Expert perspectives on achieving global sustainability with targeted transformational change

Crawford School of Public Policy
Teemu Koskimäki

Event details


Date & time

Monday 11 April 2022


Acton Theater and Zoom


Teemu Koskimäki


Ana Manero

Abstract: To address the increasingly acute global environmental and social problems, transformational change is required to the prevailing socioeconomic systems. Some interpret this to mean that economic growth must become “green”, while others question if “post-growth” approaches are needed instead. In this thesis, I ask what future pathways experts support in different spatiotemporal contexts, what the future of economic growth may be in different country income groups, how societal addictions to economic growth could be overcome, and what a transition into a post-growth economy might look like in the context of a specific high-income country, using Finland as a case study.

To ascertain the views of experts I collected data using two approaches: a global expert survey (n=461) and a national scale expert workshop (n=14). I conducted the survey using the Qualtrics online survey platform and I used statistical modelling to help explain the scholars’ views. I then organised the workshop together with Finnish sustainability and post-growth experts, using the eDelphi platform and Zoom, applying a backcasting analysis.

The thesis findings imply support for targeted transformational change. Most sustainability scholars were in favour of post-growth pathways for high- and upper-middle-income countries while green growth was favoured for low- and lower-middle-income countries. As support for post-growth increased from the 2020s to 2030s, support for green growth decreased. Nonetheless, I found substantial variation in the scholars’ opinions regarding the future of economic growth. The expert workshop produced a new vision of a post-growth Finland and evaluated various actions that could facilitate the needed transformation.

My findings augment previous survey studies and help to provide answers to many open questions in the burgeoning post-growth literature. I conclude that the primary focus of scholars and decision makers should turn towards overcoming the prevailing societal growth addictions, particularly in high-income countries. My results help increase our understanding of post-growth transitions both globally and locally, so that societies could achieve important environmental goals and sustainable wellbeing, in time.

Biography: Teemu Koskimäki is a PhD candidate at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. His academic interests include global problems and solutions, ecological economics, ecological macroeconomic modelling, and transformational change at different scales. In his dissertation, Koskimäki examines expert perspectives on the paths and actions that would be needed to achieve global sustainability in a timely manner.

Primary supervisor: Ida Kubiszewski

Associate supervisors: Robert Costanza, Arto O. Salonen

Zoom: Meeting ID: 835 0335 6052 Password: 074524

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