NEWS

With a team of over 50 people, CUSP is a busy research centre, engaged in a variety of projects. We produce working papers, journal articles, blogs and public events, we respond to government enquiries, commission essays, and contribute to the publication of books. CUSP is also involved in numerous research cooperations with other institutions. On this page you’ll find updates from the various engagements of the centre. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to receive a regular digest in your inbox.


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Developing differently: social enterprise innovations for the circular economy in Lagos Nigeria | Blog by Adeyemi Adelekan

Part of our research aims to learn from grass-root initiatives operating in the circular economy in Nigeria; their hybrid organising strategies and, particularly, their attempts to propagate a circular economy culture at the individual, organisational and societal levels. Ahead of our forthcoming workshop in Lagos, CUSP researcher Adeyemi Adelekan reports from his PhD project and outlines some of the specific challenges developing countries such as Nigeria face.


New Nature Writing: a force for sustainability and the common good? | Blog by Ian Christie and Kate Oakley

Can Nature Writing be a force for saving what we wish to conserve and carry on loving, and to hand on to future generations? Can it be a contribution to the political and social movements for a re-imagination of the good life, of sustainable prosperity? Taking seriously the claims of art to enable us to imagine other futures, CUSP is launching a call for entries for a new nature writing project: Nature Writing for the Common Good.


Why Capitalists Need Communists: The Politics of Flourishing | Seminar w Charles Seaford—Guildford, 15 May 2019

Brexit, the rise of populist politics and cries for radical reform grace our headlines on a daily basis. Britain faces huge challenges: inequality, public services under constant pressure, climate change —and in the long term the impacts of automation and artificial intelligence. At the same time, the political and economic elite seem to have reached an impasse: there is a sense that things can only get worse.


Navigating social and commercial objectives in social enterprise | Workshop w Co-Creation Hub Lagos, 25 Apr 2019

Running your own business is hard, but it can be especially difficult for people who want to set up a social enterprise, aimed at having a positive impact on people and the planet. How is this done, and how do you get over the tension between commercial and social objectives? In this workshop with the American Corner at the Co-Creation Hub Lagos, we draw on our research to give attendees the tools to understand the tensions they face, and how they can find a way to navigate through this.


Managing a Post-Growth Economy: Circularity, Productivity and Inequality | A ‘Circular Conversation’ w Tim Jackson

“The circular economy is a very good idea, but it is a better idea when it is placed in the context of delivering prosperity, rather than aimed at increasing growth.” A conversation between Emanuele Di Francesco and Tim Jackson, discussing post-growth concepts of a circular economy, the limits of labour productivity and the dynamics of inequality.


What do the Green New Deal and National Bank mean for the UK’s Innovative Green SMEs? | Call for Papers

There is a fundamental need for public policy to address the early innovative green SME financing gap, our research finds. CUSP and Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) is therefore issuing a Call for Papers for a Special Issue of the journal IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management to focus on this issue.


‘This is not an elitist issue’—Navigating political divides, fast and slow | Blog by Will Davies

There is a palpable sentiment across many liberal democracies that the status quo is not sustainable. Too often, the overwhelming popular desire for political action finds its outlet in a drift towards the far-right, Will Davies writes. The political task is to feel our way toward less paranoid means of connecting with one another.


Vacancy | Policy Manager at Aldersgate Group

Our co-investigators at the Aldersgate Group are looking for a policy manager to join the team and lead their vital policy work on green finance, climate, energy, resource efficiency and natural capital, working i.a. with us on the Finance for the Future theme. Closing date for applications is 15 April 2019, 5pm BST.


Sustainable prosperity for all? | Guest blog by Priscilla Alderson

Sustainable prosperity must involve equal respect for everyone, Priscilla Alderson argues in her guest blog, including traditionally excluded groups.


Actuaries and the low carbon transition | CUSP at American Association of Geographers ‏Annual Meeting, 3 April 2019

As part of a panel on Realising transformative climate economies? The place(s) of green finance in the Anthropocene, CUSP researcher Nick Taylor will present his paper studying the role that actuaries play in the low carbon transition.


Reason Matters | CUSP Newsletter March 2019

For those of you wondering why politics has become so fractious and warlike, we’re delighted to introduce Will Davies’ new book on Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason. Will has also been busy expanding our series of philosophical essays on the Morality of Sustainable Prosperity. Social justice is central to CUSP advisor committee member, Katherine Trebeck, and Jeremy William’s new book on the Economics of Arrival which we’ll be helping them launch on 13th May…


Who Will Sustain Sustainable Prosperity? | Essay by Miriam Ronzoni

Challenges to sustainable prosperity cannot be addressed successfully through a top-down approach when this enjoys no political support, nor will simply letting people take care of their own environment do the trick. The problem requires us, instead, to appreciate the negative externalities we impose on distant, unknown others and to be politically motivated by the aim to avoid that.


