1. Editorial

  • Irene Ring: Still at home

2. News from ESEE and its members

  • Environmental Policy and Governance
  • The sub-committees in the ESEE board
  • A call for applications for ESEE ecological economics training institutes
  • Introducing Mariana Melnykovych: New ESEE country contact from Ukraine
  • ICTA-UAB researcher Joan Martinez Alier receives ERC Advanced Grant

3. Student spotlight

  • Inês Cosme: An effective and democratic transition to a more sustainable society

4. Hot topics

  • Ellen Stenslie: Is the world of business as we know it changing?

5. Interviews: Reflections on ESEE and ecological economics

  • Inge Røpke: A personal perspective on an urgent task for ecological economics
  • Tommaso Luzzati: Time to reinforce our roots

6. Events, jobs and publications

  • Call for abstracts: Transformations 2017 conference
  • Call for abstracts: GLAMURS final conference
  • The 5th International Degrowth Conference
  • Job Opportunity: Researcher to work on Nexus Shocks
  • Latest Issue of Environmental Values now online: Vol.25, No.4, August 2016
  • New Book: Juha Hiedanpää & Daniel W. Bromley. Environmental Heresies: The Quest for Reasonable.


1. Editorial


Still at Home
by Irene Ring

What a coincidence! I am writing b(this editorial exactly 20 yearsb( after the International Conference “Ecology, Society, Economy:b( Toward Sustainable Development”, organised by Sylvie Faucheux and Martin O’Connor from 23 – 25 May, 1996, at the Université de Versailles à Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France. A special session at this conference served as the Inaugural Meeting of the European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE), the newly founded European Chapter of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE). I can still remember very well how excited I was to participate in this conference.

Only three years before, I had finished my PhD in economics on b(the potential and limits of market-oriented environmental policy b(from an ecological perspective, moving into quite new arenas after my geoecology diploma. While writing my thesis and searchingb( for innovative approaches, I had discovered the at the time pretty new journal of Ecological Economics.

And now I could meet, listen and talk to a fair number of the journal’s authors, and even be a founding member of this new European society! I clearly felt, now I have found my academic home – and I still feel this, 20 years later, as the Society’s fth president.

I am grateful to the heritage of past ESEE presidents Sylvie Faucheux, Clive Spash, Arild Vatn and Sigrid Stagl who each put tremendous efforts into building ESEE. Engaged ESEE board members, ESEE country contacts and ESEE members, not to forget the admirable efforts of ESEE local conference and summer school organising teams, have each contributed to the successful development of our Society and spreading its ideas.

What is ecological economics?

Ecological economics is theb( analysis of the interactions between economy, society and environment. It does not constitute a new single unified theory for or of sustainable development. Rather, the emergence of the sustainable development field signalled the need for economic, social and natural science analyses b(to be brought together in new perspectives, responding to the concerns expressed worldwide for ecological, social, economic and political dimensions of sustainability.

It represents a new practice of economics responding to a specific problem domain which may legitimately be addressed in a variety of ways. Ecological economics thus uses analytical tools and concepts coming from many different disciplines and fields of experience. Since 1996, ESEE has developedb( as a quite distinct ‘flower’ within the wider ISEE bouquet. From the beginning, ESEE added a focus on socioeconomic aspects – not least emphasizing the plurality of values and the importance of social processes in forming preferences and values.

ESEE has the ambition to promote an innovative research agenda in Europe and a wide reflection that can help decision-makers and citizens in the implementation of policies for sustainable development.

Where to from here?

Ecological economists have been very successful over the years b(in developing and influencing research agendas as well as attracting relevant project funding. Funders’ requirements for inter- and transdisciplinary work have steadily increased over the past decades, requirements that increasingly match the very aims of the Society in carrying out research.

Ecological economists contribute heavily to science-policy-interfaces such as the International Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in a variety of functions. Ecological economists succeeded in building up and editing highly successful academic journals, with ecological economics as the ISEE’s affiliated journal, Environmental Policy and Governance as the journal affiliated with ESEE and Environmental Values that is freely accessible to ESEE members.

