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Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers


Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers

Environmental Scientist (Diplom-Umweltwissenschaftler)

Coordinator Resource Efficiency & Circular Economy
Senior Fellow


Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers is a Senior Fellow at Ecologic Institute and Coordinator of Resource Efficiency & Circular Economy. His work involves analysing and evaluating policies and policy instruments aimed fostering resource conservation and a Circular Economy. In his work, he uses qualitative social empirical research methods and applies case study and transdisciplinary research designs. He works in English and German and has knowledge of French.

Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers focuses on the following research questions: (1) what drivers lie at the root of (un)sustainable resource use, (2) what role can policy instruments play in supporting a sustainability transition, (3) which recommendations can be derived from such research for effective policy mixes?

He investigates these research questions in the context of the following research projects:

Identifying and Assessing Interactions between International Climate and Resource Policy: this 3-year UFOPLAN project identifies relevant climate mitigation and resource conservation policy measures on the international level and assesses potential synergies and trade-offs between these measures as well as their climate and resource conservation potential by means of system dynamic modelling. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers coordinates the project and is responsible for background research, compilation of policy recommendations and outreach.

Trend Analysis Resource Policy: this 3.5-year UFOPLAN project identifies relevant societal trends, which could affect resource use, and analyses policy strategies and instruments that could help in tackling these trends. Both trends and policy instruments will be investigated using social-empirical grounding and stakeholder feedback. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers coordinates the Trend Analysis project and is responsible for the analysis of policy strategies and instruments.

Transformation Towards Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructures (TRAFIS II): this 3year UFOPLAN project investigates mechanisms for mainstreaming and diffusing innovative infrastructure solutions with sustainability potential. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers supports the research on and development of diffusion mechanisms on local and regional level and analysis enabling and hindering factors for diffusion using transdisciplinary research methods.

Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers previously completed his Ph.D. at the Chair of Sustainability Science and Applied Geography of the University of Greifswald (Germany), where he conducted research on factors affecting the feasibility of climate change adaptation in biosphere reserves. From 2006 to 2007, Martin conducted research on climate change and biodiversity at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in the Research Domain Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities.

Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers studied environmental sciences at Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Germany) and at the University of Queensland (Australia).

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Selected projects by Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers
The project "Circular City Berlin – from potential towards implementation (CiBER 1)" analyses and promotes innovative approaches to the circular economy in various sectors in Berlin. In view of the expected further growth, urban densification and increased economic... Read more

Circular City Berlin – From potential towards implementation (CiBER 1)

| © Ecologic Institut
Infrastructure systems are undergoing a process of profound transformation. They are under great pressure to change in order to contribute to changing social objectives. Expectations and challenges with regard to climate adaptation and climate protection, the circular... Read more
Global extraction of primary raw materials has been growing continuously for decades, and absolute decoupling between economic growth and resource consumption, let alone environmental impacts associated with the use of natural resources, has not yet been achieved.... Read more

Textiles, including clothing, are a priority product category for the circular economy and one of the focus sectors of the new Circular Economy Action Plan. The textiles sector is a relevant economic sector in the EU, both in terms of job and value creation as well as... Read more

Photo by La Miko on Pexels

Thuringia is one of the first German states to draft its own resource conservation strategy. This requires a solid data basis on the resource flows of the state. In the ThüRess project, Ecologic Institute and the Institute of Economic Structures Research (GWS) are... Read more
Climate and resource policy are important fields of action at international and national level. In contrast to climate protection, there is no international policy regime for resource conservation and its societal relevance appears lower than for climate protection.... Read more
Selected publications by Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers
Sustainable use of natural resources in the long term requires not only the application and dissemination of resource-saving technologies and infrastructures, but also changes in individual and collective behaviour and social practices. Against this background,... Read more

Hirschnitz-Garbers, M.; Araujo Sosa, A.; Zwiers, J.; Hackfort, S.; und Schipperges, M. (2020). Methodentriangulation zur Ermittlung und Bewertung von gesellschaftlichen Trends und ressourcenpolitischen Maßnahmen. Teilbericht aus dem Trendradar-Projekt. UBA TEXTE 160/2020. Umweltbundesamt, Dessau-Roßlau.

This article (written in German) examines various policies and approaches that are currently being implemented or planned as solutions to the plastics crisis. It becomes clear that in national and international policies plastics are mainly described as a problem of... Read more

Mederake, L., Araujo Sosa, A. und Hirschnitz-Garbers, M. (2020): Mehr Kohärenz bitte! Plastikpolitik in Deutschland, Europa und weltweit. Politische Ökologie, Band 161, 76-82.

While circular processes offer potential for small and large companies, such processes are not (yet) established across the board. For circular processes to be applied widespread, exchange between science and companies must be improved. As part of an national research... Read more

Hirschnitz-Garbers, M.; Sittel, H; Wilhelm, R. (2020). Circular economy und Nachhaltigkeitsinnovationen – Forschungsergebnisse mit der Praxis diskutieren. GAIA 29/1(2020): 68 – 69. DOI 10.14512/gaia.29.1.16

Technological developments and trends can contribute significantly to resource conservation. However, the concrete impact of these developments and trends always depends on the social context. Here, in addition to political framework conditions, social routines,... Read more

Hackfort, Sarah, Jakob Zwiers, Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers and Michael Schipperges (2020). Die Zukunft im Blick: Sozio-ökonomische und sozio-kulturelle Trends der Ressourcenschonung. German Enviroment Agency, Dessau Roßlau.

