How will Digitalization Change our Society?

Machines, products, and people are increasingly interconnected through information technology, but what are the consequences? Will we see a “smart green world”, with technological advances benefitting everyone – including the environment? Alternatively, are we heading towards a digital growth economy where money and power are bundled in the hands of a few, reaching the planetary boundaries even sooner? These questions are the starting point of the research group "Digitalization and Sustainability". It examines the opportunities and risks of digitalization for a reduction in energy and resource consumption and develops approaches for shaping digitalization politically and socially in a way that ensures its contribution to the necessary changes in society towards sustainability.


MAY 6, 2021, 15.00-18.00 CEST, online via Zoom

+++ Documentation is now online +++

Look back on exciting impulses and interesting discussions with our Aftermovie and a short review below. For all participants and those who were unable to attend at short notice, we have also summarized the most important points of discussion in a longer article.

More information can be found here.


  • New Online Edition of OekologischesWirtschaften: Digitalisation and Sustainability – The perfect match?

    A solution for pressing sustainability challenges? Or an impediment for socio-ecological transformation? As of today, it is rather impossible to draw an overall conclusion on how digitalisation affects sustainability. In this first digital and open access issue of the journal OekologischesWirtschaften (Ecological Economy), the authors argue that there is no “black and white” answer to this question; instead, the answer is complex and overarching. The issue is edited by the research group “Digitalization and Sustainability”, a cooperation project between the Technical University of Berlin and the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW). 12 articles present the topics of the group’s science-policy workshop series “Forum Bits & Bäume“ (Forum on Digitalisation and Sustainability); the research group is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Read more

  • Smart Green World – Making Digitalization Work for Sustainability: Release of the Revised Book in English Language

    In their book "Smart Green World", Steffen Lange and Tilman Santarius investigate how digitalization influences environmental and social sustainability. The information revolution is currently changing the daily lives of billions of people worldwide. At the same time, the current economic model and consumerist lifestyle needs to be radically transformed if society is to overcome the challenges humanity is facing on a finite planet. Can the much-discussed disruption potential of digitalization be harnessed for this purpose? The book is published in May 2020 and is result of the project "Digitalization and socio-economic Transformation". Read more

  • Workshop “(How) can our digitalized society operate within planetary boundaries?”

    Nowadays, the resources and energy necessary to produce and use digital appliances oftentimes countervail the savings they induce. Furthermore, their usage in everyday life may induce additional consumption such as video streaming or online shopping, which also goes along with energy and resource demand. Thus, it currently looks like digitalization might intensify environmental problems, rather than solving them. In this workshop, we want to discuss how digital appliances should be designed to create a more sustainable society. Read more

  • Aktuell

    Smart new world? IÖW and TU Berlin jointly research the socio-ecological impact of digitalization

    Can mobility apps relieve the environment or do they increase the CO2-emissions? Will onlineshopping increase consumption or will sharing platforms decrease it? The new junior research group “Digitalisation and Sustainability” will analyse whether resources can be spared or will rather be wasted due to the digital transformation and whether democratic processes will be supported or hindered. It is a cooperation of the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Read more

International Symposium 2021: Aftermovie


The project "Digitalization & Sustainability" is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung [BMBF] within the funding program "Junior research groups in Social-ecological research" (Nachwuchsgruppen in der Sozial-ökologischen Forschung). 

Funding Period: 05/2016 - 04/2022