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Green Economy

Today’s economy – ranging from its production structures to its consumption patterns - is a driving force of many ecological problems worldwide. In recent years this finding has reached mainstream debates on economic policy in Germany, and also at European and international levels. Resource efficiency, decarbonisation, environmental innovations and the ecological modernization of the economy have been included in the list of objectives by economic policy-makers and are being discussed as a source for new innovation and sustainable growth. A multitude of concepts by various authors are currently competing with each other – ranging from the OECD Green Growth to UNEP's Green Economy or the Sustainable Growth in the European flagship initiative for a resource-efficient Europe – just to name a few. What the concepts have in common is the idea that making changes in the economic structure will not only benefit the economy, but also will reduce their environmental impacts. Individual concepts differ with respect to the question what percentage of the problem solving can be provided through technological innovations (resource efficiency, renewable energies, emissions-free forms of mobility, etc.), or how much cultural change, especially in western industrial societies, is necessary. Many critical contributions place emphasis on the need for such a cultural change, and in light of absolute ecological boundaries call for the departure from the growth orientation of economic policy.
The studies conducted at the FFU on sustainable economic policies and the Green economy cover the various competing concepts, their objectives, instruments and their effects on the environment and on employment. The study of these covers both international comparisons of the various concepts as well as the analysis of concrete individual cases, such as certain policy instruments or policy mixes in specific sectors.