NewChances forEnterprise

Be it multinational corporation or tradesman: Businesses and industries provide a central input towards a sustainable world and the economic of tomorrow. Digitalisation and Industry 4.0 will lead to revolutionary changes. New business models will evolve, new lifestyles will be created, there will be fundamental transformations in our economy and society. 

Using this dynamic for sustainability is essential, as the changes today will lock in the economic, social and ecological conflicts of tomorrow.

Digitalisation and Industry 4.0
Whether in small handicraft businesses or large enterprises: Firms are preparing for a sustainable world and economy of tomorrow. Through digitalisation and Industry 4.0 so-called system leaps are possible – systems that change or develop within a short timeframe –, that lead to new business models and lifestyles.

This makes businesses the engines of a move towards sustainable development. The design supply chains. They influence patterns of consumption. They can develop the low-resource and –carbon technologies, products and services for the growth markets of today and tomorrow. They can reduce the pressure on the necessary massive build-up of infrastructure and thus reduce the global and local demand for raw materials and energy. But they will need to be ecologically intelligent and socially innovative. Transformations towards sustainability and climate protection are only possible with businesses and their know-how. So what can be the contribution of businesses and industries for the world of tomorrow?

Innovation in Products and Services

To make the contribution that only they can bring to the table, businesses will have to adopt a broad idea of (system) innovation. To test these innovations, they will need their own "laboratories" where they can better understand the effects of transformative products and services and drive innovation. The Wuppertal Institute puts a special focus on industries with high resource use and high emissions or those industries enabling a transformation, e.g. information technology, logistics, plant and machine construction.

The Challenges of the Food Industry

28 Percent of resource use and 17 percent of climate emissions can be attributed to Europe's food industry. Changing habits such as higher consumption of prepared meals and increasingly industrialised production provide a challenging starting point for sustainable change. The Wuppertal Institute provides comprehensive analyses of food production and processing along the various links of the supply chain and pinpoints key ecological and social challenges, providing the basis for a transformation in the food industry.

A Way forward for Energy Intensive Industries

Decarbonising energy intensive industries – mostly steel production, basic chemicals, aluminum, glass, paper and cement – is a key component of reducing global energy and resource throughput. These are the industries that provide the basis for infrastructures, buildings, machines and consumption goods. The Wuppertal Institute supplies energy system analyses and scenario analyses and studies the flow of resources along supply chains as well as the specific innovation systems of relevant industries.

Stefan Lechtenböhmer

To join environmental and economic sustainability we need increased energy and resource efficiency, decarbonised energy systems and new break through technologies. By bringing together companies and sectors with societal stakeholders we create visions, strategies and policy recommendations for a sustainable future for businesses along important value chains and particularly energy intensive producing industries.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Lechtenböhmer


You find more information on the transformation of the economy here:



Here you find up-to-date information on research findings and activities in the field of economy and business and industries.


Research with and for business and industries or sectors. In the following you find selected sample projects. A complete list is available here.

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