Trends bring along with them changes that affect all sectors of society. For example, demography affects social systems, as well as the economy or labour market. Environmental policy, too, faces enormous challenges due to emerging trends. On the one hand for example, technological changes can lead to improved efficiency of resource use and increase independence from non-renewable resources. On the other hand, they can also set false incentives and eventually lead to increased energy consumption. One of the central tasks for environmental policy therefore is to engage in strategic foresight and identify direct and indirect negative and positive impacts on the environment early on.
In this project adelphi developed a methodology for analyzing environmental pressures and benefits of trends, considering both direct and indirect environmental impacts. In a second step, adelphi applied the methodology to analyze two trends: additive manufacturing and the digitization of individual consumption. For 3D-printing, the trend was described (development; process chain, processes and materials used; 3D-printing market; central actors and fields of application) and burdens and benefits assessed (e.g. energy demand, raw material efficiency, emissions such as particulate matter etc.). For digitization of consumption the trend description focused on future developments, Smart products and services, as well environmental impacts arising from ICT-infrastructure and changing logistics. The trend analysis focused on instant shopping, marketing, green apps and other sub-trends.