About the GSG

The Global Scenario Group was founded in 1995 as an independent, international and interdisciplinary body to examine world prospects and ways of fostering a more sustainable and equitable future.

Why scenarios? Sustainable development seeks to reconcile development and environmental goals over the long-term: it is concerned with the future. Scenario analysis offers a structured approach for illuminating the vast range of possibilities. A scenario is a story, told in words and numbers, describing the way events might unfold. If constructed with rigor and imagination, scenarios help us to explore where we might be headed, but more, offering guidance on how to act now to direct the flow of events toward a desirable future.

Why a global perspective? Sustainable development must be pursued at many levels regional, national, and global - with each posing unique sets of issues. Globalization takes multiple forms – stresses on the biosphere, impacts of communication technology, expansion of worldwide commerce, financial entanglements, and the rise of new geopolitical tensions. We have entered the planetary phase of civilization. In this turbulent moment of transition, the world system faces an uncertain branch point. Understanding the human condition today and possible future paths requires an integrated global panorama.


GSG research includes analysis of the driving forces, critical uncertainties and stresses on social and environmental systems for each scenario. The Tellus Institute's PoleStar System provides a comprehensive data base and accounting framework for quantifying alternative scenarios, including economic, social, resource and environmental patterns for eleven world regions. The research identifies the policies, values, institutions, technologies, and life-styles required for a sustainable future.

GSG scenarios have been used in numerous global assessments, including UNEP's Global Environmental Outlook series, the US National Academy of Science Board on Sustainable Development, the OECD Environmental Outlook, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

In addition, the GSG has conducted national and regional scenario projects throughout the world in collaboration with local partners. These studies serve as catalysts for discussions on the meaning of sustainability, alternative visions, and policy implications.


The Tellus Institute, along with the Stockholm Environment Institute, convened the influential Global Scenario Group in 1995 as an international and interdisciplinary body to examine alternative futures and the requirements for a transition to sustainability. GSG's work continues on an expanded scale through the Tellus Institute's Great Transition Initiative, a network of several hundred scholars and activists.

Dr. Paul Raskin and Dr. Gilberto Gallopín served as co-coordinators of the Global Scenario Group, and Dr. Raskin directed the GSG's coordinating unit at the Tellus Institute. Major funding was provided by the Nippon Foundation, the Stockholm Environment Institute, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute.



Tariq Banuri

Khaled Mohamed Fahmy

Tibor Farago

Nadezhda Gaponenko

Gilberto Gallopín

Gordon Goodman

Pablo Gutman

Allen Hammond

Roger Kasperson

Bob Kates

Laili Li

Sam Moyo

Madiodio Niasse

H.W.O. Okoth-Ogendo

Atiq Rahman

Paul Raskin

Setijati D. Sastrapradja

Katsuo Seiki

Nicholas Sonntag

Rob Swart

Veerle Vandeweerd