Interview with Stanislav Shmelev – Founder and CEO of Environment Europe
Interview with Dr Stanislav Edward Shmelev, Founder and CEO at Environment Europe Foundation and Director of the Oxford Summer School in Ecological Economics by JOSÉ ESTEBAN GABARDA BALAGUER
Ecological Economics: Ecosystems and the Economy, ESG Investment for People, Planet and Prosperity, Renewable Energy, Circular Economy at the Time of Anthropocene
Dr. Stanislav Edward Shmelev is the founder and CEO of Environment Europe Foundation and Director of Environment Europe Limited. He is the founder of the Oxford Summer School in Ecological Economics, which has been running since 2012.
Stanislav Shmelev is an Oxford-based ecological economist. He has a PhD in Ecological Economics and Mathematical Methods (2003), is a LEAD Europe Fellow (2007) and was named one of the world's four most promising young economists by Handelsblatt newspaper and the Institute for New Economic Thought.

He currently holds various management positions in non-governmental organizations and consults with the United Nations Development Program. Shmelev has worked as a Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute (2008–2009) and as a Senior Research Associate at the University of Oxford's School of Geography and Environment.

Stanislav Shmelev is the founder and CEO of a sustainability think tank, Environment Europe Ltd, and CEO of the Environment Europe Foundation, where he founded a unique executive education program in green economics and sustainability that has trained UNEP, UNDP, IUCN, OECD and GGGI., ministerial staff and academics from 60 countries.

As founder and CEO of Environment Europe Limited, and founder and CEO of Environment Europe Foundation Stichting, he has initiated an executive education program in green economics at Oxford. Organized under the supervision of Environment Europe, it has had participants from many countries.

He has been visiting professor at the Universities of Turin, University of Geneva, Paris Dauphine, Sciences Po Caen, National University of Colombia, National University of Kazakh and professor at the University of St. Gallen, University of Edinburgh, University of Buckingham, and is Author of multiple books and articles on sustainability and ecological economics.

In his 20-year career, he has focused on the new interdisciplinary science of green economics, tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time: climate change and renewable energy, macroeconomic sustainability and sustainability assessment, urban sustainability, circular economy. , ecosystems and biodiversity. The main focus of his work is ecological economics theory, macroeconomic assessments of sustainability, sustainable cities, business models and investment, corporate sustainability, and other environmental issues.

Stanislav's great advantage as a motivational speaker stems from the fact that he brings the added value of art and science into my presentations. In 2021, his artwork has been selected among the best environmental works of contemporary art in the world at the Arsenale di Venezia in Venice for the Arte Laguna Award and this dimension makes his explosions unique, emotionally engaging and successful. Stanislav has supervised cutting-edge master's theses at several top universities, including the United Nations University, the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Vienna. The Hirsch index of it is 16 according to Google Scholar and 10 according to Scopus.


Environment Europe is a sustainability think tank, consultancy, research center and non-governmental institution based in Amsterdam and The Hague, The Netherlands and Oxford, UK. Our mission is to promote sustainability around the world by working with international organizations, governments, cities and regions, businesses and non-governmental organizations. We are a brainpower for research on macroeconomic sustainability, green new deal, smart and sustainable cities, renewable energy and climate change, ecosystems, biodiversity, circular economy and sustainable waste management, as well as ESG investing and new sustainable business models.

Environment Europe advises international organizations, governments, regions and companies to assess their sustainability performance based on multiple dimensions, benchmark sustainability performance against peers, empirically evaluate policies, design sustainability strategies, challenge the status quo, advise on the strategic transformation of companies, business models for sustainability, selecting an effective ESG investment approach, assessing the true multidimensional value of ecosystems, and much more.

Environment Europe developed a unique Environment EuropeTM database of smart sustainable cities and regions, which includes 140 global cities from Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Oceania, as well as 1,300 cities and regions from Europe. This research has been presented at the UN World Urban Forum and will help cities and regions understand their position globally, explore their strengths and weaknesses in sustainability, and assist in designing tangible and actionable steps to transform their performance.

