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Project News

SERI Visions: Happiness, Consumption and Work [April 2006]
SERI will increase its attention to think through and calculate effects of reduced consumption levels on the economy and personal wellbeing. We are open to suggestions, criticism, and partnerships.
Debates on sustainability have led decision makers in economy to acknowledge the limitations of nature as a fait accompli. However, this acknowledgement will not be reflected in practice as long as economic growth and an increase in consumption remain the number one priority. This obsession with economic growth is just as fatal as it is redundant. Limitations of nature are unavoidable and will dominate our economy and our lives in the long term. Additionally well-being, happiness and contentment of both individuals and societies depend little on economic growth, at least for the European and worldwide consumer class. SERI will increase its attention to these questions in the future. We intend to think through and calculate the “worst case” (from the perspective of an economist) or “necessary case” (for ecology) of reduced consumption levels. We are therefore open to suggestions, criticism, and partnerships. [more]

Factor X and the European Union [Nov. 2005]
Together with Martin Rocholl from Friends of the Earth Europe and Kai Schlegelmilch from Green Budget Germany, Munich, SERI has been commissioned by the Aachen Foundation Kathy Beys to prepare a study on "Factor X and the European Union".
The study will identify policy fields of high relevance for resource and energy efficiency and develop options for the Factor 10 Network and other stakeholders of civil society to influence policies towards the realisation of Factor X targets. For more information on this project, please contact Stefan Giljum.

Life quality and Sustainable Development: Topic of the month at [March 2006]
In this article we explain how the quality of life concept (similarly used terms are happiness, well-being) is interlinked with sustainable development and why this concept is getting more and more important politically.
We then go - with a range of examples - further into the realms of "objective conditions of life" and "subjective well-being", and how they can be measured. From March 1st, the text is available at

MOSUS: Presentation of final results was sucessful
[Feb. 2006]
On December 13th, 2005, around 40 participants from EU institutions (DG Environment, EEA, EUROSTAT, etc.), research institutes and NGOs joined for the presentation of the final results of the MOSUS project.
The workshop presented the simulation model, the different scenario packages and underlying assumptions, the economic, social and environmental evaluation of the scenarios as well as derived policy recommendations (all presentations can be downloaded from the project website at The project team received very positive feedback and valuable suggestions for further improvement of the model and the scenarios. The importance of such integrated modelling exercises for the identification of best policy mixes for a transition towards sustainable development was highlighted by many participants. Furthermore, links to other outlook activities on the EU level, such as by EEA Topic Centers, have been established.
Österreichs Internet-portal zum Thema "Glück"

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New Publications

"Sustainable Consumption Governance: A History of Promises and Failures" [Okt. 2005]
Article by Doris A. Fuchs and Sylvia Lorek in the Journal of Consumer Policy.
What are the implications of the current international political, and economic settings for consumer policy, and, in particular, those regarding sustainable consumption?
The paper traces the differences between the two domensions of sustainable consumption - efficiency of consumption and changes in consumption - with respect to the work of the major international governmental organizations (IGOs) engaged in developing sustainable consumption governance. It argues that the lack of commitment to strong sustainable consumption among IGOs can be explained by their “weakness” as actors in global governance and the existence of strong opposing interests among consumers and business actors.
This article is published in the Journal of Consumer Policy (2005) 28(3), pp. 261-288.
DOWNLOAD the paper

New Publication by the Aachener Foundation Kathy Beys including a chapter by SERI [Sept. 2005]
The Aachener Foundation Kathy Beys has recently published a book on resource productivity entitled "Ressourcenproduktivität als Chance - Ein langfristiges Konjunkturprogramm für Deutschland" (Resource Productivity as an Opportunity – A long-term Programme for Stimulation of the German Economy).
The book includes a chapter by Arno Behrens, Friedrich Hinterberger, Markus Stewen and Andrea Stocker of the Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI) on the potentials of a material input tax (MIT) to reduce material use and to create jobs.
The results presented in the book emphasise the positive effects of increased resource productivity on economy, state and society. The Aachener Scenario, for example, promises about one million new jobs, while taking pressure from the federal budget. This scenario includes measures such as the introduction of a MIT allowing for a simultaneous and budget neutral reduction of income taxes. Similarly, the study quantifies the effects of a shift of VAT away from services to the use of materials.
For more information (in German) please click here.

