An intact environment is a real location advantage for companies and municipalities in Bavaria. For the sustainability issue of the LfA Magazine, photographer Sebastian Arlt and editorial director Stefan Ruzas met the behavioral economist Veronika Grimm for an interview.

Veronika Grimm explains something while sitting and gesticulating with her hands
The economist Veronika Grimm is Chairwoman of Economics at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen-Nürnberg and Dean of the Faculty of Law and Economics since 2008

Since the beginning of April you are part of the German council of economic experts. Which topic is more dramatic for our economy: the corona pandemic or climate change?

Both are equally urgent, although on different timelines. Corona is about rapid responses, effective health protection, but also about strong economic impacts. Even before Corona a lot has been happening in the right direction in terms of climate protection, and we have to stay with it. The economy has been undergoing structural change for some time now. These adjustments take time and can be slowed down politically or even encouraged. Therefore it was very important to combine the Corona rescue measures with a future package. It is an important signal that we are not spending money to preserve the status quo. We must invest in the future.

"What we are currently experiencing is already a reorientation towards sustainable management"
Veronika Grimm

However, Germany's economy has also experienced a historic slump in recent months, shrinking by 10.1 percent between April and June. Can we still afford the costs of the energy turnaround?

With the EU's goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050, a completely different kind of pressure has arisen to drive the energy turnaround. In contrast to an 85 percent target, no area of defossilisation can be spared in the long term. This means that gaseous and liquid energy sources will play an important role. Without them, heavy vehicles, shipping and aviation as well as parts of industry cannot be defossilised. Interestingly, it is precisely in this area that a large industrial value-added potential for Germany and Europe lies dormant. German and especially Bavarian industry is excellently positioned to produce key components of a future hydrogen economy – from mechanical engineering to the automotive and automotive supply industries to the chemical industry. I therefore also see climate protection as a genuine industrial political opportunity.

Stefan Ruzas and Veronika Grimm sitting at the table opposite each other
In the dean's office: In the past the professors' gowns hung in the numbered cupboards behind the economist Grimm and the LfA author Ruzas

What will our globalized business world look like after Corona? What will be different?

We will see adjustments, not only because of Corona, but also because of smouldering trade conflicts, for example between the USA and China. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is currently rather dysfunctional. At the same time, the pandemic and its consequences are leading to the questioning of some dependencies and to the reorganisation of supply chains – at least for medical products. Despite all this, we will still live in an increasingly globalized world and urgently need a functioning framework for world trade.

The whole interview can be found in the LfA magazine issue autumn/winter 2020 on the subject of sustainability. The main contents of the magazine are also available online at (only in German).

Cover of the LfA magazine autumn/winter 2020
Read the whole story here LfA Magazin 02/20

Since 2016 Storyboard produces the magazine of LfA Förderbank Bayern. Published twice a year the magazine informs about news and funding opportunities of the LfA. The main topic of the autumn/winter 2020 issue is sustainability.