How we see ourselves

ifeu operates at the interface between civil society developments, corporate strategies, technological perspectives, and political latitude. Our institute adopts a transdisciplinary approach in order to respond to urgent environmental and sustainability issues. The answers we provide are not found in a scientific ivory tower, but through in-depth dialogue with stakeholders from industry, science and society. ifeu deals with issues including resource conservation and recycling, the sustainable and environmentally friendly design of products, processes and material flows, biomass and nutrition, the future-oriented design of mobility and transport, and a successful energy transition.

ifeu works worldwide and on behalf of a large number of national and international clients, and primarily receives project-based funding. Around two thirds of its research projects and reports are commissioned by public authorities. One third of the contracts comes from the private sector. The institute is independent in terms of research and finance and is non-profit oriented.

Our main concern

Our main concern is to instigate positive change, to contribute sustainable and progressive ideas to society, industry and politics, to raise awareness of environmental and sustainability issues around the world, and thus contribute to intergenerational equity and the transformation of our society. This can be achieved not only by answering questions, but also by questioning the answers and demonstrating ways to put ideas into practice. ifeu provides scientific support with the transformation process and shapes it on the basis of its research.

As part of our broad diversification in relation to socially relevant environmental and energy issues, we view ourselves as a strategically independent think tank, a reliable partner for and intermediary between research, civil society, industry and politics. Our research work is characterised by an interdisciplinary approach, innovative ideas, an integrative understanding of the world, and the maintenance of strong networks.

Our ifeu

We are a community of individualists who want to shape the future, who are committed to current sustainability and environmental policy issues, and apply our expertise independently at the interface between science, politics, business and civil society. We are at ifeu because here we have the opportunity to work independently, to conduct scientific research, and to apply our skills in support of a good cause. Our possibilities for the internal exchange of knowledge promote creativity and give us the necessary scope to turn novel ideas into innovative research. At the same time, we are eager to make contributions to the protection of the environment in our private lives, because we stand by what we say and firmly believe that fresh perspectives can help in every situation. The ifeu is a socially-oriented employer: reconciliation of work and family life as well as perspectives for our team are major assets. We are questioners, lateral thinkers, realistic visionaries, and curious enthusiasts.

What we achieve

  • We work to consolidate the overall concept of sustainable development.
  • We advance the level of knowledge through academic studies, models, and developments.
  • We combine the development of application-based concepts with a consultancy service for politicians, associations, companies and municipalities.
  • We bring innovative approaches, products, services and strategies to the market, for example through the design and implementation of pilot projects and promotional tools, and the ecological monitoring of new product developments.
  • We perform environmental, sustainability, risk, and life cycle analyses in order to facilitate specific decisions, and we conduct environmental education and public relations work to help to ensure that environmental protection receives an appropriate level of attention in society.
  • We chair discussions and bring together a range of social bodies. We advocate our positions and apply our expertise in scientific bodies and in standardisation processes.
  • We introduce ideas and findings to an international development process, while also learning from our network of other nations and stakeholder groups.