Dr. John R. Ehrenfeld returned to his alma mater, MIT, in 1985 after a long career in the environmental field, and retired in 2000 as the Director of the MIT Program on Technology, Business, and Environment. Following that, he served until 2009 as Executive Director of the International Society for Industrial Ecology, guiding its development from its founding in 2000. His latest book is The Right Way to Flourish: Reconnecting with the Real World, published by Routledge in 2019. He is also the author of Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming our Consumer Culture, and Flourish: A Frank Conversion about Sustainability (with Andrew Hoffman). He served from 2008 to 2012 on the adjunct faculty at the Marlboro College Graduate Center where he taught “Exploring Sustainability” in the MBA for Managing Sustainability program. He is currently a trustee of the Viridis Graduate Institute and also an adjunct faculty. His has taken up writing poetry in his 80’s and had several poems published.
In October 1999, the World Resources Institute honored him with their first lifetime achievement award for his academic accomplishments in the field of business and environment. He received the Founders’ Award for Distinguished Service from the Academy of Management’s Organization and Natural Environment Division in August 2000. He spent part of the 1998-1999 academic year at the Technical University of Lisbon as a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar and was Visiting Professor at the Technical University of Delft during the 2000-1 academic year. He is an editor (Emeritus) of the Journal of Industrial Ecology . He holds a B. S. and Sc. D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and is author or co-author of over 200 papers, books, reports, and other publications.
Selected Papers and Books
• The Right Way to Flourish: Reconnecting with the Real World, Routledge, 2019.
• “Flourishing: designing a brave new world,” She Ji: The Journal of Design,Economics, and Innovation, 5(2), 2019.
• “Sustainability Beyond Growth: Toward an Ethics of Flourishing” in The Routledge Handbook of the History of Sustainability, J. Caradonna, ed. Routledge, 2017.
• Laszlo, C., J. Brown et al., Flourishing Enterprise, Palo Alto, CA: Stanford Business Press, 2015.
• Ehrenfeld, J. R., and A. Hoffman, Flourishing: A Frank Conversation about Sustainability. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford Business Press, 2013.
• “The Roots of Unsustainability” in The Handbook of Design for Sustainability, S. Walker and J. Giard, eds. Bloomfield Publishers, 2013.
• Chertow, M. and J. R. Ehrenfeld, “Organizing Self-organizing Systems,” Journal of Industrial Ecology, 16(1): 13-27, 2012.
• “Beyond the Brave New World: Business for Sustainability” in the Oxford Handbook of Business and the Natural Environment, P. Bansal and A. J. Hoffman, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
• “Reductionism and Its Cultural Fallout.” In The coming transformation: Values to sustain human and natural communities. S. R. Kellert and J. G. Speth, eds. New Haven, Yale School Of Forestry & Environmental Studies, 2009.
• “A Critical View on the Social Science Contribution to Industrial Ecology” in The Social Embeddedness of Industrial Ecology, F. Boons and J. Howard-Grenville, eds. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2009.
• Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming Our Consumer Culture. New Haven: Yale Press, 2008.
• “The Roots of Sustainability”, MIT Sloan Management Review, 46(2): 23-25, 2005.
• “Searching for Sustainability: No Quick Fix”, Reflections, 5(8):1-13, 2004.
• “Industrial ecology: a new field or only a metaphor?”, Journal of Cleaner Production, 12 (8-10): 825-831, 2004.
• “Can Industrial Ecology be the ‘Science of Sustainability’?”, Journal of Industrial Ecology. 8(1):1-3. 2004.
• “Industrial Ecology: Paradigm or Normal Science?” American Behavioral Scientist, 44(2): 229-244, 2000.