What is Sustainable Economics?

In this blog Molly Scott Cato, Professor of Green Economics at the University of Roehampton, discusses how a new master’s degree can inform sustainable citizens and support the sustainability transition of our economy.

The world’s leaders agree that the climate crisis is the most important issue facing humanity. Yet there is little discussion about how the economy is driving the climate crisis, as well as the wider ecological and biodiversity crises. Our world is in trouble and the global economy is part of the problem.

Building a sustainable future

Whilst there are thousands of master’s courses in economics, very few of these offer students with insights into how the economy relates to the environment – despite the fact that young people choosing to study today will spend their lives in a world dominated by the climate crisis.

On our new MSc in Sustainable Economics students will learn about economic solutions to environmental problems – we’re handing them the tools to act and to be a force for good in the world.

As a University and a Business School, we want our courses to support young people to become sustainable citizens but, as the issue of sustainability moves to the centre of business practice, there is also an increasing need for employees to understand how to apply sustainability knowledge in their workplace.

In an article entitled ‘Why Corporate Strategies Should be focused on sustainability’ (2021), Forbes report that 60% of companies have a sustainability strategy:

“Sustainability is increasingly becoming a necessity for corporations due to changing perspectives around the world. It is becoming even more critical for companies to address the gap between knowing and doing by embracing sustainable business practices.”

Our Sustainable Economics MSc graduates would be ideally skilled to fill that gap.

What does a master’s in Sustainable Economics look like?

Firstly, the course links the environmental crises to the way the global economy is designed and controlled. We take a systemic approach to the economy, seeing the natural world as the source of all economic value and assessing what that means in terms of how we need to design our economy for a sustainable future.

We also take a global approach – rather than allowing the viewpoints of certain countries or powerful corporations to dominate.

A key emphasis of this programme will be viewing subjects from both an academic and practical perspective as well as drawing examples from different contexts.

This programme offers insights from a range of economists across the world who have placed the environment at the centre of their work and will support you in learning about the practical solutions they have proposed to redesigning the global economy. This includes a circular economy approach, carbon taxes and other market incentives, moving from growth towards a well-being economy, sustainable finance, and sustainability reporting.

We’re excited to be contributing something vital to the transition to a sustainable future, which is now an urgent global priority.

Applications to study our Sustainable Economics MSc this September are now open.
Find out more and apply

The University of Roehampton changes lives by helping our students to develop the confidence, knowledge and values they need for a successful and fulfilling life. We produce world-class research that helps us understand the world and change it for the better.

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