and spread awareness of the environmental impact of new future trends. An additional future trend analysis will take place, taking into account the experience gained in the evaluation of trend reports.

The project relies on a mix of desk research, interviews with stakeholders and subject matter experts, as well as internal and external specialist and creative workshops, including a large-scale future conference.

The project is being carried out on behalf of the UBA by adelphi, the Institute for Innovation and Technology (iit) and labconcepts. adelphi is leading the consortium.