We are the UK Government’s independent adviser on sustainable development. Through advocacy, advice and
appraisal, we help put sustainable development at the heart of Government policy
Who we are
The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) is the UK Government's independent adviser on sustainable development.
We are an (independent) executive non-departmental public body (NDPB) and a company limited by guarantee. The company is wholly owned by the UK, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland governments, and is governed by a Board.
We are governed by a Framework Agreement agreed with the four UK Governments. The agreement sets out our responsibilities and guides the work of the SDC's Board and Management Team.
Our Organisation Values
We strive to be:
Authoritative: – The SDC's advice is based on sound and compelling evidence. The SDC is accountable to Government for its recommendations, its impacts as an organisation and its use of resources.
Collaborative: – The SDC works in partnership with Government to design timely and resource-efficient solutions. We bring together a wide variety of stakeholders to engage in debate and take a role in finding lasting answers to difficult issues.
Positive: – We present a vision for a stronger, fairer, healthier society which lives within environmental limits, and work alongside a Government that fosters the will to change by focusing on solutions which work for people.
Transparent: – Following the Five Principles, the SDC is a passionate advocate of good governance. We are transparent and accountable to Government and the public for our recommendations, our impacts as an organisation and our use of resources.
Our roles across the UK
We have offices in London, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. We work as one organisation, with access to the UK Government and all three Devolved Administrations.
Our roles in each administration are set out below:
For the UK Government the SDC has an official watchdog function, scrutinising progress on implementing its sustainable development strategy: monitoring targets on the sustainable management of the Government estate and procurement. We combine this with providing policy advice and helping to build capability across a range of departments.
The SDC performs a similar scrutiny and advisory role for the Scottish Government, providing an annual independent review of progress on sustainable development, and advice and capability building on a range of issues.
The SDC's Wales team work closely with the Welsh Assembly Government - with its legal duty relating to sustainable development - providing it with policy advice, capability building and independent assessment to help make sustainable development the central organising principle of government.
In Northern Ireland, the SDC works closely with the Government, providing specialist advice and capability building, helping to deliver the Executive’s new Sustainable Development Strategy and Implementation Plan.