Infomail 10/01

Welcome to the Xmas/holiday edition of SERI's InfoMail.

The monthly published electronic news bulletin of the Vienna
Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI).

We wish all of you, your families and friends, nice, quiet and especially PEACEFUL holidays, "Merry Christmas" as well as a happy and successful New Year 2002. We look forward to (further) cooperation with you in the field of sustainable development. May 2002 bring (further) improvements of the global environment, social and international relations, equity and prosperity.

Table of contents

1. SERI-News: General news from SERI and SERI members

  • SERI at ISEE 2002
  • Workshop on "Social Sustainability"
  • Government's Politics and Sustainability
  • Briefing on Sustainability indicators in Brussels
  • SERI participates on "Futur" - The German Research Dialogue
  • Futur - Workshop on "Cities of tomorrow"
  • New SERI intern Tobias Doeppe
  • Website update for the new year

2. Project-Overview: News from our projects, our other work and new research fields

  • Project updates
  • New project on research and policy for sustainable development
  • Material input data for electricity production in Europe

3. Friends: Seri and ... (News about co-operation and partnerships)

  • "Coalition for a better policy"
  • SERI represented the EEB at an OECD workshop in Paris

4. Selected publications: Book reviews and announcements from SERI members and related writers and publishers

  • MEYER-STAMER:
    "Was ist Meso?"
  • SPANGENBERG:
    "Environmental Space and the prism of sustainability: Frameworks for indicatots measurung sustainable development"
  • GILJUM; HUBACEK:
    "International trade, material flows and land use: developing a physical trade balance for the European Union"
  • Charles Kibert, Jan Sendzimir, and G. Bradley Guy (eds.):
    "Construction Ecology: Nature as the Basis for Green Buildings"

5. Links + Other: News about other activities, hints and advice on dates, workshops etc.

  • First interim report of the Enquete-Commission
    "Globalisierung der Weltwirtschaft - Herausforderungen und Antworten"
  • Dialogue paper of the German Council for Sustainability


6. Going on in Vienna

  • SERI brownbag seminar:
    "Sustainable technologies: low and/or high tech?"
    January 11th 2001, 12-2:30 p.m., Vienna
  • "Young Founders of Enterprises in the spotlight"
    11th of December 2001, Vienna


Contents

1. SERI-News: General news from SERI and SERI members

SERI at ISEE 2002

Many SERI members will participate at the ISEE 2002, the Seventh Biennial Conference, taking place in Sousse, Tunisia on March 6- 9, 2002.

The general topic of the SERI presentations will be:
Global (in)equality in Social and Material Terms.

To find out more about the speakers or to download the abstract please go to:
www.seri.at/isee2002, where you can also find a link to the conference, for which an early registration bonus is still available for a few more days.

Workshop on "Social Sustainability"

On September 5th, the Loccum Academy hosted a workshop on behalf of the German Federal Government, dealing with "social sustainability". Amongst international business leaders and trade unionists, Joachim Spangenberg was invited to present SERI's view.

A manuscript (to be published in the proceedings) is available from the author, so far unfortunately only in German. Please mail to: JoachSpangenberg@aol.com.

The paper is available here

Government's Politics and Sustainability

On behalf of the chancellor's office Joachim Spangenberg was invited to draft a position paper describing the government's politics from a sustainability point of view.
The result was presented by the German Federal Government to a French-German summit in Paris, opened by Mr. Schroeder and Mr. Jospin.

The statement is available as hardcopy in German and French.
Please mail to: JoachSpangenberg@aol.com.

Briefing on Sustainability indicators in Brussels

Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace Europe called SERI (Joachim Spangenberg) for a briefing on sustainability indicators in Brussels, September 28th. They welcomed the work on environmental space and material flow analysis and took the initiative to suggest to the European Commission to include the indicator of Total Material Requirement TMR into the regular sustainability reporting as adopted in Gothenburg earlier this year.
Chances are good, but the final decision is still pending.

SERI participates on "Futur" - The German Research Dialogue

The German ministry of research has started a process to identify the core research issues for a future society, called "Futur". For this behalf, 400 representatives have been chosen for the "inner circle", and some 2000 for the "outer" one. SERI's Ines Omann, Sylvia Lorek and Anke Valentin have been suggested for the outer circle, Joachim Spangenberg is a member of the inner circle. The results of a first major conference in Berlin, Sept. 26th, are available on the internet.

