Surrey scientist joins world record holding yachtswoman in new global challenge

Wednesday 3 August 2011

An expert in sustainable development and ecological economics has joined world record holding sailor Ellen MacArthur to tackle the future of the planet. Dame Ellen MacArthur has unveiled a high-profile panel of experts to help educate young people about a way to achieve sustainable development.

The focus of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is to educate the next generation of business people on the importance of not just using less to make finite resources last longer but making products which can be reused and recycled efficiently.

Professor Tim Jackson - the UK's first Professor of Sustainable Development - at the University of Surrey's Centre for Environmental Strategy is one of the experts appointed to an advisory panel for the Foundation to help forge a more sustainable economy.  

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation promotes a closed loop economy which aims to reduce material throughput and recycle wastes from one process as inputs to another.

The advisory panel will share the latest research and thinking on a range of sustainability issues with regards to economics, the built environment, transport and agriculture so that tomorrow's entrepreneurs will have the knowledge and processes in place to make this sustainable vision a reality.

Other members of the panel include Sir Ken Robinson, a leader in education, creativity and innovation, Professor Peter Guthrie, OBE - the UK's first Professor of Engineering for Sustainable Development at Cambridge University's Department of Engineering and Professor James Clark - director of the Green Chemistry Centre, University of York.

Dame Ellen, who single-handedly raced non-stop around the world in the Vendee Globe when only 24 years old and went on to set a new world record, said: “The winners in the future are going to be the companies who develop a completely different framework of thinking.

“To help them get there, it's vital that we can draw upon the expertise of an impartial, cross-sector knowledge base that does not represent corporate interests."

Professor Tim Jackson, author of the widely-acclaimed book “Prosperity without Growth - Economics for a Finite Planet”, said: “I'm delighted to be working with Ellen on this vital task.  It is now abundantly clear that the ecosystems that sustain our economies are collapsing under the impacts of rising consumption.  

Technology can improve the situation but it is only part of the challenge.  We also need to devise a path to prosperity that takes account of ecological limits and an economy that does not rely on endless consumption growth.’

Editors' Notes

Professor Jackson heads the Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group (SLRG) which has key partners at the University of Bath, the University of Sussex, the University of Edinburgh and the Institute for Fiscal Studies and is funded by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Economics and Social Research Council and the Scottish Government.

Its aim is to develop an integrated understanding of the complex relationships between people's lifestyles and practices and sustainability.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is an independent charity with the purpose of inspiring people to re-think, to re-design and build a positive future.

Media Enquiries

Peter La, Press Office at the University of Surrey, Tel: +44 (0)1483 689191, or Email

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