Hintere Außenansicht des D2 Gebäudes

Research project Eco-Anxiety, exposure to social entrepreneurship and pro-environmental action

The Social Entrepreneurship center and the Coca-Cola Company initiated this project, which explores eco-Anxiety, a condition of chronic fear of environmental doom. An increasing amount of research studies this topic from different scientific viewpoints. The current study specifically wants to examine the impact social entrepreneurship role models can have in mitigating eco-Anxiety by offering tangible solutions.


Climate change is an existential threat and one of the biggest challenges facing humanity. In spite of the consensus amongst experts about its existence and anthropologic cause and the catastrophic current trajectory, public and political reactions to the crisis have been irrationally slow. Recent research has argued that eco-anxiety – a chronic fear of environmental doom – is both a negative consequence of climate change on society, as well as a potential contributor to the slow societal response to this threat. eco-anxiety has obvious negative effects on mental and physical health. Empirical research has associated it with depression, cognitive impairment, functional impairment as well as other issues. More surprisingly however, higher levels of awareness of climate change and eco-anxiety have also been connected with an unchanged or even lower propensity to take action against it.

Against this background, we perceive an urgent need for resources on how to reduce and cope with eco-anxiety, as well as and a need for enabling more robust reaction in policy, business and society

Aim of the project

The proposed research project lays at the intersection of basic and applied research into eco-anxiety and pro-environmental action. By generating a deeper understanding of the interplay between the access to social entrepreneurship role models, eco-anxiety and pro-environmental behaviour, it aims to facilitate further understanding of these theoretical mechanisms as well as help formulating actionable steps to reduce eco-anxiety and increase pro-environmental action.  


Dr. Peter Vandor

Peter Vandor

Head of Social Entrepreneurship Center, Senior Researcher
Responsibilities: Co-founder and Head of the Social Entrepreneurship Center. Research: Social entrepreneurship, migrant entrepreneurship, mental wellbeing and internationalisation among social entrepreneurs, civil society in CEE Founder of Social Impact Award.
Martin Mehrwald, MSc.

Martin Mehrwald

Responsibilities: Project Coordinator of the NGO Academy
Fabian Hobodites, MSc (WU)

Fabian Hobodites

Research Assistant
Responsibilities: His main research projects are the European Social Enterprise Monitor Austria (ESEM) a project on migrant entrepreneurship and the Impact Hub survey