SERI InfoMail 01/06

Dear friends and colleagues,

Welcome to the 1st edition of SERI's InfoMail in 2006. InfoMail is the regularly published electronic news bulletin of the Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI). You are receiving this InfoMail, because you indicated an interest in SERI's activities. To unsubscribe see the end of this InfoMail.

The web-edition of our current InfoMail is available at: www.seri.at/infomail. There you will also find the InfoMail Archive.

Table of contents

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

  • 1st Announcement: Public Stakeholder Forum
  • SERI consulted on sustainability impacts of trade treaties proposed at WTO Hong Kong meeting last December
  • Impulses for Agriculture and Nutrition

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

  • New project "Modelling sustainable energy scenarios"
  • Project "Modelling the economic impacts of climate policy" completed
  • MOSUS: Presentation of final results success
  • SERI at the 9th SYMPOSIUM ENERGIEINNOVATION 2006
  • Lebensqualität und Nachhaltigkeit (Life quality and Sustainable Development): Topic of the month at www.nachhaltigkeit.at
  • Towards a long-term vision of the European policy for sustainable development

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

  • SERI attends the ESEE website

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

  • Jäger, J.2006. Sustainability Science
  • Hammer, M., Hinterberger, F., Omann, I, Stocker, A. (2005). From micro to macro: eco-efficiency from the economic point of view.
  • Giljum, S. 2005. Quantifying indirect natural resource requirements with a global multi-country input-output model.
  • Behrens, A., Giljum, S., Kovanda, J., Niza, S. (2005). The Material Basis of the Global Economy. Implications for Sustainable Resource Use Policies in North and South.
  • Sustainable Consumer Services: Business Solutions for Household Markets

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

  • SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND SOCIETY: An International Working Conference for Social Scientists

6. SERI - 5 Years ago

  • MIPS Internet & Learning Platform
  • Fritz Hinterberger in the Who is Who
  • SERI supports Sustainability.TV

7. Going on in Vienna

  • Vienna Conference on "Efficiency, environment & employment 2006"
  • 3. Wiener Glücksstammtisch
  • SERI Brownbag Seminar von Stefan Giljum zum Thema "Europas globale Verantwortung"

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

First Announcement: Public Stakeholder Forum

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 critical assessment by 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 this Thematic Network as well as on the Stakeholder Forum can be found on our website: www.sustainability-strategy.net

SERI consulted on sustainability impacts of trade treaties proposed at WTO Hong Kong meeting last December

The representatives from the 148 member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) met for a Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong last December. They tried to avoid the failures of previous such meetings in Seattle in 1999 and Cancun in 2003. What would a failure be like? Negotiations to embark on a new round of talks might breakdown? Or are there also sustainability goals at stake? International trade is currently undergoing liberalization as part of globalization. Can the effects be considered sustainable? If not, how could they be made sustainable?

The European Commission is a major player in the negotiations, and its trade officials in Brussels consult with representatives of both Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and business entities on their views, including those involving sustainability. SERI member Thomas Ruddy participates in these consultations. He is employed at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science & Technology in St.Gallen, Switzerland, and also teaches a course in International Political Economy, a discipline that concerns itself with matters such as globalization and trade policy, at Webster University,. Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) is a complex procedure presented to civil society for value judgments as a practical exercise in democracy. Results thus far indicate that trade liberalization has economic benefits, which have potentially positive social effects. However the total environmental impact is generally negative. Flanking measures are needed as well as international cooperation in standard-setting.
For more information contact: thomas@thomasruddy.org.

Impulses for Agriculture and Nutrition

Not every development in the agricultural and food sector is sustainable. Within the framework of "Social-Ecological Research" of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), six projects investigated production and consumption patterns and reflected on the background situation. The results of their 3 years of research were presented in Berlin, Jan 18 -19, 2006. Sylvia Lorek (SERI) was invited to comment on the projects in one of the fora.

The conference was organised by the competence network "Agricultural and Nutritional Research". Detailed information can be found at www.sozial-oekologische-forschung.org/de/791.php (German).

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For the current news on SERI check also www.seri.at.

 

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

New project: "Modelling sustainable energy scenarios"

The project, which is funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology, investigates possible economic, social and environmental effects of an increasing use of renewable energy resources for heat and power. A macro-econometric multi-sector model is used to simulate five different energy scenarios with a focus on renewable energy technologies for Austria until 2020.
The process of scenario modelling (from the development of scenarios to the dissemination of the modelling results) integrates participative elements, since stakeholders (representatives of interests, politicians, experts) in energy policy and supply are actively involved in the scientific work. Therefore, the research and decision process is not only built upon work of researchers, but also integrates knowledge, expertise and preferences of stakeholders.
For further information please contact andrea.stocker@seri.at.

