Johan Rockström, 2017 Hillary Laureate (Sweden)

Johan Rockström, director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and a professor of environmental science at Stockholm University.

Johan Rockström, director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and a professor of environmental science at Stockholm University.


The  Hillary Institute has been delighted to work with the global Hillary Laureate for 2017. Sweden’s Johan Rockström was selected from a global short-list of remarkable candidates demonstrating extraordinary leadership in mid-career. His time with us both in Stockholm and New Zealand has been enormously generous and productive. For a compilation of videos from Johan, see here and below.


Abundance within Planetary Boundaries

A short summary of Johan's work that features in his book Big World Small Planet, at New Frontiers summit in NZ

Big World Small Planet: The Remix

A spoken word poetry tribute to Johan's book by poet Alina Siegfried (AKA Ali Jacs), also filmed at New Frontiers.

Welcome to the Anthropocene

A summary of videos, quotes and short interview snippets with Johan Rockström at New Frontiers.


Mr Rockström is the 8th Hillary Laureate named since 2009, joining a distinguished group including the UK’s Jeremy Leggett and Tim Jackson, China’s Peggy Liu, Kiribati former President Anote Tong, Amazon Watch Founder Atossa Soltani and Americans Michael Brune and Aimee Christensen. All are tied by a clear commitment to existential issues, particularly Climate Change and economic transition.


“It is a great honour to join this extremely dedicated, diverse and inspiring group of Laureates, and a great recognition of our science at the Stockholm Resilience Centre on global leadership for planetary stewardship,” says Rockström.


Rockström is the director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and a professor of environmental science at Stockholm University. An internationally recognised scientist for his work on global sustainability issues he helped lead the internationally renowned team of scientists that presented the planetary boundaries framework, first published in 2009, with an update in 2015. The nine planetary boundaries presented in the framework are argued to be fundamental in maintaining a “safe operating space for humanity.” This framework has been embraced as an approach to sustainable development.

Infographic from the  planetary boundaries  framework.

Infographic from the planetary boundaries framework.


In addition to his research helping to guide policy, Rockström acts as an advisor to several governments and business networks including the UN General Assembly, the World Economic Forum, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences. He also acts as chair of the advisory board for the EAT Foundation, a network that integrates knowledge on food, health, and sustainability to work towards providing environmental limits for healthy diets of the growing global population.

He has published over 100 research articles, including articles in Science and Nature, as well as 20 book chapters. He has also published four books: The Human Quest (2012) and Big World Small Planet (2015) with National Geographic photographer, Mattias Klum; co-authored Water Resilience for Human Prosperity (2014); and Bankrupting Nature (2012) co-authored with Swedish writer and politician, Anders Wijkman. He is the recipient of many honours, most recently including the French distinction Knight of the Legion of Honour (2016), and in 2015 the International Cosmos Prize and the Zoological Society of London Award for Conservation Innovation.


Says Hillary Institute Founding Director Mark Prain, “In the name of Sir Edmund’s limitless spirit we are honoured to have Johan’s eloquent, compelling voice join the Institute’s small but powerful community of mid-career leaders making significant change happen. The challenges we face as a global community require exceptional adults in the room.” Adds Chairman Anake Goodall, “Johan’s leadership in environmental science and the framing of our current global challenge of fitting larger human populations and the consequent resource demands on a constrained planet is both timely and fundamentally important. It is a privilege to welcome Johan to the Hillary Laureate family.”