Biodiversity-friendly economic growth: updating and developing recommendations for sustainable welfare indicators

Problem statement

For over 30 years, scientific endeavours have been underway worldwide to make the services provided by different ecosystems more visible and to incorporate them into social decision-making processes. Although this also increases the importance of biodiversity - as ecosystem services generally require intact ecosystems and implicitly species-rich landscapes - these approaches were hardly taken up for a long time. It is only through a change in the normative and, in some cases, legal and programmatic framework conditions that a new dynamic is now emerging.

At the same time, a discussion has also been underway for many years to expand the narrow economic view of prosperity - and quantitative economic growth as a guarantee - to include other factors of social well-being.

In Germany, the National Strategy on Biological Diversity up to 2030, which is currently being developed and is expected to include specific references to the topic of environmental economic accounts/welfare indicators, is likely to become relevant. In addition, ecosystem-based reporting should be (further) developed, which can also be used as part of the German sustainability strategy. Central levers with regard to the transformation of the economy, which is necessary for several reasons, would include the correction of welfare measurement and economic reporting, e.g. through the further expansion of ecosystem accounting and the integration of natural capital into economic decision-making mechanisms.


The aim of the project is to integrate biodiversity-relevant welfare indicators into Germany's economic reporting and to take into account the consumption of natural assets on the one hand, and the natural and environmental pressures that occur as well as the corresponding damage to nature and ecosystems (as a counterpart to environmental damage at the biotic level) on the other.

Research questions of the project

To ensure successful implementation, the project aims to generate proposals for the integration of such an extended well-being assessment and to develop or take up recommendations that can be applied in politics, the private sector, science and society.

What factors need to be taken into account for this objective and how can nature as a "capital/natural asset" be more strongly integrated and disseminated in the context of welfare reporting (keyword: mainstreaming)?

How can and should the concept of traditional GDP/ Gross National Income (GNI) be expanded or supplemented by existing sustainability calculations and accounting systems that provide information on nature conservation, such as the UN's SEEA-EA or the World Bank's 'Adjusted Net Saving' concept?

The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development is jointly funded by the federal government and the federal states.

FS Sachsen

This measure is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.