The planetary wellbeing initiative: Pursuing the sustainable development goals in higher education

Josep M. Antó, José Luis Martí, Jaume Casals, Paul Bou-Habib, Paula Casal, Marc Fleurbaey, Howard Frumkin, Manel Jiménez-Morales, Jacint Jordana, Carla Lancelotti, Humberto Llavador, Lela Mélon, Ricard Solé, Francesc Subirada, Andrew Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


We live in a time of pressing planetary challenges, many of which threaten catastrophic change to the natural environment and require massive and novel coordinated scientific and societal efforts on an unprecedented scale. Universities and other academic institutions have the opportunity and responsibility to assume a leading role in an era when the destiny of the planet is precisely in the hands of human beings. Drawing on the Planetary Health project promoted by the Rockefeller Foundation and The Lancet, Pompeu Fabra University launched in 2018 the Planetary Wellbeing Initiative, a long-term institutional strategy also animated by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Planetary Wellbeing might be defined as the highest attainable standard of wellbeing for human and non-human beings and their social and natural systems. Developing the potential of these new concepts involves a substantial theoretical and empirical effort in many different fields, all of them interrelated by the crosscutting challenges of global complexity, interdisciplinarity, and urgency. Close collaboration of science, humanities, and culture is more desperately needed now than ever before in the history of humankind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3372
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • Climate change
  • Complexity
  • Global health
  • Higher education
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Planetary challenges
  • Planetary wellbeing
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • University transformation
  • Urgency


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