Sustainability strategies and policies: challenges and approaches

Lichtdurchfluteter Wald

Commissioned by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), adelphi and the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) are developing approaches to environmental and sustainability policy catering to a good life for all. The project’s goal is to develop recommendations on the future direction of sustainability strategies and policies. To that end, it aims to evaluate and further develop principles of environmental and sustainability policy in the context of current societal challenges, an evolving understanding of the state as both an agenda-setting, as well as an enabling force, and a multiplicity of discourses and conceptions of the good life.

The starting point of the project consists of an analysis of existing principles of environmental and sustainability policy, identifying potential needs for their further development or amendment in the light of current challenges and translating them into an updated set of principles. In a second step, tangible instruments will be identified to operationalize these principles. On the basis of these efforts a well as a review of existing literature, a conception of an agenda-setting and enabling state in the context of environmental and sustainability politics will be developed.

A further stage of the project will see the analysis of current discourses on the good life, with a particular focus on civil society discourses on the one hand and findings from the German Chancellery’s recent citizen dialogue "Living Well in Germany" on the other. An analysis of how these discourses tie in and connect with existing environmental and sustainability strategies will lead – together with findings from previous stages – to the development of a concept outlining the building blocks of an environmental and sustainability policy catering to a good life for all. Interim and final results of the project will be discussed and further developed in a series of colloquia with representatives of UBA and BMUB, as well as external experts. These discussions as well as the project findings themselves are designed to support both the development of BMUB’s integrated environmental programme and the advancement of the German Federal Government’s sustainability strategy in the context of international sustainability strategy processes. 

Publications of this project