Professor Tim Jackson

Professor of Sustainable Development and Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP)

Qualifications: MA, PhD, FRSA, AcSS

Phone: Work: 01483 68 9072
Room no: 06 BA 02

Further information


Tim Jackson is Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey and Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). He currently holds a Professorial Fellowship on Prosperity and Sustainability in the Green Economy (PASSAGE) also funded by the ESRC. In addition to this Tim is an award-winning playwright with numerous radio-writing credits for the BBC.

Tim joined the University of Surrey in 1995 under a Royal Academy of Engineering fellowship on the thermodynamics of clean technology, after five years as Senior Researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute. In April 2000, he was appointed as Professor of Sustainable Development at Surrey, the first such chair to be created in the UK. Between January 2003 and April 2005, Tim held a research fellowship on the social psychology of sustainable consumption, supported by the ESRC's Sustainable Technologies Programme. His monograph Motivating Sustainable Consumption (2005) drawing on research from that period is still widely cited in both academic and policy circles and was influential in framing the Changing Behaviours chapter in the 2005 UK Sustainable Development Strategy.

During his time at the Stockholm Environment Institute, he pioneered the concept of preventative environmental management outlined in his 1996 book Material Concerns: pollution profit and quality of life. In 1996 he co-authored (with Nic Marks) the first Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare for the UK and has continued to work closely with the New Economics Foundation and others on measures of sustainable wellbeing at national and regional level.

During the last decade, he has led numerous research and policy initiatives on sustainable consumption and production in the UK and abroad. From June 2004 to March 2006, he was the sole academic representative on the UK Sustainable Consumption Round Table and co-authored their influential report I will if you will. In 2006 Tim published the Earthscan Reader on Sustainable Consumption. He led the team which developed the Surrey Environmental Lifestyle Mapping (SELMA) model used to estimate the UK's 'carbon footprint' for the Carbon Trust. He is a co-author of the WorldWatch Institute's influential State of the World 2008 on sustainable economies. From 2006 to 2009, he led the SDC’s Redefining Prosperity programme and authored the controversial report, later published by Earthscan as Prosperity without Growth: economics for a finite planet.

Tim Jackson has served in an advisory capacity for numerous Government departments and delivery agencies. He has provided research, consultancy and advice to a variety of international organisations and agencies including: UNEP (on sustainable consumption and production and sustainable lifestyles); UN DESA on green economy; UNIDO and the ILO (on cleaner production), the European Environment Agency (on sustainable consumption and green GDP), the European Parliament (on sustainable consumption and on nuclear fusion), the US EPA (on waste prevention, sustainable consumption and behaviour change), the New Zealand Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (on sustainable consumption and lifestyles) .

Since 2002, Prof Jackson has been a member of the Advisory Board for the Danish ‘New Energy Solutions’ investment fund. In May 2007 he was appointed Chair of the Advisory Board.

Tim’s first love was playwriting and he sold his first radio play to the BBC while he was still a student. Since then he has achieved numerous radio writing credits for the Radio 4, Radio 3 and BBC World and won several prizes and awards for his work. His plays include love stories, historical dramas, and a 30 episode environmental thriller, Cry of the Bittern, which won a 1997 Public Awareness of Science (PAWS) Drama Award. Through drama Tim has helped bring scientific controversies to a wider audience. He has also explored the life and work of scientists, artists, musicians and writers.

Media and Speaking Engagements
Tim is an experienced writer, speaker and broadcaster. He has given more than 200 international keynote presentations and appears regularly in the UK and international media. For more information, videos and interviews go here.

Research Interests

Tim has been at the forefront of international debates about sustainable development for over two decades and has worked closely with the UK Government, the United Nations, and numerous private companies and NGOs to bring social science research into sustainability. His research interests focus on the economic and social aspects of the relationship between people’s lifestyles and the environment.

From 2010 to 2014 Tim was Director of the Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group (SLRG), a multi-institution research group funded by the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The aim of SLRG was to develop a robust understanding of the links between lifestyle, societal values and the environment, and to provide evidence-based advice to policy-makers seeking to influence people’s lifestyles and practices. From 2006 to 2011 he was founding Director of RESOLVE, the research group on Lifestyles, Values and Environment funded by the ESRC.

Tim has written extensively on the complex relationship between economic growth, wellbeing and sustainability. Between 2004 and 2011, he was Economics Commissioner on the UK Sustainable Development Commission, where his work culminated in the publication of his controversial best-seller Prosperity without Growth: economics for a finite planet .

In 2010 Tim Jackson was awarded an ESRC Professorial Fellowship to study Prosperity and Sustainability in the Green Economy (PASSAGE) in collaboration with Professor Peter Victor (York University, Toronto). Tim and Peter are developing the conceptual basis for an economy in which stability no longer depends on relentless consumption growth. This project includes, in collaboration with Peter, the development of the Green Economy Macro-Model and Accounts (GEMMA).


Selected Publications

Jackson, T and R. Webster 2016.  Limits revisited: a review of the limits to growth debate. APPG on Limits to Growth, April 2016.