At the macro level, Environment Europe has successfully conducted an assessment of the carbon tax in Sweden, the country where this policy tool has been used since the 1990s and is currently the highest in the world, and developed an integrated sustainability assessment report for Turkey. Funded by UNDP and most recently developed a unique multidimensional assessment of ecosystems in France in partnership with the United Nations University. Our work on the selection of renewable energy mixes and the transformation of energy systems is published in a major journal.

Environment Europe invites cities, regions, national governments, companies and international organizations to contact us to collaboratively rethink, redesign and transform their business models, policies, strategies and culture for sustainability. At the same time, Environment Europe runs a successful educational program of Summer and Winter Schools in Green Economy, Green Economy, Sustainable Cities, Ecosystems and Economy and, more recently, ESG investing and new sustainable business models.

Environment Europe maintains an active presence and runs projects around the world and trains participants from 60 countries through its executive education programme: including representatives of international organizations such as UNDP, UNEP, ILO, IUCN, OECD, GGGI, companies such as Shell and Deloitte, NGOs such as WWF, environment ministries and leading universities.


Analysis of the situation

Today's cities are constantly and rapidly transforming. However, if we continue as we are currently doing, it makes its development unfeasible in a sustainable way. On the one hand, the presence of some of these challenges, whether related to climate change, natural disasters, the depletion of natural resources, security, among others, generates constant concern for us. On the other hand, some others, such as the challenges related to security, immigration, pollution, cybersecurity, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence… to name a few, are already surpassing all of us, since these challenges are not they can be faced if it is not from a strategic approach of a global nature and even in some cases in an existential way.

On the contrary, the structures of the current economic, social and political model are far below technological development. The increasingly social dimension of poverty, the need to incorporate broader innovation systems that include other actors into the traditional research model, the fragmentation of knowledge systems, the need to modernize many institutions of all kinds, which All this leads to the need for a change of paradigm and model of society.

1.Do you agree with this narrative? Do you think that the current challenges can only be addressed from a strategic approach of a global nature?

Yes, absolutely. The level of complexity of the challenges we face is constantly growing. We are tackling multiple, increasingly difficult challenges: climatic change, ecosystems deterioration and biodiversity loss, the waste crisis. At the same time, our social systems are facing increased pressure, technological developments related to AI could transform the world we know it.

So in this sense, yes, we need a change of paradigm. A lot of my work is based on a foundation developed by ecological economists such as Herman Daly, Robert Ayres, Joan Martinez Alier, Peter Soderbaum, Dennis Meadows. Over the years, they argued a number of methodological points that still need to find their way into the mainstream economic science. This issues are rather simple, almost obvious: economy as a subsystem of the environmental system (Daly), there are physical limits to economic growth (Meadows), energy plays a huge role in development (Ayres), decisions need to be made based on multiple dimensions (Martinez-Alier), political context and values matter (Soderbaum) and we need to go beyond GDP in assessing progress (Daly). I built on the theories of my predecessors and proposed novel ways to assess progress for countries, cities and companies based on multiple criteria, a very powerful approach fully in line with a vision of sustainability and SDGs that were introduced somewhat later.

Circular Economy / ICT

If there are two recent events in our economic and social development that are causing a real revolution in our society, they are, on the one hand, the digital economy, thanks to advances in the Internet and other technologies. The other is, without a doubt, the "Circular Economy", as a new development model, which identifies a series of processes in our economy.

With increasing intensity, it is necessary to carry out a true transformation in the way in which our social network is interacting with each other, in some of the key issues of economic and social progress. Technological innovation, the growing implementation of ICTs and the commitment to a digital economy are altering on the one hand and transforming on the other the behavior of all economic and social actors, especially companies.

2.What do you think of the Circular Economy, as a new paradigm for the functioning of our economy and society?

