BI researcher wins sustainable economics prize

16 October 2023

BI’s Professor Jørgen Randers receives this year’s Friede-Gard prize for his contribution to global integrated assessment modeling.

Jørgen Randers

The award recognizes scientific achievements that represent outstanding progress in economic science towards sustainability. 

Randers was presented with the award during a ceremony at the Birkenfeld Environmental Campus of Trier University of Applied Sciences in Germany earlier this month. 

“I have received many prizes over the last decade for my fifty years of effort to improve the wellbeing of the global majority. This prize is more important to me because it is for something that I really believe in, namely simulation modeling of nonlinear socioeconomic systems far away from equilibrium,” says Randers. 

“The world desperately needs better tools for the analysis of global economic policy than those offered by conventional neoclassical macro-economics. We need more than repetition of the advice that maximum growth in output (GDP) is the best way to increase wellbeing. This is obviously not true on a finite planet where the externalities to production growth (climate change, increased inequality, rising social tensions) increasingly overwhelms the benefits from more output,” he adds. 

According to the jury, Randers receives this year’s Friede-Gard prize for his decades-long commitment to the system dynamics-based world modeling, his tireless provision of practicable scenarios for a more sustainable global future, and his “Earth for all” model, which is the first practical integrated global assessment model and available for use for anyone with a laptop. 

“Randers followed, and contributed to best system dynamics practice, by maintaining a non-equilibrium and multidisciplinary perspective on the problem at hand. His models of global ecological, social, and economic processes have become more and more refined, incorporating the newest solid insights of the various scientific disciplines,” according to a press release from the Friede-Gard Foundation. 

Randers is professor emeritus of climate strategy at BI and was the school’s president between 1981 and 1989. He achieved global fame as one of the main authors of the 1972 book “The Limits to Growth”, which sold millions of copies and was translated into more than 36 languages worldwide. The book was also the first ever report to the Club of Rome. 

Since then, he has coauthored many books, including “Beyond the limits” (1992), “Limits to Growth – the 30 Years Update” (2004), “2052 – A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years” (2012), “Transformation is achievable” (2018), and “Earth for All – A Survival Guide for our Planet” (2022). 

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