Over the years, we have developed a substantial number of new ecological economics coursesb( and master programmes at many universities across Europe, so that students can now choose amongst an increasing number of options and directions. Nevertheless, there is still much to do! Global and European environmental, economic, social and political challenges persist, and are increasing in some areas. There is also a need for reflecting the profile of ecological economics: on the one hand, our academic journals are becoming so successful compared to some of the environmental, resource or agricultural economics outlets that authors previously publishing in their own societies’ journalsb( are increasingly submitting their manuscripts to our journals, often with no understanding what the difference between the approaches is.

On the other hand, with more and more academic societies and societal movements widely or partly aiming to achieve similar goals as ESEE, ESEE membership has tended to go down over recent years. So there is a need for combined efforts to attract engaged members, building on our specific profile and advertising the advantages being an ESEE member. Having said this, it’s now time to relax a bit, lean back and feel proud of what we all have achieved in the past two decades!

To celebrate two decades of the society, ESEE has printed a 20th Anniversary Bulletin, with reflections by Arild Vatn, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Clive Spash, Inge Røpke, Tommasi Luzzati, Ellen Stenslie and Jasper Kenter, which can be downloaded in its entirety from the ESEE website and which will be posted in paper form to members. A highlight that shouldn’t be missed is the bulletin’s centerfold where Nuno Videira has ‘retweeted’ key moments and statements in ESEE’s history from twenty years of ESEE newsletters!

We will also include a number of articles from the bulletin in this and the forthcoming autumn and winter e-newsletters. This time you will find the reflection interviews with Inge and Tommaso, and a hot topic by Ellen. Enjoy reading our anniversary newsletter!


2. News from ESEE and its members

Environmental Policy and Governance

Now in its 26th volume, and with an ISI Impact Factor of 1.6, Environmental Policy and Governance (EPG) is happy to be affiliated with the European Society for Ecological Economics and hopes to play a positive role in the global development of the field.
Aims and scope
EPG seeks to advance interdisciplinary environmental research and its use to support novel approaches and solutions. The journal publishes innovative, high quality articles which examine, or are relevant to, the environmental policies that are introduced by governments or the diverse forms of environmental governance that emerge in markets and civil society. The journal is deliberately inter-disciplinary, seeking to publish articles that build the understanding of environmental issues not only by drawing upon and contributing to the environmental social sciences, but also by linking the social and natural sciences and beyond. The journal encourages methodological innovation and diversity in order to foster interdisciplinary, problem-oriented environmental research.
Requirements for publication
As competition to be published in Environmental Policy and Governance is high, we ask authors to place the major emphasis of their papers on conceptual issues of wider interest and importance, and the minor emphasis on case studies or particular issues or contexts. We also emphasise the need for papers to draw insights from specific cases and contexts and to feed them into wider debates to ensure that papers make the fullest contribution to the on-going development of the field.
Paper submissions and Special Issue proposals
We welcome the submission of papers to the journal, and aim to offer speedy and constructive responses to all paper submissions whether through our initial editorial review or for selected papers through our refereeing process. We also welcome ideas for special issues, and have spaces for special issues to be published from 2018 onwards. Submission details and contact information can be found on our website.


The sub-committees in the ESEE board

Work in the ESEE board is largely organised in sub-committees. During the last ESEE board meeting in May 2016, we partly reorganised the sub-committees following the ESEE elections in December 2015. Here is an update regarding the assigned tasks, committee chairs and members:

a. Education committee: Juha Hiedanpää (chair), Daniel O’Neill, György Pataki
Agenda: ESEE training institutes and summer schools, student prizes, educational courses and programmes in ecological economics

b. Fund raising and membership committee: Nuno Videira (chair), Nina Eisenmenger (treasurer), Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Ellen Stenslie (students)
Agenda: country contacts, membership, fund raising

c. Conference and meetings committee: Olivier Petit (chair), Timothy Foxon, György Pataki (for ESEE 2017), Irene Ring, Ellen Stenslie (students)
Agenda: ESEE conference venues, planning and supervision; ESEE workshops and meetings; ESEE supported events

d. Publications and publicity committee: Jasper Kenter (chair), Tom Bauler, Begüm Özkaynak (EPG), Felix Rauschmayer, Ellen Stenslie (Facebook, students)
Agenda: website, newsletter, relations with journals, publicity and PR


