Sustainable work

Sustainable work – the social-ecological transformation of labour society

AG Nachhaltige Arbeit


The UNDP report on “Work for Human Development” emphasizes the need for  a “moving to sustainable work” with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Goal 8 “Decent work and economic growth“). Sustainable work refers to work that promotes global human development while ensuring sustainability, and suggests a comprehensive societal transformation of labour society.

Thus the working group objectives are to intensify the dialogue on work and sustainability, to identify thematic priorities and to enhance cross-linkages. Apart from solely focusing on the topic of green jobs the working group will address the dynamic relationship between ecological and social sustainability, and aims of economic development. This goes in line with the extended definition of sustainable work in the UNDP report and the heterogeneity of the SDGs.

In this context the following questions will be discussed and further examined:

  • What opportunities and risks for workers are linked to the social-ecological transformation in Germany (taking into account gender-specific, regional and sector-specific differences)?
  • What interactions arise between the social-ecological transformation and the transformation process currently discussed under the term “Industry 4.0”?
  • How will be the relation between wage labour and other forms of labour (e.g. care and educational work, housework, honorary positions)?
  • What relationships are given between sustainability or unsustainability of the world of work and everyday life?



Working Group Members

Dr. Thomas Barth, Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität München

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Brandl, Hochschule der Bundesagentur für Arbeit (HdBA) am Campus Schwerin

Dr. Ana Cárdenas Tomazic, Institut für Sozialwissenschaftliche Forschung e.V. München

Prof. Dr. Sabine Hofmeister, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg

Dr. Georg Jochum, Technische Universität München

Univ.Doz. Dr. Beate Littig, Institut für Höhere Studien (IHS) in Wien

Dr. Ingo Matuschek, Universität Duisburg Essen

Stephan Ulrich, International Labour Organisation Genf

Dr. Günter Warsewa, Universität Bremen




Time period:

2017-2019 (24 months)


Working group spokespersons:

Dr. Georg Jochum
Technische Universität München
Email: g.jochum(a)tum.de


Expected Output:

Position paper, Proposal for Future Earth topic


Meetings (by invitation):


21./22.6.2018 (download program)




Barth T., Jochum G., Littig B. (2018) Sustainable labour: promoting social-ecological transformation of the labour economy. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, Volume 27, Number 1, 2018, pp. 127-131(5). (in German)


  • 2015-2017

    Positive impacts through land use change

  • 2015-2017

    Co-design, co-production and co-dissemination

  • 2015-2017

    The social aspects in socio-ecological models and simulations of sustainability research

  • 2015-2017

    Sustainable intensification in agriculture

  • 2016-2018

    Social innovations in energy policy making

  • 2017-2019

    Urban sustainability transformations

  • 2017-2019

    Sustainable work