1200 Elective - Sustainable Resource Management I
Univ.Doz. Dr. Stefan Giljum, Dr. Victor Wegner Maus
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
09/19/19 to 09/26/19
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Day Date Time Room
Thursday 10/10/19 12:30 PM - 04:30 PM TC.4.02
Thursday 10/17/19 12:30 PM - 04:30 PM TC.4.02
Thursday 10/24/19 12:30 PM - 04:30 PM TC.4.02
Thursday 11/07/19 12:30 PM - 04:30 PM TC.4.02
Thursday 11/14/19 12:30 PM - 04:30 PM TC.4.02
Thursday 11/21/19 12:30 PM - 04:30 PM TC.4.02

This course is the first of two courses in the elective stream ‘Sustainable Resource Management’. The course will be held in English.

Course outline

Block 1: Introduction

Part I: Administrative aspects of the course

  • Course structure / overview of topics
  • Expectations from students and course leader
  • Assessment criteria

Part II: Theory & concepts

  • Main current resource use challenges
  • Environmental economics vs. Ecological Economics (and related transformation narratives)
  • GDP as a key indicator / GDP critique
  • Extensions and alternatives to GDP: Green GDP vs. physical indicators

Block 2: Natural resource use: concepts and trends

Part I: Approaches to measure resource use

  • Societal metabolism
  • Categories of resources
  • Territorial vs. footprint perspectives
  • Methods to assess resource use from the product to the economy-wide scale

Part II: Empirical trends of resource use

  • Investigating trends in resource extraction, trade and consumption in Austria, Europe and on the global level

Block 3: Socio-economic aspects of natural resource use

Part I: Decoupling and rebound effect

  • Main socio-economic drivers of resource use
  • Decoupling economic growth from natural resource use: theory and empirical trends
  • Rebound effects
  • Future resource use scenarios

Part II: State of the art in global resource use research

  • 1.5-hour guest lecture (Dr. Martin Bruckner): advanced modelling of global resource use: selected applications in research at WU

Block 4: Earth observation science for sustainable resource use

First test (Blocks 1-3)

Part I: Introduction to earth observation

  • Resource use assessments at the spatially explicit level
  • Remote sensing
  • Examples for satellite-based data, indicators and modelling

Part II: Applications for sustainable resource use

  • Applications of remote sensing to monitor climate change and resource use impacts
  • Synergies between climate and resource use strategies
  • Earth observation and supply chains / footprint assessments

Block 5: Globalisation and international trade I: concepts and trends

Part I: Theoretical reflections and empirical trends

  • Arguments pro and contra free trade
  • Empirical trends (structure of global economy, supply chains, footprints, outsourcing, transport emissions, …)

Part II: International trade, development and environment

  • Country examples for export patterns and their environment and development impacts
  • Options for more sustainable globalisation patterns (trade and development policies, global governance)

Block 6: Globalisation and international trade II: governance

Second test (Blocks 4-5)

Part I: Practical experiences in global resource use governance

  • Guest lecture: Mag. Karin Küblböck (Austrian Foundation for Development Research)

Part II:

  • Wrap-up, feedback and evaluation
Learning outcomes

After the course the participants will:

- be able to understand different schools of thought to address resource use problems (environmental economics versus ecological economics).

- know about the main methods and indicators to measure (un)sustainable resource use

- be able to reflect on current trends in resource use in the Austrian, European and global context

- be able to critically assess concepts such as “de-coupling” and are aware of the key role of rebound effects

- have learned about the dynamics of globalisation and international trade in shaping global patterns of resource use

- know policy options to achieve a more sustainable international economic system

Attendance requirements

In the course attendance is obligatory.

One class can be missed without negatively effecting the grade. Absence must be announced by e-mail before the respective class.

Teaching/learning method(s)

- Input by lecturer

- Group work/role games

- Small group presentations

- Discussions

- Videos

- Guest lectures

- Background research and literature


The performance will be evaluated based on four components:

- First test (35%)

- Second test (25%)

- Group presentation and hand-out (30%)

- Active participation (10%)

Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

The succesful completion of this course is prerequisite to particpate in the "Elective - Sustainable Resource Management II".

Registration during the registration period is based on the "first-come, first-served principle". If you have a valid course enrolment but cannot attend this course, please unsubscribe ideally during the enrolment period to enable other students to participate.

If there is a waiting list to register for the course, students will be assigned potential free slots after the registration deadline - provided that they do not yet have a valid registration for another course.

Attending the first class is a prerequisite to participate in the course.
Students from the waiting list can attend the first class to check whether other students have cancelled at the last moment. Free slots will be assigned following strictly the order of the waiting list.

Last edited: 2019-10-09