Symposium on Social Sustainability 2nd November 2017, Potsdam

Symposium: Social Sustainability

Potsdam, 2nd November 2017, 9 am to 5 pm

Invitation and program

Conference language: German

For the first time, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in September 2015 under the Agenda 2030 systematically link social and environmental sustainability targets. In the case of social sustainability targets, the industrialized countries were also addressed to the target population, not just the so-called developing countries, as in the previous agenda, the Millennium Development Goals of Agenda 2015.
To what extent are social and, above all, socio-political modernization targets changing in the context of the sustainability perspective? Can we talk about “social sustainability” at all, and if so, what exactly is meant by this? Do the questions formulated under the term “social-ecological” research and policy meet the complex requirements of SDGs and a program of social sustainability?
In the summer of 2016, the IASS commissioned the ISÖ with a study on “Social Sustainability. Concept and operationalization”, which was published in the spring of 2017 under the title “Social Sustainability. On the way to the internalization society” published by oekom Verlag.
The symposium, jointly organized by IASS and ISÖ on 2nd November 2017 in Potsdam, is to explore the scientific and political perspectives of the concept of social sustainability on the basis of the study and its publication. In particular, the following questions are being discussed, both in the German, European and international comparative perspective:

  • What is the current research on the relationship between welfare and environmental regimes about? Is it possible to observe alternating increases? What is the role of which normative?
  • What is the significance of the external social science perspectives in research on social sustainability? To what extent can the focus on social sustainability contribute to deepened transdisciplinarity in sustainability research?
  • Which political uses of the concept of social sustainability can be observed? Can the concept contribute to the development of a new socio-political arena based on SDG and human rights?
  • How can we measure aspects of social sustainability empirically? Which indicators are appropriate and how can the results be interpreted?

The symposium is part of the Berlin Science Week. A publication of the symposium contributions is foreseen. Travel expenses can not be accepted, also fees are not paid. The venue is the ballroom in the Kleist-Villa of the IASS, Berliner Strasse 130, Potsdam, the participation is limited to a maximum of 70 persons.
You can register here electronically for the symposium (in German).

For further information, please contact



9.00 am

Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn (Scientific Director of the IASS)
Social Sustainability in Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research

Prof. Dr. Michael Opielka (Scientific Director of the ISÖ)
Social sustainability as a research paradigm

Prof. Dr. Birgit Pfau-Effinger (University of Hamburg)
Is the welfare state research on sustainability sustainable?

10.30 am         Coffee break

11.00 am

Prof. Dr. Anita Engels (University of Hamburg)
On the measurability of social sustainability using the example of climate research

Dr. Beate Littig (IHS Vienna)
Social indicators in energy research

Sophie Peter (ISÖ)
Social sustainability indicators in environmental conventional agriculture

Daniela Setton (IASS)
Social sustainability of energies

12.30 pm           lunch break

13:30 pm

Prof. Dr. Anna Henkel (Leuphana University)
Transdisciplinarity in Sustainability Research

PD Dr. Stephan Lorenz (FSU Jena)
Critical reflection of social sustainability

Prof. Dr. Felix Ekardt (University of Rostock)
Human Rights, SDGs and Sustainability

Prof. Dr. Susan Thieme (University of Berne)
Socio-scientific perspectives in research on social sustainability

15.00 pm            Coffee break

15:30 pm

Dr. habil. Wolfgang Strengmann-Kuhn, MdB
Political use of social sustainability and SDGs

Dr. Christoph Brüßel (Board Senate of the Economy)
SDGs in the corporate reality of an ecologically social market economy

final discussion

16.45 pm            Conclusions of the conference: Prof. Dr. Michael Opielka and Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn

17.00 pm            Finish with small toast and snack

The program can be downloaded as a PDF here (in German).