Robert Costanza, Ecology economist

Robert Costanza, Ecology economist

Tue, 31/05/2011


Doctor Honoris Causa of ENS de Lyon - May 31, 2011


Robert Costanza is American. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1950. In 1979, he obtained his PhD in systems ecology with a minor in economics at the University of Florida. He also holds a Master's degree in "architecture & urban and regional planning" from the same university.

Robert Costanza is currently Director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University where he teaches economics. From 2002 to 2010, he led the Gund Institute of Ecological Economics. He is internationally recognized for his interdisciplinary work, combining ecology and economy and his commitment to sustainable development.

Robert Costanza participated in the first economic ecology symposium in 1982 in Sweden. In 1989, the international society for ecological economics was established and Robert Costanza was its first President. He then became Editor-in-Chief of the journal Ecological Economics.

Robert Costanza is among the first scientists to have an eco-systemic approach in economics, aiming at integrating the limited supply of natural resources into economic models. It can be said that he is one of the fathers of the "polluter pays" principle. His research has exerted considerable influence on the issue of "natural capital". He has focused on the role of universities in this matter by developing a sustainable development policy: "we are at a critical point in the Earth’s history, a time when humanity must face significant challenges and seize the opportunities to move towards a sustainable and desirable future.

Robert Costanza is a very prolific and constantly quoted author, as well as being a member of many scholarly societies all over the world. The University of Stockholm, a cornerstone of sustainable development, awarded him the title of Doctor Honoris causa in 2000. The ENS de Lyon is proud to honor his achievements today.

Awards and distinctions

1982, Kellogg National Fellow Pew Scholar

In 1992, he received the Society for Conservation Biology Distinguished Achievement Award

In 1993 he was selected to be a Pew scholar in environmental conservation

In 1998, he received the Kenneth Boulding Memorial Award for an outstanding contribution to ecological economics

Senior fellow of the National Council of science and the environment, Washington, DC

Distinguished fellow of the New Zealand Center for ecological economics, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

In 2000, he was made Doctor Honoris causa in natural sciences, University of Stockholm


Robert Costanza's bookAn introduction to Ecological Economics

Costanza, R., J. C. Cumberland, H. E. Daly, R. Goodland, R. Norgaard, I Kubiszewski, and C. Franco.

Taylor and Francis, 2014