UfU is a scientific institute and a citizen-based organization.

The four main goals that UfU has set are:

  • Adhering to limited natural resources
  • The decarbonization of society
  • More democracy through more participation
  • Social justice
  • A sustainable economy that subscribes to these principles

It actively supports and implements social innovations in order to achieve its vision of a lasting sustainable society by actively working together with political parties, the economy and civil society. It aspires to bridge the gap between knowledge and action by initiating and supervising scientific projects, educational activities and networks. All the while the institute also strengthens the eco-political engagement of the citizens through spreading information and consultations. The projects take place on a local, regional, national and international scale, engaging with networks on all levels.

The Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (UfU e.V.) is rooted in the traditions of the civil rights movements of the GDR. As a result it regards itself as an independent and critical institution; its role being that of an initiator, mediator and moderator; its independence secured by a variety of subsidies and employers.

Since UfU is a “learning organization”, it continuously aspires to preserve and improve the quality of its scientific activities by:

  • Creating and maintaining mechanisms and institutions for a continuous renewal and learning process
  • Including junior researchers in the projects
  • Including members, sponsors and volunteers in the activities
  • Maximizing an environmentally appropriate, socially acceptable and participatory approach

The mission statement was first implemented during the general assembly in 2001 and confirmed in 2017 with minor changes.