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
What next for sustainable development
Since 2000, the SDC has worked to help decision makers and advisors embed sustainable development as the operating system of choice in the four Governments of the UK. As of 31 March 2011 we have ceased operations and there are new arrangements in the four governments. View our closing statement and visit our Links page.
Coalition Government 'must step up to the plate on sustainable food'
New food report finds Government food plans on obesity, climate change and environmental damage 'insubstantial'.
Young, old and poor pay disproportionate price for car journeys made by others
New Government approach to meeting UK’s transport needs vital to ensure fairness
Making sustainable living easier
An increasing number of us recycle, insulate our lofts and choose more 'green' products but we are far from living lives that are 'sustainable' for future generations. It’s a well quoted statistic but still a powerful one – if the whole world consumed as we do in the UK we would need three planets to sustain everyone. The economic, environmental and social consequences for people and the planet from this excessive and unequal resource use make the goal of sustainable lives not a 'nice to have' some day but an essential priority for governments right now.
Need for a minister for sustainable development
Government advisor welcomes Environmental Audit Commission’s call for stronger political leadership on sustainable development issues
Preparing young people for employment in green economy 'Vital to tackling youth unemployment'
Green exercise, outdoor activity and environmental volunteering improve young people's wellbeing and personal responsibility as well as maximising employment chances.
Moves towards greening government already saving £60-70m a year
Stepping up scale of ambition for sustainable government is “immediate financial imperative”
The Future is Local
Enabling communities to lead local renewal projects with a neighbourhood-wide approach is the most cost-effective way to ensure our villages, towns and cities are fit for the future and create the conditions for people to thrive, a new report from the Sustainable Development Commission finds.
New Government right to prioritise leading by example on emissions
The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) has hailed the new Government’s commitment to cut public sector emission by 10% in 12 months as an excellent signal.
Sustainable development is key to tackling health inequalities and climate change
Climate change resulting from carbon and greenhouse gas emissions poses potentially catastrophic risks to human health and threatens to widen health inequalities between rich and poor populations in the UK.
Information technology could play key role in making travel easier, safer and greener
Eco-driving, videoconferencing and increased connectivity on public transport are some of the ways information technology could help make travel in the UK easier, safer and more environmentally friendly in the future.
SDC welcomes Government’s 'Food 2030' Strategy
The Sustainable Development Commission welcomes the Government's Food 2030 strategy, hailing its focus on healthy, sustainable diets.
Government in a strong position to meet its carbon dioxide targets
Government announces it is expecting to meet its targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from its occupied buildings.
Eliminating waste, cutting fatty and sugary foods and reducing meat and dairy will benefit health and environment
New report for Defra finds strong evidence that a diet which benefits the environment is better for health.
Health service 'has a responsibility to tackle its carbon footprint' says NHS Chief David Nicholson
• Sustainable Development Commission and NHS launch sustainable health website for health professionals
• Interactive model demonstrates how emphasis on preventing illness and minimising waste and energy consumption can help improve efficiency
Is our economy fit for purpose in a low carbon world?
Is our economy fit for purpose in a low carbon world? Can economic growth deliver us from the threat of catastrophic climate change, or is it the engine that’s driving us relentlessly towards it?
Public sector regulation 'Vital to building a sustainable future' - SDC
Government watchdog commends Audit Commission and Ofsted's solid start, while Care Quality Commission 'has significant ground to cover.'
SDC welcomes National Strategy for Climate and Energy
The Sustainable Development Commission has welcomed today’s announcement in Parliament by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Milliband MP outlining the Governments National Strategy for climate and energy.
SDC: Stop decline in UK food production
The Sustainable Development Commission published its recommendations to Government for a sustainable food system in the UK, just days before the House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is expected to publish its findings from the inquiry into securing UK food supplies up to 2050.
Time to raise our game: 19 ways to make the UK more sustainable
The Sustainable Development Commission will today (1 July 2009) unveil 19 Breakthrough ideas which could transform the UK into a sustainable society, at an event attended by HRH the Prince of Wales.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown appoints Will Day as Chair of Sustainable Development Commission
Former head of Care International and sustainability adviser to PWC to succeed Jonathon Porritt as top sustainability adviser to government.
