School of Global Studies


Sussex professor to oversee global scientific assessment for Cambridge University Press's new Sustainability Series

What are the best ways to help people and societies adopt sustainable lifestyles? Where should charities, NGOs and decision-makers put their money and effort? What can scientific research tell us about what works and what doesn’t? How do we find that evidence in an ever-growing sea of global research?

These are the pressing questions that will be addressed in the first of a new series of scientific assessments published by Cambridge University Press called Cambridge Sustainability Commissions.

Each commission will focus on an issue vital to global sustainability – finding, assessing and bringing together research from across the natural and social sciences to answer specific questions.

Peter Newell, Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex, will oversee the global scientific assessment which will inform the commission’s work. Calling on expertise across disciplines, regions and sectors, he will also gather evidence from those working on sustainable behaviour change.

Professor Newell said: “I’m honoured and delighted to be leading the commission’s work on such a timely and critically important issue as we all seek to find ways to scale up ambition to meet the goals of the Paris agreement on climate change.”

Currently, it can be a real challenge to identify high-impact, evidence-based and scalable projects to fund in sustainable behaviour. People are often uncomfortable with the scale and urgency of the transformation needed for truly sustainable living and there is a lack of understanding about the relation between individual behaviour change and system change at a societal, regional, national or sectoral level.

The commission’s aim is to help inform innovative, effective, evidence-based projects and interventions that will bring sustainable behaviour into mainstream thinking on climate change.

Executive Director at KR Foundation, Brian Valbjørn Sørensen, said: “Changing the demand for unsustainable goods and services and laying out clear and desirable pathways for sustainable lifestyles is critical to reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. This commission will explore evidence-based solutions in the sustainable behaviour field and ensure they are accessible to philanthropy and decision-makers.”

The results will be published Open Access in the Press’s Global Sustainability journal and be freely available to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.

Mandy Hill, Director of Academic at the Press, said: “We believe these new commissions are a perfect fit for our publishing programme on Climate and Sustainability, which is founded on community building and fostering collaboration. We are delighted to be publishing these scientific assessments to contribute to the available literature.”

The first in the series, “Cambridge Sustainability Commission on Scaling Sustainable Behaviour Change: State of Knowledge & Challenges for Societal System Transformations”, has been commissioned by the Copenhagen-based KR Foundation and is due to be published in summer 2021.

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By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Thursday, 23 July 2020