This article aims to bring labour market activation policy into the orbit of eco-social policy, which we can understand as sustainable welfare without growth. Activation is extensively addressed from economic and social policy perspectives; however, environmental sustainability concerns are absent. Typically, each domain, activation and sustainability, is seen as mutually exclusive. Growing debate about sustainable welfare without growth features much discussion about the effects of productivism and about re-orienting and re-valuing work and how we use our time; however, such discussion tends to leave activation and unemployment untouched. One could ask whether there is any role for activation in eco-social policy: why focus on employment and employability, or even push people into work, if postgrowth requires a downsizing of paid employment and working time in everyone's lives? The purpose of this article is to explore this question and to consider how activation could be re-valued and re-thought as a policy tool for eco-social policy.