About The Club of Rome

The Club of Rome was created to address the multiple crises facing humanity and the planet. Drawing on the unique, collective know-how of our 100 members – notable scientists, economists, business leaders and former politicians – we seek to define comprehensive solutions to the complex, interconnected challenges of our world.

Decades of exponential consumption and population growth have come to imperil the earth’s climate and life-supporting systems, while reinforcing social and economic inequalities and impoverishing billions globally.

As a network of thought leaders from a rich diversity of expertise, our members are committed to facilitating the difficult conversations and the bold actions required to confront the planetary emergency facing humanity and our common home. Our goal is to actively advocate for paradigm and systems shifts which will enable society to emerge from our current crises, by promoting a new way of being human, within a more resilient biosphere.

Drawing on thorough scientific analysis, the Club of Rome makes holistic proposals to address these immense, interconnected problems. It does so through research, concrete policy proposals and the convening of high-level meetings, debates, conferences, lectures and other events.

It also publishes a limited number of peer-reviewed “Reports to the Club of Rome”. Its seminal, best-selling 1972 report, The Limits to Growth, alerted the world to the consequences of the interactions between human systems and the health of our planet. Since then, more than 45 Reports have reinforced and expanded that intellectual foundation.

Recently, the Club has prioritised five key areas of impact: Climate-Planetary Emergency, Reclaiming and Reframing Economics; Rethinking Finance; Emerging New Civilization(s); Youth Leadership.

The efforts of our members are supported by the International Secretariat in Winterthur (Switzerland) a satellite office in Brussels (Belgium) and National Associations in more than 30 countries.

 

History

Most influential organizations begin with the meeting of a few like minds. In 1965, Aurelio Peccei, an Italian industrialist, made a speech that proved inspirational to Alexander King, the Scottish Head of Science at the OECD. The two found that they shared a profound concern for the long-term future of humanity and the planet, what they termed the modern ‘predicament of mankind’.

Three years later, King and Peccei convened a meeting of European scientists in Rome. Although this first attempt failed to achieve unity, a core group of like-minded thinkers emerged. Their goal: to advance three core ideas that still define the Club of Rome today: a global and a long-term perspective, and the concept of “problematique”, a cluster of intertwined global problems, be they economic, environmental, political or social.

At the group’s first major gathering in 1970, Jay Forrester, a systems professor at MIT, offered to use computer models he had developed to study  the complex problems which concerned the group more rigorously. An international team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began a study of the implications of unbridled exponential growth. They examined the five basic factors that determine and, in their interactions, ultimately limit growth on this planet – population, agricultural production, non-renewable resource depletion, industrial output and pollution.

In 1972, the Club’s first major Report, The Limits to Growth was published. It sold millions of copies worldwide, creating media controversy and also impetus for the global sustainability movement. This call for objective, scientific assessment of the impact of humanity’s behavior and use of resources, still defines the Club of Rome today. While Limits had many messages, it fundamentally confronted the unchallenged paradigm of continuous material growth and the pursuit of endless economic expansion. Fifty years later, there is no doubt that the ecological footprint of humanity substantially exceeds its natural limits every year. The concerns of the Club of Rome have not lost their relevance.

 

Today, the Club continues to be at the forefront of challenging and controversial global issues. Propelled by a new mission and organisational structure, which today includes 35 National Associations, the Club of Rome has now published over 45 Reports. They continue to challenge established paradigms and advocate for policies that can practically address the many emergencies facing society and the planet today. The Club remains true to its historical intent, while it attempts to lay the foundations for long-term systemic shifts in global social, environmental and economic systems. In short, it is an established, respected, international think-tank positioned to face the core challenges of the 21st Century.

The organization includes around 100 active full members with a full-time secretariat in Winterthur, Switzerland with a satellite office in Brussels, Belgium.

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