Sustainability—Paradigms, Models, Scenarios and Practices | Call for Papers

CUSP co-investigator Prof Peter Victor has joined the Scientific Committee for an upcoming symposium on: ‘Paradigms, Models, Scenarios and Practices for more Sustainability‘ (4–6 Dec 2019, Clermont-Ferrand, France). The international conference has set out to critically examine the notions of sustainability and sustainable development. Abstracts are invited in English or French.


Green Stories Writing: How writers are imagining a greener future | Guest blog by Denise Baden

Research by Dr Denise Baden shows that solution based stories, or stories that smuggle in green ideas/characters in the context of an otherwise mainstream story are more likely to inspire greener behaviours than catastrophic tales of climate change. In her guest blog, she summarises some of her findings, and is putting them into the context of the first output of a green stories writing competition she led last year.


All grown up—making ourselves at home in a world beyond growth | Blog by Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams

The last century has seen unprecedented economic and social progress for many people in many parts in the world. In light of climate change, and social and economic instability, the challenge is now to make ourselves at home with this wealth, to ensure, in the interests of equality, that everyone is included.


Growing and Grown-up Economies: The Economics of Arrival | Book launch, London 13 May 2019

In their book ‘The Economics of Arrival: ideas for a grown up economy’, Dr Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams suggest that growth leads to a point of ‘arrival’, where the work of growth is done and its continued pursuit brings mounting harm. New priorities emerge—a shift from acquiring more to making ourselves at home with what we already have. Join the authors for a short presentation, followed by a discussion on the legitimacy of growth with Tim Jackson and Irene Guijt.


Solidarity, Antagonistic Economies and Social Enterprises: Spaces for New Initiatives | Seminar, London 20 Mar 2019

Jointly hosted with the Alternative Organisations and Transformative Practices Research Cluster, this seminar brings together two cutting edge thinkers on the link between sustainability transformation and alternative forms of economic organisation, Prof Peter North and Prof Maria Daskalaki.


Vacancy | Research Fellow Social and Sustainable Business

CUSP and Middlesex University seek to appoint a researcher to carry out research on alternative business and investment for wellbeing and sustainability. Closing date for applications is 28 March 2019.


Fixing the Green Finance Gap: A system modelling approach | Seminar w Sarah Hafner, Cambridge 27 Mar 2019

In this seminar, CUSP researcher Sarah Hafner will be presenting some of the findings from her CUSP project, using empirically-calibrated, ecological macroeconomic system dynamics modelling to explore sustainable prosperity in light of the low carbon transition.


Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason | By Will Davies

Why do we no longer trust experts, facts and statistics? Why has politics become so fractious and warlike? What caused the populist political upheavals of recent years? How can the history of ideas help us understand our present? In this far-reaching exploration of our new political landscape, CUSP co-investigator Will Davies reveals how feelings have come to reshape our world.


The Post-growth Challenge: Secular Stagnation, Inequality and the Limits to Growth | Journal Paper by Tim Jackson

Sluggish recovery in the wake of the financial crisis has revived discussion of a ‘secular stagnation’. These conditions have been blamed for rising inequality and political instability. Tim Jackson contests this view, pointing instead to a steadfast refusal to address the ‘post-growth challenge’. (An earlier draft of the article was published as CUSP Working Paper No 12.)


Beyond the choke hold of growth: post-growth or radical degrowth?—Tim Jackson in conversation with Giorgos Kallis

The 2018 Post-Growth conference at the European Parliament marked a milestone in the history of the post-growth debate. In this interview, Riccardo Mastini discusses the possibilities and challenges for imagining a world beyond growth with two key post-growth thinkers—Tim Jackson and Giorgos Kallis. 


Social Innovation: Local Solutions to Global Challenges | CUSP at #ISIRC2019 conference

Fergus Lyon leading a conference stream at the 2019 International Social Innovation Research Conference (ISIRC) in Glasgow. The conference organisers invite abstracts for papers and panel proposals—closing date for submissions: 28 Feb 2019.


Risk and Uncertainty in the Anthropocene | Conference w Louise Amoore and Geoff Mann, London 26 Jun 2019

This conference aims to explore from a multidisciplinary perspective the role of risk and uncertainty in the Anthropocene. Papers were invited exploring the specific logics, strategies, forms of knowledge and technologies that different actors are, or should be, using to approach risk and uncertainty.


Creative Economy: Critical Perspectives | Workshop, Glasgow—1 Mar 2019

Though the creative economy remains a powerful idea in policy circles, concerns about inequality, worker exploitation and the promotion of over-consumption have begun to grow. This one-day workshop looks at some of these concerns, but also at the potential for arts and culture to help us think through these issues and re-frame a more sustainable and human creative economy.


Critical Perspectives | CUSP Newsletter February 2018

Our early engagements include a keynote presentation at the Bank of England, a seminar in Treasury and an ‘evening of ideas’ with Nicholas Hulot. The intensity of the debate certainly hasn’t declined: a forthright exchange with Michael Liebreich was facilitated by the BBC. There are several new journal papers and book chapters to explore, and a new report on our engagement work on sustainable investment. We were particularly delighted to host the London launch for Peter Victor’s revised edition of Managing without Growth, which features our collaborative work modelling a low-growth economy for Canada.


