Environmental Law & Governance

Our Environmental Law & Governance Division addresses legal and social-science – including economic – questions which are fundamental to sustainable environmental policy. The division specialises in the analysis and design of instruments of political governance and regulation. The researchers provide consultancy and carry out research projects on European, national and regional levels.

We focus both on “traditional” subject areas of environmental law such as ambient pollution control, waste management law, water law and energy law and on the broad legal issues of climate protection and resource conservation. Additional research areas include the management of natural resources, the sustainability of enterprises, private consumption and public procurement. We also provide advice on infrastructure projects, both in the form of expert knowledge and in relation to participation and conflict management.

We examine which instruments of governance – from regulatory law via economic instruments and voluntary agreements to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and participatory processes – are particularly effective for realising environmental policy goals in each case. At all times we incorporate the framework conditions in which policy instruments take effect, including the market context, actor constellations, and institutional embedding.

Our researchers provide expert reports on matters of legal and comparative legal research and elaborate legislative proposals. In addition they conduct governance analyses, impact assessments and actor analyses, often in interdisciplinary teams. In doing so, they take the international, European and national levels into account and deploy (chiefly qualitative) social-science methods, including expert interviews, focus groups, moderated stakeholder processes, surveys and statistical analyses. On the basis of these findings our researchers develop recommendations for policy and the economy.

Oeko-Institut’s Environmental Law & Governance Division is co-publisher of the elni-Review, a bi-annual English-language journal on environmental law.