mission & impact

We spread systems thinking to inform action and strategies for a more equal and sustainable world


The Schumacher Institute is an educational charity which exists to promote systems understanding and application to further ecological sustainability, social equality and human flourishing.

Image from our partner SCAD and the Tree Circles Project 2020

We work with those who have already decided to take up the sustainability challenge, bringing systems to the wider sustainability movement to help build understanding, capacity and strategy.

We work to develop and support a knowledge and creative community of Fellows and contribute to the knowledge commons on systems and sustainability.



The Institute has been working in systems thinking for 10 years in the UK and internationally. Over this time we have had

student volunteers
publications and reports
course attendees
event participants

We have achieved this through

Participating each year in projects and research programmes in partnership with other organisations, bringing systems expertise

Supporting and showcasing for Fellows and Distinguished Fellows’ work on sustainability and systems including their many publications and research outputs

Providing a supportive and creative community for Fellows and Distinguished Fellows working for sustainability using aspects of systems thinking

Providing inspiration, advice and discussion platforms for their many and diverse initiatives

Continually asking new questions and proposing new conceptual innovations and tools to drive forward the sustainability agenda

Providing speakers, inputs and assistance for many events and programmes including to UN events

Participating in wider networking across a range of diverse organisations working for sustainability and systems thinking

Initiating new ways of working to bring systems thinking to work across government, business and civil society


E.F. Schumacher

The Institute takes inspiration from the work of E.F. Schumacher, an early systems thinker who became influential in the 1970’s with his work Small is Beautiful. Schumacher combined concern for the environmental impact of technologies with a deep concern for human being and development. His other works also considered Good Work and Appropriate Technology asking which technologies showed both minimum environmental impact and maximum human agency, and were best adapted to the real working context, not some idealised ‘maximum efficiency’ of the engineer for example. Along with many of his contemporaries, Schumacher was concerned with changing the economy, writing about Buddhist Economy.


Schumacher’s work inspired many organisations and the Schumacher Circle of organisations still maintains an aligned relationship of interests and concerns. The Schumacher Institute is a part of the Circle along with Practical Action, Go Organic, the Centre for Alternative Technology, Schumacher College and the New Economics Foundation.

Would you like to work with us?

Get in touch to find out how you can get involved with our work