Sustainable welfare and just transitions in tackling climate change

In this session, Milena Büchs demonstrates how growth-oriented and exploitative ways of capitalist economies are a driver of climate change.



Achieving rapid emission reductions to stay within planetary boundaries requires not only technological and behavioural change but also more systemic changes in the ways in which we organise our economies and address wellbeing. In addition, the transition to net-zero needs to be socially just and inclusive to generate public support and more equal societies. This presentation will first outline how growth-oriented and exploitative ways of provisioning that are inherent in capitalist economies are an important driver of climate change. It will then present ideas of alternative provisioning systems that centre around post-growth, sustainable welfare and just transitions. Universal Basic Income and Universal Basic Services will be discussed as examples of two approaches that could contribute to providing equitable wellbeing could be provided within planetary boundaries.


Dr Milena Büchs is an Associate Professor in Sustainability, Economics and Low Carbon Transitions at the Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds. Combining theories and methods from ecological economics, social policy and sociology, Milena's research focuses on sustainable welfare and just transitions. Milena is Co-I of the UKRI-funded Centre for Research on Energy Demand Reduction where she examines inequality of energy use and emissions and fair emission reduction. She is also PI of the EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship ShaRe for Dr Diana Ivanova which investigates the role of sharing within and between households for carbon reduction. Prior to joining the University of Leeds in 2016, she was an Associate Professor in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Southampton (2005-2016).

Recent publications include: Büchs, M., Ivanova, O., Schnepf, S.V., 2021. Fairness, effectiveness and needs satisfaction: new options for designing climate policies. Environmental Research Letters. 16,; Büchs, M., 2021. Sustainable welfare: How do Universal Basic Income and Universal Basic Services compare? Ecological Economics. 189 (2021),


LESS Group

This webinar is part of a new series launched by the new LESS research group and supported by CERIC (Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change).

Currently, we are all very concerned and stressed due to the Covid crisis. Putting the current crisis into a longer-term perspective, we might ask ourselves whether a political-economic and cultural system which struggles to deal with the Covid crisis will have the capacity to deal with the environmental crisis adequately. If your answer to this question is as pessimistic as ours, you might be interested in joining the LESS group — a new cross-divisional group at LUBS to explore system-level sustainability research, open to all researchers regardless of disciplinary background or prior experience in sustainability research.

We are inspired by a growing number of studies, which argue that the environmental crisis requires a radical change of the political-economic and cultural structure within which organizations and individuals operate. The mission of the LESS group is to advance interdisciplinary efforts to develop system-level research that addresses environmental emergency.

To join the LESS group please contact either of LESS' co-leaders:

Zlatko Bodrožić

Vera Trappmann