A call for applications for ESEE ecological economics training institutes

ESEE has opened this year’s call for training institutes. Candidates can apply annually with ESEE for up to 2000 euro towards the cost of an event to be held within the following two years, but are responsible for the remainder of funding. Applications have to include a short rationale for the meeting including a description of the meeting format and how the below criteria are met (max 2 pages), a budget, an indication of what budget posts ESEE funds will be spent on, and an overview of other (potential) funding sources. Applications are to be submitted to and the 2016 deadline for submissions is November 25, 2016.

Event criteria
  • Highly collaborative and participatory; not just a series of lectures and presentations.
  • Transdisciplinary: including participants beyond academia, e.g. decision-makers, practitioners, community representatives, etc.
  • Students are heavily involved in organising the event.
  • Zero or low cost for participation, with some kind of bursary opportunities for those in a low income situation.
  • The organisers have to record participant feedback on the event and make this available to ESEE.
  • Environmental awareness: a plan to minimise (and potentially compensate for) the carbon footprint and other environmental costs.
Further guidelines and suggestions

In addition to mandatory criteria, ESEE suggests the following guidelines for the events. These guidelines will also be used to decide between competing applications in the annual round.
  • Duration: 2 days for preconference events, 3-5 days for other events
  • Number of participants: 20-30 participants; a relatively small group of students helps to build group cohesiveness and identity.
  • A mix of student and post-doc with at least a third post-docs.
  • Provide opportunities for publication of outputs.
  • Provide opportunities for ECTL credits associated with courses.
  • Remote locations preferred to maximise engagement.
  • Family friendly with childcare options available.
  • As the decision on competing proposals is taken by the ESEE Board, proposals by active ESEE Board members are excluded from consideration. They are still free to submit applications, but these will only be considered if there are no other eligible application(s) by applicants outside the ESEE Board.

Introducing Mariana Melnykovych: New ESEE country contact from Ukraine

Mariana Melnykovych is an ecological and environmental and natural resource economist, who works on socio-ecological-economic indicators of the well-being of rural communities in mountain forest-dependent areas, at the Institute of Ecological Economics and Management, Ukrainian National Forestry University (UNFU) in cooperation with the James Hutton Institute, UK. She studied forest management and environmental economics at the UNFU where she has got her BSc in Management in 2004 and an MSc in Environment and Natural Resource Economics in 2008.

Mariana’s research focuses on sustainable development, well-being and ecosystem services, rural areas and communities, forest dependent mountain communities, non-wood forest products and services, social innovation, measuring communities’ well-being, sustainability indicators, sustainable forest management, and forest policy. Mariana has worked at the Department of Ecological Economics, UNFU and for IUCN as an expert for the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument East Countries Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Program (ENPI FLEG Program) on projects on advance development of rural communities in marginalized and remote forest-dependent areas and increase their opportunities for sustainable development. Mariana was also a visiting researcher at the University of Padova, Italy and the James Hutton Institute, UK where she studied non-wood forest products and services’ contribution to sustainable rural development in mountain/uplands areas. She also is a part of EU COST Action ES1203 ”Enhancing the resilience capacity of SENSitive mountain FORest ecosystems under environmental change (SENSFOR), and EU COST Action FP1203: European Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs), a member of Ukrainian NGO “Green Cross Society”, and works as a consultant for the Nature, Ecology, and People Consult (NEPCon).


