Tilburg Sustainability Center

The Tilburg Sustainability Center provides research based support to companies, governments and organizations in their quest for sustainable development.

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Projects

Current projects

Green Lifestyles, Alternative Models and Up-scaling Regional Sustainability (GLAMURS)

Period: 2014 - 2017

TSC Researchers: Sjak Smulders, Aart de Zeeuw, Daan van Soest

Contractor/Sponsor: European Comission, FP7

Partners:

  • University of Corona
  • University of Bath
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Helmholtz – Centre for Environmental Research
  • Delft University of Technology 
  • Otto-von-Guericke Universität Magdeburg
  • Università Roma Tre
  • James Hutton Institute
  • Universitatea de Vest dinTimisoara
  • Sustainable Europe Research Institute

Objective:

GLAMURS aims to answer the following main research questions: What are the most important factors influencing sustainable lifestyles, and how do they interact in influencing patterns of time-use and consumption decisions related to them? How will lifestyle patterns evolve over time (within society and the lifespan/life cycle of individuals; intra- and intergenerational) and what are the factors (drivers and obstacles) for reaching sustainable lifestyle path(s)? The tools used in the analyses are from economics and psychology; an important part of the project is devoted to bring these two disciplines together. Another important part concerns the question how developments at the micro-level can be scaled up to the macro-level; here we use insights from evolutionary game theory, growth theory, and ecological modeling.

CREE: Centre for Research on Environmentally friendly Energy

Period: 2011 - 2019

TSC Reserachers: Reyer Gerlag, Aart de Zeeuw

Contractor/Sponsor: Oslo Centre for Research on Environmentally friendly Energy

Partners:

  • Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research
  • University of Oslo
  • Statistics Norway
  • Gassnova
  • Norwegian Environment Agency
  • Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy
  • Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate
  • Statkraft Energi
  • Statnett
  • Statoil

Objective:

CREE’s aim is to contribute to the collection and establishment of knowledge on how framework conditions affect both the energy market and technological development, including innovation and the diffusion of technology for renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage. The center will work on developing better framework conditions and policy instruments designed to reach the goals established in national and international energy and climate policy. The work of CREE will be relevant for Norwegian policy makers, regulators and important agents in the energy market.

Website:  Cree

IPCC 5th Assessment Report Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Period: 2010-2014

TSC Researcher: Reyer Gerlagh

Contractor/Sponsor: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Objective:

At regular intervals, the IPCC presents comprehensive scientific assessments of the existing scientific, technical and socioeconomic literature on climate change. As part of the IPCC, the Working Group III will publish the 5th Assessment Report (AR5), assessing all options for mitigating climate change through limiting or preventing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing activities that remove them from the atmosphere. Reyer Gerlagh has been appointed as Coordinating Lead Author of Chapter 5 in this working group, together with Gabriel Blanco from Argentina and Sangwon Suh from Korea. The full IPCC report will be finalized in 2014.

Project website IPCC

FP7 ENTRACTE - Economic iNsTRuments to Achieve Climate Targets in Europe

Period: 2012 – 2015

TSC Researchers: Sjak Smulders, Reyer Gerlagh, Aart de Zeeuw, Daan van Soest, Jonathan Verschuuren

Contractor/Sponsor: European Comission, FP7

Partners:

  • Centre for European Economic Research
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
  • Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei
  •  LSE Grantham Institute
  • Imperial College London
  • Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research
  • AP EnvEcon
  • European Research and Project Office

Objective:

The overarching goal of the ENTRACTE research project is to assess, understand and model the EU's current, as well as future, climate policy portfolios taking into account the key interdependencies between policy instruments and thereby identify the optimal mix of policies needed to achieve legislated and aspirational targets of greenhouse gas emission reductions. More specifically, the ENTRACTE project has four goals: First, to coherently assess the most important climate policy instruments with the full range of economic research methods. Second, to gain a deeper understanding of the interactions between multiple climate policy instruments. Third, to provide an analysis that takes into account the barriers to the implementation of climate policy instruments. Fourth, to identify mixes of climate policy instruments that provide an effective, efficient and feasible overall climate policy.

