Climate Change and Sustainable Development


Climate change has emerged as the biggest threat facing humanity in the 21st century, backed by substantial scientific evidence and growing public attention. The world is heading to surpass a 2°C - 4°C rise in average temperatures by the end of the century compared to the pre-industrial conditions, with human activities considered as the dominant cause of warming since the mid-20th century.  A warmer world will experience more intense rainfalls, droughts, floods and other extreme events.  Although in international discourse climate change is framed as a global phenomenon that transcends national boundaries, its impacts are very local, felt widely within national boundaries from small rural communities to people in large cities.

Taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, ratified by all UN members states in 2015 and part of a comprehensive agenda to tackle the world’s most complex challenges. To be able to make progress in tackling these goals, multiple systems including energy, food and water will need to change radically in the coming years. These changes have huge implications for business, for policymakers and for society. At SBS our aim is to build a community of research, practice and teaching, focused on supporting systems change and moving from policy plans to action. We draw from work in organisation theory, strategic management, finance, innovation studies, leadership, social network theories, and implementation studies. This interdisciplinary, analytic and practical approach provides specific and distinctive ways and means of understanding current efforts to organise policy and practice for climate change and sustainable development.

Boundaries and Bridges


Circular Economy and System Change

This report launched at WEF’s SDI conference during Climate Week in NYC Sept 24 2019.  In this paper we explore the practicalities of building meaningful collaboration across boundaries in order to create the conditions for systems change to occur.  By using a central metaphor – the living bridge – we journey into a space where relationships are carefully woven together to create a strong, resilient and living bridge across boundaries that otherwise inhibit collaboration.  We also propose a simple 5I framework to help organisations prepare to venture into effective partnerships by sharing the origin and scale story of PACE, the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, and its partners.



Movement of movements imaginariums

people shaking hands

Today’s interconnected challenges require collective action. 

Based on the premise that many hands on the levers of change – all pulling at the same time – will have a higher likelihood of success than well-meaning independent activity, the Movement of Movements project is designed to bring together a range of organisations with shared goals so that they can explore ways to build trust, understand comparative advantages and develop shared, concrete and tangible projects together.  SBS hosted a ‘Movement of Movements’ Imaginarium in January which has led to a series of further convenings and a tangible project between a group of actors that is currently in development.