ICTA-UAB researcher Joan Martinez Alier receives ERC Advanced Grant to analyze Global Environmental Justice Movement
Is there a Global Movement for Environmental Justice helping to push society and economy towards environmental sustainability? The project “ENVJUSTICE” led by ICTA-UAB researcher Joan Martinez Alier will try to prove there is, through research on the many facets of this Global Movement for Environmental Justice. The project will be possible thanks to an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) awarded to Joan Martinez Alier with a fund of nearly €2 million. This is the most prestigious grant awarded by the ERC, and it is designed to allow experienced, outstanding research leaders of any nationality to pursue groundbreaking, high-risk projects in Europe.

ENVJUSTICE will carry out three main tasks. First, the team will add and analyze cases in a groundbreaking Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas) (, a worldwide inventory of ecological distribution conflicts compiled at the ICTA-UAB, still with uneven coverage. Researchers will update and expand the EJAtlas, which was launched in March 2014 as part of the EJOLT project. It will grow thematically and geographically, becoming a unique instrument to conduct comparative, statistical political ecology. The field of political ecology studies “ecological distribution conflicts” ultimately caused by an increase in social metabolism. The links between such socio-environmental conflicts and changes in the social metabolism will be explored. “Even a non-growing industrial economy would require new supplies of fossil fuels and other materials from the commodity extraction frontiers because energy is not recycled and materials are recycled only in part”, says Martinez Alier, who adds that the economy is not circular, but entropic.

Research based on the EJAtlas will analyze the resistance movements born from such conflicts and the networks they form across borders in a Global Environmental Justice Movement. The project will try to provide answers to questions such as: Who are the social actors and victims in such conflicts, the forms of mobilization, the variables explaining the rates of “success” in creating new alternatives? In this regard, ENVJUSTICE will work together with the project Acknowl-EJ led by Dr Leah Temper (2016-19) at ICTA-UAB and funded by the ISSC.

Second, it shall expand the scope and deepen the analysis of the Vocabulary of the Movement for Environmental Justice, from its beginning in the United States in 1982 (with terms like environmental racism, popular epidemiology, sacrifice zones) to its deployment in many countries with new crosscutting concepts. In Paris in 2015 (at the 21st COP on Climate Change) there were claims for “Climate Justice”. This is only one of many terms in the vocabulary of environmental justice. The project will investigate how different claims are expressed in Europe, India, China, Africa, Latin America, related to mining and fossil fuel extraction conflicts, biomass and water, waste disposal and transport conflicts.

Third, it shall analyze (following in the steps of Sicco Mansholt and Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen) the elements for a possible alliance between the Global Environmental Justice movement and the smaller Degrowth (Décroissance, Post-Wachstum, “Prosperity without Growth”) movement in Europe.

ENVJUSTICE reinforces the Ecological Economics and Political Ecology group at ICTA-UAB, by contracting 6 doctoral students and post-docs. 

Full article


3. Student spotlight

An effective and democratic transition to a more sustainable society
Interview with Inês Cosme

Tell us about yourself? What are you researching?

I am an environmental engineer from the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal. I’m pursuing a PhD in Globalization Studies and working as a researcher in CENSE – Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research, in the ecological economics and environmental management team. I am currently focusing my research on environmental policy and governance. I have mainly been exploring the sustainable degrowth discourse and proposals for action. This research has been leading me to a research gap in the field: how can we improve democracy in strong sustainability approaches to environmental policy, and what are the trade-offs between legitimacy and policy effectiveness in this context? My PhD research will present a fresh perspective on what we have to consider when pursuing the goals of deepening democratic institutions while downscaling in an ecological and socially just way the impacts of our production and consumption systems.

If you were in charge of the world economy for one day, tell me one thing what you would do and why?

Assuming I would also have unlimited human and economic resources, I would first of all remove environmental harmful subsidies. If we want to have a more sustainable future, the first step is to discourage economic activities that are not in accordance with that. I would also remove investments on fossil fuels and redirect them to less polluting activities that need to be scaled up. If I still had time, before I turn into a pumpkin at midnight, I would improve social and environmental norms in international trade, since the social and environmental costs created by the delocalization of industry from rich to poor countries should not continue to be tolerated.

