School of Earth and Environment

Milena Buchs Dr Milena Buchs

Associate Professor in Sustainability, Economics, and Low-Carbon Transitions

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 34292
Email address:
Room: 11.114

Affiliation: Sustainability Research Institute


Milena joined the SRI in September 2016 as Associate Professor in Sustainability, Economics and Low-Carbon Transitions. With a background in sociology and social policy, her current research focusses on relationships between economic growth, environmental sustainability and health/wellbeing, as well as low carbon practices and practice change. Milena has led and collaborated on several major, interdisciplinary ESRC and EPSRC grants on these topics.

Prior to joining the SRI, Milena was lecturing at the University of Southampton since 2005. She received her PhD in Social Policy from the Humboldt University Berlin in 2005 and her under- and postgraduate taught training in Sociology, Political Science and Economics from the Free University Berlin in 2001. She also held visiting researcher positions at the DFG-funded Postgrowth Societies College, University of Jena; the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics; and at the Centre of Comparative Welfare State Research, University of Stirling (with a EU Marie Curie fellowship during her PhD).

Research Interests

Milena's current and most recent research focusses on issues around wellbeing, inequality and practice change in relation to energy use and low carbon transitions.

Milena is also involved in the EPSRC Programme Grant on Liveable Cities (2012-2017). The workstream that she and her colleagues at the University of Southampton are leading focusses on the question of whether giving householders information about their carbon footprint can support them in reducing energy used at home and whilst travelling, and in which ways, if any, people's health status is related to their energy use.

Previous research projects

Two previous ESRC/EPSRC projects examined the roles that environmental grassroots organisations can play in encouraging low carbon practices. Based on interviews and surveys with organisers and participants, as well as a longitudinal field experiment, we found that environmental grassroots organisations can indeed encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint, especially if they appeal to environmental and altruistic values. However, we also found this tends to work best with people who are already open to these perspectives whilst grassroots organisations find it much harder to encourage the wider public to take up more 'radical' low carbon behaviours (e.g. such as taking up a low carbon diet, reducing car use or flights).

ESRC Third Sector Research Centre Environment Stream

RCUK The role of community-based initiatives in energy saving

Milena was also PI on an ESRC project that examined the inequality of carbon emissions of UK households, and estimated implications for distributional effects of market-based climate mitigation policies.

ESRC Who Emits Most

PhD supervision

Over the last 10 years I have been supervising a range of PhD projects, most of them on environmental social science topics including distributional implications of market-based climate change mitigation policies; pro-environmental practices and practice change; green housing policies; and environmental justice.

Current PhD Students

Elizabeth Allinson Effectiveness of the Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace Strategy

Aaisa Nisar The role of eco-housing developments in creating sustainable communities

Alexander Voccia - World Bank climate change adaptation technical cooperation programme and environmental justice

Supervised to completion

Alexander Afful "Low uptake of the Green Deal: Examining financial, decision-making and awareness reasons" (June 2017)

Fatih Urkmezer "Urban poor migrants in Turkey" (January 2017)

Roger Tyers "'Nudging the jetset to offset'"; Voluntary carbon offsetting for air travel (Dec 2016)

Thomas Rushby "It's not personal: modelling a downstream household cap and trade scheme for residential energy in the UK" (Nov 2016)

Matthew Healey An examination of the extent the internet has empowered young people to take greater control of their information, advice and guidance needs (2014)


