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.

Defra has recently issued a Best Practice Guide on Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), the publication of which fulfils an important commitment made in the 2011 Natural Environment White Paper.  The Guide has been published alongside an Action Plan for developing PES which sets out actions government can take to facilitate the emergence of practical and innovative schemes.  The Guide was prepared by an expert consortium with hands-on experience of developing PES schemes and was produced in collaboration with potential users through a national workshop and consultation on an early draft.

As part of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Behaviours Research Programme (CCBRP), guidance has recently been published on the ISM (Individual, Social, Material) Tool.  The ISM tool offers a practical way for policy-makers and practitioners to consider all of the contexts that influence people’s behaviours - Individual, Social and Material - and the various different factors within those three contexts.

The Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN) has recently undertaken a review of the UK policy and research landscape, assessing the degree to which existing research activities meet the needs of policy-makers working on sustainable development.

Starting with the perspective of the 2001 to 2005 period covered in earlier SDRN reviews, the new review assesses developments over the subsequent 5 years to 2010, followed by an appraisal of new issues which have arisen during the period of the current Coalition Government.

Social researchers at Forest Research have undertaken an analysis of 31 studies undertaken since 2001 to present a state of the art typology of the well-being benefits of woodlands in Britain. Recently published, the paper illustrates the wide range of well-being benefits gained by different social groups through various forms of engagement with and activities undertaken in woodlands.

LWEC Report Cards

By Bridget Elliott on 11th June 2013

The Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) partnership has recently released the first of its Climate Change Impact Report Cards. The cards aim to pull together the latest evidence to provide a robust, reliable and up to date report on climate impacts. This first card on Terrestrial Biodiversity shows where observed changes in UK biodiversity are likely to have been caused by changes in the UK climate over recent decades. It also assesses potential future impacts of climate change on biodiversity.

How can the world feed more than 9 billion people by 2050 in a manner that advances economic development and reduces pressure on the environment? This is the question addressed in the first instalment of the World Resources Institute’s blog series- ‘Creating a Sustainable Food Future’. The article describes how answering this question will require a ‘great balancing act’ of three needs—all of which must be met simultaneously. Firstly, the world needs to close the gap between the amount of food available today and the amount required in 2050.

OECD Report - ‘Green Growth in Cities’

By Bridget Elliott on 11th June 2013

This new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) synthesises the findings from six case studies of urban green growth policies. Four of the case studies are at a city level and include Paris, Chicago, Stockholm, and Kitakyushu, whilst two are at the national level of China and Korea. The document outlines a definition of urban green growth and a framework for analysing how it might play out in different types of cities.

This policy brief, commissioned by the Wuppertal Institute, outlines various options for stabilising market prices so as to avoid a complete halt of the international carbon markets. A number of options to increase demand and restrict supply are presented, with a focus on options that have a short-term effect and can be implemented in a timely manner.

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 new report by the Committee on Climate Change highlights the importance of committing to the investment of low-carbon generation through the 2020s. The findings of the report indicate that the current high degree of uncertainty about development of the power system beyond 2020 threatens to undermine electricity market reform. Unless this is addressed, projects coming on to the system before 2020 are likely to be at high cost and there could be an investment hiatus for projects coming on after 2020.