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Chair Group of Environmental Governance

  • How are environmental sustainability issues addressed and regulated in the economy, politics, and society?


  • To what extent can ecological innovation processes – such as energy transitions, mobility transitions, or food system transitions - be steered at local, regional, and national levels?


  • How can regions, economic sectors, and value chains be aligned with environmental sustainability goals?


Research and teaching in the Chair of Environmental Governance focus on the impact of governance interventions in spatially or functionally bound systems (such as regions, sectors, and organizations) to achieve normative goals of sustainable development.

The aim of the research is to understand dynamic interactions between the social, economic, and political characteristics on the one hand and ecological conditions on the other hand and commensurate to complexity. In turn, appropriate methodologies for their regulation can be developed.

Current focal points in empirical research are on the role of markets in transitions, based on recent theories of economic sociology and on the importance of mission statements (Leitbild) in strategic planning processes.

In principle interdisciplinary, the chair group is open to all methods, with a focus on qualitative, longitudinal-oriented methods of empirical social research, Social Network Analysis (SNA), and qualitative System Dynamics –structure models.

The Chair Group of Environmental Governance contributes significantly to teaching in the MSc-program "Environmental Governance" (MEG). In addition, we contribute to the major "Land Use and Nature Conservation" in the MSc-program "Environmental Sciences" and to the minor  "International Forestry" in the BSc-programs "Forestry and Environment" and "Environmental Natural Sciences".



12.2021 - New report on environmental policy published by the Umweltbundesamt
A new report on transformation-oriented environmental policy in the food system was published as part of the UBA-Texts series. Leonard Frank and Philipp Späth, members of the Chair Groups for Environmental Governance and Sustainability Governance, are among the contributors.
30.03.2022 - Webinar series on sustainability transition studies
The Network of Early Career Researchers (NEST) is hosting a series of webinars on core concepts and current debates in sustainability transition studies, co-organized by Leonard Frank. After a short break over the winter, the series continues in its third year with a number of upcoming sessions.
06.10.2021 - New publication in Sustainability Journal
A new article by Martin Ritter and Heiner Schanz has been published in the Sustainability Journal. On the empirical example of two carsharing companies, the article proposes a way how strategizing mindsets can be reconstructed out of business model narratives. Thereby the strategizing mindsets reconstructed out of the business model showed that both companies do not follow a mindset that inherit a system perspective or focus on providing solutions to environmental problems, despite their vision proclamation that state otherwise.
25.01.2021 - New publication: Leverage points of local economies
A new article by David Sipple and Heiner Schanz has been published in the Journal of Spatial Research and Planning. It aims to identify leverage points for governance interventions, through which local authorities can support the branches of the (small-scale) local economy.
15.01.2020 - New publication: Storylines in energy transition
A new article from Simon Funcke and Chantal Ruppert-Winkel has been published in the high-impact Journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. It delves into the question of who supports a centralised or decentralised pathway for the energy transition in Germany and which arguments or storylines are propagated by these discourse coalitions.