Responsible Business and Natural Resources

Abbildung der folgenden vier Sustainable Development Goals "11 Nachhaltige Städte und Gemeinden", "12 Nachhaltige/r Konsum und Produktion", "14 Leben unter Wasser", "15 Leben an Land".

The questions of the research focus Responsible Business and Natural Resources are based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in September 2015. The objectives 'Sustainable Cities and Towns' (SDG 11), 'Responsible Consumption and Production Patterns' (SDG 12), 'Life below Water' (SDG 14)  and 'Life on Land' (SDG 15) are the focus of the considerations.

The central areas are:

• Green Economy

• Sustainable and resilient urban spaces

• Natural resources, biodiversity

• Environmental risks and resilience

• Sustainable production and consumption

The research interest is in the transformation, sustainability and resilience of socio-ecological systems in a local and global context. The behaviour of all levels and stakeholders, including citizens and consumers, is an integral part of the holistic approach.

The responsible economic research group Responsible Business and Natural Resources can draw on extensive methodological knowledge of different disciplines. It is addressable for sustainability relevant, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary projects in research and consulting, teaching and transfer.

Accompany sustainable developments

Blick von Bonn über den Rhein auf das Siebengebirge. Rechts im Vordergrund: Post-Tower und "Langer Eugen".
View from Bonn over the Rhine to the Siebengebirge. On the right hand side: Post-Tower and "Langer Eugen".

All activities are based on sustainability research, which integrates economic, ecological and social aspects and is interdisciplinary and application-oriented. The aim is to comprehensively analyze and thus facilitate the necessary processes of change and transformation in the direction of sustainable development.

Here, close cooperation takes place within the university as well as with partners of the Cologne Bonn / Rhein-Sieg region, such as the Regional Forum for Sustainable Foods and within the framework of international alliances, especially with developing and emerging countries.  

Applied methods

  • Citizen science
  • Indicator and certification systems
  • Stakeholder analyses
  • Sustainability assessments, LCAs
  • Empirical economic and social research


Perform projects

An overview of the complex research spectrum is given in the following selection of projects

Malaise-Fallen im Naturschutzgebiet
  • Green Economy, Climate and Biodiversity Conservation and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for a Sound Economic Prosperity – An Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Dialogue Platform on the Italian Island of Sardinia
  • Diversity of Insects in Nature protected Areas (DINA)
  • CitizenLab "Education for sustainable development" as part of Campus-to-World
  • Bionics and Green Technology in Maritime Shipping: An Assessment of the Effect of Salvinia Air-Layer Hull Coatings for Drag and Fuel Reduction
  • Sustainability assessment of participative production concepts and development of an evaluation tool on the basis of satisfaction
  • The nature of the Bonn/Rhine-Sieg region - a local assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services within the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • Comparative life cycle assessment of the use of conventional and grass-based pulp in German paper production

    Further projects can be found in the research database.

Selected publications

Busch, I., Barthlott, W., Brede, M., Terlau, W., Mail, M. (2019): Bionics and green technology in maritime shipping: an assessment of the effect of Salvinia air-layer hull coatings for drag and fuel reduction. In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 377 (2138), S. 1-13.

Fuchshofen, N., Hirsch, D., Brodtmann, L.I. und Terlau, W. (2018): Production, consumption and the actor's landscape in the Argentinean organic agricultural and food sector. In: International Journal on Food System Dynamics, 9 (5), S. 419-437.

Terlau, W., Hirsch, D., Blanke, M. (2018): Smallholder Farmers as a Backbone for the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. In: Sustainable Development, 26 (6), S. 1-7.

Fuchshofen, N., Klement, J. und Terlau, W. (2018): Opportunities and limits in the application of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method adopted to pulp demanded by the German paper production industry. In: Proceedings of the 12th International European Forum (163st EAAE Seminar) on System Dynamics and Innovation in Food Networks, S. 113-118.

Scientific papers in Forum NIL Nachhaltigkeit im Lebensmittelhandel