RECREATE Policy Brief No. 9
This policy brief explores and explains the concept and rational of co-creation, both as a general concept as well as in the specific context of sustainability science. Furthermore, it takes a detailed look at its use and potential in the framework of European research ... Read more

Hirschnitz-Garbers, Martin (2018). Co-creation in Sustainability Science. Challenges and potential ways forward in implementing co-creation in  European research and innovation funding. RECREATE Project Policy Brief No. 9.

Addressing climate change and natural resource depletion has been key to the international and national sustainability agenda for almost 30 years. Despite existing efforts, global CO2 emissions and raw material use levels continue to grow. This seems to suggest the need... Read more

Meyer, M.; Hirschnitz-Garbers, M.; Distelkamp, M. (2018). Contemporary Resource Policy and Decoupling Trends – Lessons Learnt from Integrated Model-Based Assessments. Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1858; doi:10.3390/su10061858

The national and international political agenda shows that resource conservation is a central task for environmental policy: In Germany, Europe and globally, there are political programmes and strategies aimed at fostering sustainable resource use. In five theses, this... Read more

Hirschnitz-Garbers, Martin, Susanne Langsdorf, Ullrich Lorenz 2018: Ressourcenschonung als Zukunftsaufgabe – Ansatzpunkte für eine systemische Ressourcenpolitik. Umweltbundesamt: Dessau-Roßlau.

Prevailing resource use patterns of the global socio-industrial metabolism are unsustainable. For effective resource policies, drivers for such unsustainable resource use and their effects need to be better understood and mapped. In the context of the FP7 research... Read more

Hirschnitz-Garbers, Martin; Adrian Tan; Albrecht Gradmann and Tanja Srebotnjak 2015: “Key drivers for unsustainable resource use – categories, effects and policy pointers”. Journal of Cleaner Production.

| Quelle: Ekvall, T. et. al. (2016): Development of DYNAMIX Policy Mixes – Deliverable D4.2, revised version. Gothenburg, Sweden: IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
Increasing material use efficiency is important to mitigate future supply risks and minimize environmental impacts associated with the production of materials. The policy mix presented in this paper aims to contribute to reducing the use of virgin metals in the EU by 80... Read more

Ekvall, T., Hirschnitz-Garbers, M., Eboli, F. and Śniegocki, A. (2016). A Systemic and Systematic Approach to the Development of a Policy Mix for Material Resource Efficiency. Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 373; doi:10.3390/su8040373.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the economy and a key player to steer our economy towards a more circular model. However, their small size means that they face unique challenges on the path to closing loops and improving resource efficiency... Read more

Vasileios Rizos, Arno Behrens, Wytze van der Gaast, Erwin Hofman, Anastasia Ioannou, Terri Kafyeke, Alexandros Flamos, Roberto Rinaldi, Sotiris Papadelis, Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers and Corrado Topi, "Implementation of Circular Economy Business Models by Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs): Barriers and Enablers", Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1212, doi:10.3390/su8111212

Studie für die GD Umwelt
In order to support businesses in improving their resource efficiency, Member States use a variety of approaches, ranging from voluntary to regulatory measures. This study assesses the scope of application of ten relevant measures and provides good practice cases across... Read more

Hirschnitz-Garbers, M., Hinzmann, M., Watkins, E., ten Brink, P., Milios, L. and Soleille, S. (2015). A framework for Member States to support business in improving its resource efficiency. Final Report for DG Environment, November 2015.

Selected events by Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers
|© Henning Sittel
On 17 June 2019, the NaWiKo workshop "Sustainable management in companies based on the example of bioplastics" took place at the facilities of Bio-Molkerei Söbbeke GmbH, a sustainable creamery, in Gronau near Münster. The aim of the workshop was for company... Read more
| Fotolia_© kalafoto
Ecologic Institute supported the German Environment Agency in hosting the workshop "Decarbonisation – 100 % Renewable Energy and more: Transformation pathways to a greenhouse gas neutral and resource efficient society," which took place on 17 October... Read more
NaWiKo Logo
The international "SustEcon Conference – The contribution of a sustainable economy to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals" took place on 25 and 26 September 2017 at the Freie Universität in Berlin. It was organised by the project NaWiKo, which coordinates 30... Read more
| Fotolia © Carol Meneses
The Federal Environment Agency was hosting the 3rd National Resources Forum with support of Ecologic Institute on 11 November 2016. The conference took place in the "Ludwig Erhard Haus" in Berlin. The NRF 2016 brought together 300 participants. The aim of the... Read more

Conference:National Resources Forum 2016

Berlin, Germany
| Fotolia © asray
Ecologic Institute supported the Federal Environment Agency in organising the 3rd European Resources Forum from 9 until 10 November 2016. The conference took place in the "Ludwig Erhard Haus" in Berlin. The ERF addressed European decision-makers and experts... Read more

Conference:3rd European Resources Forum 2016

Berlin, Germany