Government’s internal operations must be transformed to meet climate change ambitions
Sustainable Development Commission welcomes progress to date, and sets out priority areas for Government to lead by example and meet future challenges
Budget focus on low carbon technology and energy efficiency to be welcomed - but must be part of long-term strategy
The Sustainable Development Commission welcomed the Budget announcement of £495million of additional funding for low carbon technologies and energy efficiency over the next two years, and called for this to be part of a committed, long-term strategy to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
But the Commission questioned the announcement of a £2,000 discount on new cars for motorists scrapping cars over 10 years old, arguing that under such a scheme, the cost per tonne of CO2 saved is very high. It also criticised the fact that no emissions requirements are attached to new vehicles.
Sustainable New Deal essential for low carbon recovery
A report published by the Sustainable Development Commission today (Tuesday 7 April) calls on the government to match the scale of its green ambitions with an appropriate sustainable stimulus package to enable £30bn/year of investment to flow into low carbon recovery measures.
Recession must make us question 'Relentless pursuit of growth'
A major report published today by the government's sustainable development adviser argues that the pursuit of economic growth is one of the root causes of the current financial crisis, as well contributing to a growing environmental crisis and undermining well-being in developed countries.
SDC welcomes government plans for home energy efficiency
The Sustainable Development Commission today (12 February) hailed as "truly visionary and very positive" the Government’s plans to upgrade all 24 million UK homes to be near-zero carbon by 2030.
Public debate crucial to making best long-term decision on Severn Tidal Power
Welcoming the Severn Tidal Power consultation and draft shortlist of schemes announced today, the Sustainable Development Commission stressed the need for open public debate in order to help identify the best way of capturing the enormous renewable energy resource of the Severn estuary whilst safeguarding its internationally important combination of species and habitats and bringing lasting benefits to local communities.
SDC: 'Heathrow expansion without independent review of UK aviation is irresponsible'
The Sustainable Development Commission renews its call for a Special Commission to undertake a major independent review of UK aviation.
Government starting to get to grips with sustainablility targets - but carbon emissions still not on track
Sustainable Development Commission data shows improvement on waste, water and travel targets, but emissions not falling fast enough
Right Signals; Wrong Scale: Missed opportunities in the Pre-Budget Report
Commissioner Tim Jackson responds to the Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report
Local strategic partnerships can't afford to ignore benefits of sustainable development
New report argues that policy framework and long term benefits to communities make sustainable approach vital for forward-thinking LSPs
SDC joint report paves way to tackling carbon emissions from existing homes
The UK Green Building Council with Sustainable Development Commission, Energy Efficient Partnership for Homes and the Technology Strategy Board has presented the Government with a report detailing requirements to reduce carbon emissions from existing homes.
SDC welcomes 80% CO2 target
The Sustainable Development Commission welcomed the government’s announcement that it is to accept the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation of 80% reduction in CO2 by 2050.
SDC welcomes new department 'to tackle energy security and climate change together'
The Sustainable Development Commission welcomed the new energy and climate change department created in the Cabinet reshuffle.
Guide to Contested Evidence provides 'overwhelming case' for review of Air Transport Policy
Sustainable Development Commission publishes summary of conflicting arguments and incomplete data underpinning aviation policy
Decisive action could halve schools’ carbon emissions by 2020
Report maps greenhouse gas emissions from school buildings, procurement, transport and waste
Sustainable Development Commission Response to publication of PMSU Food Matters report
The Sustainable Development Commission welcomes the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit's report on food, which reflects many issues of concern raised by the SDC in its report Green, Healthy and Fair (February 2008)
UK Air Transport Policy ‘Based on disputed evidence, and could undermine climate policy decisions’
Sustainable Development Commission and ippr call for special commission to establish true benefits and impacts of aviation.
