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.

An article looking at the findings from a new study commissioned by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that the environment is playing a vital role in tackling the problem of poor air quality and helping to protect people’s health and reduce spending on healthcare.

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In 2015, 5.9 million children under age five died. The major causes of child deaths globally are pneumonia, prematurity, intrapartum-related complications, neonatal sepsis, congenital anomalies, diarrhoea, injuries and malaria. Most of these diseases and conditions are at least partially caused by the environment. This new UN/WHO report summarises the impact of polluted environments on child health.

A new study published in the journal Environment International for the first time quantifies the global impact by combining data about air pollution in different countries with knowledge about how exposure to different levels of air pollution is associated with preterm birth rates.

Urban green spaces and health: a review of evidence

By Robert Lyons on 9th November 2016

A new report by the World Health Organization summarises evidence on the beneficial effects of urban green spaces, including improved mental health, reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, obesity and risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as improved pregnancy outcomes.  It identifies urban green space indicators which are suitable for wide-scale application in the European Region and proposes an indicator definition and data analysis tool kit for universal use.  This measures accessibility of green spaces of defined minimum sizes suitable for physical activity and mental relaxation. 

The aim of the three-year cycle BOOM project, funded by the EPSRC under the UK Research Council’s Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Programme, was to develop a better understanding of how the design of the built environment and technology shapes engagement with, and experience of cycling as people get older and how this affects their independent mobility, health and wellbeing.

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. 

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised UN Member States for reaching agreement on the draft outcome document that will constitute the new sustainable development agenda. ‘Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ features 17 new sustainable development goals that aim, by 2030, to eradicate extreme poverty, promote prosperity and people's well-being, while protecting the environment. The new agenda was agreed upon by 193 UN Member States on 1st August following a negotiating process that has spanned more than two years.

Every year, the European Environment Agency seeks to raise awareness around a number of environmental issues through the publication of its annual Signals report. Signals 2014 focuses on the links between our well-being, the economy and the environment. The report explores how our well-being depends on the extraction of resources for the production of essential items such as food, buildings, furniture, electronic devices, and clothes. Yet, our exploitation of resources outpaces the environment’s ability to regenerate them and provide for us.

Videos on evidence and well-being

By Bridget Elliott on 13th May 2014

Speeches from a conference held by the Alliance for Useful Evidence on evidence and wellbeing are now available online. The conference explored the creation of a What Works Centre for Well-being, including how such a Centre could be most useful for decision-makers and frontline practitioners. The morning featured experts in the field and the afternoon consisted of breakout groups to examine how the Centre could work in practice, drawing on the expertise of the delegates.

The Commission on Wellbeing and Policy, established by the Legatum Institute, published a report of findings in March on the measurement of wellbeing and how wellbeing analysis can usefully be applied to policy.

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