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Developing successful sustainability strategies

Research Team:

Dr. Ingeborg Niestroy

Jul 01, 2013 — Dec 31, 2013

Sustainability strategies are control instruments used in the political process of integrating the economic, ecological and social dimensions of sustainability. Since the beginning of the Agenda 21 process in 1992, such strategies have been designed and implemented on local, regional, national and supranational political levels. However, the global strategy landscape is characterized by great heterogeneity regarding the content dimension (e.g. problem understanding and goal formulation), the governance dimension (e.g. mechanisms for horizontal and vertical integration of sustainability), and in terms of success and effectiveness.There is no widespread dissemination of sustainability strategies in Germany at the moment. This applies especially to the federal level. The project "Successful Development of Sustainability Strategies" is coordinated and carried out by the Bertelsmann in cooperation with the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It aims to develop and contribute to the advancement of sustainability strategies at the federal level, especially by identifying best practices, and pays attention to their transferability.

As part of the project the FFU conducts a study which identifies and analysis best practices at the international level. There are ten sustainability strategies to be observed, which have earned a reputation in literature as being particularly successful or promising. The governance mechanisms of these strategies are presented in the first stage, in which the focus lies on the question which mechanisms are necessary for effective strategies in terms of the achievement of targets and which are robust against counter circumstances. In the second stage, field-specific innovations are identified. The guiding question is how sustainability can be integrated into relevant policy areas. The selected topics include Sustainable Business, Sustainable Fiscal Policy, Sustainable Social Participation, Education for Sustainable Development and Youth Participation. Furthermore, a "taxonomy of contexts" is developed, which should provide the means to assess the transferability of best practices at the German Federal State level and other units.