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Arnold Tukker

Leiden University, Netherlands
Well-being, resource-efficiency and circularity
01 September 2022 -
30 June 2023

Arnold Tukker is the Professor of Industrial Ecology and from 2013-2022 Scientific director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML, 150 staff) at Leiden University. He retains a small position at the Dutch not for profit research organization TNO. Arnold set up 15 million Euro in EU projects in which the world’s most ambitious and detailed global energy/resource/economic input-output database (EXIOBASE) was built. He leads a EU Marie Curie Innovative Training Network of 15 PhDs researching the circular economy  (Circ€uit). He authored 6 books and 150 refereed papers. He was appointed as a member of the European Academy of Sciences in 2018, and recognised by the Web of Science group as a highly cited researcher since 2019.He has been engaged with work of the UN on the Green Economy Initiative, the Resources Panel, and Sustainable Development Goals and delivered over 100 invited speeches on international conferences.

Research interests

Industrial Ecology, Sustainable business models, Sustainable Consumption, System Innovation and Sustainable transitions.

Well-being, resource-efficiency and circularity

Decoupling of GDP growth and emissions and resource use is hardly taking place. Particularly capital stock formation is highly resource- and carbon intensive, as illustrated by the fast growth of China where over 50% of GDP was spent for capital formation. At the same time well-being is based on a certain level of capital stocks, where it is also clear that good levels of GDP and HDI (Human Development Index) can be achieved with less intensive use of capital.

This research hence poses the following research question: “Which societal structures foster a high level of human development and well-being with minimal resource use and emissions, and what underlying structure of economic capital stocks is most appropriate to achieve such a goal?”

The project aims to answer these questions along the following lines

  1. What factors (individual, societal) are crucial to ensures a high quality of life of people in general? This is obviously a very broad question, that I aim to research in an exploritative way using input from very different fields.
  2. What priority products and services, but also income and work-related time expenditure are required to underpin this quality of life and what environmental footprints are driven by them?
  3. What is the optimal underlying structure of capital stock to provide such products and services?


Key publications

Zhong, X., Hu, M., Deetman, S., Steubing, B., Lin, H.X., Hernandez, G.A., Harpprecht, C., Zhang, C., Tukker, A., Behrens, P. Global greenhouse gas emissions from residential and commercial building materials and mitigation strategies to 2060 (2021) Nature Communications, 12 (1), 6126.

Tukker, A., de Koning, A., Wood, R., Hawkins, T., Lutter, S., Acosta, J., Rueda Cantuche, J.M., Bouwmeester, M., Oosterhaven, J., Drosdowski, T., Kuenen, J. (2013). Exiopol – Development and illustrative analyses of a detailed global MR EE SUT/IOT. Economic Systems Research, 25 (1), pp. 50-70.

Tukker, A. (2004). Eight types of product-service system: Eight ways to sustainability? experiences from Suspronet. Business Strategy and the Environment, 13(4), 246-260.

Contemporary period (1789-…)