Tell me one thing that you think many ecological economists don’t realise, but should.

I think that many ecological economists do not realise the urgency of the debate between legitimacy and effectiveness of environmental policy. It is a common concern between researchers in the field that people must be involved in political processes, as evermore we understand that representative systems tend to lack transparency. An effective involvement of people is also thought to lead to better environmental and social outcomes, but if and how this happens needs to be explored more, especially with empirical studies. An effective transition to a more sustainable society has to be achieved democratically, thus how people are involved in the policy cycle is a key question. There are numerous examples of individual and collective perception change when stakeholders are involved in the policy-making processes. Crucially, the creation of a culture of participation and a vision of global citizenship through education needs to happen in parallel, so that people feel that they are capable of understanding and debating about what makes a good society and how to achieve it.

More about Inês on LinkedIn

Interviewer: Jasper Kenter


4. Hot topics

Is the world of business as we know it changing?
Ellen Stenslieby Ellen Stenslie

Most of the time, it feels like change towards a truly sustainable economy is progressing excruciatingly slow. This is particularly so when we look at unsustainable business practices, enabled by politicians in pursuit of economic growth. While the business sector is very diverse, and in some cases pioneering green practices, business as we know it has to change fundamentally if we are to achieve true sustainability. More importantly; the public is now increasingly pressurising businesses to give back to their communities and go beyond just following the law.

Innovation in how to solve the overwhelming amount of social and environmental ills across the world, is high on the international and national agenda. Politicians more and more turn towards the business sector for help (i.e. the place where the money is). Debates arising from the ecological economics community have however demonstrated that this can be very problematic, whether it entails market-based mechanisms or the financialisation and privatisation of certain environmental goods. Mainstream capitalist entrepreneurs might see potential market opportunities in social and environmental problems, and thus some claim they must be incentivised to invest. But there are also other types of entrepreneurs. Disillusioned with conventional organisational models like charities and corporations, they choose to organise themselves differently to address social and environmental issues. Enter the global rise of social and environmental entrepreneurship and the social enterprise.

Social enterprises are in essence market-oriented and they can be for or not-for-profit. They blend social and economic purpose, adopting business-like approaches towards solving social and environmental issues. It is an aim of these entrepreneurs to be innovators and to create larger-scale change. Some look more like traditional companies, others more like charities. Many choose to organise by adopting new, legal structures. Such structures are being introduced across the world, as existing structures are no longer able to capture the specific nature of these enterprises, especially in terms of securing social and environmental purpose. Two examples include the United States’ Benefit Corporation, created to enable mission-driven, for-profit companies, and the Community Interest Company (CIC) in the United Kingdom; a limited liability structure created for the social enterprises serving and re-investing in community interest. Many countries have created similar structures, or are considering doing so.

By redefining the purpose of the enterprise, and setting environmental and social mission at the centre of their raison d’être, these entrepreneurs challenge hegemonic business institutions. Changing the legal structures under which actors operate, as well as the conventions and norms that guide their rationality and behaviour implies a shift away from persistent institutions like shareholder primacy and profit maximization, towards a wider matrix of goals more aligned with overall societal welfare. In the case of the Benefit Corporations, they must have a material positive impact on society and the environment. They report annually, using a third party standard. CICs must similarly report every year on how they serve community interest, they also have a cap on dividends and an asset lock.

Most of these legal structures, although an interesting step away from business as usual, nonetheless have some shortcomings in practice. Some seem mostly attractive to charity-like organisations wishing to have more control and attract social investments and grants, representing a shift where the voluntary sector becomes more business-like, and not vice-versa. Others look like any other business only with stricter requirements on reporting and accountability. Some are plagued by weak enforcement mechanisms and lack transparency. Still, innovative entrepreneurs are demonstrating that it is possible to do business in a different way, and they have both consumers and employees rooting for them. To them, new, hybrid legal structures represent a necessary step forward, providing legitimacy and mission control, at the same time as enabling them in their pursuit to improve the world.