Jackson, T., Victor, P. and A. Asjad Naqvi 2016.  Towards a Stock – Flow Consistent Ecological Macroeconomics. WWW for Europe: Work Package  205, Milestone 40 “Report on model results including additional policies to  counter averse effects”. Working Paper no  114.

Jackson, T and P Victor 2016. Does slow growth lead to rising inequality? Some theoretical reflections and numerical simulations. Ecological Economics, Vol 121, pp. 206–219.

Jackson, T and P Victor 2015. Does credit create a growth imperative? A quasi-steady state economy with interest-bearing debt. Ecological Economics, Vol 120, pp. 32–48.

Armstrong, A and T Jackson 2015.  The Mindful Consumer. Mindfulness training and the escape from consumerism. Friends of the Earth, Big Ideas.

Jackson T and P Victor 2015.  Does slow growth lead to rising inequality? – A stock-flow consistent exploration of the ‘Piketty hypothesis’.PASSAGE Working Paper 15/03. Guildford: University of Surrey.

Jackson, T, Victor, P and A Asjad Naqvi.  Towards a Stock-Flow Consistent Ecological Macroeconomics. PASSAGE Working Paper 15/02. Guildford: University of Surrey.

Jackson, T and P Victor 2015.  Credit creation and the ‘growth imperative’ – a quasi- stationary economy with debt-based money. PASSAGE Working Paper 15/01. Guildford: University of Surrey.

Jackson T 2015. If the rich world aimed for minimal growth, would it be a disaster or a blessing? The Economist, 01 August 2015.

Jackson T 2015. Growth is not the answer to inequality. The Guardian Blog, 13 March 2015.

Jackson T 2015. New Economy. In: Degrowth. A Vocabulary for a New Era. D’Alisa, F, Demaria, F and Kallis G (Eds). Routledge, Oxon. pp. 178-181.

Jackson T 2014. The dilemma of growth: prosperity v economic expansion. The Guardian ‘Rethinking Prosperity’ Blog, 22 September 2014.

Jackson T and P Victor 2014.  Does slow growth increase inequality? – A stock-flow consistent exploration of the ‘Piketty hypothesis’. PASSAGE Working Paper 14/02.

Jackson T and P Victor 2013.  Green economy at a community scale. Metcalf Foundation: Toronto | November 2013.

Jackson, T 2013.  The Altruist Within. In: Sofia #109, pp. 4 – 9. Dinah Livingstone (Ed). ISSN: 1749-9062 | September 2013.

Jackson, T 2013.  Angst essen Seele auf – Escaping the ‘iron cage’ of consumerism. In: Wuppertal Spezial (Vol 48), Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

Jackson, T 2013. The trouble with productivity. In: Coote, A & J Franklin (Ed.). Time on our side: why we all need a shorter working week. New Economics Foundation: London (p.25-31)

Jackson, T 2013.  Opinion – Moving to a Green Economy. In: Nick Stevens (Ed). Britain in 2014. Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Immediate Media Co. pp. 24-25.

Jackson, T and P Victor 2013. Developing an Ecological Macroeconomics. Centre for International Governance Innovation |, 11 September 2013.

Costanza R, Alperovitz G, Daly H, Farley J, Franco C, Jackson T, Kubiszewski I, Schor J, Victor P. 2013: Building a Sustainable and Desirable Economy –in-Society- in-Nature. ANUE Press, Caberra, Australia.

Druckman A, Buck I, Hayward B and Jackson T. 2013: Time, gender and carbon: how British adults use their leisure time. In: Coote, A & J Franklin (Ed.). Time on our side: why we all need a shorter working week. New Economics Foundation: London (pp.101 – 112).

Jackson, T 2012. Let’s be less productive. In: The New York Times, 27 May 2012, p SR4

Jackson, T and P Victor 2011. Productivity and Work in the New Economy – Some Theoretical Reflections and Empirical Tests, Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, Vol.1, No.1, 101-108.

Jackson, T 2011. Confronting consumption: challenges for economics and for policy. In S Dietz, J Michie and C Oughton (Eds) The Political Economy of the Environment: an Interdisciplinary approach 189-212. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Jackson, T 2011. Societal transformations for a sustainable economy. Natural Resources Forum 35: 155-164.

Jackson, T 2009. Prosperity without Growth: economics for a finite planet. London: Routledge (Earthscan).

Jackson, T 2005. Motivating Sustainable Consumption: a review of evidence on consumer behaviour and behavioural change. London: Policy Studies Institute.

For a full list of publications click here


  • Full member, The Club of Rome
  • Fellow, Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA)
  • Academician, Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS) 
  • Chair, Advisory Board, New Energy Solutions Partners, Asset Management
  • Advisor, Aviva Sustainable and Responsible Investment Advisory Board
  • Advisor, Alliance Trust Sustainable Futures Fund
  • Advisor, Sustainable Development Research Network
  • Associate, New Economics Foundation
  • Member, UNEP Sustainable Lifestyles Taskforce

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