Making the Planetary Boundaries Concept Work

International Conference on the practical implications for society, economy and politics

Environmental pressures are rapidly increasing worldwide, with mounting risks for sustainable development. To allow future generations to live in dignity and peace, humanity needs to operate within a safe operating space delineated by the planetary boundaries. Developed by a group of international researchers led by Johan Rockström, the concept has increasingly gained prominence internationally, regionally and nationally. But challenges remain: From the perspective of the German Federal Environment Ministry, the German Environment Agency and the German Federal Environmental Foundation, the core task and opportunity is to politically, socially and economically shape the safe operating space. For this purpose, fundamental changes towards a sustainable economy and society are necessary.

In order for the planetary boundaries concept to assume a guiding role in such a transformation, important questions need to be addressed: How can we further improve the scientific justification of the internationally recognised concept? How can we apply the concept to national environmental and sustainability policies and policy-making? Which opportunities provided by the concept arise for technical, economical and social innovations, for corporate risk and corporate environmental management, for environmental education and communication? This international conference will address these aspects. Its goal is to bring together central actors of a sustainability transformation to generate an agenda for the concept’s further application in academia, for governments, the private sector, civil society and media.

The conference is hosted by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Society (BMUB), the German Environment Agency (UBA) and the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU). It is organized by adelphi, the Potsdam Institute for Climate-Impact Research and the Stockholm Environment Institute and supported by the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen.

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