Sustainability and Politics

How can society and the economy be shaped with foresight and at the same time stabilise the natural foundations of life? The co-optimisation of economic, social and ecological developments is the core issue of sustainable policy. At the Chair of Sustainability and Politics, this question is addressed in research, teaching and practice. The four subject areas of sustainable state, sustainable community, climate crisis and transformation as well as cultural innovation and communication take centre stage.

Sustainable state

The "Transformation Agenda 2030" adopted by 193 countries at the United Nations in 2015 with its 17 global sustainability goals emphasises the special responsibility of state institutions for sustainable development. This raises the question of the (further) development of structures, processes and instruments for sustainable statehood. Against this background, the topic area analyses sustainability policy in the political-administrative multi-level system, including its social prerequisites and effects. Citizen participation and inter- and transnational dynamics also play a special role here.

Sustainable municipality

Since the adoption of Local Agenda 21, municipalities have been recognised as playing an important role in shaping sustainable development. Municipal services of general interest mean that key areas of sustainable development, including local supply, education, infrastructure and health, take place locally. In addition to global and national goals, a growing number of municipalities are therefore developing strategies, programmes and structures for sustainable development. Municipalities are also crucial for the implementation of international sustainability goals, as these cannot be achieved without local implementation. Municipal sustainable development in Lower Saxony is currently being supported in the research project " Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie Niedersachsen " in cooperation with “Kommunale Umwelt-Aktion UAN e.V.”.

Climate crisis and transformation

The climate crisis requires a far-reaching, socio-ecological transformation of the human way of life and production. Hereby, the decarbonisation of the economy is of special importance, as a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions are caused directly or indirectly by economic activity. This raises a number of questions: about operational implementation and the role of companies on the one hand, and about effective policies for shaping transformation processes in society as a whole on the other. Both entrepreneurial and political decisions are embedded in social contexts that need to be considered. The research project "Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie Niedersachsen" is currently supporting the decarbonisation of the economy in Lower Saxony in cooperation with the “Niedersachsen Allianz Nachhaltigkeit (NAN)”.

Cultural Innovation and Communication

Sustainable development requires not only political governance or entrepreneurial management, but also cultural changes, for example in the relationship between people and nature. For the reflection and (further) development of values and cultural practices, communication and cultural innovations are of great importance. Work on (political) sustainability communication is therefore being carried out in this subject area and approaches to art-based, sensory sustainability research are being trialled in order to incorporate creative and aesthetic dimensions of sustainability transformation.

holder of professorship

  • Prof. Dr. Harald Heinrichs


  • Eric Hartmann
  • Pia Redenius

Associate Lecturer

Dr. Norman Laws

Student Assistents

Karla Bauszus
Luca Hensel
Marie Wilkens


Ulrike Steffens
Universitätsallee 1, C11.216
21335 Lüneburg
Fon +49.4131.677-1307