Der Lösungskreislauf für die UN-Nachhaltigkeitsziele, den das Paper aufzeigt

The fastest way to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

How can network theory be used to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals as quickly as possible? This is the question that researcher Jana Marie Weber and our colleague Constantin Lindenmeyer asked themselves during a workshop. The result is now a paper. In an interview, he explains what the approach was and what companies and science can now do with it.


In order to optimise our use of resources and find sustainable solutions to problems like climate change, close cooperation between business and science is needed. As part of a workshop, GOLDBECK-SOLAR employee Constantin Lindenmeyer worked with PhD student Jana Marie Weber from Cambridge University from Cambridge University on the question of how efficiently and quickly we can achieve the 17 UN sustainability goals with the help of network theory. An exciting project, also for GOLDBECK SOLAR, as the sustainability goals are an integral part of our Green Policy.. An interesting paper has now emerged from the considerations in cooperation with Prof. Alexei Lapkin and Prof. Pietro Liò..

What exactly is the paper about?

The basic question was whether network theory can be used to convey complex systems. We tried this out in the workshop. For that, we needed a complex problem to work with. Complex problems are problems where it is not possible to find solutions by, let’s say, looking sharply. There are many factors that influence each other, positively and negatively. The sustainability issue, which is represented in the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, is such a complex problem. There are so many different factors that influence each other.

How did you go about working with the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

We built little networks, so to speak, that made it clear how the individual goals are interrelated. This made it possible to deduce: Which goals influence others positively? Which goals should be tackled first because they further develop other goals? Which goals may run against each other and therefore need special attention? To put it more concretely: Can we at all advance economic development and prosperity for all at the same time as maximising animal and plant welfare? Aren’t there automatically limits or hurdles that we have to take into account?

Or let’s look at the energy transition: Of course we have to push ahead with the expansion of renewable energies. But we also have to look at the consumption of resources. The expenditures have to be in proportion, i.e. we have to look at the production processes. Depending on how exactly we do that, the more complex it becomes. Emotional aspects also play a role. With the network theory, we can disentangle the whole thing somewhat. It forms an evaluation scheme that perhaps reveals new perspectives and aspects.

What can companies do with your paper?

Companies are very often faced with complex questions. You don’t have to approach network theory 100 per cent academically to be able to work with it. In itself, it is another way of approaching complex decisions. We believe we have shown how complex systems can be mediated. Especially when it comes to decisions on the sustainable orientation of companies, it is not a matter of only looking at individual aspects. Companies have to consider and include different facets. We as a society have a holistic goal of sustainable development.

How do the insights from the workshop and the work with Jana Marie Weber help you in your daily work at GOLDBECK SOLAR?

In my role as Head of Business Development & Strategy, I deal with complex issues on a daily basis. Of course, I am more in the application field, without knowing the theoretical constructs that Jana is investigating in detail for her doctoral thesis. But creating different nodes in a network and weighting them accordingly is something that I also use more often.

Constantin LindenmeyerContantin Lindenmeyer studied Environmental Engineering (B.Sc.) and Sustainable Energy System (M.Sc.) at RWTH Aachen University and subsequently completed a Master of Business Administration at the Collège des Ingénieurs.


Jana Marie Weber Jana Marie Weber studied Environmental Engineering (B.Sc.) and Environmental Engineering with specialisation in Chemical Engineering (M.Sc.) at RWTH Aachen University. She is currently a PhD student in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge. She is working on the topic of sustainability in reaction networks under the supervision of Professors Alexei Lapkin and Pietro Liò.

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