Sustainable development lies at the heart of hbs work. In Germany as well as in 30 offices world-wide, a wide range of projects and activities focus on questions regarding sustainable use of resources, the promotion of renewable energies, sustainable agriculture, climate change, etc. According to our understanding the concept of sustainability is not merely limited to its ecological dimensions, but also to the issue of equitable and just social development, as well as to cultural pluralism. We believe that behind the challenge on how to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, lie several important questions, for which we need to find answers globally:
- How to ensure that economic growth benefits equitable and social development, nationally as well as globally?
- What is the potential of the so-called green economy in de-linking economic growth from its negative environmental impacts (incl. promoting renewable energy development)?
- What kind of political institutions do we need in order to ensure global sustainability and equal opportunities for development (incl. global resource governance, regulation of global finance, etc.)?
- And last but not least the question of the viability of a consumption- and growth-based development approach in the context of planetary boundaries.
In China unprecedented economic growth over the past three decades has created a wide range of environmental challenges: the frequent news about hazardous air quality, food-scares, cancer villages, waste-problems and water shortages only hint at the massive national costs of China’s transition towards a market economy. At the same time China's global ecological footprint has grown equally fast. With China emerging as a key player in the global economy and now biggest emitter of CO2, its global environmental and climate responsibility have become important topics for China’s integration into the world.
In the light of these challenges, hbs wants to support sustainable development in China by promoting an exchange of relevant experiences and providing opportunities for a debate among different stakeholders within China and among Chinese and foreign experts, academics, NGO representatives and policy decision makers, in order to learn from each other’s experiences and promote innovative solutions.