The notion of enterprises making profits from and gaining competitive advantage from delivering social and environmental value that we in many cases would have expected from the government can be troublesome to some people. The growth of nonprofit and re-investment oriented models may offer some hope to in this regard. In any case, it seems the boundaries between what is private, public or non-profit sectors are getting fuzzier, challenged by a new generation of entrepreneurs. More empirical research is needed, and will no doubt provide valuable data on the dynamics of hybrid enterprises in the years to come. While new, legal structures are a small change, and for many not radical enough, they certainly represent something very different from Milton Friedman’s now old-fashioned insistence on shareholder primacy. Nevertheless, the question of whether they can help transform the economy towards a fundamentally sustainable one remains un-answered for now.

Ellen Stenslie is a PhD Candidate at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Student Representative on the ESEE Board.


5. Reflections on ESEE and ecological economics

A personal perspective on an urgent task for ecological economics
By Inge Røpke

Inge RopkeWhen I started working with environmental issues in the late 1980s, it was not obvious where I could find an intellectual home. I had a background in the economics of innovation and various streams of socio-economics, but the associations in these fields had little focus on environment. Together with a couple of colleagues, I participated in a project on a Danish clean technology innovation programme, and we decided to present a paper at the first conference of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economics in 1990. Of course, Venice was great, and we met a few people with related socioeconomic interests, but most of the papers were applied neoclassical economics—and extremely boring from our perspective. Something different was needed. I didn’t discover the first conference on ecological economics in Washington in 1990, but in 1992 the second conference was closer to home, in Stockholm, and that became a turning point for me. The conference was really interdisciplinary with lots of interesting papers, and many contributions were critical toward neoclassical economics. I had found my intellectual home.

Since then, the field has been through a long journey where research programmes have been developed in many different directions, whilst at the same time, a set of core beliefs and concepts became entrenched in the field, such as systems thinking, radical uncertainty, social metabolism, environmental justice, power and institutional perspectives. These days it is not possible to be a polyhistor, but being part of the ecological economics community makes it possible to keep an open and wide horizon. Over the years I’ve heard so many interesting presentations on all sorts of topics — spanning from exergy, panarchy and socioecological systems to environmental history, commodity frontiers and value articulating institutions. The openness makes it possible for many of us to venture into new topics and to ensure cross-fertilisation between fields that are usually separate. There is every chance to get wiser and little risk of getting bored, and most of the time, we are discussing something really important.

Increasingly, several other scientific communities working on environmental issues offer the same kind of qualities — interdisciplinarity, broad perspectives, problemorientation, engagement, relevance.

What is then special about ecological economics? Is it important to develop this community further, or can we just as well relate our work to other communities? In my opinion, it is extremely important to strengthen ecological economics, because the field is well positioned to take on a specific task: to ensure that a biophysical perspective becomes foundational in the development of a new economics. Mainstream economic theories tend to be part of the environmental and social problems rather than part of the solution. It is a great challenge to provide an alternative to the dominant theories — a new economics that is supportive of socially just sustainability transitions.

This challenge needs to be met in a cooperation between many streams of heterodox economics. As Edward Fullbrook has argued, the different communities of heterodox economics tend to define themselves on the basis of their particular difference with the orthodoxy, which makes the alternative weak. Fullbrook finds that heterodox economists actually agree on a number of substantial points, including basic ideas from ecological economics, which could form the basis for what he calls a New Paradigm Economics. Along the same lines, Frank Stilwell argues that a stronger alternative to mainstream economics could be formed around the label “political economy”, again including ecological economics. Actually, this alternative could really be considered the mainstream since it has a long lineage back to the classical economists, while neoclassical economics was a side-track that has turned out to be a cul-de-sac. I’d recommend taking a look at Fullbrook’s and Stilwell’s reflections on how to form stronger alternatives to the present neoclassical and neoliberal dominance.

