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.

In July 2012, Defra proposed a new set of sustainable development indicators, intended to measure national progress on key economic, social and environmental issues over time and complement the National Well-being Measures published by the ONS. Following a public consultation period and inquiry held by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), the final set of indicators has now been decided.

The Government has released its first official National Adaptation Programme, outlining the work that is underway to enhance the UK's resilience to a changing climate and highlighting the significant commercial opportunity adaptation projects offer. The report responds to the climate impacts predicted in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment and sets objectives, policies and proposals for addressing the risks identified.

The UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post 2015 Development Agenda was created in July 2012 with the purpose of establishing the best ways to reduce global poverty beyond 2015, the date at which the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire. This new report by the panel argues that a new development agenda should carry forward the spirit of the Millennium Declaration and the best of the MDGs, with a practical focus on issues such as poverty, hunger, water, sanitation, education and healthcare.

New website- ‘Future Bristol: Low Carbon 2050’

By Bridget Elliott on 25th June 2013

The City of Bristol has developed an online, interactive vision of what the city could look like in 2050. The website ‘Future Bristol: Low Carbon 2050’ presents two hypothetical scenarios, each featuring a different mix of low carbon measures, technology and infrastructure. The aim of the website is to prompt public discussion about how Bristol can become a low carbon city, and in particular, discover how the Bristol community feels about the two different scenarios (and the various low carbon features which make up each scenario).

In this short interview Will Straw, Associate Director for Climate Change, Energy and Transport at IPPR gives his thoughts on the future of globalisation and the possibility of sustainability. Straw discusses the idea that globalisation and sustainability are mutually exclusive concepts, arguing that although globalisation can place a strain on sustainability, increased trade in goods and immigration has, in aggregate, helped enhance economic growth and made society more able to deal with environmental pressures.

WRI Working Paper- ‘Reducing Food Loss and Waste’

By Bridget Elliott on 25th June 2013

This World Resources Institute Working Paper is the second instalment in a series that forms the foundation of the ‘World Resources Report 2013-14: Creating a Sustainable Food Future’. The document contains preliminary research, analysis, findings, and recommendations aimed at stimulating discussion and critical feedback to influence on-going debate on emerging issues. This study examines how approximately 24 per cent of all calories currently produced for human consumption are lost or wasted.

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.