References and projects

Research Group on Digitalization and Social Transformation

Since 2016 Tilman is heading a five-year Junior Research Group at the Technical University of Berlin and the Institute for Ecological Economy Research. The group investigates digitalization as a mega-trend in light of current sustainability and degrowth debates. It consists of eight researchers from six different disciplines, who analyse rebound risks of digital devices but also investigate the potential of digitalization for sufficiency and sustainable consumption. For more information see the project’s website here.


Since 2016 Tilman is member of the Board of Greenpeace Germany. Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation, which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

University of California, Berkeley

During the academic year 2013/2014, Tilman researched at the University of California at Berkeley. As Visiting Scholar, he worked in the Energy Resources Group, in close cooperation with the Institute of European Studies. Tilman used the interdisciplinary research environment of Berkeley University and other think tanks and reserach institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area to improve research on how to foster the energy transition, in particular at the nexus of energy, productivity, and economic growth.


The environmental and developmental NGO Germanwatch, for which Tilman Santarius served as honorary board member between 2007 and 2016, is committed to North-South equity and the preservation of the biosphere. Germanwatch’s motto is: observing, analyzing, acting! The situation of marginalized people in the South is the starting point of the organization’s work, which focusses on politics and economics in the North, particularly in Germany and the EU.

Fair Future – What kind of globalization is sustainable?

Guided by the question “What kind of globalization is sustainable?” the Wuppertal Institute conducted a project which explored the relationship between the rising transnational economy and goals of public policy, such as sustainability and equity. The interdisciplinary research, which involved all departments from the Wuppertal Institute with a maximum of 25 reseraches, was coordinated and lead by Wolfgang Sachs and Tilman Santarius. Publications include a series of papers and articles, culminating in the book Fair Future. Limited Resources and Global Justice, which was published in english (Indian edition), GermanSpanishItalian and Japanese (see here for a preface for the Japanese edition).

EcoFair Trade Dialogue – New directions for agricultural trade rules

In a two-years discussion and consultancy process – the “EcoFair Trade Dialogue“ – which involved researchers, civil society, policy-makers and other stakeholders form all continents, new perspectives and policy proposals have been developed that intend to align trade in agriculture with the pursuits of ecology and justice, namely for small farmers. Together with ten internationally renowned experts, in 2007 Wolfgang Sachs and Tilman Santarius have compiled the results of EcoFair Trade Dialogue into the report “Slow Trade – Sound Farming. A Multilateral Framework for Sustainable Markets in Agriculture“, which presents an alternative to agricultural trade policies of the World Trade Organization. The report has also translated into German, French, Spanish, Arab, Czech, PolishPortuguese, Indonesian, and Italian. – The environment in the trap of globalization is a series of congresses as a collaboration of Attac, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Wuppertal Institute and EED. The international congresses deal with issues at the interface of environmental, developmental movements and the movement for an alternative globalization. Tilman Santarius was one of the initiators of the conference series that began in 2003 and every two years attracts over 1,000 participants.

Working Group Trade - NGO Forum on Environment & Development

The “Working Group Trade” of the “German NGO Forum for Environment & Development” accompanied international trade policy for over two decades. For quite some time, a special focus was on the politics of the WTO, later on bilateral and plurilateral trade and investment agreements, in particular with the European Union. Tilman Santarius is a member of the “Working Group Trade” since 2002. In 2009 he wrote for the study “Climate and Trade. Why climate change calls for fundamental reforms in World Trade policy“.

Joint Emission Trading as a Socio-Ecological Transformation

The project JETSET – Joint Emission Trading as a Socio-Ecological Transformation (2002-2005) was designed as a trans-disciplinary research and learning research network. The project was supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Reserach. It examined the introduction of emissions trading in the EU and the Federal Republic of Germany with various methodes of interdisciplinary sustainability research. Tilman Santarius was head of this porject’s reserach unit at the Wuppertal Institute. Among others, he published the paper “Emissions Trading and Institutional Changes in Environmental Policy Making“.

Policies for Ecological Tax Reform: Assessment of Social Response

The project “PETRAS – Policies for Ecological Tax Reform: Assessment of Social Response” (2001-2003) was conducted by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy in association with research institutions in the UK, Ireland, France and Denmark. Funded by the European Commission, this project examines the reactions of social actors on discussed or implemented designs of ecological taxes in several EU countries. It aimed in particular to analyze the acceptance of the reform in the population and also by industry. Among others, a publication by Tilman Santarius and Christiane Beuermann gives hints how to improve the design of the German ETR in order to increase its social acceptance.