Operationalization of the Planetary Boundaries for and with German Companies

Since the middle of the 20 century, human influence on earth system processes has increased exponentially, to the extent that humans are becoming a geological force of change. This increases the risk of large-scale irreversible environmental changes with potentially severe consequences for society. To stay within the safe operating space within which our planet has provided for humanity over the past millennia, a global sustainability transformation is needed. The private sector plays a key role in shaping this transformation process. WWF Germany and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are working together on a pilot project to operationalize the Planetary Boundary Concept for and with German companies. Operationalization means to make Planetary Boundaries usable for companies and thereby creating added value in existing companies’ sustainability activities. The cooperation intents to: a) inform companies on the current status of the transgression of planetary-level thresholds; b) develop methods for science-based target setting in the private sector; c) support companies in the application of these methods and encourage feedback to the science community; d) test methods through pilots with a set of leading companies. The current focus is on the boundaries Land-System Change, Biosphere Integrity, Water Use and possibly Biogeochemical Flows (nitrogen). Method development will be performed in collaboration with partners from science, companies and consultancies, and other relevant institutions. Here, the PIK-WWF collaboration also acts as a convener in bringing together different stakeholders, thereby enabling the integration of the Planetary Boundary Framework in sustainability activities of the private sector.


Mar 26, 2018 until Mar 31, 2022

Funding Agency


Funding Call

PIK-WWF Collaboration Project


Holger Hoff