Outdoor environment key to tackling obesity and mental ill health
New resource provides evidence on links between the natural and built environment and health
Urgent and radical action needed if Government is to meet key sustainability targets
Sustainable Development Commission report finds government still not on course to meet carbon reduction targets
Government cannot meet key targets on health, waste, climate change and fair trade without tackling supermarkets
Sustainable Development Commission report says too many supermarket practices are unhealthy, unjust and unsustainable
You Are What You Sell
Businesses can help to tackle the global challenges of climate change and poverty through the products and services they sell, says the Sustainable Development Commission. In a booklet published today (Tuesday 6 November), the Commission offers practical advice on how facing up to the social and environmental impact of products throughout their lifecycle can improve businesses' competitive edge, as well as benefiting people and the planet.
Severn Barrage Must Pass Tough Sustainability Tests
The Sustainable Development Commission today (1 October) lays down tough conditions which a Severn barrage would have to meet in order to be considered sustainable. These include public leadership and ownership of the project, and full compliance with environmental legislation protecting the estuary.
Climate is Right for Overhaul of UK Energy Regulation
Energy market regulation in the UK needs to be overhauled to meet the challenges of carbon reduction and renewables targets, according to Government advisory body the Sustainable Development Commission. In a report published today (19 September), the Commission argues that reducing greenhouse gas emissions, should be made central to Ofgem's remit in order to meet the needs of future consumers.
Childhood at Risk From Poor Development
Poorly designed road and housing developments are invading children's space, according to the Government's advisory body, the Sustainable Development Commission. Large building projects, aircraft flyovers and busy roads are causing excessive noise levels, increased pollution and safety fears, and preventing children from enjoying their local parks and neighbourhoods.
SDC Response to the Energy White Paper
The Government has come a long way on nuclear power. Thanks to the genuinely renewed consultation process, there's a real opportunity for people to shape the future of nuclear power in the UK.
Rush to Meet Housing Targets Has Come at the Expense of Residents and the Environment
Few communities built so far are living up to the promise of being environmentally safe, inclusive and well-planned.
Government Fails to Get its House in Order on Carbon, Water and Waste
Government departments are failing to meet carbon, waste and water targets, according to a report published today by the Government's watchdog, the Sustainable Development Commission.
Re-Appointment Of Five Commissioners To The Sustainable Development Commission
The UK Government and Devolved Administrations announced today that four Commissioners have been re-appointed to the Sustainable Development Commission for a further three year period until 15th October 2009.
Re-appointment of Jonathon Porritt as Chair to the Sustainable Development Commission
The UK Government and Devolved Administrations announced today that Jonathon Porritt has been re-appointed as Chair to the Sustainable Development Commission.
Appointment of Vice Chairmen and Commissioners to The Sustainable Development Commission
The UK Government and Devolved Administrations announced today the appointment of two new Vice Chairs, and three new Commissioners to the Sustainable Development Commission.
Encouraging signs – Apart from the green light for nuclear
"The principal challenge now is delivery, not further policy refinement."
Why are we waiting?
In their groundbreaking report, "I will if you will", the Sustainable Consumption Roundtable sets out how a significant shift towards more sustainable lifestyles is both possible and positive. It finds that people are willing to and ready to change if provided with strong leadership, good incentives and a fair infrastructure.
Nuclear Power Won't Fix It
In response to the Government's current Energy Review, the SDC nuclear report draws together the most comprehensive evidence base available, to find that there is no justification for bringing forward a new nuclear power programme at present.
Helping the NHS to be a good corporate citizen
Sir Nigel Crisp, NHS Chief Executive and Jonathon Porritt today launched a self-assessment model to help NHS organisations to measure and improve their sustainable development performance.
Leading by Example? Not Exactly.
With rising CO2 emissions, serious water wastage, and poor fuel & waste records, Government is struggling to manage its own affairs sustainably.
Regions Need Urgent Reform to Deliver on Climate Change, Environmental and Social Commitments
Regional institutions need structural changes in order to take action on climate change and put environmental and social impacts at the heart of decision-making.
Greater use of wood fuel could radically cut climate change emissions
SDC Report demonstrates that wood-fuel heating could make a significant contribution to cutting carbon emissions.
Wind Power in the UK
In order to tackle the problems of climate change and energy security, wind power must be made to work.