– The truth needs to be said somethimes. I clearly see that 'circular economy' is not an original concept, but a proprietary commercial and later political slogan. Why? Because many years before any 'circular economy' ever became so popular, Prof. Robert Ayres of INSEAD worked on industrial metabolism and industrial ecology and with a much more focused and detailed perspective. One of the early books here is 'Industrial Metabolism: Restructuring for Sustainable Development' published by Robert U. Ayres and Udo Simonis in 1994 at United Nations University based on a 1989 conference. Equally, Prof. Thomas Graedel of Yale, worked on industrial ecology and published a famous book 'Industrial Ecology' in 1995. Prof. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker published his famous 'Factor Four' report to the club of Rome back in 1998. So, sorry to break the truth, circular economy is not an original concept. Moreover, only 12-13% of the overal material resource consumption in Europe is currently recycled and almost a third is lost as emissions to air. Is anybody talking about resources lost as emissions to air? Not really. The elephant in the room is really the idea of built obsolecense, the concept created by Mr Alfred Sloan, the CEO of General Motors. Indeed, why do we need to use the same car for more than two years, if we can buy a new one? Ironically, without tackling built obsolescence our efforts to recyle waste are almost futile. It is a classic example of a wicked problem. Yes, design for the environment is crucial, yes, the devices should last for 10 years as opposed to 2, yes, they should be modular and easy to disassemble. Comparing the two scenarios where in the first one, built obsolescence still applies and we keep recycling everything again and again using often non-renewable energy to power the process, and the second, where complex godos are designed to serve much longer, and only renewable and zero caron energy is used for recycling, the environmental impacts of the second scenario will be much better.

3.Do you think that the "digital economy" is duly incorporated into our society?

– Well it is in away, but nobody is thinking about the full spectrum of environmental, social and economic implications. In our recent book, 'Sustainable Cities Reimagined', we wrote a chapter called 'How sustainable is Smart and how Smart is sustainable?' Apparently, there are very few studies examining the true environmental implications of our digital economy. We know for example, that bitcoin mining resulted in emissions of GHG compared to those of Switzerland. How much will ChatGPT require on a global scale? On the one hand, AI offers tremendous opportunities to explain and help learning. On the other, it really can destroy many jobs that currently employ millions of people. Norbert Wiener, one of the early thinkers on AI and cybernetics once said that 'It is perfectly clear that [automation] will produce an unemployment situation, in comparison with which…the depression of the [nineteen] thirties will seem a pleasant joke. This depression will ruin many industries—possibly even the industries which have taken advantage of the new potentialities…". It is a serious issue that needs to be researched further and debated. ''

4.Why do you think there are no public social networks?

– Perhaps, because of the initial imperative, the social networks sadly were created to generate profit from advertising and harvest information that was put to spectacular use in the recent political campaigns that resulted in Brexit, for example. The social networks were programmed to be addictive and none of the CEOs allows their children anywhere near social media networks for this reason. I experienced a situation when the ad that we were prepared to place regarding our 'Ecosystems' album explaining what nature does for us and why we should care was banned on Instagram as 'political', our ad for an executive programme on sustainabily we have been running in Oxford for over 10 years was banned on Twitter with a statement 'you are advertising for a cause' and on Facebook one of my nature images came grey with a big inscription going across 'contains images of nature'. Containing images of nature, definitely for a cause and mildly political is a really good characterisation of the work we have been doing for decaes. Nature doesn't have a voice or representation and we need to inform, assess the effectiveness of policies based on evidence, change the paradigm, educate, transform business existing models.

Climate Change

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and represents one more threat that cities, societies and the environment have to bear. From extreme weather events, which threaten food production, to rising sea levels, which increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the effects of climate change are global and unprecedented in scale. We are seeing these days as temperatures are reaching records in many parts of the world. If drastic measures are not taken without further delay, it will be much more difficult and costly for cities to adapt in the near future.

5.Do you think that Institutional Governance is going to dare to face this challenge, or, on the contrary, do you think that we will have to wait for some unfortunate misfortune to occur at a global level to act then?

– Our research shows that tackling climate change is a matter of adressing a whole range of economic, policy, technological and lifestyle choices. What helps is a coherent policy mix with all these issues taken into account: renewable energy alone, carbon taxes alone or using more public transport, walking and cycling alone are not sufficient. It has to be done in unison and many parts of the world. Pandemic gave us an example where, due to travel restrictions, CO2 emissions have started to go down in 2020. Interestingly, they increased further than the pre-pandemic level later on, as indicated by IMF. The global COPs on climate change are a useful international process, however are mostly focued on a 'good text' as if the good text of a communique itself can actually drive businesses to reconsider their business models, governments to stimulate radical innovation, consumers rethink their lifestyle choices. We need actions on multiple fronts and businesses must play a huge role. The global market of ESG investment is assessed by Bloomberg to reach $53 trillion by 2025 and yet, only 1% of companies can explain how they depend on nature. This is exactly why we are organising the executive Oxford Summer School in Ecological Economics 2023 focused on Business Transformation, ESG, Sustainable and Impact Investment and New Sustaiable Business Models.


