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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.


This and similar texts can be found on the website of the Umweltbundesamt.



Lisa Graaf, Leonard Frank, Dr. Klaus Jacob, Lutz Meyer-Ohlendorf, Alexander Schrode, Lukas Fesenfeld, Nicolas Schmidt, Adrian Rinscheid, Dr. Philipp Späth



Im ersten Teil konkretisiert der Bericht das Konzept einer transformativen Umweltpolitik, das aufbauend auf Erkenntnissen der Transformationsforschung politische Handlungsansätze für das Ernährungssystem formuliert.

Im zweiten Teil wird die politische Machbarkeit einer Auswahl politischer Maßnahmen eingeschätzt. Dies erfolgt anhand der Präferenzen für oder gegen deren Einführung zentraler Akteuren im Ernährungssystem, die im Rahmen einer ⁠Stakeholder⁠-Befragung erhoben wurden.

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.


Upcoming webinars will be announced on the NEST website. All previous sessions can be watched on the NEST YouTube channel.


Upcoming Sessions

Dr. Saurabh Arora on Decolonizing Sustainability Transitions.

(March 31st – 10:30 CEST).

Dr. Katrien Van Poeck on Learning in Transitions

(April 12th – 16:00 CEST).

Dr. Benjamin Sovacool on Accelerating energy and low-carbon transitions

(May 16th – 14:00 CEST).

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.
06.10.2021 - New publication in Sustainability Journal



A new article by Martin Ritter and Heiner Schanz has been published in the Sustainability Journal. It aims at uncovering strategizing mindsets behind carsharing business models. |


Carsharing is seen as one of the most promising business model innovations for transforming the mobility system towards sustainability. Yet, carsharing businesses are faced with similar sustainability paradoxes as business in general; whether a company’s business model is pushed towards sustainability depends on its strategizing mindset. However, few studies have addressed the strategizing mindsets of carsharing providers. The present study addresses this gap with an empirical assessment of (1) the relevance of environmental sustainability in the strategies of carsharing corporations compared to their proclaimed vision and (2) the underlying type of strategizing mindset, i.e., corporate purpose and vision. In using a Sustainability Balanced Scorecard approach in a reversed manner, accompanied by an objective hermeneutic methodology, we reconstructed strategy maps out of two distinct carsharing business models, unveiling for each company its strategic reasoning, its understanding of corporate purpose and its underlying strategizing mindset. The results reveal that none of the carsharing businesses follow a mindset that orients their strategy to a systems-based view and accordingly do not provide solutions to environmental problems. The study not only adds to our understanding of carsharing companies, it also introduces a conceptual framework that allows the investigation of purpose in comparison to vision, revealing a company’s strategizing mindset.


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.
25.01.2021 - New publication: Leverage points of local economies

(Image by Pexels from Pixabay)

Although the diversity of local economies is critical to sustainability transformations at the municipal level, their existence is threatened by market concentration and franchising processes. This study seeks to address the problem by analyzing the causes of closures of small scale businesses in the case study of bakeries and butcheries in two medium-sized towns in Southern Germany. Using the lens of systemic perspective in the form of causal loop diagrams, this article identifies leverage points for governance interventions that can be used to strengthen the local economy. This shows that it is possible to implement context-sensitive, targeted interventions at the municipal level that can support the diversity of local economies for a sustainable transformation.

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.

Three discourse coalitions address the technical infrastructure dimensions in different focus. The coalition "economic efficiency“ especially supports centralised solutions, while the second coalition "renewables first“ supports centralised as well as decentralised options. Both coalitions are well-established on the national level. On the other hand, the third coalition "citizen energy“ that supports the decentralised approach, is comparatively less established.

  • Funcke, S., Ruppert-Winkel, C. (2020): Storylines of (de)centralisation: Exploring infrastructure dimensions in the German electricity system. In: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 121, 109652. ----- Click here to view the article.