Seminar series on Sustainable Development Beyond Green Growth

We know that a ‘greening’ of current economic practices will not suffice to achieve global sustainability targets, such as limiting global warming to well below 2°C and eradicate poverty. A growing body of literature shows that we need to transform not only our energy system and decarbonise industry, but have to rethink our entire economic system including production and consumption as well as our notions of wellbeing and welfare.

Such a major shift includes moving away from a continuously growing linear throughput economy that focuses on efficient new technology only. Detailed and consistent concepts of how sustainable development beyond green growth could look like remain scarce, as do studies to identify leverage points for major changes to the current economic system. 

The seminar series “Sustainable Development Beyond Green Growth” organised by the team of CIRCOMOD as Freiburg University address the following questions from an inter-disciplinary perspective and engaged in a scientific debate on them:

  • What new wellbeing and welfare measures exist and to which ethical concepts do they relate to?
  • What is the spectrum of options for change, and what aspects of the system (technology, materials, investments, labour) have to be considered?
  • Would economic growth in such a new system still be possible? And what exactly is economic growth?
  • How can individual action and systemic change reinforce each other?
  • How would necessary investments in the transformation of the infrastructure be financed, and by whom?
  • Who pursues new innovations, and how is the provision of the health and social benefit system financed?
  • What is the potential and what are the trade-offs associated with concepts such as green growth, circular economy, or bioeconomy?


Opening session: Tuesday, May 16, 2023 16:00-18:00 CEST

Stefan Pauliuk, professor for Industrial Ecology, University of Freiburg, Germany: “Sustainable Development Beyond Green Growth: Why do we need to talk about this and what scientific disciplines can contribute?

Ulrich Petschow, Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW), Berlin, Germany: “Transitions: social and cultural change for a post.growth world”

Investments, employment, and equality in future economy: Tuesday, May 23, 2023 16:00-18:00 CEST

Jeroen van den Bergh, ICREA Research Professor, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona: “Employment, equality and sustainability in an agrowth economy, and how to get there”

Basil Oberholzer, Centre for Development and Environment, Universität Bern: “How to achieve a post-growth economy: working time reduction and the question of profits”

Living Well Within Limits: Tuesday, June 20, 2023 16:00-18:00 CEST

Julia Steinberger, professor for Societal Challenges of Climate Change, University of Lausanne: “Living Well Within Limits, is it possible, and what would it take?

Katharina Bohnenberger, University of Duisburg-Essen: “Are sufficiency policies implementable? Examples in German housing policy“.

Limits and Just Distribution of Energy and Materials: Tuesday, July 18, 2023 16:00-18:00 CEST

Helmut Haberl, Professor of Socio-Ecological Metabolism, BoKu Vienna: “Beyond green growth: A socio-metabolic perspective”

Ingram Jaccard, Social Metabolism and Impacts, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK): “How unequal can an environmentally sustainable and just society be?”.

Technology and digitalization in sustainability transformations in the Global North and Global South: Wednesday, October 25, 2023 15:00-17:00 CEST, (Herderbau R210, Zoom: register here)

Elena Verdolini, Senior Scientist RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment Euro-Mediterranean Center of Climate Change and Professor of Political Economy at the Law Department, University of Brescia, Italy: “Harnessing digitalization to promote a just ecological transition

Joyashree Roy, Founder Director Centre on South and South East Asia Multidisciplinary Applied Research Network on Transforming Societies of Global South (SMARTS) and Inaugural Bangabandhu Chair Professor (2018-2022) at SERD, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand: “Transformation through decoupling: technological and non-technological drivers and barriers in South Asian countries


*this article is based on the post of StefanPauiliuk, Freiburg Universiy, senior researcher at CIRCOMOD project. ( 

This event is organized within the framework of the CIRCOMOD project (, funded by the Horizon Program of the European Union under Grant Agreement No. 101056868. Opinions are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for this.

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