What we do

The Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI) is a Pan-European think tank aiming to explore sustainable development options for European societies. It was set up in September 1999.
SERI's research agenda and methodology is based on previous work carried out by Friends of the Earth and the Wuppertal Institute under the auspices of Friends of the Earth's Sustainable Europe Campaign. The Institute aims to develop the concept of environmental space and show ways to substantially reduce the material through-put of modern industrial societies.

Sustainability strategies must be integrated or they are not sustainable.

SERI aims therefore at a comprehensive view at sustainability both empirically and in its policy recommendations.

Comprehensive means:

SERI integrates the ecological objective to reduce environmental space with elaborated economic, social and institutional sustainability strategies.

SERI develops strategies on a macro, meso, micro and meta level of economies/societies.

SERI looks at the impact of activities and policies in Europe on other parts of the world

SERI's work is based on methodological pluralism.

On the other hand we are far from working on everything important in the field of sustainable development. While integrating ecological, social, economic and institutional dimensions, SERI focuses the notion of environmental space (in terms of resources, energy and land-use) and the measurability of social and economic dimensions of SD. Indicator-based policies are therefore important for our recommendations.

How we do it

We are a virtual internet based institute. From our pool of staff and members comprising a broad spectrum of qualifications we can select appropriate teams for each project.

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.
SERI's offices are in Vienna. The affiliated academics and researchers live throughout Europe. The policy dialogue SERI aims to engender is supported by this webpage, conferences, meetings as well as publications

The Sustainable Europe Research Institute

  • investigates environmental, economic, social and institutional conditions for sustainable development
  • develops and disseminates information on through-put limits and makes possible steps towards sustainability apparent
  • develops scientifically accurate and practical policy solutions which allow sustainable development to become a reality in Europe (and beyond).
    SERI addresses all relevant agents: businesses, households, civil society agents, administrators and politicians.

SERI's work is structured along the four dimensions of Sustainable development: environmental, social, economic and institutional. Together with our work on improving methodology and a group of cross-cutting themes , this makes up the 6 general dimensions, in which we work and discuss the more specific themes.
One SERI director will be responsible for each of the 6 highly overlapping and interrelating dimensions of our work

Towards a theory and policy for Sustainable Development including
4 Dimensions of Sustainability:

Ecological Dimension: Reducing Throughput and the Use of Environmental Space

Economic Dimension: Safeguarding Competition and Prosperity

Social Dimension: Strengthening Social Cohesion

Institutional Dimension: Building Institutions for Sustainability


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Our latest Infomail and earlier news can be found at our infomail-archive.


Friedrich Hinterberger

Have a nice day - Your SERI-Team.

last update 10-Feb-2002