The great challenge of our time is to create sustainable and inclusive human communities that respect ecosystems and nature in a balance that has been part of our planet's history over millions of years of evolution.

6.What do you think we should do to better set goals, bearing in mind that technology goes one way, and economic, social and political structures go another way?

– A very welcome move is the recent adoption of the Nature Restoration Law by the European Parliament: by 336 against 300 votes. We will need to adopt new and clear rules regarding the ethics and environmental implications of AI or digital currencies. I would like to see more technological innovations happening on how we could generate biodegradable materials for packaging or zero-carbon transportation, disassembly and reuse of valuable minerals in urban waste mining rather than energy hungry AI that will replace millions of jobs and make many professions obsolete. A short answer to this question is 'systems thinking'.


Education is perhaps one of the greatest challenges we face, since the achievement of the rest of the objectives that our society currently has depends on it to a large extent. How to rigorously approach an adequate education is, therefore, key to this.

7.Why do you think it is so difficult to incorporate some detected competencies into educational systems, such as creativity, systemic thinking, transdisciplinary communication, as well as skills related to change management?

– On the one hand our education system is deeply fragmented. It clearly values unique expertise in a tiny subject as opposed to the systemic thinking and interdisciplinary collaboration. There are of course positive examples too. On the other hand, many business leaders are not prepared to embrace sustainability, they think about it as cost, and exemplify linear thinking. The truth is that there will not be any value added or any GDP at all if we destroy the capacity of the planet to generate oxygen, process CO2 emissions, purify water, and provide the resilience on this planet through diversity of ecosystems and multiple feedback loops. We really need to inspire business leaders to join us on an immersive journey of deep thinking and transformative learning. Our executive programme in Oxford is a good example.

You have been invited in Europe, Latin America and Central Asia. At the same time, acted as a consultant to international organizations: UNEP, UNDP, IUCN, OECD and companies.

8.What is the most important contribution you have made to education for the new generations of scholars around the world?

– Environment Europe executive education programme has been running for over 10 years now. We have trained executives from 60 different countries on critical issues of green economy, sustainable cities, ecosystems and business sustainability and ESG investment. Two of our graduates managed to raise $50mln each on a sustainable investment fund and sustainable chocolate production in Africa. At the same time I taught my unique and I would say impactful course as a Visiting Professor and Visiting Lecturer at the Universities of Torino, Sciences Po, National University of Colombia, Kazakh National University, University of Versailles, University of Geneva, University of Edinburgh, University of St Gallen and Oxford University. I have recently joined the prestigious London Speakers bureau, A-Speaker Bureau and Washington Speakers bureau that has George W. Bush, Ben Bernanke, Condoleezza Rice, Teresa May, Gordon Brown and David Cameron on their books. Sincerly hoping to be able an even greater impact in the future.

Environment Foundation Europe / Executive Educational Program

You are the founder of Environmet Europe, a sustainability think tank, consultancy, research center and non-governmental institution based in Amsterdam and The Hague (Netherlands) and Oxford (UK).

9.Can you tell us what the mission of this Institute is?

– Environment Europe has been set up to promote sustainability worldwide. We have been doing this through our executive education programme, research and consultancy programme and cultural programme. You are most welcome to explore our website to learn about the research projects that we have done. You are also welcome to support our work by commissioning a study, volunteering or making a donation via our website.

You have started an executive education program in ecological economics at Oxford with the aim of delivering interdisciplinary and international postgraduate training in the most exciting sustainability fields: green economics and sustainable development. For this, three different international executive programs on green economy, sustainable cities and ecosystems have been developed and more than 18 international sessions have been held that attracted participants from 60 countries.

As a senior researcher at the Institute you have worked in multiple areas of sustainable development. The question is:

10.What is the key focus or orientation of this training in green economics?

