Climate change

To achieve the climate goals, we must transform our carbon-intensive lifestyles. This will impact land use, production of goods, and consumption. And it has repercussions for how we work, move, and arrange social relations. Seeking to advance the necessary transformation, CDE:

  • researches how food and energy production can be arranged in an ecologically friendly and equitable manner;
  • develops models and innovations that contribute to harmonizing our lifestyles with planetary boundaries while maintaining or enhancing quality of life; and
  • investigates and promotes land use systems that ensure human nutrition, preserve biodiversity, and protect soils.

Ecosystems and biodiversity

Functioning ecosystems and preservation of biodiversity are essential. CDE works on behalf of rich, intact habitats that also ensure human well-being. It examines people’s diverse claims on ecosystem services and looks for solutions that unite protection of nature and people’s needs for a sustainable future.

Agriculture and food systems

How we organize our food systems has enormous implications for the environment and human health. It also influences the social, economic, and cultural life of whole societies. Through its research, CDE supports transformation towards comprehensive sustainability of agriculture and food systems.


Access to clean, affordable energy is key to development. But there are many challenges: Industrialized countries must end their dependence on fossil fuels, among other things. In the global South, however, many people still rely on biomass for energy. In various regions, CDE investigates biomass energy potentials, related demands, and climate impacts.

Land use change

Changes in land use often contribute to global warming, loss of biodiversity, and ecological transitions. CDE develops methods to assess changes in land use at various levels. It examines the links between decision-making, changes in use, and their consequences for ecosystems and human well-being.

Land management

Land resources and the ecosystem services they provide are threatened by climate change, desertification, overuse, and increasingly competitive market demand. Using various methods and techniques, CDE provides knowledge-based decision support for large-scale implementation of sustainable land management.


Consumption serves to satisfy our needs. In its current form, however, it has strong negative impacts on the environment and climate – and often on labour conditions in producer countries. CDE researches innovative and just solutions that enable fair, environmentally friendly consumption and lifestyles within a low-impact economy.


Sufficiency is about the conscious reduction of material and energy needs. The goal of the concept is to bring our consumption and economic activity in line with the limits of our planet. CDE explores how sufficiency can be anchored in our individual lives as well as in education, business, work, and society.