Project website

VICI -Helping African agriculture

Period: 2011 - 2015

TSC Researchers: Erwin Bulte, Daan van Soest, Haki Pamuk

Contractor / Sponsor: NWO (Wageningen Research University is main applicant)

Objective:

Agricultural development is probably the most effective way of tackling the problem of poverty in Africa. But how do we get this process underway? This research attempts to identify the institutions associated with the commercialization and intensification of agriculture in Africa. Special attention will be devoted to areas which have recently experienced an episode of violence.

Energy Literacy (phase 1 & 2)

Period: 2011-2014

TSC Researchers: Dirk Brounen, Erdal Aydin

Contractor/Sponsor: Ministry of Internal Affairs, Agentschap NL

Technological lock-in and policy implications (SSB)

Period: 2011 - 2013

TSC Researchers: Reyer Gerlagh

Contractor/Sponsor: Statistics Norway (SSB), Research Council of Norway

Objective:

Within the project ‘Diffusion of Climate Technologies’ the subproject ‘Technological lock-in and policy implications’ aims to analyze barriers to market diffusion created by network externalities in the transport sector. Network externalities may create multiple equilibriums and carbon taxes can be insufficient to move the economy away from the inferior equilibrium. Different subsidy schemes will be analyzed for hydrogen and/or electric cars, and policy rules will be constructed for the optimal timing of both subsidies and taxes.

HFC Web portal/FS Insight

Period: 2011 - 2013

TSC Researchers: Kees Koedijk, Dirk Brounen

Contractor / Sponsor: Holland Financial Centre

Partners:

  • Maastricht University
  • Holland Financial Centre
  • Duisenberg School of Finance

Objective:

FS Insight (“Finance and Sustainability Insight”) is a global platform where top scholars, policy makers and members of the business community can share knowledge of and experience with finance and sustainability. The site is a source of latest ideas and developments, which has set the encouragement of financing the transition towards a sustainable economy as its goal. Sustainability and finance are important issues on the (political) world agenda. Many scientists and people in the field have accumulated knowledge, insight and experience in these areas. FS Insight gathers this information in a neatly arranged way and makes it accessible to anybody with a professional interest in the subject. FS Insight is the place for the latest news, research and information on events with themes such as: sustainable and responsible investments, green buildings finance, sustainable energy finance, and inclusive finance.

Project website

FP7- Impact Measurement and Performance Analysis of CSR

Period: 2010-2013

TSC Researchers: Johan Graafland, Hugo Smid, Marcel Das

Contractor/Sponsor: European Comission/FP7

Partners:

  • CentERdata 
  • Copenhagen Business School
  • INSEAD
  • TiasNimbas Business School
  • Helsinki School of Economics
  • KULeuven
  • IESE

Objective:

IMPACT aims to assess, measure and monitor the economic, societal and environmental impacts arising from CSR policies and practices in Europe. New and existing tools that measure the impacts of CSR at different levels across European companies, sectors, regions and EU27 will be used. The research will focus on SMEs as well as large companies. It will initiate new panel data to monitor CSR impacts across Europe. The empirical evidence on the impacts of CSR will be used to establish a picture of the contribution by European companies through CSR to meeting the main areas and objectives set in the Lisbon and Gothenburg strategies - competitiveness (including innovation), growth, quality of jobs and sustainability. TSC together with CentERdata is involved in the empirical and econometric analysis of the project.

Website

Dilemma’s surrounding sustainable consumption

Period: 2013

TSC Researchers:  Daan van Soest, Eline van der Heijden, Herman Vollebergh

Contractor/Sponsor: PBL 

Partners: Kees Vringer, Frank Dietz

Objective:

To write a report on how the government can stimulate consumers to adopt a more sustainable consumption pattern. An economic behavioral experiment makes clear that many consumers find sustainable consumption important and are willing to make more sustainable choices – especially when other consumers also do so. The actual sustainability gains are of less importance to consumers. Therefore, it seems the government can encourage sustainable consumption by emphasizing the value of an individual contributions and by ensuring that individual consumers know that a sufficient number of other people are also making more sustainable choices.