Futur - Workshop on "Cities of tomorrow"

On December 3rd, the German ministry of research has invited to the expert workshop "Cities of tomorrow". It was one of five workshops in the context of the "Futur"-dialog for the outer circle (see above or internet-link below). About 20 predominant young scientists follow this invitation and develop four research issues for a Sustainable City. Surprisingly, the social goals weighted much higher than the ecological ones. So in the end, the following issues have been worked out: (1) New kinds of learning in an urban area, (2) Possibilities to separate mobility for shopping and for spare time, (3) Efficient use of renewable energy (especially algaes), (4) More place for fantasy and participation in a grey city.

For more information on this project surf to: www.futur.de.

New SERI intern Tobias Doeppe

Tobias Doeppe, will be an intern at the SERI Vienna office the end of February 2002. His focus will be to prepare a cooperation of SERI and NGOs (probably BUND, maybe ATTAC and development NGOs) to produce a position paper with a sustainable vision of globalisation in the upcoming of the Johannesburg summit. The NGOs are looking for scientific expertise in the field, and SERI wants to introduce its basic concepts like environmental space etc. in the globalisation discussion.

Tobias studied political science at the Otto-Suhr Institut of the Free University of Berlin and most recently at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris. Since May he participates in the course "The Future Pilots" (www.zukunftspiloten.de) organized by the German environmental umbrella organization DNR (Deutscher Naturschutzring), which is designed to provide necessary skills to environmental activists. Some scholars of this course will also participate in the project.

If you have questions, suggestions or comments to make, please feel free to contact Tobias at tobias.doeppe@seri.at.



Website update for the new year

After two years in place, we are substantially refurbishing our website. The new site will be launched by the end of this year, by which we hope to make it easier for you to access relevant information on our projects, publications and people.

2. Project-Overview: News from our projects, our other work and new research fields

PROJECT UPDATES:

SERI is dealing with Product Service Systems in two projects:
* Plant of the Future - Service Innovation by Product Service Systems in small and Medium sized enterprises
* MEPSS - Methodology Development of a Toolkit for Industry

Further information about the SERI approach in these two projects and the first results will be posted on our website at:
www.seri.at/pss

New project on research and policy for sustainable development

With the beginning of 2002, we are starting a project for the European Commission's STRATA programme on "Adaptive Integration of Research and Policy for Sustainable Development - Prospects for the European Research Area" (AIRP-SD), in which wie will together with partners from 6 member states and 2 EU research centres on the capacity of RTD programmes to contribute toward sustainable development. We will develop criteria from best practices in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden, learn about common features and differences and try to develop a common approach to reinforce community programmes on RTD.
For further information, please contact Gisela Bosch (gisela.bosch@seri.at).

Material input for electricity production in Europe

Johannes Hacker started, after working as an electronics technician at CERN, his studies in electronics and computer science at the University of Technology Vienna.
Now he is writing his diploma thesis on the "material intensity (MIPS) of
electricity within the EU15-countries".

The work shall bring electricity-MIPS-data for all 15 member countries and serve as an complement to the Wuppertal-MIPS-data. Scenarios for different energy technologies can be drawn on that basis. Data quality is a special topic and an overview will be given.

All persons interested in the work and results are invited to
contact: Johannes.Hacker@seri.at, Mob: +43-699-10217997.


3. Friends: Seri and ... (News about co-operation and partnerships)

"Coalition for a better policy"

In Germany, political opposition is being aired against the "Third way" politics of the so-called red-green government. Supported by the metal workers, the food workers and other trade unions, a broad "coalition for a better policy" has established itself by publishing a memorandum and holding meetings and workshops in different cities. A close cooperation with ATTAC Germany has been established (which in return is supported by the service sector trade union).

The coalition was one of the organisers of the peace demonstrations in late October, bringing some 60,000 people to the street. With the Worlds two biggest trade unions, environmental and development NGOs, human rights organisations etc. as supporters, it is foreseeable that the work for a more sustainable politics will continue over the next years.

On a meeting on October 20th in Frankfurt, Joachim Spangenberg has been elected member of the national coordination.

SERI represented the EEB at an OECD workshop in Paris

SERI (Joachim Spangenberg) represented the European Environmental Bureau EEB at the OECD workshop on waste prevention indicators in Paris, Oct. 8th-10th. During the workshop we could draw on earlier work on sustainability and consumption indicators, as well as on a recent SERI project by Sylvia Lorek et al. regarding household consumption.
The OECD expert group, encouraged a. o. by Stefan Moll and Stefan Bringezu (Wuppertal Institute) decided to recommend the use of TMR as an indicator of waste avoidance throughout the OECD.