Of course, ecological economics should pursue the different, more specific research programmes that have emerged within the field, sometimes in cooperation with other heterodox communities, as for instance, in relation to environmental governance and the development of an ecological macroeconomics. But simultaneously, we should contribute to the strengthening of a stronger alternative economics and make sure that it is firmly based on a biophysical understanding of the economy.

Inge Røpke is Professor of Ecological Economics, Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University and winner of the 2014 Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen Award.

Interviewer: Tom Bauler

1. Fullbrook, E. (2013). “New paradigm economics”, real-world economics review, issue no. 65, 27 September 2013, pp. 129-131,

2. Fullbrook, E. (2014). New Paradigm Economics versus Old Paradigm Economics. Interview with Edward Fullbrook, Conducted by Paul Rosenberg”, real-world economics review, issue no. 66, 13 January 2014, pp. 131-143,

3. Stilwell, F. (2016). Heterodox economics or political economy? World Economics Association Newsletter 6 (1), February 2016, pp.2-6,


Reflections on ESEE: Time to reinforce our roots
An interview with Tommaso Luzzati

Tommaso LuzzatiHow did you get involved in ESEE?

After completing my PhD thesis, which was on including social influences within economics, I got a post-doc research grant on regional development. The professor I collaborated with, Antonio Calafati, introduced me to K.W. Kapp's work and encouraged me to pursue my interests in environmental topics. Actually, he funded my first participation to an ESEE conference, the Geneva's one, 1998. I presented a paper, I met great people, young and established researchers. I remember Mario Giampietro, Giuseppe Munda, Clive Spash and many many others... I attended the general meeting, which was really interesting. A debate emerged between some members who defended their neoclassical positions and the others. Actually, I also dared to participate by saying something against monetary evaluation and I got praised by a professor. I met him just after, it was Joan Martinez-Allier.

What do you think is unique or special about ESEE?

Since 1998 I have been lucky enough to have attended all the ESEE conferences. Over the years, the society has become bigger and conferences attracted an increasing number of participants, especially young people. Nonetheless, the constructive and convivial spirit of our conferences has remained unchanged.

Is the ecological economics community in Europe different than elsewhere?

I think that we inherited from our European intellectual tradition the “old” institutional perspective: we are aware that economic processes are embedded in societies and institutions, not only in Nature. Moreover, we have a critical analytical approach, which does not rely upon faith, neither in markets, nor science and technology, nor in governments.

Where should ESEE be heading?

The cost for a larger size of our community is, in my opinion, that our identity has become somehow fuzzy. Just as an example, several participants to our conferences have never read a single line of Georgescu Roegen. In contrast, at the beginning of the 2000s the Society got funded to organise two beautiful medium size (100 persons) conferences (Cambridge and Tenerife) which contributed to our identity through the interactions between senior and young researchers. I believe we should reinforce our roots and sharpen our identity back, though it may not be easy to organise similar events again.

However, with the help of the tools available now on the web, we could start a process to identify a set of readings that all people in our community, including those wishing to attend our conferences, should have read. For sure, each of us has a different view on ecological economics. However, I’m rather confident that it would be easy to have a core list with a few readings (and keywords), on which we could agree with a near unanimous consensus.

Tommaso Luzzati is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Pisa. At the core of his research is a desire to understand the roots of environmental degradation, with particular reference to the work and the ideas of K.W. Kapp, to the relationship between energy, economy, and the environment, and to the composite indicators and rankings debate.

Interviewer: Olivier Petit


 6. Events, jobs and publications

Call for abstracts: Transformations 2017 conference
3rd Biennial International Conference on Transformations to sustainability

Where? Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR), University of Dundee, Scotland, UK
When? 30-31st August and 1st September 2017
Main theme: ‘Sustainability transformations in practice’.
Sub themes:
  • Conceptualising sustainability transformations
  • Designing transformation and transformative forms of design
  • Conditions and practices for transformation
  • Research for transformation
  • Creativity and innovation for enhancing thinking and practice of transformation
  • Linking practice with policy
Submissions invited for:
  • Presentations of papers
  • Practice sessions
  • Transformation Labs (workshops)
The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2016.