Project "Modelling the economic impacts of climate policy" completed

On behalf of the Lebensministerium and in cooperation with the Austrian Institute for Economic Research (WIFO), SERI investigates the economic impacts of climate policy measures for Austria, which are intended to reach the Austrian Kyoto target (-13 % CO2 emissions reduction by 2010 in comparison to 1990). After a busy December, the project was finalised at the end of 2005.

Within the project SERI was responsible for modelling foreign trade and quantifying the Carbon leakage effects. “Carbon leakage” refers to the possible increase of greenhouse gas emissions in countries that did not undertake climate policies in response to the mitigating efforts made by countries applying climate policy measures. These indirect impacts of climate change policies occur because the environmental benefit of reduced emissions in countries with climate policies may be offset by higher emissions in other countries, reducing the environmental effectiveness of the abatement.

The results show, that the seven investigated Austrian climate policy scenarios have neither great effects on foreign trade nor generate big CO2 leakage effects. For further information contact andrea.stocker@seri.at.

MOSUS: Presentation of final results was successful

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 www.mosus.net). 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. For more information about the MOSUS project, please contact Stefan Giljum (stefan.giljum@seri.at).

SERI at the 9th SYMPOSIUM ENERGIEINNOVATION 2006

From February 15-17 the 9th symposium Energieinnovation 2006 (energy innovation 2006) took place in Graz, Austria. The presentations covered a wide range of topics, e.g. energy politics, renewable energies, innovative technologies. Participants from research, politics, and industry were present. Lisa Bohunovsky and Martin Bruckner from SERI gave a presentation on the results of the local case study of the ARTEMIS project. Katharina Kowalski presented the scenarios of the national case study. The presentations and conference papers can be downloaded from the ARTEMIS website: www.project-artemis.net/docs.html

Lebensqualität und Nachhaltigkeit (Life quality and Sustainable Development) Topic of the month at www.nachhaltigkeit.at

In this article we explain how the concept of life quality (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 life quality" and "subjective life quality", and how they can be measured. Until March 1st, the text is available at www.nachhaltigkeit.at ( in German language only).

Towards a long-term vision of the European policy for sustainable development

One of the key objectives of a democratic government is to improve the quality of life for the citizens. In the current review process of the European Strategy for Sustainable Development (SDS) a "continuous dialogue with the people and organisations … who are engaged and committed to making change happen” is recommended. “The challenge is to translate ... [the Europeans'] awareness [of sustainability] into more sustainable behaviour.” To adopt quality of life/well-being as an overarching objective, communicating it in ways that are emotionally appealing, should be able to fulfil these stipulations of the Commission. In the course of the preparation of the revised European Strategy for Sustainable Development, SERI in cooperation with Harald Hutterer, Karuna Consult is producing a background document on the concept of well-being in the long-term vision of the European SDS.

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For more information on our projects check also www.seri.at/projects.

 

3. SERI and Friends: News about co-operation and partnerships

SERI maintains the ESEE website

Supported by the Austrian Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water SERI maintains the website of the European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE) and publishes the electronic ESEE newsletter. ESEE is a non-profit, member-governed, organisation dedicated to advancing understanding of the relationships among ecological, social and economic systems for the mutual well-being of nature and people. You can visit the webpage on www.euroecolecon.org.

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For more news please check also www.seri.at.

 

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

Jäger, J.2006. Sustainability Science
In: Eckart Ehlers and Thomas Krafft (ed.): Earth System Science in the Anthropocene: Emerging Issues and Problems. Springer, Berlin.

This chapter discusses the challenges of sustainability science and the need for a new contract between science and society and its importance for enhancing the role of science and technology in transitions to sustainable development. The chapter is based on the outputs of a workshop in October 2000 and a Synthesis Workshop held in Mexico City in May 2002.

From micro to macro: eco-efficiency from the economic point of view. Authors: Hammer, M., Hinterberger, F., Omann, I, Stocker, A. (2005). In: Sergienko, O.; H. Rohn (ed.). Basics of the eco-efficiency theory, pp. 121-149. (In Russian).

The article gives an overview of eco-efficiency issues on various economic levels. It starts on the micro level, introducing eco-efficiency concepts for products and companies. Here it also presents an overview of the possible contributions of product service systems to sustainable development and increased eco-efficiency. One chapter takes a look at implications of eco-efficiency on the regional and sectoral level. Another section focuses on the macroeconomic level and discusses the interrelations between macroeconomic policy and new models of work, a description of the rebound effect and it links the issues of work, unemployment and ecology and shows how these issues could be solved altogether in a sustainable way. It also discusses the possibilities of a material input tax in this context. The article concludes with the introduction of measures and instruments for an ecological economic policy.

