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 new report from IPPR notes that the British economy is at a critical juncture. Its future success depends on overcoming two major, interrelated problems – long-term structural weaknesses in investment, productivity and trade, and the need to decarbonise. The report examines how the north of England can meet these challenges.

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A new textiles economy: redesigning fashion’s future

By Robert Lyons on 29th November 2017

This new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation outlines a vision and sets out ambitions and actions – based on the principles of a circular economy – to design out negative impacts and capture a $500 billion economic opportunity by truly transforming the way clothes are designed, sold, and used.

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Do We Need Economic Growth?

By Robert Lyons on 29th November 2017

This BBC World Service Newshour Extra programme features Tim Jackson from the Centre for Sustainable Prosperity, University of Surrey, Daniel Ben Ami, author of Ferraris for All: In defence of Economic Progress, Jared Bernstein, economic adviser to President Barack Obama, and Annie Quick of the New Economics Foundation discussing who really benefits from growth and whether we can have prosperity without it.

Valuing Our Clothes: the cost of UK fashion

By Robert Lyons on 18th July 2017

A new report by WRAP examines the environmental impact of the UK clothing industry. It highlights recent achievements in the sector, explores opportunities for businesses, and shares insights on consumer attitudes and behaviour toward clothing. However, it also notes that while the amount of clothing being sent to landfill has fallen by 14% from 350,000 tonnes in 2012 to 300,000 in 2016 around 25 per cent is still binned rather than recycled.

Europe aims to obtain 20 per cent of its growth from industrial processes by 2020 and at the same time has set itself incredibly ambitious environmental targets.

Happy Planet Index 2016

By Editor on 27th July 2016

For the fourth time, the New Economics Foundation has ranked countries all over the world based on how efficiently their residents are able to live long, happy lives using environmental resources.  The overall results challenge the conventional wisdom that the wealthiest economies are the most successful, highlighting success stories in Latin America and Asia Pacific – where residents are enjoying relatively high and equally distributed life expectancy and wellbeing, whilst leaving a smaller ecological footprint than other more advanced economies. 

Social innovations, which transform resource intensive routines and practices into low-resource ones, combined with socio-technically designed transition paths, which are created around sustainability and environmental criteria, are milestones for implementation and diffusion of SCP (Sustainable Consumption and Production). This paper analyses such processes based on eight key components in order to evaluate and explain transformation and transition towards a sustainable lifestyle. Actors on all levels of society are included in this approach, creating a whole framework.

New research from the Centre for Environmental Strategy, at the University of Surrey, examines how globalisation and fast fashion have changed the sustainability of the Western European Textiles and Clothing supply chain. Between 1995 and 2009 there were absolute reductions in supply chain carbon emissions, but social inequities remain high and need tackling. The authors suggest that increasing supply chain wages and passing prices through to consumers could reduce both emissions and social inequities.

A recent Imperial College London report, commissioned by environmental management firm Veolia, outlines the business case for adopting a circular economy. The report is the first to put a figure on the potential of a circular economy in the UK, highlighting that adopting a circular economy could contribute £29bn or 1.8% of current GDP to the UK economy by 2025. While the World Economic Forum has forecast that the circular economy will contribute $1tr a year globally by 2025, this is the first time a separate figure and breakdown has been provided for the UK.

With globalized trade, a significant share of the environmental impacts linked to a country’s consumption of goods and services takes place outside its borders. There is a growing interest among policy-makers in many countries in finding ways to reduce such external environmental impacts of consumption. But it is not always clear what policy instruments might offer the most efficient ways of doing so. This policy brief outlines steps that governments can take to identify policy instruments they can use to reduce their countries' extra-territorial environmental footprints.

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