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According to the results of the Brundtlandt Commission in 1987 and the World Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, environmental protection is inseparably linked to issues of social and economic development. A better understanding of the complex interactions between human intervention and natural processes and the global dimension of environment and development have shaped the guiding principle of sustainable development and given it an interpretation oriented to the future.

Sustainable development meets the needs of people living today without jeopardizing the opportunities of future generations to satisfy their needs and choose their lifestyle themselves. The action plan adopted within the framework of the 2002 world summit in Johannesburg and the European strategy for sustainable development of Göteborg have set ambitious goals for the realization of the guiding principle of sustainable development. Education and research are the core elements.

The Science Shop Ispra (SSI) explores and develops strategies and instruments to support sustainable development at local and regional level. Sustainability research at the SSI focuses on ecology and its relation to economy and society. Community based research at SSI benefits different stakeholders and encourages cooperation and the transfer of knowledge. The SSI's clients come from

  • civil society, ranging from environmental associations to trade unions, foundations and schools;

  • government, ranging from local authorities to ministries at regional level, and the European Commission;

  • business and industry, ranging from medium-sized companies to corporate groups and industrial associations.

The research areas are:

Energy, Climate and Transport
The objective is to analyse strategies and instruments for a more effective and integrated energy, transport and climate policy at local and regional level. The research focuses on synergy effects of policy strategies that support the sustainable development of energy and urban mobility systems as well as climate protection.

Resource and Waste Management
The objective is to explore material flows from the extraction of raw materials to final disposal, calculating their impact and the extent of land use involved. Therefore, concepts, strategies and instruments are developed to improve resource productivity and sustainable resource and waste management.

Sustainable Consumption and Social Responsibility
The objective is to develop concepts and strategies for a sustainability-oriented lifestyle, and to
provide companies with alternative viewpoints and engagement opportunities that help them to better formulate decisions and actions.

In order to meet the challenges of shaping a more sustainable society, the SSI applies a participatory research approach. A special feature of this mode of research is the interdisciplinary pooling of knowledge.



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