Our interdisciplinary research explores how pathways to sustainability, green transformations and equitable access to resources such as land, water and food can be achieved and help us meet the environmental as well as human development-related goals of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Our work builds on a long tradition of critical social science engagement with environmental issues and resource politics in collaboration with partners globally. It explores how pathways to sustainability are shaped by political-economic and social processes, and understands how they are driven by technology, markets, states and citizens.  Our research sheds new light on how we can achieve green transformations that move us from fossil fuel to renewable energy, from throw-away to circular economies. It addresses the politics of sustainability, and understands how transformations occur at local levels as well as global, in both rural and urban settings, and be led by citizens as well as national governments. In doing so, it shines a light on how sustainable resource use, consumption and production is shaped by issues such as gender, livelihoods and politics.


Image of Lyla Mehta

Lyla Mehta

Professorial Fellow

Image of Ian Scoones

Ian Scoones

Professorial Fellow

Image of Amber Huff

Amber Huff

Research Fellow

Image of Jeremy Allouche

Jeremy Allouche

Professorial Fellow

Image of Lars Otto Naess

Lars Otto Naess

Research Fellow

Image of Wei Shen

Wei Shen

Research Fellow

Image of Shilpi Srivastava

Shilpi Srivastava

Research Fellow

Programmes and centres

Recent work

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New exhibition from the ‘sinking islands’

A unique art exhibition exploring the responses of those living with environmental uncertainty in the Sundarbans of India is being hosted at IDS this week (5 to 10 July). It features artwork co-created by academics and community groups from the Transformation as Praxis: Exploring Socially Just...

5 July 2022


To ‘leave no one behind’ we must address religious inequalities

This week (5 and 6 July) the UK Government hosts a major International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB).  Aiming to “strengthen international efforts to ensure FoRB for all” the conference is convening events with international government ministers, faith...

4 July 2022


News from PASTRES: July 2022

How well do policy frameworks in pastoral regions respond to issues of uncertainty? Four new papers (on Europe, West Asia and North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Sahel, and Asia) reflect on the issues in global regions, identifying some major problems and challenges.

1 July 2022


Between the Lines podcast – Sustainable futures: An agenda for action

In this episode of the IDS podcast Between the Lines, IDS Director Melissa Leach interviews leading development policy analyst and IDS Emeritus Fellow Raphael Kaplinsky, author of the book Sustainable Futures: An Agenda for Action. The book explores the determinants and character of the ongoing...

1 July 2022


Stories of change from the STEPS Centre

A set of 11 new ‘stories of change’ charts the journey of the ESRC STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre since 2006 through major debates and movements on sustainability. © Image: Marcus Mailov (cc by-nc-nd 2.0) Since being co-founded by...

29 June 2022


The growth of urban agriculture in Zimbabwe

The growth of urban agriculture in Zimbabwe has been phenomenal. Every space seems to be cultivated, with a huge array of crops. Today you see tractors, irrigation pumps, trucks carrying produce to markets, with significant investments in commercialised agriculture happening alongside...

28 June 2022


Loliondo evictions: bad for people, conservation and pastoralism

On 7 June, a paramilitary group estimated to be around 700 people – mostly police, park rangers, military and other security forces – arrived in the Loliondo area of Ngorongoro, Tanzania. Violence followed, including the shooting and arrests of local residents protesting against the...

Lucas Yamat

Pablo Manzano

28 June 2022