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Economy & Environment – Challenges for a Socio-Ecological Transformation

Alpine landscape

by Ilse Kleinschuster

The session, organised by the Vienna University of Economics and Business, Competence Center for Sustainability, presented and discussed the results of a study presenting the main challenges and opportunities at the intersection of “Economy and Environment”.
The panel – with Martina Schuster (Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism), Sigrid Stagl (Head of the Institute for Ecological Economics at the Vienna University of Economics and Business) and other researchers – presented thematic inputs on research- and policy needs as well as sustainable consumption and production culture and consumer strategies. It emphasized also the need for conceptions of sustainable work strategies, socio-ecological tax and infrastructure reform and last but not least the importance of transformative learning, inter- and transdisciplinary research and societal discourse.

The group discussion within the audience moderated by Fred Luks (Head of the Competence Center for Sustainability, Vienna University of Economics and Business) and Stephan Lutter (Senior Researcher at the Institute for Ecological Economics at the same university) stressed issues such as „How can we transform?“, „How to achieve a sustainable constitution“ or „How to create a post-growth economy“ and other closely related themes.

Results of theses discussions raised the attention of the highly qualified guests on the podium: „Finding solutions is not a question of bottom-up or top-down but a question of bottom-up AND top-down.“ „Another kind of bottom-up approaches is to be expected, primarily from civil society movements“. „There is no other alternative to acting for transition – and preferably for a more radical one!“