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What we work on

Transformative Sustainability Research

The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) conducts research with the goal of understanding, advancing, and guiding processes of societal change towards sustainable development. Our researchers collaborate with diverse actors from science, policymaking and public administration as well as business and civil society to develop a common understanding of sustainability challenges and generate potential solutions. The Institute pursues a research approach that is transformative, transdisciplinary, and co-creative.

About us

News

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IASS Policy Brief

Deep Seabed Mining Must Benefit All Humankind

As investors set their sights on the mineral resources of the deep seabed, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is developing regulations that will govern their future exploration and possible exploitation. A new IASS Policy Brief, published in cooperation with the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), presents three recommendations to ensure that future deep seabed mining would be to the common benefit all humankind, as required by international law.

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Study

Insights from Complexity Science: More Trust in Self-Organization Needed

Globalization, digitalization, sustainabilization – three major waves of transformation are unfolding around the world. The social upheaval caused by these transformation processes has given rise to populist movements that endanger social harmony and threaten democratic values. What rules and institutions can promote stability in the face of such systemic risks? A new study published by the IASS offers some surprising answers.

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Policy Advice

Dialogue with Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development

Sharing knowledge and experience, collaboration, and coordinated action across politics, science, and society are vital to foster sustainable development and deliver on the goals of the German Sustainable Development Strategy. An online dialogue conducted on 10 February 2021 brought together experts from the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development and the co-chairs of Science Platform Sustainability 2030 (wpn2030) Christa Liedtke (Wuppertal Institute) and Mark Lawrence (IASS).

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IASS Study

Recommendations for Regional Action to Combat Marine Plastic Pollution

Millions of tonnes of plastic waste find their way into the ocean every year. A team of researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam has investigated the role of regional ocean governance in the fight against marine plastic pollution, highlighting why regional marine governance should be further strengthened as negotiations for a new global agreement continue.

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Dossiers

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Brazil: Strengthening Resilience in Times of Crisis Dossier

With 200 million citizens of diverse ethnicities, Brazil is the largest and most populous nation in Latin America. Brazil is also home to most of world’s largest rainforest: the Amazon. The Brazilian economy is the ninth-largest in the world but has languished in recent years. A group of researchers at the IASS is casting a spotlight on sustainable development and democratic change in Brazil.

Links between greenhouse gases, climate change and air quality

Air Pollution and Climate Change Dossier

Air pollution and climate change are closely related. The main sources of CO2 emissions – the extraction and burning of fossil fuels – are not only key drivers of climate change, but also major sources of air pollutants.

Contributing to the Sustainable Development of Arctic Regions

Sustainable Arctic Futures: A Regional and Global Challenge Dossier

Temperatures in the Arctic are currently rising twice as fast as in most other regions on the planet, a phenomenon most strikingly evidenced by the decreasing extent and volume of Arctic sea ice over the last decades. At the end of summer 2012, the extent of Arctic sea ice was the lowest since satellite measurements began: a mere 3.41 million km2, which is 49% below the 1979 to 2000 average. Since then, summertime sea ice in the Arctic has remained at a historically very low level. The processes currently under way in the Arctic are embedded in climate, economic, legal and social systems and processes that reach far beyond the Arctic Circle.