– The programme this year is absolutely unique. It is designed to address sustainability transformation that is so much needed in the world of business and investment. We have invited the absolutely most leading experts in the world to teach at our programme and expect to create a supportive atmosphere where executives can discuss the pressuing issues, network, exchange knowlegde, brainstorm, innovate and, ultimately, transform their businesses. The programme website gives a very detailed picture of who is teaching and which issues are covered. I will just say that ESG, sustainable and impact investment will be playing a key role and the issues will be discussed through the prism of ecological economics, the paradigm virtually unknown outside academia and policy circles.


Innovation systems have to be based on concepts, but also on processes and tools, since they depend on many actors: researchers, scientists, technicians, businessmen, financiers, development agencies, politicians, users, citizens. All these actors operate in different contexts and levels and, in general, do not share the same interests and ambitions.

Innovation systems must be capable of linking citizens, with an environment that is being built (Smart Cities), of existing public bodies, as well as the collaboration of all of them with private initiatives, which are companies. In order for it to develop successfully, this innovation system must be part of a medium- and long-term development strategy that is linked to the problems, challenges, and objectives of this development process.

11.How do you think these innovation systems could be improved in the development process?

– Brilliant question. We need to adopt a long-term systems perspective, examine the interactions and feedback loops between economic sectors, regulation and response, investment and consumer lifestyle choices, adopt a multi-stakeholder participatory model of decision making based on multiple criteria. In other words, create a framework or a set of rules that will deliver the quality process of democratic deliberation. It is crucial to be clear and consistent. A study conducted at the University of Economics in Vienna some time ago showed that only a few European countries had a perfect consistency between the number of declared policy priorities and indicators used to measure success on achieving these goals.

In your career of more than 20 years, you has focused on the new interdisciplinary science of ecological economics, tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time: climate change and renewable energy, macroeconomic sustainability and sustainability assessment, urban sustainability, circular economy, ecosystems and biodiversity.

12.Could you tell us what your contribution of knowledge has been to these areas of development?

– Among the many research projects and resulting papers I should probably flag our most recent study on Multidimensional Mapping of Ecosystems in France, where based on nearly 30 layers of detailed GIS information with a spectacular 1×1 km resolution covering the whole of France we made first major steps in offering a truly multidimensional assessment framework for ecosystems that doesn't reduce the complexity to a uni-dimensional monetary figure. We are looking for philanthropic support to take this work further.

Our work on evidence-based policy assessment has been instrumental and has been presented at the British Pavilion at UNFCCC. We were able to analyse over time, how various technological changes, e.g. hydropower or policy instruments, e.g. carbon taxes, have been instrumental in driving down Swedish CO2 emissions.

Our most recent study on smart and sustainable cities and regions in Europe building on the work done in our book 'Sustainable Cities Reimagined' has been presented at the United Nations UN World Urban Forum and discussed with experts from OECD, IUCN, INET, ISOCARP, BNP Paribas and other organisations. This work examines the progress made by cities and regions on sustainability using a comprehensive set of indicators and establishes who is leading and who is following on sustainability globally and why. This is invaluable for other cities to learn from this experience, and we are inviting cities from around the world to get in touch with us and collaborate.


The great challenges that we face on many occasions do not have a direct and simple solution. There are many interests at stake and not all the economic and social agents, and the institutional governance itself, have the same interest in solving the problems that we currently have. The same policy developed by the different levels of government in many cases becomes a brake that makes it difficult to achieve the objectives.

13.Do you think that the current institutional and spatial forms of multi-level governments in many European and world countries are appropriate to effectively address the large and complex challenges we face?

– I think you are absolutely correct. The lack of proportional representation in the UK for example makes the chances of the Green Party to play a stronger role in shaping the debate in Parliament virtually non-existent. The example of Caroline Lucas MP, who has held the only! Green Party seat in UK Parliament will probably raise a few eyebrows in other parts of the world, where Greens are in the majority or even simply proportionally represented.

14.Do you think it is necessary to experiment with new forms of Institutional Governance, in order to find a balance between it and constantly evolving technology, which at the same time gains the trust of citizens?

– There is always a scope for creativity. At the same time, it is important to remember the values of tradition and continuity. The level of trust in the Government institutions in Sweden or Norway is perhaps one of the highest in the world. This didn't emerge overnight, but is a result of many centuries of stable and transparent governance. An interesting example in this regard is Finland and its widely popular digital governance programme. Estonia's e-residency is another curious example that eases the pathway for opening a new business and contributing to the life of the society.


