The mission of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont is to "shift the world's economies away from their present emphasis on infinite economic growth and toward a focus on sustainable human wellbeing." It does so by blurring traditional academic boundaries and bringing together experts, teachers, students, and stakeholders from all disciplines in order to pioneer vital new developmental tools and ideas. The Institute supports teaching, research, design, and the practical application of economic solutions that will generate natural capital even as they create human profit.
Ongoing research is focused on several broad areas of fundamental concern. These include the application of science in economic decision-making; the intrinsic value of ecosystems and the services they provide; integrated community participation in economic design and development; and the development of accurate measurements of system health and sustainability.
Current projects include the valuation of natural services in various ecosystems; analyses of human-settled watersheds; field-study atelier workshops in tropical ecosystems; the development of web-accessible databases; and creating a digital infrastructure for collaborative modeling.
In addition to these projects, we are currently developing two overarching documents of paramount importance, Envisioning a Sustainable and Desirable America, and the Earth Shareholder Report. Embracing larger perspectives, these ground-breaking efforts translate our vision into concrete maps that nations can follow to an economically secure and environmentally viable future.
The Director of the Institute is Dr. Robert Costanza, Gordon Gund Professor of Ecological Economics, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, The University of Vermont.