Sustainable international development requires a substantial reduction of natural resource use on the global level and a fair distribution of gains and losses from globalisation between countries in North and South.

The realisation of a sustainable development on a global level can only be achieved by integrating all 4 dimensions of sustainability:

  • the economic dimension, with the major issues of reforming the international trade system and financial markets,
  • the social dimension, with the central goals of reducing poverty and unequal distributions of the gains from globalisation,
  • the environmental dimension, tackling global environmental problems (climate change, resource overuse, biodiversity loss, etc.) and their unequal impacts in different world regions,
  • the institutional dimension with the central question of redistributing power within the global institutions and ensuring democratic decision processes.

The concept of environmental space as the framework for SERI´s activities explicitly stresses the links between the ecological dimension and the social dimension of sustainability within a global context. Methodologies of physical accounting are especially appropriate to measure the use of environmental space in different countries and to highlight inequalities between different world regions. Concerning the environmental dimension, the work of SERI in the area of globalisation focuses on (1) the reduction of the overall amount of natural resource use on a global level and (2) a fair distribution of these resources between the rich and the poor countries.

Empirical studies support the formulation of policy strategies and suggestions for policy instruments. Central policy issues addressed by SERI are:

  • Suggestions on how to solve the debate on free trade versus environment.
  • Reforms of the international trade system, in order to provide Southern countries with even chances for sustainable socio-economic development.
  • Re-regulating and greening international financial markets.

Project Areas

Global resource use

Accounting of world-wide resource use (material flows and land use) and evaluating scenarios of changes towards dematerialisation on the global level.

Sustainable Trade

Developing reform strategies for the international trade system to realise sustainable development in both North and South.

Want to learn more?

SERIs flyer on Globalisation
[pdf 34 kB].


Globalisation projects: overview

Publications on globalisation issues

Globalisation links


Stefan Giljum

Arno Behrens


Have a nice day - Your SERI-Team.

last update 30-Jun-2005