Website

Completed projects

Energy saving & Behavioral experiments

Period: 2012

TSC Researchers: Eline van der Heijden, Daan van Soest

Contractor/Sponsor: Dutch Ministry of Internal Affairs

Objective:

This project analyzes the investment behavior of consumers in relation to energy saving. Central in the study is the assumption that consumers are faced with a trade-off between direct cost (price of the product) and future gains (energy saving), both for themselves and society. In the experiments the impact of the policy option “information supply” (i.e., no information, information on what is good for the consumer, or also information on the societal benefits) what on the consumers’ behavior is investigated.

Contract value: € 55.567               

Designation of Natura 2000 sites

Period: 2012

TSC Researchers: Kees Bastmeijer, Floor Fleurke

Contractor / Sponsor: Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation

Objective:

In this project for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation we researched whether it is legally possible to join already designated Natura 2000 sites together, thus legally forming one site. This has administrative pros and also some substantive pros, provided ecological benefits of joining areas together are achieved.

Contract value: € 12.000

Regulating Geo-engineering

Period: 2012

TSC Researchers: Jonathan Verschuuren, Floor Fleurke

Contractor/Sponsor: Rathenau Institute

Objective:

In this project for the Rathenau Institute, a research institute funded by the government, we analyzed existing international, EU and domestic law that, intentionally or unintentionally applies to various forms of geo-engineering.

Contract value: € 15.000

Climate Change and Conflict

Period: 2012

TSC Researchers: Jonathan Verschuuren, Floor Fleurke

Contractor/Sponsor: The Hague Institute for Global Justice

Objective:

On the basis of existing research in all relevant fields, we drafted a “state of affairs”-document which formed the main input for an international conference. During the conference options for future research on armed conflict caused by climate change were assessed.

Contract value: € 30.000

Legal issues in the Otapan case

Period: 2012

TSC Researcher: Jonathan Verschuuren

Contractor / Sponsor: Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment

Objective:

A study into legal issues involved in the Otapan case in support of the work of the Otapan Advisory Committee. In this project we answered a range of legal questions on EU and international law on shipments of waste, applied to the Otapan, an end-of-life ship that was illegally shipped to Turkey by the Dutch authorities in 2006.

Contract value: € 20.000

Legal Aspects of Connectivity Conservation

Period: 2012

TSC Researchers: Jonathan Verschuuren, Arie Trouwborst

Contractor/Sponsor: IUCN Environmental Law Centre

Objective:

Together with other authors we drafted a guide on legal aspects of connectivity, i.e. on legal instruments that are applied to connect protected areas to each other in order to combat habitat fragmentation. In addition, two case study reports were drafted (on the EU and on the Netherlands).

Contract value: € 20.000

Legal issues of the Antarctic Treaty System

Period: 2009 – 2012

TSC Researcher: Kees Bastmeijer

Contractor/Sponsor: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Objective:

The Netherlands are a consultative party to Antarctic Treaty System, ATS. On an ad hoc basis, Kees Bastmeijer advises the Dutch authorities on Legal issues concerning the international management of Antarctica. This involves representing the Netherlands during conferences of the parties to the ATS.

Contract value: € 52.000

Chair on Nature Conservation Law and Water Law

Period: 2009 – 2012

TSC Researcher: Kees Bastmeijer

Contractor/Sponsor: Province of Noord-Brabant, regional Water Boards, environmental NGOs (Natuur­monumenten, Staatsbosbeheer, Brabants Landschap)

Objective:

The research of relevant legal issues in the field of nature conservation and water management from a local perspective, with an explicit focus on international and European obligations that have to be implemented at the local level. The chair is financed for a period of four years (2009-2013). We aim at continuation after 2013.

Contract value: € 280.000

VENI -Towards climate change proof international nature conservation law

Period: 2010-2012

TSC Researcher: Arie Trouwborst

Contractor/Sponsor: NWO

Objective:

Biological diversity worldwide is expected to come under increasing stress on account of climate change. International cooperation between states is required, inter alia because species and ecosystems will (attempt) to shift their distributions, including across jurisdictional boundaries. Current international nature conservation regimes were, however, not created with climate change in mind. It remains unclear to what extent these regimes are equipped to adequately facilitate the adaptation of biodiversity to climate change, although a substantial mismatch seems likely. In this light, the dual aim of the proposed research project is (1) to assess the current capacity of international nature conservation law to facilitate the adaptation of species and ecosystems to climate change, and (2) to identify and develop approaches for the enhancement of that capacity.