Die Wende der Titanic
Wiener Deklaration für eine zukunftsfähige Weltordnung
[Sept. 2005]
Herausgeber: Herbert Rauch und Alfred Stringl. Mit Vorworten von Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Mathis Wackernagel und Tobias Moretti; mit einem Anhang von Friedrich Hinterberger.
Warum ähneln die weltweiten Entwicklungen in vielem dem Titanic-Kurs so erschreckend? Diktiert die Wirtschaft mehr denn je der Politik den Kurs und vergessen die Kapitäne die ihnen übertragene „vorsorgende Sicherheit“?

“Governance for Sustainable Development” [Aug. 2005]
Special Issue of the International Journal for Sustainable Development (IJSD) edited by Joachim Spangenberg and Stefan Giljum
SERI members Joachim Spangenberg and Stefan Giljum edited the latest IJSD volume (Vol. 8 , No. 1/2, 2005) as a Special Issue on “Governance for Sustainable Development”. The Special Issue is part of the GoSD research initiative led by SERI (see and contains nine contributions from international experts on institutional, social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability governance. Several SERI members served as authors and co-authors of articles for this issue. You find the full list of papers plus abstracts from contributions by SERI members here. Click here to find information about this Special Issue on the official IJSD website.


ALTERNATIVER ECOFIN - Konferenz zur EU-Wirtschafts- und Finanzpolitik [April 2006]

Fritz Hinterberger talks on growth, jobs and happiness. On April 5th, 2006, Fritz Hinterberger gave a talk at the "alternative ECOFIN" in Vienna on "Welche Wirtschaft braucht das Glück"? The main message was to reduce average working time to create jobs, reduce environmental stress while increasing individual well-being.
More information at (in German language)

Public Stakeholder Forum: 1st Announcement [Feb. 2006]

A Public Stakeholder Forum „A Framework for the Improvement of the EU Strategy of Sustainable Development“ will be held in Brussels on April 27th, 2006.

In this Forum a framework for the improvement of the EU SDS will be presented for the critical assessment of European policy makers and the European Public.
It is organised by the Thematic Network ‘Sustainability Strategy’. The results of three years of analysis and reflection will be brought into the defining process of European sustainability politics, before the Summer Council concludes the on-going review-process of the existing EU SDS.
Further information on the Thematic Network as well as on the Stakeholder Forum can be found on: or

Vienna Conference on "Efficiency, environment & employment 2006" [Feb. 2006]
On occasion of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, a two day conference will be organized to reflect recent developments and synergies between economic efficiency, environment and employment.
The conference will take place in Vienna, Austria on 8/9 June 2006. The Conference aims to identify framework conditions that promote or inhibit synergies between economic efficiency, environment and employment, to share experiences of local, regional and national projects in Europe and beyond and to disseminate relevant information about success and failures to policymakers, businesses, local authorities, NGOs and other social actors. For further details see

SERI brownbag seminar series [Feb. 2006]02.05.2006, Stefan Giljum zum Thema "Europas Globale Verantwortung"
In diesem Brownbag Seminar werden mehrere neue SERI Projekte vorgestellt, welche sich mit dem Themenkreis „Europa und seine internationalen Beziehungen“ beschäftigen.

weitere Brownbags:
11.05.2006, Michael Mirtl
16.05.2006, Christine Jasch
20.06.2006, Roman Mesicek


Have a nice day - Your SERI-Team.

last update 18-Apr-2006