Our demand for resources constantly overshoots what our planet can supply: our current economic model and consumption patterns – especially in the industrialised countries – are pushing the Earth to its limits and beyond. The Earth’s ecological capacities have already been clearly exceeded in four areas – biological diversity, climate change, the nitrogen cycle and land use. In Germany, the environmental impacts of our economic practices and consumption are so severe and our per capita resource consumption is so high that their global scale-up would be impossible. Although various promising strategies to make our economic activities and consumption more sustainable exist, there is still a substantial need for action, especially as regards our often unsustainable global supply chains, high level of energy and resource use in production processes, and resource-intensive lifestyles.
For many years, the Oeko-Institut has been assisting consumers, businesses and the public sector to act more sustainably; it does so by providing practical information, guidance and advice on all aspects of sustainability management and supporting the development of products and technologies. Its researchers also devise and monitor policies that improve the frameworks for more sustainable patterns of production and consumption.