SMEs and Climate Change—the Communication Challenge | Webinar w Chris Shaw, Tina Fawcett, Sam Hampton and Richard Blundel, 28 Feb

Small and medium-sized enterprises face many competing pressures—so how can we encourage owners and managers to engage with the issue, and re-position their businesses for a lower carbon future? Join us at this lunchtime webinar for practical advice on communicating more effectively with (and within) SMEs. The webinar is part of the ESRC Growing Greener project, co-led by CUSP Fellow Richard Blundel, with advisory support from CUSP Deputy Director Fergus Lyon.


Helping the dairy processing sector go ‘green’

CUSP Co-Investigator Angela Druckman, along with her Surrey colleagues Devendra Saroj from Civil and Environmental Engineering and Rosie Cole of Surrey Business School, have supported Food Forward Ltd in a successful funding bid.


Circular economy must remain a priority for Europe beyond the 2019 elections | Blog by Nick Molho

The Circular Economy Package and Plastics Strategy have set a high-level framework to improve the resource efficiency of the European economy. But to be effective, this framework must remain a policy priority for the next European Commission and Parliament, argues Nick Molho.


The Burning Question | BBC World Service Debate w Tim Jackson and Michael Liebreich

In Autumn 2018, CUSP Director Tim Jackson responded to an essay by Michael Liebreich, sparking a month-long debate on social media. BBC Business Daily brought Tim and Michael together to discuss the ‘burning question’ face-to-face: Is eternal economic growth feasible (and desirable) on a finite planet?


System Error | Documentary w Tim Jackson investigating the paradigm of ‘economic growth’

Why are we so obsessed with economic growth, knowing that it has devastating effects on our finite planet (and ultimately us)? SYSTEM ERROR looks for answers to this principal contradiction of our time and considers global capitalism from the perspective of those who run it.


Hugh Montefiore and our present moment | Blog by Richard Douglas

The hypothesis Richard Douglas is investigating in his CUSP research is that political resistance to environmentalism stems in part from a defence of modern ideas of infinity. The notion that there are inescapable limits to material progress, he argues, threatens the modern faith in humanity’s ability to control its own fate and journey into an unbounded future.


Managing Without Growth—Slower by Design, Not Disaster (2nd edition) | By Peter Victor

Revised second edition of Peter Victor’s influential book. Human economies are overwhelming the regenerative capacity of the planet, this book explains why long-term economic growth is infeasible, and why, especially in advanced economies, it is also undesirable. Simulations developed with Tim Jackson, show that managing without growth is a better alternative.


Higher Wages for Sustainable Development? | Journal Paper by Simon Mair, Angela Druckman and Tim Jackson

In this paper, Simon Mair, Angela Druckman and Tim Jackson explore how paying a living wage in global supply chains might affect employment and carbon emissions: Sustainable Development Goals 8 and 13.


Investment for a sustainable and inclusive economy—Proposed changes to UK law | Report

Delivering an effective investment industry has been largely delegated by politicians to regulatory bodies, on the assumption that the measures needed have little relevance to wider social and economic issues. Charles Seaford argues that this assumption is false, and that politicians could usefully consider what may have been seen as purely technocratic issues.


The Politics of Selection | Journal Paper by Daniel Hausknost and Willi Haas

Institutions for transformative innovation need to improve the capacities of complex societies to make binding decisions in politically contested fields, a new journal paper by CUSP researcher Daniel Hausknost and his colleague Willi Haas argues, proposing the design of novel institutions that integrate expert knowledge with processes of public deliberation and democratic decision-making.


The Paradox of Social Impact Measurement | Seminar w Pablo Munoz, London 27 Feb 2019

Regardless of the established limitations of rendering social phenomenon reliably knowable through measurement, the institutional excitement surrounding social impact is considered to rest upon the capacity to measure and assess its progress. To better understand how social impact can be reliably known, Pablo Munoz and his colleagues study how actors in a pre-rationalized industry understand social impact, and deal with the arrival of measures for social impact.


Could energetic constraints be slowing economic growth? | Seminar w Paul Brockway, Guildford, 7 Feb 2019

Access to cheap and widely available fossil fuels powered global economic growth for over 250 years. However, the last decade has seen a slowdown in the global economy – and people (governments, economists) are looking for answers. Labour productivity is seen as a prime candidate. But are we looking in the wrong place?


System Dynamics Modelling | Workshop, Cambridge 24 Jan 2019

On 24th January, CUSP and the GSI are hosting a workshop on systems dynamics. This will include a presentation by Prof. Jørgen Randers on his new Earth4 global model. The workshop will explore challenges in global and regional systems dynamic modelling of economic, social and environmental systems and in particular we will be looking at some of the challenges encountered in building Earth4.


A Cultural Account of Ecological Democracy | Journal Paper by Marit Hammond

What are the political foundations of an ecologically sustainable society? Can—or must—they be democratic? Absolutely ‘yes’ Marit Hammond argues, for sustainability is a moving target that requires a reflexive cultural ethos based on democratic values.


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