Introduction

The vision of the Green Economy is an internationally competitive economy that is both environmentally and socially compatible. The concept forges a real link between ecology and economy, increases social welfare and combats poverty, while striving for social justice. In light of acknowledged ecological constraints, the aim is to make environmentally acceptable, qualitative and therefore sustainable growth possible, based on a comprehensive understanding of the interrelationships between economics, finance and politics.
Erdkugel aus Glas umgeben von grüner Natur. (istock / ooyoo)
Green Economy
photo: istock / ooyoo

The road to the Green Economy requires a process of change that affects all of society. It involves planning for a comprehensive ecological modernisation of the entire economy and its various sectors, in particular with regard to use of resources, emissions reduction, improved energy and raw material productivity, and the sustainable shaping of products, supply systems and infrastructures. Questions about living and working conditions, consumer behaviour, product life cycles and funding models are directly connected to these issues. The relevant value creation chains and networks must be viewed holistically, with the complex interactions and relations between the players involved being taken into consideration. Only a systematic approach will allow us to develop economically successful and innovative solutions to face global challenges, such as limited resources, threatened ecosystems, climate change and demographic developments. Both organisational and social innovations, as well as technical progress, are necessary to achieve the transformation to a Green Economy.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) adopted the central issue from the climate conference Rio+20 and started the Green Economy Agenda Process, together with the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB), in 2012. The aim is to support and shape the Green Economy transition process through application-related research involving the relevant stakeholders and players. This process encompasses aspects of the economy, science, administration and social groups.
Starting in September 2012 with the Conference “Green Economy – A New Economic Miracle?” and following a series of agenda workshops in which research questions in six action fields were devised, the Research Agenda was developed and compiled in dialogue with experts and stakeholders from research institutions, businesses, associations, trade unions, local communities and civil society groups.

Federal Minister of Research, Johanna Wanka, and Federal Minister for the Environment, Barbara Hendricks, presented the Agenda to the public, at the Green Economy Conference on 18 November, 2014. In addition to particular goals in terms of content (see Action Fields), funding activities for the Green Economy should demonstrate particular approaches to the funding instruments and meet certain criteria. For this reason, funding measures can be implemented as part of the research agenda that:

  • relate closely to the application and make users/stakeholders integral to the development;
  • systematically consider their contribution to sustainable development; and
  • anticipate a discernible leverage effect on the economic development of the Green Economy.

The Green Economy Research Agenda is embedded as a flagship initiative in the third Framework Programme “Research for Sustainable Development – FONA³”. Information on current funding measures can be found under the individual Action Fields. Measures from other BMBF funding fields such as the bio-based economy, research for production, new materials or electronic systems are also being applied.

Green Economy is an inter-ministerial initiative. In its new High-Tech Strategy, the Federal Government defined “sustainable economy” as a priority challenge. To substantiate and develop selected priorities in this area, the expert forum “Sustainable Economy” was founded. This committee is made up of high-ranking representatives from the fields of economics, science, and civil society. Their work is directly linked to the Green Economy Agenda Process.
The Green Economy implementation platform serves as a junction for information on all of the Green Economy activities and as a platform for players from the fields of research, economics, civil society and politics to network.
We would like to hear from you, if you have comments or ideas regarding the implementation of the Green Economy Research Agenda. Please send an email to green-economy@fona.de.