Stations & Focal Points

Status: January 2021 (hier geht’s zur Deutschen Version)

Sustainability, business and politics – that is what has always moved me in my professional work. I have described how this came about here.

A conceptual and at the same time „plural“ approach was, for example, the publication of a programmatic volume „Sustainability and Neoliberalism“ together with Andreas Renner from the Walter Ecken Institute at the University of Freiburg.

After teaching at the University of Witten-Herdecke with Harry Lehmann and Gerhard Wegner, among others, and with Dirk Messner at the Institute for Development and Peace at the University of Duisburg, at the University of Wuppertal and the Madrid EIO Private University as well as the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, I have been giving the lecture „Sustainable Development I – Introduction to Sustainable Management“ at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna for many years and have also repeatedly trained students as interns and research assistants at SERI.

In addition to working on hundreds of third-party funded projects with a total volume of more than 10 million euros, I was always concerned with theoretical foundations, which led, among other things, to the founding of the European Society for Ecological Economics, which from the very beginning also pursued alternative economic („socio-ecological-economic“) approaches and of which I was vice-president in the early years.

From the beginning, I was also involved in the Austrian initiative „Growth in Transition“ („Wachstum im Wandel“), a broad alliance of science, business, civil society and administration, in the context of which further trans- and interdisciplinary work emerged that could well be called „plural“.

About 10 years ago, together with Max Haller and Gudrun Biffl, I tried to set up an Austrian Institute for Quality of Life Research. Currently, the topic is on my mind again in cooperation with Wolfgang Lalouschek’s planetYES initiative.

SERI was founded in 1999 in cooperation with Friends of the Earth Europe, but was working completely independently since then. My closeness to civil society is reflected not least in my active participation in the founding of „SDG Watch Austria“, for which I now coordinate a thematic working group on the economy. Finally, in October 2018, I was elected Secretary General and Vice President of the Austrian Chapter of the Club of Rome.

The core of my expertise is certainly the connection between growth, work, quality of life and the environment – and thus the core of „SGD 8“. This includes several national and international research projects, for example for the EU Commission, the Anglo-German Foundation, the UN and several Austrian ministries. Together with colleagues from Germany, we have developed a large macroeconomic simulation model in this context, which can be used to estimate relevant questions of interrelationships, for example between employment, economic growth, government deficit, consumption and inflation for the coming years and decades, both globally and for Austria.

Since my studies, I have had a great interest in and qualities for the topic of „communication“ (including as press officer of the student representative body ÖH and editor-in-chief of the former „ÖH-Courier“).

In 2018, I founded the media agency cooppa with colleagues in Austria and Germany, which, in the spirit of positive and constructive impact journalism, is dedicated in particular to the communication of the future and the 17 SDGs.

I would also like to mention my great personal interest in the interaction between art and science. On the one hand, I value the contribution of artists as well as scientists in revealing necessities and possibilities to influence social change in the sense of the SDGs, but on the other hand also the potential to communicate them to society.

I am very interested in a closer interlocking of artistic and scientific work and therefore, since April 2019, I have been responsible for SDG8 „decent work and economic growth“ at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in the Austria-wide UniNEtZ project together with Eva Maria Stadler.

I also have contacts in practically the entire Austrian sustainability scene (and beyond, especially in Europe), be it in NGOs, companies, local authorities and of course in academia.

SERI was also a member of the CCCA, which is the lead agency for SDG 13 (climate) in the UniNEtZ project. In a project for the Austrian Climate Fund, we are working intensively on the interrelationships of target 13.2 (climate change mitigation) with all the other 168 sub-targets. Important here are also the options identified in the kick-of meeting for a socio-ecological tax and transfer reform, the working time regime and imports of products and services from countries with problematic environmental and social standards. I have already carried out many projects in all these areas.

The topic of „growth“ has been on my mind – as I said – since my studies at the JKU Linz and not least in my book „Wachstumswahn – was uns in die Krise führt und wie wir wieder herauskommen“ (with Christine Ax, 2013).

Among other things, I dealt with the topic of „work“ in my contribution to the book „Ausbruch aus dem Hamsterrad“ (Breaking out of the Hamster Wheel), edited by Anneliese Fuchs and Alexander Kaiser, as well as with some other authors from this publication in the conception of two relevant AMS (Austria’s public employment service) courses entitled „Selbst&Wert“ (Self&Value) for long-term unemployed people over 50. I already dealt with the topic of working time in the 1990s, among others in cooperation with the German statistician Carsten Stahmer („inventor“ of the concept of the „half-day society“) and colleagues from the Science Centre Berlin („inventors“ of the concept of „mixed work“) in the project „Work&Ecology“ for the German Hans Böckler Foundation.

SERI unfortunately had to stop its work in November 2019. Since then, in addition to my work at Angewandte, I have been volunteering in the Krumbacher Kreis, which formulated the #Lebensmanifest in April 2020, while trying to pass on my expertise, experience and networks to young people in particular as part of a newly founded Bureau of Civil Society.

To be continued!