The project is making a detailed analysis and critical evaluation of the present status at national and international levels of operationalising the dimensions of sustainability (ecological, economic, social and institutional-political), and approaches to integrating it in to science and practice. On this basis an attempt is to be made to further develop existing approaches. The project is hence to make its own contribution to the present-day debate on sustainability by processing already existing knowledge and pinpointing deficits and needs for further development, while on the other hand it will provide a preparatory basis for an HGF co-operative project to follow on to this project: Global sustainable development and perspectives for Germany. A study is to be made of how the conceptual premises scheduled for this project - e.g. the equal and integrative treatment of sustainability dimensions, the full-cover survey of societal fields of activity or the incorporation of global aspects into the analysis - can be translated into a manageable and promising investigation concept.
The planned key activity areas for the project are:
- to establish the status of research work and discussion on operationalising individual modules of the sustainability concept (relevant problem areas and indicators, criteria and goals of sustainable development): comparison, evaluation, deficit analysis, pinpointing need for further development;
- to compare and evaluate the conceptual and practical application of the sustainability principle in scientific studies and national plans and in initiatives at local, regional and corporate levels;
- to survey and establish the status of research activities of the HGF relating to the theme of sustainability;
- to develop a methodology structure for the investigations: a structural grid describing the entire economic activities within a national economy (production, consumption, distribution); survey of the potentials and limits of available models.