The (En)Rich List celebrates a wealth of inspirational individuals. Collectively, the people highlighted throughout this website present a rich tapestry that points to globally prosperous and sustainable futures.

Seven of us from the Post Growth Institute spent months defining and refining this list. We were motivated by the way mainstream media often notes achievement: by celebrating material and monetary wealth. Take, for example, the Forbes Rich List, released each March, which showcases the world’s wealthiest billionaires.

For us, there are additional ways ‘richness’ can play out, be measured, and be celebrated. The people on this list represent wealth that cannot be defined by a dollar value.

Those listed in our ‘Top 100’ and ‘Honourable Mentions’ have a diversity of approaches, positions (both geographical and political), and perspectives (see our latest comments on the limitations of such diversity here). They have opened up new avenues for engagement with important matters by inviting us to question what is, challenging us to imagine what may be and suggesting practical ways for how we might get there.

We hope that this list—and the conversations it provokes—can bolster existing and new efforts to construct global realities grounded in social equity and ecological sustainability.

How we did it

Who would have thought that sourcing, nominating, and voting for a list of 100 people whose work is ‘enriching’ could be such an intriguing exercise?

Getting started

We started with each member of the Post Growth Institute team nominating a list of people who they believe have cultivated (or are cultivating) a wealth of intellectual and social capital for truly sustainable futures. Over 300 nominations were received. A biography, linking to their work, was developed for each nominee. The combined list was then sent to all team members for anonymous voting. Each member of our team gave each nominee a score between one and ten, ten being the highest. Scores of two or below provided a veto; that is, the nominee was removed from the list, unless group discussion changed the mind of the person suggesting the nominee’s omission from the list.

We then tallied up the scores for the final list, only to find it heavily favouring men and individuals from economically wealthy countries like the United States, England, or Australia. As a possible explanation for this bias, the Post Growth Institute team is largely from Australia, North America, and Europe; it was natural to nominate the people whose work we know best. Such significant bias may also have been due to (male) public figures from economically wealthy countries often having access to the resources that make them more able to ‘mainstream’ their work. Whatever the reasons, we wanted the list to reflect more diversity with respect to enriching work for sustainable futures. We decided to have a second round of nominations and voting, giving particular attention to the valuable contributions of women and individuals from a wider range of geographical backgrounds. We acknowledge that there remains significant gender and geographical bias (for more on these issues, see our comments here).

Making decisions

Even after nominations and voting was finalised, difficult decisions had to be made. Generally, we collated biographical information that was already available to the public by gathering material from personal and organizational websites, news sources, and (mainly) from Wikipedia. This was a fascinating but less-than-scientific process. A great deal of discernment had to be exercised along the way as to what to include and what to leave out. Having not personally met the majority of people we highlight on this website, we cannot say with 100 per cent certainty that we’d support everything they have ever thought or done.

Determining by which ‘tags’ we describe the complex, intricately connected contributions of the people on this list was also challenging. Again, we made decisions based upon our knowledge and understandings of both the contributors’ work and the public understandings of the concepts represented by the various tags.

A humble offering

We see this list as an inspiration, not a competition. This is very much our list; it makes no claims of objectivity. Ultimately, we promote this as an imperfect but valuable process. We believe it is important to engage in these public dialogues, especially in the midst of such uncertainties. If this list is recognized as part of an ongoing conversation, rather than a final product, then we believe its overall contribution may be even greater.

Navigating the list

In each individual’s profile you will notice ‘Tags’. These allow you to filter results on the basis of various theoretical and practical areas in which each individual has made, or is making, their richest contributions. You will also see that the list includes a field representing each individual’s ‘Net Hits’. This refers to each person’s popularity on the Internet, as measured by the number of wildcard search results their full name registered on 1st March, 2012. We use this arbitrary measure of ‘success’ to highlight the equally arbitrary nature of other measures, such as dollar figures.

On each individual’s detailed page you will find a more comprehensive biography as well as links to key information and, if relevant, their most prominent work. Many of the biographies were pieced together from existing content on Internet sources mentioned above, with near-verbatim text edited for clarity and redundancy. If we have missed or misrepresented key information on a nominee, feedback is appreciated!

We have also included currently active Twitter and Facebook account details or relevant tribute accounts so that you can engage with, and further support, the people in the Top 100 and/or their associated institutions.

Plans for the future

We would love to hear your feedback on the list and this website. How have you engaged with it? What functions do you see it serving? What can we improve? Responses can be sent here.

In the future, we hope to turn the nomination and voting process over to the public. That means you! If you’d like to keep up-to-date on these developments, feel free to sign up for news here.

Who we are

The Post Growth Institute is an international group exploring and inspiring paths to global prosperity that don’t rely on economic growth.

Our aim is to create a movement of 10 million people who are convinced of the need for futures beyond economic growth, believe they are possible and feel inspired and supported enough to play a role in their emergence.

Post Growth members work to create thought-provoking and reasoned information and initiatives, opportunities for meaningful action and connect like-minded individuals and groups working towards post growth futures.

Currently, we are a virtual community, with collaborators spread across many countries and our core team hailing from Australia, the United States, Canada, Greece and (occasionally) Sweden. We come from a wide range of backgrounds each committed to making a better world for everyone.