As a leading scientific institute in the field of practice-oriented sustainability research, the IÖW attracts talented researchers from numerous fields of research to work together on a more sustainable future. Their common task is to recognise and identify the causes of social-ecological challenges and to develop possible solutions. The researchers believe in an interdisciplinary approach to research and therefore work together in mixed teams – economists and engineers, sociologists and psychologists. They deal with a wide range of topics such as climate-friendly energy systems, new technologies, sustainable corporate management and sustainable consumption. Research design and methods are individually tailored to each project.
The IÖW develops scientifically sound studies, concepts and strategies that are intended for practical application and supports their implementation at corporate and political level as well as in NGOs. In this way the IÖW provides concrete advice and support for political decision-makers, economic protagonists and NGOs, enabling them to find strategies and approaches for viable, long-term economic activity – for an economy which enables a good life and preserves natural resources.
The IÖW is a non-profit and independent institute. It receives no permanent basic subsidies. Clients come from various sectors of society. In recent years, the institute has been able to obtain a large proportion of its projects from the public sector, but also from corporations, associations and private foundations. Cooperation with international partners and clients such as the European Union or the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has become both an enriching and regular feature.
The main office of the IÖW is located in Berlin, with a second office in Heidelberg. The IÖW is one of the founding members of the Ecological Research Network (Ecornet), a network of non-university, non-profit German research institutes focusing on environmental and sustainability research. Furthermore, it is also a member of the Society of German Economic Research Institutes (ARGE), German Network for Technology Assessment (NTA) and German Society for Evaluation (DeGEval) and supports the environmental initiative of entrepreneurs future e.V.- verantwortung unternehmen.