In the process of evaluating public policies related to the process of economic planning and employment, we find that it is normal for projects, programs and actions to be evaluated, but in almost no case are the policies that make these programs possible. Indeed, many of the challenges we have are not being effective in achieving the objectives and goals. An example of this is the reduction of CO2 emissions. Faced with this lack of evaluation of policies in this direction.

15.What do you think should be done to solve this widespread practice in many countries around the world?

– In many cases, it is very hard for politicians to stomack the truth. Our study on the carbon taxes in Sweden showed that although Sweden had the highest carbon tax in the world, the overal impact of this policy measure on reducing CO2 emissions was in the range of 1-2% of overall CO2 emissions. Does it mean that carbon tax works, yes, it does. Does it mean that carbon tax could be the only solution to the climate crisis – certainly not. Does it mean that carbon taxes could safely transferred from law abiding and government trusting Sweden to France for instance, where the poulation rebelled at a mild suggestion that some fuel might get taxed for climate reasons, possibly not so easily. Cultural factors are certainly at play here.

Another obvious example is carbon trading and EU ETC. There is hardly any empirical evidence that it resulted in any reduction in CO2 emissions whatsoever. And yet, everyone is simply shying away from admittings this obvious fact. Did landfill taxes stimulate recycling? Well, only in some places, not in others. The list goes on and on.

16.Do you consider that there is a need for indicators that identify and help to better understand the impact of public policies in favor of finding innovative and creative solutions to current challenges?

– Absolutely, more than that. We need a coherent set of indicators that allows to compare performance of countries over time on sustainability that truly goes beyond GDP. We pioneered this approach and invite governments, cities and companies to partners with us. Together, we can pave the way for a transformative approach to governance for sustainability.

Social innovation

Giving the development process a growing dimension, both social and ethical, is becoming a real need that places people at the center of public policies, where the affected people become part of the solution to the problems. Thus, in this way, ethics should govern our actions to promote appropriate, legitimate, fair and supportive behavior in the transformation of sustainable development.

17.What role do you think ethics should play in the development process?

– Central. The issue is what type of ethics. There is a growing interest in environmental ethics for example, the work by late Polly Higgins on ecoside is a case that comes to mind. We come back to a fundamental concept of ecological economics expressed in the diagram that was published in my book 'Ecological Economics' in 2012. Nature is a fundamental foundation for the operation of the economy and the society. Think of Herman Daily and this diagram.


Collective intelligence

When it comes to finding solutions to problems related to current challenges, the sum of knowledge from the knowledge triangle and Institutional Governance is missing. For many of the challenges it is essential to unite the entire community of a global nature through the implementation of a systemic approach, where the parts and the whole, innovation and collaboration are fundamental. Collective intelligence is a form of intelligence that arises from the collaboration of various individuals or communities to address a common problem.

18.Do you trust that collective intelligence can contribute effectively to the development process?

– Well, it does already. We have incredible opportunities at our fingertips, we can communicate with people on the other side of the globe via ZOOM or email, acquire knowledge from articles that went through peer-review, we have a whole plethora of international processes carried out under the banner of the UN: climate change, biodiversity, there is new work on the plastics convention and so on. The only issue is, it has to be fair: there is absolutely no way that oil companies could continue to make incredible profits and enjoy subsidies, water companies could deposit raw sewage into rivers and seas and pocket huge bonuses. The cost of travel optoins should be proportionate to the harmful emissions the journeys create and flights should not cost less than rail for comparable distances.

Transit of thought

The change towards Sustainable Development constitutes an important transition of thought, whose main objective is for this transition to reach the hearts of people, organizations and institutions, and above all it must reach the core of Institutional Governance policies. This inevitably goes through the implementation of new behaviors, be they political, economic and citizenship (Social Innovation) in favor of this sustainable and inclusive development.

19.How do you think you can turn towards a new model of social, economic and political development?

– First step is to register for our executive Summer School programme, embrace the principles of sustainability, innovate, transform buisiness models, be creative, creative sector is one of the best drivers of sustainability around the world.

Finally, I would like to ask you about your publications. You are the author and editor of several best-selling volumes related to sustainable development, which I would like to congratulate you on.