Giljum, S. 2005. Quantifying indirect natural resource requirements with a global multi-country input-output model.
Proceedings of the conference "Environmental Accounting and Sustainable Development Indicators", Prague, pp. 183-189.

With increasing international trade in an ever more globalised economy, the inclusion of resource requirements of traded products has growing importance in the evaluation of domestic production and consumption patterns against the background of global sustainable development. Since efforts in data collection in the LCA-oriented approach for calculating ecological rucksack factors are extremely difficult, indirect material flows are still missing for a large number of processed biotic and abiotic products. An alternative method for calculating indirect material flows on the macro level is to apply input-output (IO) analysis with economic models extended by environmental data in physical units. In this paper, I present methodological guidelines for calculating indirect material flows with multi-country economic-environmental models applying input-output analysis on the international level. I argue that an international IO-model system of this type is best suited to calculate comprehensive MFA indicators, such as Total Material Consumption (TMC). The paper is available for download at www.seri.at/Prague05.

Behrens, A., Giljum, S., Kovanda, J., Niza, S. (2005). The Material Basis of the Global Economy. Implications for Sustainable Resource Use Policies in North and South.
Proceedings of the conference Environmental Accounting and Sustainable Development Indicators", Prague, pp. 175-182.

This paper presents a comprehensive quantification of the material basis of the global economy, i.e. used domestic extraction aggregated on the global level, in a time series from 1980 to 2002. We analyse time trends for major material groups (fossil fuels, metals, industrial and construction minerals, and biomass) disaggregated into seven world regions. This allows for (a) an illustration of the global economy's physical growth driven by world-wide processes of economic integration over the past 25 years, and (b) an indication of the world-wide distribution of environmental pressures associated with material extraction. Furthermore, we link physical extraction data with socio-economic indicators such as GDP and population allowing for an assessment of different patterns of resource productivities and inequalities in per capita resource extraction between industrialised and developing economies. The paper concludes with policy recommendations for the international agenda, and for industrial as well as for developing countries intended to decrease levels of natural resource use in the north and to decrease the dependence of developing countries on exports of primary commodities. The paper is available for download from www.seri.at/Prague05.


Sustainable Consumer Services: Business Solutions for Household Markets

Authors: Minna Halme, Gabriele Hrauda, Christine Jasch, Jaap Kortman, Helga Jonuschat, Michael Scharp, Daniela Velte and Paula Trindade

The goal for consumer oriented business should be to make a profit and to do it without costing the Earth. Yet exactly how to satisfy the needs and wants of consumers without contributing to environmental degradation is proving to be the essential, but elusive, goal for businesses in the 21st century.

The leading solution is to substitute material consumption with the consumption of services that offer consumers convenience and value but eliminate much of the inefficiency and waste associated with our throw-away society. Sustainable consumer services for households – services that are delivered to consumers at the premises such as home delivery of organic food, appliance leasing, mobile laundry services, internet marketing of homeservices or car pool schemes – provide a key part of the answer of how to reduce material consumption and waste while still turning a profit. Yet until now there has been little information to guide the development of such business models and practices and to develop ways to make service-based consumption more attractive to consumers than object-ownership-based models.

This practical business handbook provides the missing link of sustainable household service competitiveness by examining the issues, looking at business models, providing dozens of real-life best-practice examples and presenting data from the first large-scale consumer survey that explains consumer behaviour and what they want from home service provision. The book is an essential resource for businesses and public or non-profit organizations, and housing organizations, entering the growing consumer services market. It provides a wealth of business know-how on what works and what doesn’t, how to avoid potential pitfalls, and how to provide consumer services at the household level that are both profitable and environmentally sustainable and add to consumers’ quality of life.
For further information click here.

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For other interesting publications please visit www.seri.at/publications.


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

SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND SOCIETY: An International Working Conference for Social Scientists

Call for Abstracts RC-24 (Research Committee 24 on Environment and Society) of the International Sociological Association invites abstracts for a small conference on sustainable consumption, to be held June 2-3, 2006, on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the USA.

Abstracts are invited in 4 areas: 1) domestic consumption, 2) democracy and sustainable consumption, 3) sustainable consumption and policy, and 4) theory. All members of RC-24 are invited to participate, as well as any other interested social scientists. A 1000-word abstract is due February 15th, 2006, via email to michaelbell@wisc.edu. For details, consult the conference website, www.michaelmbell.net/suscon.htm. For further information, email michaelbell@wisc.edu.

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For other interesting activities and links click www.seri.at.

 

6. SERI - 5 years ago

Fritz Hinterberger in the Who is Who

Fritz Hinterberger has been included in recent edition of "Who 's Who in Science and Engineering" by Marquis Who's Who, USA.