SERI would still like to invite post-doc researchers intending to apply for Marie Curie Fellowships to work with SERI or members of the SERI network in other parts of Europe.

See www.cordis.lu/improving/src/hp_mcf.htm for more, or try the links below for detailed information:

http://www.cordis.lu/improving/src/hp_ncp.htm
http://www.cordis.lu/improving/src/mc_tsf_pg.htm
http://improving-mcf.sti.jrc.it/project/
http://www.mariecurie.org/
http://www.cordis.lu/tmr/src/grants1.htm

But we are also looking for interesting places of research to which our researchers could go for some time!

4. Selected publications: Book reviews and announcements from SERI members and related writers and publishers

New publication by
Jörg Meyer-Stamer:

"Was ist Meso?" (in German)

The paper is for download at: http://www.meyer-stamer.de/2001/Report55.pdf.

New paper by

Joachim Spangenberg:

"ENVIRONMENTAL SPACE AND THE PRISM OF SUSTAINABILITY:
FRAMEWORKS FOR INDICATORS MEASURING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT"

Abstract
The notion of environmental space was coined by Hans Opschoor in the early 1990s, referring to a range of limitations in resources available for human consumption. Meanwhile it has been demonstrated that energy, material flows and land use are three essential resources to be taken into account, and that the reduction of their use would significantly contribute to reducing the main stresses for the European environment.
In the Environmental Space concept, the environmental upper limit to resource consumption is complemented by a socially motivated lower limit, safeguarding a resource accessibility that permits to lead a dignified life in the respective society. However, although the social aspect is of equivalent relevance in the concept, it is not dealt with in detail in this paper focussing on environmental aspects.
In 1995 the CSD has introduced the institutional dimension as the fourth dimension of sustainable development, a concept that has proven extremely fruitful ever since. Combined with the triangle, a prism of sustainability results, permitting to define core indicators for each dimension and their interlinkages.
At the macro level, the prism of sustainability has been applied to international, regional and national indicator development. At the micro level, systems of indicators for households, companies and local communities have been developed.
These indicators haven been used in dynamic modelling as well, demonstrating their capability to assess the sustainability of diverging development policies.
Specific applications include thematic specifications such as indicators biodiversity for pressures or water management in arid regions, macro level assessments e.g. for the European Union and for Central Asia and micro level applications e.g. for households, companies and communities.

The INDEX 2001 Conference in Rome was postponed to 2002 - nonetheless the paper of Joachim Spangenberg on Environmental Space and its applications is available here

New publication by

Stefan Giljum and Klaus Hubacek:

"International trade, material flows and land use:
developing a physical trade balance for the European Union"

Abstract:
In this report first steps towards the elaboration of a physical trade balance for the EU-15 are undertaken. Concerning the methodology of physical input-output analysis, three alternative approaches will be presented and discussed. In the empirical part, a physical trade balance for direct material flows of the EU is presented, disaggregated by world regions as well as product and material groups. In order to assess indirect resource requirements induced by imports and exports, a physical input-output model for the EU-15 is developed, based on physical input-output tables already published. This model then is used for assessing the overall resource requirements for the production of exports from EU-15 to the rest of the world. By applying physical input-output analysis, direct and indirect resource requirements will be calculated concerning both material flows and land appropriation.

Interim Report 01-59. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Laxenburg, Austria, 2001.

The full text of the report can be downloaded in pdf-format from the IIASA homepage: http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Publications/Documents/IR-01-059.pdf.

Charles Kibert, Jan Sendzimir, and G. Bradley Guy (eds.):

"Construction Ecology: Nature as the Basis for Green Buildings"

Gisela Bosch and Jan Sendzimir were core contributors in a team that produced a new book on sustainability, which has just been published. Gisela was one of the key organizers of the conference that started the project, and Jan moderated discussions during the conference and edited the chapters written by ecologists. A short overview follows.