20.Could you list some of these most important books and publications?

Shmelev S.E. (ed) (2019) Sustainable Cities Reimagined: Multidimensional Assessment and Smart Solutions, Routledge, 312pp.
This book breaks new ground in urban sustainability by assessing urban sustainability performance through multiple indicators and innovative multi-criteria tools. It applies a multi-criteria approach using a panel of environmental, economic, social and smart indicators to assess progress and policies in global cities including London, New York, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Los Angeles, São Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Moscow, Beijing, Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo and many others.

Additional attention is given to the issues of climate change, poverty and smart dimensions, with renewable energy and the drivers of urban CO2 emissions playing the central role. This book is abundant with case studies considering strategies, policies and performance of the leading cities, including San Francisco, Stockholm and Seoul in greater depth, exploring how their successes can be used by other cities. The book identifies key linkages between different smart and sustainability dimensions as well as investment opportunities in cities with sustainability potential. This book will be of great interest to policy makers, city and regional authorities as well as scholars and students of urban planning and sustainable development aiming to facilitate a sustainability transition in our cities around the world.

Shmelev S.E. (2018) Ecosystems: Complexity, diversity and nature's contribution to humanity, Environment Europe Press.
This album addresses one of the most important issues of our time: the biodiversity crisis and presents a diversity of ecosystem services illustrating their importance through the lenses of art and science. The album has received letters of support from HH Pope Francis, HRH Prince Charles, President Macron, Prime Minister Rutte, Government of India and Sir David Attenborough as well as Nobel Prize winning climate change economists, former presidents of the International Society for Ecological Economics, IUCN, DG Environment at the European Commission, co-president of the Club of Rome, professors from Colombia, Sri Lanka, Spain, UK, Brazil, USA. The book has been launched at the 50th Anniversary conference of the Club of Rome and shown at a large exhibition held at Oxford University followed by the presentation at the UNFCCC COP24 Conference on Climate Change.

Shmelev S.E. (ed) (2017) The Green Economy Reader: Lectures in Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development, Springer, 463 pp.
State of the art in sustainability thinking, inspired by interdisciplinary ideas of ecological economics. This book is focusing on sustainability pathways, new economic theory, democracy and institutions, multidimensional assessment of sustainability, macroeconomic modelling and policies, climate change and renewable energy, resource flows and circular economy, regenerative cities, environmental conflicts and values. It will be helpful for MSc and PhD students in Economics, Management, Environmental Change, Ecological Economics, Development Economics, Sustainability and practitioners in business, international and nongovernmental organizations. Rich, diverse and thought provoking collection of top level contributions, it will help to facilitate the transition towards sustainability and educational reform.

"A fabulous composition of papers by the authors who really count!". Ernst von Weizsäcker, The Club of Rome

"The authors present a refreshing perspective on the possibilities of human progress in harmony with nature, without the need for economic growth to secure long term human welfare and wise use of nature's services. Extremely relevant". Peter May, Past President, International Society for Ecological Economics and Professor, UFRRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

"The book goes well beyond the Green Economy, offering arguments and blueprints for a complete makeover of the current economic system. With multi- and interdisciplinary contributions ranging from moderately to fundamentally critical of current economics, it raises fundamental questions of value and power, draws on a wide range of theories, opens the eyes for the historical processes that brought about the current crises and demonstrates the value of ecological, but also classical economic thinking to their solution. If better politics require better theories, this is a must read for academics and decision makers in the time of climate crisis". Joachim Spangenberg, Sustainable Europe Research Institute, SERI Germany e.V.

Shmelev S.E. (2012) Ecological Economics: Sustainability in Practice, Springer, 248 pp.
In a concise and crisp manner, this book presents the state of the art in ecological economics, an interdisciplinary field focused on the analysis of sustainability of global, national and regional economic systems. An elegant guide, the book offers a range of cutting edge methods used in sustainability research including multicriteria decision aid (MCDA), input-output analysis, and life cycle analysis.

This book is packed with references for students with some background in economics, environmental science or mathematics who aim to develop the analytical skills required for redirecting our development path towards sustainability in government, international organisations, academia, non-profit sector and business. As such, the book is primarily aimed at MSc and first year PhD students reading for degrees in Environmental Change and Management, Ecological Economics, Environmental Management, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and those taking part in similar programmes.

