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.

A report published by Forum for the Future, The Climate Group and WWF-UK yesterday has highlighted the importance of a ‘Net Positive’ approach to long-term business success. The report, ‘Net Positive: A new way of doing business’, captures for the first time, the principles of what it means to take a Net Positive approach and provides a route map to help businesses engage with the concept. It calls for the ambition of business to change from ‘doing less harm’ to becoming ‘Net Positive’ to have a positive impact on the world.

This new book provides an overview of Integrated Reporting (IR), a new development in corporate reporting that is said to represent a paradigm shift in the way companies and other organisations think about business models and the creation of value. In the book, sustainability reporting expert and accountant Dr Carol Adams outlines in simple terms what Integrated Reporting is and how to do it, linking with other reporting frameworks and what it means in terms of thinking and processes.

Guide for Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy

By Bridget Elliott on 26th November 2013

The UN Global Compact, in cooperation with seven leading international organizations, has released a report that provides companies with practical guidance for engaging constructively in climate policy debates. The first-of-its-kind report synthesizes past research on corporate lobbying and public policy advocacy to define five core elements of responsible engagement: legitimacy, opportunity, consistency, accountability, and transparency.

New report on evidence-based policy-making

By Bridget Elliott on 20th August 2013

A new report from the Alliance for Useful Evidence looks at international approaches to promoting evidence-based policy-making, with particular reference to social policy. Examples are drawn from nations with developed economies similar to the UK, and there is also a review of international institutions, such as the EU, OECD and World Bank. Eight key lessons for building an evidence infrastructure to provide policy guidance across a broad range of social issues are outlined.

A new journal article in Environmental Science and Policy describes how ecosystem-based management is now advocated as an effective method for achieving sustainability. However, sustainable management of complex ecosystems requires clear understanding of uncertainty, and there has been little research into how scientific advice for policy-makers incorporates uncertainty, or what the best practices may be.

Civil Service Quarterly launched

By Bridget Elliott on 6th August 2013

In July the Civil Service Quarterly was launched by Jeremy Heywood (Cabinet Secretary) and Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP (Minister for Government Policy in the Cabinet Office). While not focused on Sustainable Development the blog will be of interest to those conducting policy-relevant research and seeking to better understand the policy-making process, challenges it faces and how research and evidence can inform policy-making. The Civil Service Quarterly is intended to help open up the Civil Service to greater collaboration and challenge, showcases excellence, and invites discussion.

Defra has published this report on behalf of Government to provide an overview of what has been achieved so far in the move towards mainstreaming sustainable development. The report is intended to facilitate scrutiny of Government’s progress to date, and describes how Government continues to move towards fully embedding sustainable development in its policies and operations. It argues that solid foundations have been put in place to enable further improvement in this area. The report will likely be of interest to those with a concern for sustainability in Government, but also more widely.

This latest edition of Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World series explores the rhetoric surrounding sustainability, including how the term ‘sustainable’ has become so widely used that it has become ‘sustainababble’, at best indicating a slightly less damaging practice or product than the conventional alternative. Some of the questions asked in the book include: is it time to abandon the concept altogether, or is there an accurate way to measure sustainability? If so, how can it be achieved? And if not, how is best to prepare for the inevitable ecological decline?

This new report by The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) proposes a new paradigm for sustainable development in order to ‘avert environmental and subsequent social and economic collapse’. The report argues that the current emphasis on an integrated consideration of environmental, social and economic components of sustainability is undermined by poor decision making, weak governance and institutional frameworks. The resulting factor is the prioritisation of economic growth over environmental and resource conservation.

KPMG launches Green Tax Index

By Bridget Elliott on 15th May 2013

The UK has recently been named by audit and tax advisory company, KPMG, as one of the six most active countries in using tax as a tool to drive sustainable corporate behaviour and achieve green policy goals. The findings are the result of KPMG’s Green Tax Index, a tool created to increase awareness of the ‘complex, fragmented and rapidly evolving’ green tax landscape worldwide. The index analyses green tax incentives and penalties in 21 major economies, focusing on key policy areas such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, carbon emissions, green innovation and green buildings.