Social Aspects of Environmental Policy - Subproject 1: Analysis and Environmental Policy Implications

Environmental, social and societal policies are closely interlinked. On the one hand, environmental policy measures not infrequently meet with resistance because they may entail or exacerbate actual or presumed social hardships. On the other hand, environmental burdens such as traffic noise or air pollution hit many already disadvantaged groups particularly hard. Environmental protection thus has a social impact. An ambitious environmental policy can only succeed if its social benefits are recognised and appreciated and conflicting goals are identified at an early stage and addressed within the framework of appropriate policy mixes.

The research project focuses on the interactions between ecological and social policy goals. The project team analyses social aspects in different environmentally relevant policy fields and identifies potential synergies and conflicts between ecological and social goals. With this knowledge, synergies are to be better utilised, proactively communicated and actively created. The project will develop concrete proposals for socially equitable transformation processes in different environmental policy fields of action. The project pursues the overarching goal of contributing to the scientific foundation of a "strategy of social environmental policy".

First, the researchers explore and systematise the social impacts of environmental policy and environmental pollution  with the help of literature, discourse and trend analyses. They develop an analysis and evaluation approach. They use this approach to conduct status quo analyses in environmentally relevant fields of action, to identify knowledge gaps and to point out needs for action.

In-depth analyses of the interactions between environmental protection and social goals are carried out in three selected areas. Among others, the areas of construction/housing/urban development and nutrition are considered. The team develops concrete proposals for ecologically ambitious and socially acceptable strategies to advance transformation processes in these environmentally relevant fields of action. The entire project is accompanied by dialogue and participatory events. A transdisciplinary advisory board advises the project. Based on the project results, recommendations for action for politics aree derived.