  • Leach JM; Lee SE; Boyko CT; Coulton CJ; Cooper R; Smith N; Joffe H; Büchs M; Hale JD; Sadler JP; Braithwaite PA; Blunden LS; De Laurentiis V; Hunt DVL; Bahaj ABS; Barnes K; Bouch CJ; Bourikas L; Cavada M; Chilvers A; Clune SJ; Collins B; Cosgrave E; Dunn N; Falkingham J; James P; Kwami C; Locret-Collet M; Medda F; Ortegon A; Pollastri S; Popan C; Psarikidou K; Tyler N; Urry J; Wu Y; Zeeb V; Rogers CDF (2017) Dataset of the livability performance of the city of Birmingham, UK, as measured by its citizen wellbeing, resource security, resource efficiency and carbon emissions, Data in Brief, 15, pp.691-695. doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2017.10.004
  • Bardsley N; Büchs M; Schnepf SV (2017) Something from nothing: Estimating consumption rates using propensity scores, with application to emissions reduction policies, PLoS ONE, 12, . doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185538
  • Büchs M; Koch M (2017) Postgrowth and Wellbeing Challenges to Sustainable Welfare, Springer.
  • Büchs M (2017) The role of values for voluntary reductions of holiday air travel, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 25, pp.234-250. doi: 10.1080/09669582.2016.1195838
  • Boyko CT; Clune SJ; Cooper RFD; Coulton CJ; Dunn NS; Pollastri S; Leach JM; Bouch CJ; Cavada M; De Laurentiis V; Goodfellow-Smith M; Hale JD; Hunt DKG; Lee SE; Locret-Collet M; Sadler JP; Ward J; Rogers CDF; Popan C; Psarikidou K; Urry J; Blunden LS; Bourikas L; Büchs M; Falkingham J; Harper M; James PAB; Kamanda M; Sanches T; Tuner P; Wu PY; Bahaj ABS; Ortegon A; Barnes K; Cosgrave E; Honeybone P; Joffe H; Kwami C; Zeeb V; Collins B; Tyler N (2017) How sharing can contribute to more sustainable cities, Sustainability (Switzerland), 9, . doi: 10.3390/su9050701
  • Saunders C; Büchs M; Papafragkou A; Wallbridge R; Smith G (2016) Beyond the activist ghetto: A deductive blockmodelling approach to understanding the relationship between contact with environmental organisations and public attitudes and behaviour, Social Networks and Social Movements: Contentious Connections, pp.158-177.
  • Büchs M; Saunders C; Wallbridge R; Smith G; Bardsley N (2015) Identifying and explaining framing strategies of low carbon lifestyle movement organisations, Global Environmental Change, 35, pp.307-315. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.09.009
  • Büchs M; Hinton E; Smith G (2015) 'It Helped Me Sort of Face the End of the World': The Role of Emotions for Third Sector Climate Change Engagement Initiatives, Environmental Values, 24, pp.621-640. doi: 10.3197/096327115X14384223590177
  • Lopez-Santana M; Buchs M (2015) Balancing subnational flexibility and national unity: decentralization in Spain and the United Kingdom, In: Lopez-Santana M (Ed) The new governance of welfare states in the United States and Europe: between decentralization and centralization, State University of New York Press, pp.81-110.
  • Lopez-Santana M; Buchs M (2015) Flexibility within centralization: The German case, In: Lopez-Santana M (Ed) The new governance of welfare states in the United States and Europe: between decentralization and centralization, State University of New York Press, pp.111-130.
  • Büchs M (2014) The role of environmental organisations in supporting carbon reduction: comparing direct and indirect involvement, Environmental Politics, 23, pp.1003-1022. doi: 10.1080/09644016.2014.921456
  • Büchs M; Bardsley N; Schnepf SV (2014) Unequal emissions - unequal policy impacts: How do different areas of CO2emissions compare?1, International Handbook on Social Policy and the Environment, pp.62-92. doi: 10.4337/9780857936134.00008
  • Büchs M; Schnepf SV (2013) Who emits most? Associations between socio-economic factors and UK households' home energy, transport, indirect and total CO2 emissions, Ecological Economics, 90, pp.114-123. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.03.007
  • Edwards R; Smith G; Büchs M (2013) Environmental management systems and the third sector: Exploring weak adoption in the UK, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 31, pp.119-133. doi: 10.1068/c11123
  • Clifford D; Geyne-Rajme F; Smith G; Edwards R; Büchs M; Saunders C (2013) Mapping the environmental third sector in england: a distinctive field of activity?, Voluntary Sector Review, 4, pp.241-264. doi: 10.1332/204080513X668584
  • Duwe S; Buchs M; Bardsley N (2012) Can Climate Policies Finance a Basic Income? [in German], In: Strengemann-Kuhn W (Ed) Paths Towards Basic Income, Bildungswerk Berlin der Heinrich Böll Stiftung, pp.57-70.
  • Büchs M; Bardsley N; Duwe S (2011) Who bears the brunt? Distributional effects of climate change mitigation policies, Critical Social Policy, 31, pp.285-307. doi: 10.1177/0261018310396036
  • Büchs M (2009) The open method of coordination - Effectively preventing welfare state retrenchment?, EIOP European Integration Online Papers, 13, . doi: 10.1695/2009011
  • Büchs M (2009) Directly-deliberative polyarchy: A suitable democracy model for European social policy?, The Role of International Organizations in Social Policy: Ideas, Actors and Impact, pp.49-71.
  • Büchs M (2009) Examining the interaction between vertical and horizontal dimensions of state transformation, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 2, pp.35-49. doi: 10.1093/cjres/rsn026
  • Büchs M (2008) How legitimate is the open method of co-ordination?, Journal of Common Market Studies, 46, pp.765-786. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5965.2008.00804.x
  • Büchs M (2008) The Open Method of Coordination as a 'two-level game', Policy and Politics, 36, pp.21-37. doi: 10.1332/030557308783431689
  • Buechs M; Buchs M (2007) Legitimacy, pp.130-+.
  • Büchs M; Hinrichs K (2007) Germany: Moving towards Europe but putting national autonomy first, The Europeanisation of Social Protection, pp.21-40.
  • Buechs M; Buchs M (2007) New Governance in European Social Policy The Open Method of Coordination Conclusion, pp.152-160.
  • Buechs M; Buchs M (2007) Introduction: New Governance and the Dilemma of European Union Social Policy, NEW GOVERNANCE IN EUROPEAN SOCIAL POLICY: THE OPEN METHOD OF COORDINATION, pp.1-+.
  • Buechs M; Buchs M (2007) The 'Third Way' in European Social Policy, pp.39-+.
  • Buechs M; Buchs M (2007) Conceptualizing the OMC, pp.19-+.
  • Buechs M; Buchs M (2007) Effectiveness, pp.97-+.
  • Buechs M; Buchs M (2007) The European Employment Strategy in Germany and the United Kingdom, pp.72-+.
  • Buechs M; Buchs M (2007) Institutions and Actors, pp.59-+.
  • Büchs M; Friedrich D (2005) Surface Integration. The National Action Plans for employment and social inclusion in Germany, In: Zeitlin J; Pochet P; Magnusson L (Ed) The Open Method of Co-ordination in Action. The European Employment and Social Inclusion Strategies, Peter Lang, pp.249-285.