Dr. Ralf Meier,
Uschi Tenhagen,October 2009
Ecology and economy - a contradiction in terms? At first, my spontaneous answer was "No, certainly not!" After all, the media are always telling us that these apparent opposites have been successfully reconciled by us Germans, the global eco-export leaders.
But what are words if it's actions that count and these are still a long way in coming. Therefore I believe that "Jein/Yope" is the answer that is most accurate. Neither Germany nor the rest of the world has a sustainable economy.
But what exactly is sustainability? I owe you an explanation when I say that we are only just beginning to run a sustainable economy. The term sustainability - once only used in forestry - wasn't part of the general vocabulary of English until 1987. Some ten years later, it could be found in the election platform of the German Green party and, by 2002, almost all political parties had adopted it.
However, it was only in the 1987 report "Our Common Future" compiled by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (the so-called "Brundtland Commission"), that the concept of sustainability as we know it today finally received a definition: "development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.ā€¯
For the first time, the concept provided a comprehensive political strategy for fields hitherto treated separately. By today, "sustainability" is generally considered to have three dimensions: one that is ecological, a second that is economic and a third that is social.
The present sequaForum showcases some of our current projects which target all of the three dimensions of sustainability but place the focus on the ecology-economy connection in particular.
Gebhard Weiss, Managing Director