The aim of our work is to contribute to the preservation of the environment and natural resources, and to safeguard, for present and future generations, the vital support systems on which all human life depends. We apply our ideas, our scientific expertise and our consultancy skills to initiate and shape the necessary transformations in politics and society, with a focus on solutions. We believe that these transformation processes must be democratic and equitable – also at the international level. Realising this vision and promoting sustainable transformations now and in future drives and motivates our everyday work.
Research and consultancy
With our scientific expertise and innovative concepts, we work with our partners and clients to design principles and strategies for sustainable development. We develop practical solutions that can achieve environmental policy goals in an equitable manner – and we advocate for society’s support for these goals. We prioritise the development of solutions in those areas where existing risks mean that a change of direction is particularly important and urgently needed.
Challenging and shaping
We identify the environmental impacts of society’s actions at an early stage and develop alternative visions for the future in a global context. We raise awareness of the need for action among decision-makers and the public, convince policy-makers, industry and civil society to embrace the necessary change and support them in this endeavour. We are increasingly sharing this expertise at the international level.
Facilitation and organisation
We believe that important decisions of relevance to the whole of society should be based on firm foundations. We therefore work to ensure that processes are transparent and fair and involve the appropriate stakeholders. We share our research findings with as wide a public as possible and, using accessible language, advocate for the necessary change.
Independent and critical
In order to maintain our credibility, both within the Institute and in our external relations, we conduct our research, analysis and consultancy in an open-ended and self-critical manner. We think “outside the box” and present our ideas and insights independently of the positions of political and social organisations. We avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Qualified and engaged
In our pursuit of excellence, we build on the outstanding qualifications and commitment of our staff. Continuous training and learning enables us to develop our methodologies and expand our knowledge on an ongoing basis. In this way, we help to extend the boundaries of science and technology.
Participatory and discursive
When developing potential solutions, we create space for alternative ideas and inclusive debate. We encourage the participation of citizens and other stakeholders in open and respectful dialogue.
Transparent and constructive
Open access to knowledge is a valuable asset. We ensure that our scientific methods are transparent and we make our findings publicly available as much as possible. In this way, we facilitate critical debate of our findings and create opportunities for their further development.
Sound analyses and recommendations are the key elements of our research and consultancy. We apply an interdisciplinary approach which integrates the natural and social sciences and technical, legal and economic aspects. On the basis of recognised methodologies, extensive knowledge of various sectors and years of experience, we develop our own techniques and analytical tools. We expand on the findings of academic research and transform it to enable its practical application.
A transdisciplinary approach
As pioneers of transdisciplinary research, we embark on new paths which transcend conventional ways of thinking and disciplinary boundaries. We consciously seek dialogue with a diverse range of actors and actively involve them in analysing problems and developing creative solutions. We are transparent about diffuse knowledge, uncertainties and data gaps and apply appropriate methodologies in such cases so that we are able to develop robust conclusions and recommendations. In this way, we deliver environmentally effective, socially just, economically feasible and politically viable solutions and support their implementation.
In order to meet our global responsibilities, we participate in national and international networks, contribute to their further development and initiate new networks of our own. We actively seek to build strategic partnerships and networks with other organisations in order to foster dialogue and to promote the mutual development of capabilities. Open dialogue, intercultural sensitivity and cooperation among equals, as an expression of mutual respect, are the driving force behind our success.