More information


Call for abstracts: GLAMURS final conference
Making time for sustainability: Unlocking transformation towards sustainable lifestyles and a green economy in Europe

Brussels, November 30 – December 1, 2016

Project Coordinator: University of A Coruña, Spain

This year the GLAMURS Project is finalizing its amazing program of research with many fascinating results on transitions to sustainable lifestyles and green economy. We would like to engage you in a debate on state-of-the-art research on how our time-use influences our wellbeing and environmental footprint and what new economic arrangements could drive us on to a virtuous path of healthy and thriving communities.

We would like to invite you all to participate at this exciting event and to keep an eye out for the upcoming news and agenda of the event! We will hold the Conference at the Diamant Center in Brussels, which was awarded with the Green Key Label for its commitment to sustainability. Participation is free of charge. Register by sending an email to

Deadline for registration is September 30, 2016.

More information


The 5th International Degrowth Conference
Budapest, August 30 - September 3, 2016. 

The main goal of the Budapest Degrowth conference and week is on one hand to question the limits to growth in understanding the challenges faced by society and on the other hand to implement dialogue about solutions on different levels.

The conference will host more than 500 academics, researchers and practitioners who will present their latest work through over 40 special sessions and 200 shorter paper presentations, in addition to contributions from twenty keynote speakers.

All the calls, the submissions and the registration to the conference are closed. But you are still invited to join the Budapest Degrowth Week or to relocalize the conference.For the first time, in parallel to the conference, an open festival "Budapest Degrowth Week" will feature practical workshops, panel and participatory discussions, and also concerts, artistic performances and interactive tours throughout the city. Local residents and the international Degrowth community members are invited to participate in more than 100 events hosted in several venues.

The conference programme is available here.

More information

Job Opportunity: Researcher to work on Nexus Shocks 

Dr Candice Howarth from the University of Surrey, is advertising for a researcher to work with her on ‘Nexus Shocks’.

This will involve engaging with members of the Nexus Shocks Network and producing outputs for academic and non-academic audiences. 

This is a fixed term position available full time 7 months (part time applications will also be considered).

Location: Guildford. 
Salary: £30,738. 
Closing Date: Wednesday 10 August 2016. 
Interview Date: Tuesday 16 August 2016.

To apply see the University of Surrey website or contact Dr Candice Howarth for an informal discussion.

Latest Issue of Environmental Values now online: Vol.25, No.4, August 2016  

New Book: Juha Hiedanpää & Daniel W. Bromley. Environmental Heresies: The Quest for Reasonable.
London: Palgrave, to appear in July 2016.

This book systematically deconstructs the pervasive and counter-productive discourse surrounding environmental policy. The authors argue that current discourse frames environmental problems in such a way as to present conflict as inevitable—a particular project must be allowed versus a specific environmental asset must be protected, for example. Over the course of 12 chapters, the authors demonstrate that the confident yet contradictory assertions by contending interests preclude necessary deliberation and reason giving. They argue that deliberation is an important social process of reflecting upon the reasons for doing something and propose that this creative framing allows discourse and collaboration to continue, until—after honest and informed deliberation—the better way forward is arrived at. This approach to environmental policy illustrates how constructive and enabling the quest for the reasonable can be.

Juha Hiedanpää is Research Professor in Natural Resource Policy at the Natural Resources Institute Finland. He has published widely on biodiversity policy, institutional change, and the policy design from the bottom up. 

Daniel W. Bromley is Anderson-Bascom Professor Emeritus of Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has published extensively on environmental economics, international development, and the institutional foundations of the economy. His recent books include Environment and Economy: Property Rights and Public Policy, and Sufficient Reason: Volitional Pragmatism and the Meaning of Economic Institutions.