Publications round-up: People and the planet, savings and tax, business value, international climate goals
A round-up of recent sustainable development resources highlighted by our partner, the Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN). For more news on sustainable development research and publications, join the network and receive regular SDRN mailings.
In this round-up:
- People and the planet (Royal Society report)
- Saving for a sustainable future: Increasing public benefit from UK tax relief for savings (Green Alliance report)
- Expect the Unexpected: Building Business Value in a Changing World (KPMG Global report)
- Building International Climate Cooperation: Lessons from the Weapons and Trade Regimes for Achieving International Climate Goals (World Resources Institute report)
- Ready or Not: Assessing Institutional Aspects of National Capacity for Climate Change Adaptation (World Resources Institute report)
Read about more recent publications and research in the latest SDRN bulletin…
People and the planet is the Royal Society’s first substantive report on the impacts of human population and consumption on the planet.
The report identifies three pressing challenges:
- The need for the world’s 1.3 billion poorest people to be raised out of poverty to reduce global inequality and ensure the wellbeing of all people;
- The need to reduce unsustainable consumption in the most developed and the emerging economies;
- The need to slow and stabilise global population growth.
The Society acknowledges that although science and technology have a crucial role to play in meeting the challenges by improving the understanding of causes and effects and developing ways to limit the most damaging trends, attention must also be paid to the socio-economic dimensions of technological deployment.
The report concludes with nine recommendations, including that Population and the environment should not be considered as two separate issues; Government should realise the potential of urbanisation to reduce consumption and environmental impact through efficiency measures; and Financial and non-financial barriers must be overcome to achieve high-quality primary and secondary education for all the world’s young, ensuring equal opportunities for girls and boys.
Chris Hewett’s report for Green Alliance, ‘Saving for a sustainable future’, examines the case for the government using tax relief on savings and investment activity to encourage responsible and sustainable investment for the public good.
The report highlights the need to restore public trust in financial institutions through increased transparency, increase the rewards for long-term investment to provide greater stability for business and innovation, and emphasises that “we need a higher proportion of the increased savings and investments to flow towards the vast range of activities that will increase our energy security, reduce carbon emissions and enhance social and environmental well-being.”
New research from KPMG International has identified 10 “megaforces” that will significantly affect corporate growth globally over the next two decades.
The KPMG study explores issues such as climate change, energy and fuel volatility, water availability and cost and resource availability, as well as population growth spawning new urban centres. The analysis examines how these global forces may impact business and industry, calculates the environmental costs to business, and calls for business and policymakers to work more closely to mitigate future business risk and act on opportunities. The report calculated that if companies had to pay for the full environmental costs of their production, they would lose 41 cents for every US$1 in earnings on average.
The report was released on the opening day of KPMG’s global “Business Perspective on Sustainable Growth: Preparing for Rio+20” summit in New York.
Building International Climate Cooperation: Lessons from the Weapons and Trade Regimes for Achieving International Climate Goals
This report from the World Resources Institute considers lessons from the weapons and trade regimes, noting both their successes and failures in achieving international agreements and/or targets. It compares these lessons to what has been tried in the climate regime, and offers ideas that might enhance the chances of attaining global action to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
A principal conclusion is that countries seeking to control greenhouse gas emissions might consider a wider variety of experiences and potential pathways than are currently under consideration. The report suggests that the objective at this stage must be to consider all options that achieve emissions reductions. It is suggested that the goal must be a timely global stabilization of the climate, however that objective is reached.
This report introduces the National Adaptive Capacity (NAC) framework. This framework is designed to allow its users to systematically assess institutional strengths and weaknesses that may help or hinder adaptation. National adaptation plans may then be better designed to make best use of strengths or remedy weaknesses.
The report describes three pilot assessments conducted using the NAC framework in Bolivia, Ireland, and Nepal. The NAC framework evaluates national institutions’ performance of five key functions critical to adaptation: assessment, prioritization, coordination, information management, and climate risk management. The authors argue that the pilot applications of the framework in Bolivia, Ireland, and Nepal suggest that the NAC framework is useful across a range of countries and that it can be tailored to specific country contexts.
The Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN) is an initiative funded by Defra and coordinated by the Policy Studies Institute in London.
SDRN aims to facilitate and strengthen the links between providers of research and policymakers across government, in order to improve evidence-based policymaking to deliver the UK government’s objectives for sustainable development.
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