For decades wave after wave of new ideas have expanded our understanding of sustainability. Yet the fundamental challenge remains the same. Systemic reform is blocked so long as short-term gain constrains our experiments to small scale tinkering with existing means of production and consumption. Starting in the 1980s, Industrial ecology and metabolism took up this challenge, and now a new wave is pushing the envelope of sustainability ideas to take advantage of the latest insights of systems ecology. A new book describes this initiative to build a discipline for the theory and practice of creating a sustainable built environment: Construction Ecology. Kibert, Sendzimir and Guy, a construction engineer, systems ecologist and architect, have teamed as editors of a discussion between some of the leading green architects with systems and industrial ecologists. The systems ecologists range from long-established figures (H.T. Odum), to veterans in their prime (Kay and Allen) to rising new stars (Peterson). The industrial ecologists include European (Robert Ayres, Sefan Bringezu, and Fritz Balkau) and North American (Iddo Wernick) perspectives. The architects (Bisch, van der Ryn, Pena, and Wells) demonstrate experience gained working on commercial and residential projects in urban and suburban/rural environments. The book reflects efforts to build a new conceptual framework based on links and contrasts between the ideas underlying these different disciplines.

Published by Spon Press, London, 2001 (www.sponpress.com).

5. Links + Other: News about other activities, hints and advice on dates, workshops etc.

First interim report of the Enquete-Commission
"Globalisierung der Weltwirtschaft - Herausforderungen und Antworten"

The Enquete-Commission "Globalisierung der Weltwirtschaft - Herausforderungen und Antworten" (Globalisation of the world's economy - challenges and answers) of the German Parliament chaired by Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker issued a first interim report.
The Commission had arranged six working groups (financial markets, trade and services, resources, global governance, labour markets, knowledge and information management), whose work is presented in the document.
The introduction, written by Ernst Weizsäcker, gives an overview about all spheres. Attention should be paid to the global governance, to the fact that it's necessary to achieve a political formation of the globalisation. The protection of public goods (social aspects, environment, freedom) must be strived. It's important to include governments, administrations and non-government-organisations in the democratic formation of the globalisation.

If you are interested in more information, you can download the interim report at www.ernst.weizsaecker.de or at www.bundestag.de/blickpkt/2001/enq_welt_zwb.html (in German only).

Dialogue paper of the German Council for Sustainability

At www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/dialog you'll find a dialogue-paper of the German Council for Sustainability (in German only).

Everybody who is interested in the issue of Sustainability is invited to read the paper and comment it in the Council's Online-Discussion-Forum or by e-mail.

The Councils aim is a broad discussion through a broad and active distribution of the dialogue-paper. So please send this information to all who might be interested in a active participation.

6. Going on in Vienna

SERI brownbag seminar: "Sustainable technologies: low and/or high tech?"

Date and time: January 11th 2001, 12-2:30 p.m.
Location: SERI office in Vienna

We want to discuss the question of sustainable technologies/technologies for SD. Are they high tech or low tech. Impulse talks by Roman Mesicek and Patrizia Nessmann.

For more information see www.seri.at/brownbag.

"Young Founders of Enterprises in the spotlight"
11th of December 2001, Vienna
Festsaal der Bank Austria, Renngasse 2, 1010 Wien

Fritz Hinterberger moderated a Discussion with the Topic
"Sustainable Companies - Success in the Eco-Business". Among the
participants will be (among others) Mr Höhne (Ökoenergie AG), Mr. Staudinger
(GEA) and Dr. Paulesich (WU Wien).

After that young founders were be awarded a price for their business plans and ideas in the field of sustainable development.

For further information please click: www.uniun.at.



SERI is the first "virtual" research institute with associated researchers all over Europe.

The Sustainable Europe Research Institute, together with a supporting legal association, exists since September 1999 according to Austrian Law. The headquarters have been established in Vienna. We would like to invite you to participate in this undertaking.

The Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI) is a Pan-European think tank aiming to explore sustainable development options for European societies. SERI's research agenda and methodology is based on previous work carried out by Friends of the Earth and the Wuppertal Institute. The Institute aims to develop the concept of environmental space and shows ways to substantially reduce the resource throughput of modern industrial societies. The research carried out by members of SERI supports the dialogue within European civil society. It specifically aims to further develop the exchange of ideas between environmental citizens organisations, governments, trade unions and industry. The scientific dialogue SERI aims to engender is supported by its web page and this newsletter, conferences, meetings as well as publications.

Have a nice day – your SERI-Team.

SERI-Infomail 10/2001
Distributed by Jürgen Schäfer
Managing Editor, SERI-InfoMail
All Rights Reserved.
© SERI 2001 (Vienna / Essen)


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