MIPS Internet & Learning Platform

SERI (Roman Mesicek) prepared scientific input for an internet & learning platform on the topic Dematerialization and MIPS (Material Input per Service Unit). The project is conducted by the Society Factor 4+ in the context of a European project on multi-media-teaching, and co-ordinated by Christopher Manstein, SERI director on the topic Sustainable Production and the same time deputy managing director of Society Factor 4+. The interactive learning space can be used for further information and education of the workshop participants.

SERI supports Sustainability.TV

This website was dedicated to bringing content on the topic Sustainable Development on the web. Sustainability.TV provides live web-broadcasts from interesting events, archive video and audio clips of interesting speeches and also has a list with links to further media resources on the web. SERI supports this undertaking scientifically. Sustainability.TV broadcasts some of our internal and external events as well as supporting large (EU-) projects.

The first two videos featured Mathis Wackernagel's speech at the elephant house of the Vienna zoo on the Ecological Footprint (organised by SERI and the Ökosoziales Forum Wien in the course of our Sustainable Europe lecture series) and Arnim Wieck on "Produktbezogene Flächenintensität" from our last internal workshop. Click www.sustainability.tv for details.

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7. Going on in Vienna

Vienna Conference on "Efficiency, environment & employment 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 main organisers of the conference are SERI and the European Environment Agency (EEA) in cooperation with the Austrian Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water, the European Topic Centre for Waste and Resources, and other partners. 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 www.eee2006.org or contact secretariat@eee2006.org.

3. Wiener Glücksstammtisch

Der dritte Wiener „Glücksstammtisch“ findet am Dienstag, dem 7. März, um 19 Uhr im Restaurant Retsina, Morzinplatz 1, 1010 Wien statt.

Glücksstammtische in Wien haben einen programmatischen und einen geselligen Teil. Im ersten Teil wird diesmal eine Vorführung des Films „Bodenprobe“ von Sophie Huber und Martin Komarek gezeigt, ein dokumentarischer Heimatfilm mit Kulturschaffenden aus dem Salzkammergut (Hubert von Goisern, Barbara Frischmuth, Alfred Komarek u.a.). Sophie Huber wird selbst anwesend sein. Die Vorführung findet im ersten Stock statt.

Für den geselligen Teil übersiedeln wir ins Restaurant im Erdgeschoss, wo wir einen ganzen Flügel des Lokals reserviert haben. Der gesellige Teil besteht dann in den eigentlichen Glücksstammtischen. Glücksstammtische sind regelmäßige Zusammenkünfte, bei denen die Teilnehmer sehr persönlich darüber sprechen, was sie jeweils glücklich macht. Dabei werden auch individuelle Glücksrezepte ausgetauscht. Die nächsten Termine werden unter www.gluecksstammtische.net bekannt gegeben.

SERI brownbag seminar:
28.03.20065 12h30-14h00, Stefan Giljum
Topic: Europas globale Verantwortung

In diesem Brownbag Seminar werden mehrere neue SERI Projekte vorgestellt, welche sich mit dem Themenkreis „Europa und seie internationalen Beziehungen“ beschäftigen. Darunter fällt das Projekt „One Planet Business“, bei dem der globale Umweltverbrauch von Industriesektoren in OECD Ländern berechnet wird, sowie das Projekt „Faktor X und die Europäische Union“, bei dem Politikfelder analysiert werden, welche dazu beitragen können, Europas globalen Umweltverbrauch zu reduzieren. Die Aktivitäten in diesen Projekten werden auch in Verbindung mit Ergebnissen bereits abgeschlossener Projekte, insbesondere dem MOSUS Projekt, dargestellt. Weiters wird ein Hintergrundpapier mit dem Titel „Europas globale Verantwortung“ vorgestellt, welches SERI in Zusammenarbeit mit Friends of the Earth Europe präsentierte. Ziel dieses Brownbag-Seminars ist es, zukünftige Akquisitions- und Forschungsschwerpunkte von SERI in diesem Forschungsfeld festzulegen.

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For more information on SERI related events in Vienna please surf to www.seri.at/events.


These were our messages and news for this month. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for detailed information on our projects and for possibilities in co-operation and partnership. It’s a challenge to start an interactive dialogue of exchanging experiences. You are all invited to participate in this process.

SERI is the first "virtual" research institute on sustainable development with associated researchers all over Europe. If you want to get more detailed information on the Institute and its members please visit our website: www.seri.at.

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. 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.

All InfoMail editions since the year 2000 are downloadable at www.seri.at/infomail. On this website you’ll also find all other editions as well as the current InfoMail, offering the advantage of easy and fast navigation through the InfoMail’s topics. You’ll have easy access to all downloadable files, links and other resources of the SERI Internet-presentation.

Have a nice day – your SERI-Team.


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SERI-Infomail 06/05 distributed by Andrea Stocker (Managing Editor). All Rights Reserved. © SERI 2000 – 2006 (Vienna / February 2006).