Research House for Sustainable Governance and Markets

Research areas

Building on and supported by the FDEF’s three departments, the House lends its strength to interdisciplinary research, teaching and outreach, as a platform that allows for greater visibility of the FDEF’s sustainability research and contact point for interest from public and private institutions.

Our researchers focus on the following research areas:

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Business activities can have positive and negative impacts on a full spectrum of human rights. Business and human rights research investigates, from an interdisciplinary perspective, how positive impacts can be enhanced and how negative impacts can be mitigated by analysing corporate best practices as well as political, legislative and regulatory developments on the domestic and international levels.

Coordinators and Researchers:

Development economics focuses on improving economic, social and fiscal conditions in emerging and developing economies (EMDCs), considering factors such as health, education, working conditions, domestic and international policies, and market conditions. The research focus lies on improving the aforesaid conditions from a sustainability perspective with a view to furthering long-term change. Given that by far the majority of the world’s population resides in EMDCs, the importance for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals needs no further explanation.

Coordinators and Researchers:

Financial inclusion is a key component of a sustainable finance framework. Financial inclusion research focuses on the individuals’ and (small and medium) businesses’ access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way. Financial inclusion is a significant step toward hedging the risks of life (health, unemployment, age, accidents and disaster) through financial products. In turn, humans can pursue a long-term perspective crucial to engage in sustainable conduct – since where short-termism determines the daily thinking, unsustainable conduct like overconsumption of daily resources will follow suit.

Coordinator and Researcher: Dirk Zetzsche

Climate change is costly to society: Business models must be adapted, new innovations developed and implemented, old profit opportunities must be foregone. All these changes must be financed, and this is all the more challenging the more the overall economy needs to deal with an economic crisis. The best way to finance the fight against climate change is employing the distributive and risk sharing features of financial markets. This research focus analyses market-based opportunities and enablers to finance a change towards a more sustainable future.

Coordinator and Researcher: Ulf von Lilienfeld-Toal

The European Green Deal is the EU’s plan to make Europe’s economy sustainable. To achieve its climate objectives, the EU attempts to decarbonize its energy sector and fully integrate and digitalize its energy markets. The energy company of the future must coordinate a huge number of connected, distributed green energy assets (e.g., hydropower, photovoltaics, windpower, hydrogen storage, electric vehicles, demand response) and simultaneously coordinate its trading activities across multiple energy markets. This research area focuses on the development of mathematical models and algorithms to address this challenge.

Coordinator: Nils Löhndorf


Flows of goods and services are at the core of how economic prosperity is created. Current practices, however, bear adverse impact on the environment. Supply chain decisions—such as sourcing, location and network design, inventory, and information sharing—can dramatically influence our environmental footprint. Proper interventions can lead to corrective actions and change of behaviour. Accordingly, greening supply chains requires firms to develop a more integrative approach to the design of their supply chains, interactions with their suppliers and customers, while considering the rapidly changing business environment. This can be coupled with sets of incentives that will ultimately induce decision makers to reshape their behaviours and decisions and ideally result with more sustainable practices.

Coordinator: Benny Mantin


Environmental costs, as stereotypical externality, tend to be disregarded when calculating the financial results of an enterprise. As an important step towards a sustainable economy, green accounting seeks to include environmental factors into the financial results of operations, in an effort to help businesses and stakeholders understand and manage the conflict between traditional economics goals and environmental goals. Yet, the method itself requires careful analysis to avoid misallocation of funds. Further, insights into green accounting could guide rule-making as to future accounting rules. These objectives are pursued by the Green accounting research focus.

Coordinator and Researcher: Anke Müssig

In development cooperation, strengthening the rule of law is crucial to further civil society’s long-term well-being and balance the freedom and justice objective with economic progress. Relying on two long-term development projects with Mali and Laos, and closely related to Luxembourg’s development policy, this research focus works on developing and implementing constitutional principles. The research deals with the genesis of a normative, constitutional order – an innovative research approach that is indispensable for the democracies in the context of geopolitical challenges.

Coordinator and Researcher: Stefan Braum

This research focus deals with systems, structures and procedures in decision-making in the European Union and Luxembourg. This field of study addresses how to define the future of regulatory structures, decision-making procedures and modes of action in Europe’s multi-level structures. How to ensure open, transparent, inclusive societies capable of addressing challenges of innovation, transformation and digitalisation? How to govern in times of climate change induced disruptions, migratory movements? How to ensure that financial markets are open, well-regulated and delivering for society? How to streamline the legal framework of society to serve the basic constitutional value sets including individual fundamental rights?

Coordinator: Herwig Hofmann


Sustainable finance refers to the process of taking environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into account when making financial decisions, with an aim to increase sustainable economic activities and projects, on both the level of the firm (“corporate sustainability”) and the level of financial intermediaries such as asset and fund managements, investment firms and pensions funds that channel investments to the firms.

Environmental considerations refer to climate change mitigation, the preservation of biodiversity, pollution prevention and circular economy. Social considerations include issues of inequality, inclusiveness, labour relations, investment in human capital and communities, as well as human rights. The governance of public and private institutions, including management structures, employee relations and executive remuneration, plays a fundamental role in ensuring the inclusion of social and environmental considerations in the decision-making process.

Sustainable finance as research focus is pursued from both a finance and legal perspective. While the first focuses on utilizing economic factors, the second focuses on legal and regulatory tools, including the European Commission’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan and its implementation for financial and corporate actors in Luxembourg, Europe and beyond.

Coordinators and Researchers: