Limits to Growth

What is the balance of the pursuit of economic growth and its effects on environmental and social factors?

Gaya Herrington

Gaya Herrington

Director Advisory, Internal Audit & Entrprse Risk, KPMG US

+1 201-571-3006

With ESG top of mind for companies and stakeholders around the world these days, KPMG Director Gaya Herrington published research in the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology comparing the World3 model created in the ‘70’s by MIT scientists with empirical data. What happens if humanity keeps pursuing economic growth without regard for environmental and social costs? In this day and age of data abundance, can we create an optimal scenario or are the impacts of the past few decades too late to change now? Read further to understand the if there is a window of opportunity and what we can do.

Given the unappealing prospect of collapse, I was curious to see which scenarios were aligning most closely with empirical data today. After all, the book that featured this world model was a bestseller in the 70s, and by now we’d have several decades of empirical data which would make a comparison meaningful. But to my surprise I could not find recent attempts for this. So I decided to do it myself.
—Gaya Herrington, Director Advisory, Internal Audit & Entrprse Risk