Operating ecologically: Perspectives for the futures of rural areas

About 40% of all people in Germany live or work in rural areas. These areas make up for 80% of the total surface of the country making it a significant part of the environmental picture and offering habitat for a large variety of animals and plants. Rural areas are also an important contributor to the country's economic strength. This report highlights their innovative and ecological economic potentials, which help to demonstrate the position of rural areas as important contributor to the country's overall economic strength, to sustain and furthermore to increase their attractiveness as places to live and to work and to use their natural resources in a sustainable way.

The report at hand was written by PwC on behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conversation and Nuclear Safety. It highlights innovative and ecological economic potentials, which help to demonstrate the position of rural areas as important contributor to the country's overall economic strength, to sustain and furthermore to increase their attractiveness as places to live and to work and to use their natural resources in a sustainable way. For the analysis, eight markets and sectors were identified which currently characterize German rural areas. Their development and ecological employment potential was then examined using trend extrapolations, meta-analysis and expert interviews. In summary, the study shows how innovative business ideas and the support of selected catalyzers in areas of growing ecological economic sectors can create new perspectives for the future of rural areas in Germany.