Kela lecture

Heat, greed and human need: defining necessities for sustainable and equitable wellbeing

Time: Wednesday October 25, 2017 at 16.30–18.00
Location: Auditorium, Kela Main Office Building, Helsinki (Nordenskiöldinkatu 12)
Coffee and light vegetarian refreshments served from 16.00 on.

Professor Ian Gough, Visiting Professor at the Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at London School of Economics and Professor Emeritus at the University of Bath

In his Kela lecture, professor Gough introduces the main ideas in his forthcoming book: that universal human needs provide the only conceptual bridge to weigh up climate sustainability and equity, both in the here and now and between present and future generations.

He goes on to consider the role of rich country consumption in global emissions and sketches a way of defining necessities and luxuries. The argument is that consumption needs to be recomposed and compressed between upper and lower emission limits.

Finally he proposes a range of eco-social policies to bring this about. Between green growth and degrowth there is a necessary stage of recomposing consumption in the rich world.

Professor Gough is a widely-known expert on human needs. His current interests concern the challenge climate change poses for social policy and well-being. His forthcoming book, Heat, Greed and Human Need: Climate Change, Capitalism and Sustainable Wellbeing, will be published in October.


  • Opening remarks by Elli Aaltonen, Director General of Kela
  • Cracking the nut of sustainable wellbeing - Introduction by Tuula Helne, Kela research
  • Lecture by Ian Gough
  • General discussion

The lecture and following discussion will be held in English.

Professor Gough will also approach the issues of sustainable development from a different angle in his keynote speech at the annual Social Policy Conference held at the University of Jyväskylä on Thursday October 26.

Previous Kela lectures