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.

EAC launches inquiry on Well-being

By Bridget Elliott on 15th May 2013

Following on from their recent report on Sustainable Development Indicators, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has launched a further inquiry on the ‘Measuring Well-being’ initiative being run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In November, the ONS published an analysis of its well-being survey data, comparing people’s well-being according to gender, age, ethnic group, relationship status, health, disability, employment status and occupation, as well as by nation, region and local authority.

A recently published journal article Urban Research & Practice uses empirical data to identify a series of significant trends that have accompanied the global mainstreaming of eco-city policy and practice. These trends include:

• Increased international knowledge transfer activities involving both public and private actors;
• The centrality of ‘carbon discourse’;
• The marrying of ‘green’ with ‘smart’ technological systems; and
• A focus on achieving environmental innovation through economic growth.

The Green Growth Knowledge Platform is a global network of researchers and development experts that identifies and addresses major knowledge gaps in green growth theory and practice. The report ‘Moving towards a Common Approach on Green Growth Indicators’, is presented as a first step towards developing a framework to monitor progress on greening growth and a greener economy and is a joint effort by the OECD, UNEP, the World Bank, and the Global Green Growth institute as part of their collaboration on the Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP).

The Natural Capital Committee (NCC), an independent advisory body to Government, has just released a report outlining their approach for the better measurement, valuation and management of England’s natural capital. The Report does not aim to be comprehensive, but sets out strategic priorities and corresponding actions to fulfil the NCC’s remit. It also identifies current knowledge gaps, some of which the Committee intends to address in subsequent reports (the next one of which will be published in early 2014).

The UK National Commission for UNESCO has released a report which provides an account of the current status of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) across the UK. The report describes how ESD can be thought of as a process of learning how to make decisions that consider the long-term future of the economy, ecology and equity of all communities.

Defra publishes policy evidence plans

By Bridget Elliott on 15th May 2013

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has produced a series of evidence plans for different policy areas which make significant use of formal evidence, including plans for water, waste and resources, sustainable economy, sustainable land and farming, and climate change. The evidence plans will be used to help ensure the link between evidence and policy development and implementation. The evidence plans set out evidence needs for a 5 year timeframe and will be updated roughly annually to reflect any major changes in evidence needs as a result of changing policy.

NUS awarded money for Student’s Green Fund

By Bridget Elliott on 15th May 2013

The National Union of Students (NUS) has been awarded £5 million by Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE) for a Students’ Green Fund, the four key themes of which will be student participation, partnership, impact and legacy. The funding will help students to engage with their universities and colleges on sustainable development, and to ensure that sustainability remains a priority with institutions. NUS will run a single-round bidding competition in summer 2013, to allocate the funding. More…

The 2012 United Nations summit in Brazil required governments to create a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) that would be integrated into the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after their 2015 deadline. Discussions on how to formulate these have continued in recent weeks at UN headquarters in New York. This article provides an overview of a recently published commentary by 10 scientists and development analysts who have proposed a fundamentally different way to approach this task.

The Low Carbon Dialogue Scotland website

By Bridget Elliott on 15th May 2013

The Low Carbon Dialogue Scotland website and forum has just been launched, providing a space for anyone with an interest in low-carbon issues to discuss topics relating to the move towards a sustainable, low-carbon society. Run by researchers from the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh, a different discussion topic will be posed each month.

Estimating businesses’ emissions and water use without direct information from companies can be challenging.  A new study has been published which develops a framework to generate comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions, waste and water use estimates for individual businesses and all businesses of a sector in an area, which are otherwise not available.  The framework, developed by Peter Bradley, Angela Druckman and Tim Jackson of the University of Surrey, makes use of two different accounting perspectives: the production perspective (on site greenhouse gases) and the provision perspective (s