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

Research 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



System Change Hive

The System Change HIVE will explore and communicate visions of better lives to inform public thinking and work towards fairer systems that safeguard life-support systems and prioritise well-being and justice.

Recent work

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Showing 1381–1392 of 1443 results

Working Paper

Lake Victoria’s Nile Perch Fish Cluster: Institutions, Politics and Joint Action

IDS working papers;87

The collective efficiency model contends that joint action is essential for coping with new challenges. This paper discusses how enterprises in the Lake Victoria fish cluster operate, interact and address common challenges facing the industry. It suggests that the lack of effective institutions...

1 January 1999

Working Paper

Sustainable Livelihoods and Livelihood Diversification

IDS working papers;69

This paper constitutes a preliminary output of the ODA-funded research programme on sustainable livelihoods being carried out by the Institute of Development Studies and the Poverty Research Unit at the University of Sussex, in collaboration with the International Institute for Environment and...

1 January 1998

Journal Article

Reframing Deforestation

International concern over the extent and rate of tropical deforestation has intensified, whether for interests of biodiversity, climate change, forest peoples or respect for nature. West Africa is assumed to have experienced the most dramatic deforestation of all, supporting cataclysmic climate...

1 January 1998


CAP Reforms: Will Developing Countries Benefit?

The UK Presidency of the EU must oversee progress on the Agenda 2000 proposals to reform the common agricultural policy (CAP). The proposed reforms are limited and will not include the substantial trade liberalisation called for by critics of the CAP. This must wait for the next round of WTO...

1 January 1998

Working Paper

Rules, Norms and the Pursuit of Sustainable Livelihoods

IDS working papers;52

The central aim of this Paper is to review the current understanding of how institutional arrangements can either encourage or discourage the pursuit of sustainable livelihoods.

1 January 1997