emLab builds upon the exceptional impact of the Sustainable Fisheries Group (SFG), an interdisciplinary research team that was created in 2006 by natural resource economist, Christopher Costello, and marine ecologist, Steven Gaines. Chris and Steve believed that combining economic principles and ecological insights and linking academically rigorous research with on-the ground decision makers could lead to breakthrough research ideas and innovative policy solutions for fisheries management and ocean conservation. After nearly a decade and a half of successfully working with partners around the world to develop novel insights to improve the sustainability of ocean resources and coastal communities, SFG realized that their interdisciplinary “think-and-do tank” approach to market-based solutions could be applied to pressing environmental challenges beyond the oceans.

Sustainable Fisheries Group

Sustainable Fisheries Group in 2017.

In 2019, the Environmental Markets Lab (emLab) was launched, built on the same foundational principles of examining the potential and limitations of market-based approaches to drive real-world impact, with four program areas: Climate & Energy, Land & Freshwater, Ocean & Fisheries, and People & Poverty. These collaborative and synergistic program areas are led by top-tier scientists who bring decades of cumulative experience developing and implementing solutions to environmental challenges. Through this expansion, emLab pushes the boundaries of environmental research across ecosystems and geographies to tackle issues such as food security, human health, sustainable economic growth, renewable energy production and consumption, and environmental justice. 

Together, we’ve produced dozens of publications in Science, Nature and other high-impact journals alongside policy briefs, implementation guides, and open-source, interactive online toolkits to push the frontier of academic thinking while empowering thousands of practitioners with the knowledge and tools to improve natural resource management around the world.