Contract value: € 250.000

VIDI- Natural resources, endogenous institutions and economic growth

Period: 2005-2010

TSC Researcher: Erwin Bulte

Contractor/Sponsor: NWO

Objective:

Contrary to expectations, empirical work suggests an inverse relation between natural resource abundance and economic growth. This phenomenon has been coined “the resource curse”. The proposed research aims to evaluate the robustness of the resource curse, and will formalize the links between resource wealth, institutional quality and economic growth. This will involve a combination of empirical work (varying proxies of resource abundance and economic performance) and theoretical modeling. We will switch between the micro –, meso – and macro perspective, focusing on, respectively, (i) the spontaneous emergence of institutions as the outcome of decentralized interaction by agents in the economy, (ii) strategic interaction between industries and planner searching for various sorts of rents, and (iii) the impact of resource abundance on de facto property rights regimes and economic growth in a growth model.

Contract value: € 405.600

The co-evolution of renewable natural resources and informal institutions

The co-evolution of renewable natural resources and informal institutions, and the implications for government policy design

Period: 2006 – 2011

TSC Researcher: Daan van Soest

External researcher: Jan Stoop

Contractor/Sponsor: NWO

Objective:

This research project starts from the observation that in some instances, government intervention is effective in conserving renewable natural resources (specific species, or more generally biodiversity), but not in others. The key objective of this project is to identify the factors that determine failure or success. We argue that government intervention does not necessarily take place in a vacuum; sets of local self-enforcing rules (also known as informal institutions) may exist that govern resource use. Success or failure of government intervention depends crucially on whether this intervention strengthens or weakens the local set of regulations. We combine mathematical biology with economic modeling and behavioral experiments, to obtain a unique mix of methods allowing us to address the research topic.

Website 

Contract value: € 242.603

SENSE – Sustaining eco-economic norms for a sustainable environment

Period: 2008-2011

TSC Researchers: Aart de Zeeuw, Marius Ochea

Contractor/Sponsor: NWO

Objective:

SENSE combines perspectives from ecological and evolutionary theory, from economics and the theory of games, from the mathematics of dynamical systems to the theory of complex adaptive systems to provide new insights on the achievement of cooperation in addressing problems of the Global Commons. Central to the CRP will be the Tragedy of the Commons, in which individual benefit and group interest are in opposition. SENSE draws heavily on field work on cooperation and leadership in vertebrate groups; experimental work on the role of punishment in sustaining norms; theoretical work in game theory; and the mathematical modeling of the dynamics of complex adaptive systems.

Website

Contract value: € 199.411

PLANETS – Probabilistic Long-Term Assessment of New Energy Technology Scenarios

Period: 2009 – 2010

TSC Researcher: Reyer Gerlagh

Contractor/Sponsor: European Commission

Partners:

  • CHALMERS
  • LEI
  • FEEM
  • ECN
  • USTUTT
  • KANLO
  • ORDECSYS
  • UNIMAN

Objective:

PLANETS is meant to devise robust scenarios for the evolution of low carbon energy technologies in the next 50 years. A suite of six energy-economy-climate modeling groups has participated in the project. The portfolio of models spans broad regional coverage, technological detail, and representation of economic interrelations. Using this approach, the models have analyzed the implications of climate policies under a wide set of assumptions about national commitments and the use of international carbon offsets. This assessment has been expanded to account for uncertainties regarding the future evolution of climate policies and the prospects of key carbon mitigation technologies. This expansion has been implemented by means of stochastic and robust modeling analysis. The analysis has been supplemented by dedicated technology assessments that have investigated the sustainability, competitiveness, and technological evolution of a different energy future.

Website

Contract value: € 44.899

Three years REACH in the Netherlands

Period: 2011

TSC Researchers:  Floor Fleurke

Contractor/Sponsor: Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment

Objective:

Evaluation for the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment of the application of the EU REACH regulation on chemicals in the Netherlands during the 2007-2010 period.

Website 

Contract value: € 10.000

Energy Labels and Saving in the Housing Market

Period: 2011

TSC Researchers: Dirk Brounen

Contractor/Sponsor: Ministry of Internal Affairs, Agentschap NL

Contract value: € 59.381