Club of Rome


What they say


The Club of Rome is a non-profit organisation, independent of any political, ideological or religious interests. Its essential mission is “to act as a global catalyst for change through the identification and analysis of the crucial problems facing humanity and the communication of such problems to the most important public and private decision makers as well as to the general public.” Its activities should: “adopt a global perspective with awareness of the increasing interdependence of nations. They should, through holistic thinking, achieve a deeper understanding of the complexity of contemporary problems and adopt a trans-disciplinary and long-term perspective focusing on the choices and policies determining the destiny of future generations.”

The activities of the Club are guided by the General Assembly of its members which meets once a year. The General Assembly elects the members of a small Executive Committee which supervises the activities of the Club. At present the Club has two Co-Presidents, Dr. Ashok Khosla of India and Dr. Eberhard von Koerber of Germany, and two Vice-Presidents, Professor Heitor Gurgulino de Souza of Brazil and Dr. Anders Wijkman of Sweden. The work of the International Club is supported by a small International Centre in Winterthur, Canton Zurich, Switzerland under the leadership of Ian Johnson of the United Kingdom.

The Club of Rome was founded in 1968 as an informal association of independent leading personalities from politics, business and science, men and women who are long-term thinkers interested in contributing in a systemic interdisciplinary and holistic manner to a better world. The Club of Rome members share a common concern for the future of humanity and the planet.

The aims of the Club of Rome are: to identify the most crucial problems which will determine the future of humanity through integrated and forward-looking analysis; to evaluate alternative scenarios for the future and to assess risks, choices and opportunities; to develop and propose practical solutions to the challenges identified; to communicate the new insights and knowledge derived from this analysis to decision-makers in the public and private sectors and also to the general public and to stimulate public debate and effective action to improve the prospects for the future.

The Club of Rome, in its early years, focused on the nature of the global problems, the “problematique”, on the “limits to growth” and on new pathways for world development. The Club of Rome is focusing in its new programme on the root causes of the systemic crisis by defining and communicating the need for, the vision and the elements of a new economy, which produces real wealth and wellbeing; which does not degrade our natural resources and provides meaningful jobs and sufficient income for all people. The new programme will also address underlying values, beliefs and paradigms.

The Club of Rome, in its early years, focused on the nature of the global problems, the “problematique”, on the “limits to growth” and on new pathways for world development. The Club of Rome is focusing in its new programme on the root causes of the systemic crisis by defining and communicating the need for, the vision and the elements of a new economy, which produces real wealth and wellbeing; which does not degrade our natural resources and provides meaningful jobs and sufficient income for all people. The new programme will also address underlying values, beliefs and paradigms.

In April 1968, a small international group of professionals from the fields of diplomacy, industry, academia and civil society met at a quiet villa in Rome. Invited by Italian industrialist Aurelio Peccei and Scottish scientist Alexander King, they came together to discuss the dilemma of prevailing short-term thinking in international affairs and, in particular, the concerns regarding unlimited resource consumption in an increasingly interdependent world.

Each participant in the meeting agreed to spend the next year raising the awareness of world leaders and major decision-makers on the crucial global issues of the future. They would offer a new and original approach in doing this, focusing on the long-term consequences of growing global interdependence and applying systems-thinking in order to understand why and how it was happening. The Club of Rome was born.

The originality of their approach soon became clear. In 1972 the campaigning of this growing group of like-minded individuals gained a new worldwide reputation with the first report to the Club of Rome: “The Limits to Growth”, commissioned by the Club from a group of systems scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Report explored a number of scenarios and stressed the choices open to society to reconcile sustainable progress within environmental constraints.

The international effects of this publication in the fields of politics, economics and science are best described as a ‘Big Bang’: over night, the Club of Rome had demonstrated the contradiction of unlimited and unrestrained growth in material consumption in a world of clearly finite resources and had brought the issue to the top of the global agenda.

With its focus on long-term vision and provocative scenarios, the report sold more than 12 million copies in some 30 languages worldwide.

Building on this success, the Club of Rome membership grew as it continued to produce reports on the global issues it identified. Particularly, the goal of raising long-term awareness among world leaders and decision-makers regarding the delicate interaction between human economic development and the fragility of the planet was achieved, contributing to the establishment of Ministries of the Environment in numerous countries.

Building on the work of the eighties, the Club of Rome continued its work in the nineties by focusing on major issues such as the Digital Divide between North and South, global governance and cultural diversity. Reports such as The Capacity to Govern and Factor Four: Doubling Wealth – Halving Resource Use and No Limits to Learning were particularly influential during this period in pointing the way towards solutions.

At the beginning of the 21st Century, international problems such as rising global inequality, the consequences of climate change and the overuse of natural resources have proved that the Club of Rome’s fundamental views are broadly correct and have revived interest in its activities: unlimited consumption and growth on a planet with limited resources cannot go on forever and is indeed dangerous.

From the official Club of Rome site 'www.clubofrome.org'