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Sustainability Horizons: what’s coming into view?

Sustainability Horizons is CISL’s monthly scan of issues and evidence coming into view, but which may not yet feature in the mainstream sustainability debate. This is not a prediction of the future, but a way of helping practitioners and policymakers to get early notice of new ideas, trends or evidence, to inform their own view of what might or should happen as a result.


Find out more about our own work in developing new ideas and approaches that have the potential to deliver transformational change and rewire the economy.

 

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Building design to minimise carbon emissions

March 2020: A novel technique to assemble wooden buildings uses preconfigured sub-units of cross-laminated timber to build 8-12 story high buildings. The technique only emits half the emissions compared to conventional steel and/or reinforced concrete constructions and allows for buildings to absorb carbon post construction.

Building design to minimise carbon emissions - Read More…

Net emissions from electric cars

March 2020: Electrification of passenger road transport and domestic heating may lead to emissions reductions, regardless of the source of the electricity. The reports support the expansion of electric heat pumps and electric cars alongside decarbonising electricity generation, insulating homes, and improving public transport to reach emission targets.

Net emissions from electric cars - Read More…

Environmental change as enabler for disease transmission

March 2020: The spread of emerging infectious disease can be amplified by climate change and habitat loss. Environmental change is altering human-wildlife interactions which can accelerate the spread and intensity of disease outbreaks. It is recommended to treat disease outbreaks as symptoms of environmental degradation instead of isolated incidents.

Environmental change as enabler for disease transmission - Read More…

Consumer driven de-growth

March 2020: Consumer driven ‘de-growth’ may incentivise large scale shifts in social values and production or consumption patterns. These shifts could lead to less resource intense and localised production patterns or integrating services into core business such as repair services. If economies were to embrace zero or negative GDP growth, it could potentially offer competitive advantage for businesses that are able to adapt.

Consumer driven de-growth - Read More…

Horizontal urban growth

February 2020: Current urban growth patterns show strong tendencies for outward and horizontal expansion outside East or Southeast Asia. These growth patterns are generally considered to be unsustainable. It highlights the need to incentivise vertical/upward urban growth to deliver low carbon, walkable, resource efficient, and resilient future cities.

Horizontal urban growth - Read More…

Global sustainability is local

February 2020: Progress towards realising the UN’s SDGs by 2030 is generally measured at the global level. However, recent evidence points towards sustainability being most effective and deliverable at the local level. The localisation of sustainability requires careful balancing between competing sectors to avoid achieving progress in one area and decreasing or reversing progress in another.

Global sustainability is local - Read More…

Renewable energy impacts on marine life

February 2020: Offshore renewable energy generation may impact negatively on marine life due to construction or operation noise in combination with risks of blunt trauma from blades, which increases risks for marine life when hunting or navigating. Researchers are calling for improved designs and strategic trade-offs between marine conservation efforts and a transition towards 100% renewable energy generation.

Renewable energy impacts on marine life - Read More…

Economic cost of herbicide overuse

February 2020: Similarly to the overuse of antibiotics in humans, the overuse of herbicides is leading to resistance in weeds. In turn, this reduces crop yields with risks for food security, availability and pricing. A National Action Plan that supports farmers in transitioning to integrated pest management practices may address the challenge.

Economic cost of herbicide overuse - Read More…

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Covid-19 and creating the future we want

Apr 02, 2020

2 April 2020 – Dame Polly Courtice, Director of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), reflects upon the impact of Covid-19 on business, society, and our collective future.

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Disclaimer

The views expressed in these external research papers are those of the authors and do not represent an official position of CISL, the University of Cambridge, or any of its individual business partners or clients.