The National Research Programme “Sustainable Economy: resource-conserving, future-proof, innovative” (NRP 73) aims to develop scientific findings on a sustainable economy with careful use of natural resources, greater welfare and increased competitiveness of Switzerland as a business location.

The first NRP 73 projects have completed their research. Podcasts will be published regularly starting in September 2022. With kind permission, the podcasts are now also published at Business Sustainability Today.

Forest Ecosystem ServicesNegative environmental impacts of mobile, Internet-enabled devices (cell phones, tablets, laptops), at 75%, occur predominantly during their manufacture. Prolonged use of mobile devices is therefore an important lever for reducing environmental impact. Other important starting points are the design and production of the devices, as well as the business model, which is still focused on increased sales. In this episode, Barbara Dubach talks to Yann Blumer and René Itten about the “right to repair,” what consumers should look for when buying smartphones, and why the secondary market has great potential.
Forest Ecosystem ServicesIn Switzerland, about 1/3 of the country’s surface is covered with forest. This amounts to around 1.7 million hectares of forest. In addition to wood and energy production, the forest fulfills other important functions. For example, forests make a major contribution to biodiversity. Around 35% of all species in Switzerland are dependent on the forest. Also, the forest provides protection against natural hazards and is recreational space for us humans. So the forest does a lot for us humans – researchers talk about so-called “forest ecosystem services”. Barbara Dubach discusses with Roland Olschewski, Esther Thürig and Tobias Schulz what mainstreaming means in this context, why the forest is facing major challenges and what solutions are available.
Political uncertainty hinders investment in clean technologiesIn its 2022 Special Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the world needs to invest $2.3 trillion annually in low-carbon electricity technologies alone to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. However, the new Bloomberg Energy Finance report estimates that only $755 billion was invested in energy transition sectors globally in 2021. This gap has not changed drastically so far. Barbara Dubach talks to Dr. Joëlle Noailly about why this is the case and what can be done to close this funding gap.
Voluntary environmental protection measuresIf we have saved energy in the winter, do we fly to the vacations as a reward? One of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is to strive for sustainable consumption and production patterns by 2030. In this context, consumers should be better informed about sustainable behavior. The question here is which incentives lead to sustainable consumption behavior, how effective these measures are, and whether this then has a negative or positive impact on other areas. In this episode, Barbara Dubach talks with Renate Schubert.
Voluntary environmental protection measuresEvery year, more than 40 billion Swiss francs are spent on public procurement at federal, cantonal and municipal level in Switzerland. Procuring entities can already specify environmental and social requirements through appropriate criteria. In the future, sustainability criteria are to be given even greater consideration in accordance with new international and national law and international treaties. In this podcast episode, Barbara Dubach talks with Peter Seele and Matthias Stürmer.
Healthcare has the fourth largest environmental footprint after food, mobility and housing. Nevertheless, there have hardly been any comprehensive sustainability analyses to date. Which processes in a hospital are particularly harmful to the environment and how can they be made more sustainable without sacrificing healthcare? Findings from this research project have already been put into practice and integrated into a parliamentary proposal of the Grand Council of the Canton of Bern. Barbara Dubach talks to Matthias Stucki and Regula Keller about win-wins, vegetarian menus and optimized purchase intervals in hospitals.
Investments in the processing of construction waste into secondary raw materials must be worthwhile for companiesSwitzerland is not a country rich in raw materials. Today, construction, waste, and excavation from new construction account for the vast majority of waste. This raises the question of how to close the loop in construction. Barbara Dubach talks to
Susanne Kytzia
about the interplay between business and politics, how construction waste can compete with primary raw materials, and an early recycling fee.
Cost of settlement construction, integrated approaches, and the Blue Economy buzzword.The widespread adoption of sustainable water supplies often faces significant regulatory and operational challenges. The extent to which such infrastructures can become part of future water supply and wastewater disposal was examined with a view to municipal water and the strategic implications for Switzerland. Barbara Dubach talks to Bernhard Truffer and Eva Lieberherr about the costs of building settlements, integrated approaches and the keyword blue economy.
Scenarios for the reduction of greenhouse gases in transportSwiss transport is responsible for 40% of national CO2 emissions. To achieve Switzerland’s net-zero target, the greenhouse gas emissions of the Swiss transport sector must be substantially reduced. For this purpose, a basic distinction is made between the three approaches “improve,” “avoid,” and “relocate.” Barbara Dubach talks to Martin Peter and Vanessa Angst about different scenarios for reducing greenhouse gases in transport, why e-mobility alone is not enough, and what we can do to achieve net zero by 2050.
Size of apartments is a key factor for resource and energy consumption in residential constructionThe size of dwellings is a key factor in determining the consumption of resources and energy in housing. Barbara Dubach discusses with Claudia Binder and Anna Pagani what lies behind the trend towards larger apartments and how we can make housing more environmentally friendly without compromising our standard of living.
Voluntary environmental protection measuresProgress toward a sustainable economy requires major changes on both the producer and consumer sides. To what extent do voluntary environmental protection measures support this change and how are they perceived by the Swiss population? Barbara Dubach talks to Thomas Bernauer about voluntary measures.