The book strives to develop the idea that a significant adjustment of the current economic theories s required, an idea supported by the emerged world economic crisis, the climatic and biodiversity crisis the world is currently facing and the enormously slow progress that has been made in the field of reorientation of the global economy towards sustainability. The practical case studies provided focus on the most pressing topics of today, and the book adopts a positive approach for problem solving and strategic development, which is aimed at educating the future decision makers and business leaders.

Shmelev S. E., Shmeleva I. A. (eds) (2012) Sustainability Analysis: An
Interdisciplinary Approach, Palgrave UK, 335 pp.

Sustainability Analysis provides a detailed exploration of current environmental thinking from a variety of perspectives, including institutional and psychological angles. Primarily focusing on macroeconomic policies and green national accounting, this book provides a strong basis for further study in sustainable development. It brings together contributions from the leading sustainability thinkers: Arild Vatn, Peter Söderbaum, Beat Bürgenmeier, David Elliott, Anthony Friend and others and is a follow-up volume based on a large international conference 'Globalisation, New Economy and the Environment: Business and Society Challenges for Sustainable Development' organized by the editors in 2005.

Articles in peer-reviewed journals:

  1. Shmelev, S. E., Agbleze, L. and Spangenberg, J.H. (2023). "Multidimensional Ecosystem
    Mapping: Towards a More Comprehensive Spatial Assessment of Nature's Contributions to People
    in France" Sustainability 15, no. 9: 7557.
  2. Shmelev, S.E.; Ayres, R.U. (2021) On the Creation and Destruction of National Wealth:
    Are Financial Collapses Endogenous? Sustainability 2021, 13, 7352.
  3. Shmelev, S.E., Brook, H.R. (2021) Macro Sustainability Across Countries: Key Sector
    Environmentally-Extended Input-Output Analysis, Sustainability 2021, 13,
  4. Shmelev, S.E.; Salnikov, V.; Turulina, G.; Polyakova, S.; Tazhibayeva, T.; Schnitzler, T.;
    Shmeleva, I.A. (2021) Climate Change and Food Security: The Impact of Some Key Variables on
    Wheat Yield in Kazakhstan. Sustainability 2021, 13, 8583.
  5. Shmelev. S.E., Shmeleva I.A. (2019) Multidimensional sustainability benchmarking for
    smart megacities, Cities, 2019, Vol. 92, pp. 134-163
  6. Shmelev S. E., Shmeleva I.A. (2018) Global urban sustainability assessment: A
    multidimensional approach, Sustainable Development, 2018; Volume 26, Issue 6, pp. 904-920;
  7. Shmelev S. E. Speck S. U. (2018) Green Fiscal Reform in Sweden: Econometric
    Assessment of the Carbon and Energy Taxation Scheme, Renewable and Sustainable Energy
    Reviews, Volume 90, July 2018, pp. 969–981;
  8. Shmelev S. E., Sagiyeva R. K., Kadyrkhanova Z. M., Chzhan Y. Y., Shmeleva I. A. (2018),
    Comparative Sustainability Analysis of Two Asian Cities: A Multidimensional Assessment of
    Taipei and Almaty, Journal of Asian Finance, Economics and Business, 5(3): 143-155;
  9. Weiss, J., Pengue W., May, P., Shmelev S., Dajan Z. (2017) UN Environmental Policy:
    Non-State Actors, Trends, and the Regulatory Role of the State, Journal of Political Ecology
    09/2017, 24: 1013-1037.
  10. Shmelev S. E., van den Bergh J.C.J.M. (2016) Optimal Diversity of Renewable Energy
    Alternatives under Multiple Criteria: An Application to the UK, Renewable & Sustainable Energy
    Reviews , Volume 60, July 2016, pp. 679–691;
  11. Shmelev S.E., Rodrigues-Labajos B., (2009) Dynamic multidimensional assessment of
    sustainability at the macro level: The case of Austria, Ecological Economics, Vol. 68, Issue 10, pp.
  12. Shmelev S.E., Shmeleva I.A. (2009) Sustainable Cities: Problems of Integrated
    Interdisciplinary Research, International Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 12, n. 1, pp.
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