Research and Resources

Explore sustainability-related research and resources here, including recently released reports, journal articles, online tools and databases. Use the left sidebar to filter resources by theme.

This Eftec study for Defra provides initial physical and monetary estimates for a subset of ecosystem services at a scale that is commensurate with a reasonable level of robustness given the data and evidence available and offers recommendations for refining and further developing the initial UK urban natural capital account.


The Ecosystems Knowledge Network has produced a new service – Tool Assessor – that provides information about tools that analyse the environment and can enable a better understanding of ecosystem services, natural capital and green infrastructure. 

Tool Assessor focuses on tools that help people manage the environment as an asset, rather than simply managing it for nature conservation objectives.  Profiles are given of 12 tools and it is intended that the list will grow. Users are encouraged to provide comments on the tools so people can learn from each other. 

‘Five headline indicators of national success’

By Robert Lyons on 4th November 2015

A recent report by the New Economics Foundation calls on the Office for National Statistics to adopt new headline measures of national success in the UK. The report highlights how the single measure of GDP has come to be treated as shorthand for overall success, creating a strong incentive for policy-makers to pursue short-term economic growth over and above all other goals.

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, has published its sixth monitoring report of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS). This monitoring report evaluates progress towards the EU SDS objectives using a set of more than 100 sustainable development indicators, grouped into ten thematic areas. The evaluation considers two periods: the long term, accounting for progress since the year 2000, and the short term, looking at the trends over the last five years.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised UN Member States for reaching agreement on the draft outcome document that will constitute the new sustainable development agenda. ‘Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ features 17 new sustainable development goals that aim, by 2030, to eradicate extreme poverty, promote prosperity and people's well-being, while protecting the environment. The new agenda was agreed upon by 193 UN Member States on 1st August following a negotiating process that has spanned more than two years.

The European Environment Agency’s five-yearly assessment ‘The European environment – state and outlook 2015’ (SOER 2015) was published last week. SOER 2015 is an integrated assessment of Europe’s environment and includes assessments and data at global, regional and country levels, as well as cross-country comparisons. The latest assessment has found that Europe’s environment and climate policies have delivered substantial benefits, improving the environment and quality of life, while driving innovation, job creation and growth.

Sustainable Cities Index 2015 publishes top 50 cities

By Bridget Elliott on 24th February 2015

The Sustainable Cities Index has recently been published, revealing the top 50 sustainable cities in 2015. The Sustainable Cities Index is published yearly by ARCADIS and explores the three demands of People, Planet and Profit to develop an indicative ranking of 50 of the world’s leading cities. The top ten identified are (in order):  Frankfurt; London; Copenhagen; Amsterdam; Rotterdam; Berlin; Seoul; Hong Kong; Madrid; and Singapore.

The Outcome Document of the UN General Assembly Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been released following the 13th and final session of the Group held 14th-18th July. The document consists of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, including 62 targets on means of implementation. The OWG’s proposal on SDGs will now be submitted to the UN General Assembly for consideration as part of the broader post-2015 development agenda that is to be adopted in late 2015.

The Eurostat monitoring report by the European Commission provides an objective, statistical account of progress towards the goals and objectives of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS). The EU SDS cumulates economic, social and environmental policy under one overarching objective – to continuously improve quality of life for present and future generations.

The eighth session of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals commenced yesterday and runs until 7th February. Themes to be considered as part of the eighth session include: Oceans and seas, forests, biodiversity; Promoting equality, including social equity, gender equality and women’s empowerment; Conflict prevention, post-conflict peacebuilding and the promotion of durable peace, rule of law and governance.