Version 2.0

Contributors: Hirschnitz-Garbers, Martin, Dr. (Ecologic Institute, Germany)


Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers serves as Coordinator of Resource Efficiency at Ecologic Institute. The focal points of his work include the analysis of drivers for inefficient resource use and the assessment of promising policy mixes that could support the decoupling and sustainability transition.

Scientific paper contribution 1: Locking in or helping shift? Trends and developments affecting sustainable resource use and degrowth co-authored by Susanne Langsdorf
Abstract: A number of global megatrends are challenging the likelihood and feasibility of options for degrowth: Rising global population and affluence levels, proliferation of westernized lifestyles and production and consumption patterns with associated resource use needs and environmental impacts jeopardize the earth’s carrying capacity. Degrowth in the sense of socially sustainably and equitably reducing materials and energy use and shifting to a focus on welfare instead of economic indicators emerges as one central theme to stay within planetary boundaries. In the context of a German research project, trends and developments supportive to and impeding degrowth are being analysed. While socio-economic acceleration, encompassing increasingly short-term product and consumption cycles counteracts degrowth, emerging new mental models and business models towards simplicity and product-service-systems support degrowth. Knowledge on relevant trends and their causal linkages is key to identifying promising leverage points for policies supporting degrowth.

Scientific paper contribution 2: Exploring consumption-focused policy mixes for absolute decoupling of well-being from resource use and environmental impacts
The paper is authored by Katharina Umpfenbach and Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers

Abstract: The overall environmental impact of consumption of resources in the EU continues to grow, requiring more biocapacity than is globally available. This appears driven by the dominant economic model putting consumerism and GDP growth at the heart of our economic system, as well as in our cultural and political systems. The paper will presents attempts of the European research project DYNAMIX to define concrete policy instruments that address the structural, underlying causes of unsustainable consumption trends and to explore their potential impacts up to 2050. While the detailed policy mix is still work in progress and will be fully elaborated and analysed in a first ex-ante assessment by August 2014, interim findings show that the policy mix might encompass inter alia: • Policy instrument to enable individuals to exchange increases in affluence to leisure, • Policy instruments to reduce individuals’ exposure to commercials, • Policies addressing infrastructure-technology-behaviour lock-ins in a systematic fashion.