Reports That Can Help Businesses Lead in Sustainability

Better Business, Better World

"A call to action to business leaders to align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This report shows how the next decade will be critical for companies to open 60 key market “hot spots,” tackle social, environmental challenges, and re-build trust with society." 

By The Business and Sustainable Development Commission

Blueprint for Business Leadership on the SDGs

"take leading action in support of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)"

Global Climate Action Playbook 2018

" a practical toolkit for business outlining high-level policy updates, outlook on key climate actions and the arc of ambition, and snapshot of country-level analysis on Nationally Determined Contributions and Sustainable Development Goals"

The Health effects of common home pollutants: Radon

Infrastructure Resources

Urban Design for Planners

Courses from Planetizen that teach you "urban design plans, models and graphics using GIS, SketchUp, and graphics editing software" 

How to improve infrastructure project selection

A report from the Economic Policy Institute that outlines the problems with popular methods of infrastructure planning and proposes more efficient, cost effective and environmentally sustainable methods.

Delivering on sustainable infrastructure for better development and better climate

A report from the Brookings Institute which presents ways to build and plan resilient and sustainable infrastructure.

Case Studies in Sustainable Infrastructure

Examples of sustainable infrastructure projects from all across Canada.

Courses For Architects and Planners

Planetizen Learning Paths

Courses for anyone interested in the built environment. They include learning technical skills, planning ideas, design, and climate change issues.

Ecodesign for Cities and Suburbs

An online course by UBC where you can "learn how ecology can guide urban design to avert environmental disasters and improve people’s lives."

Green Building and Community Sustainability Certificate

Harvard extension school's certificate program which can be completed online.

Reducing the Environmental Impact of Concrete

USGBC course which "covers reducing the environmental impact of concrete by implementing recommended stategies including replacing cement with supplemenatry cementitious material."

Architects & Firms Working for a Better World

Whether you want to learn from their example, connect with them or work with them you have a wealth of places to look at as an architect who wants to make the world a better place

The Top 50 Firms in Business, Sustainability, and Design 2017- The Journal of the American Institute of Architects

Top 100 Green Building Contractors and Design Firms 2017 - Engineering News-Record

Top 15 Sustainable Architecture Firms 2015 - National Council of Architectural Registration Boards

Humanitarian Architecture: The Top 21 Architects, Websites and Resources - Build Abroad


Economists & The Environment - Links, Groups & Journals

The Club of Rome

Most famous for their best selling report The Limits to Growth the Club of Rome describe themselves as:

"The Club of Rome is an organisation of individuals who share a common concern for the future of humanity and strive to make a difference. Our members are notable scientists, economists, businessmen, high level civil servants and former heads of state from around the world. Our mission is to promote understanding of the global challenges facing humanity and to propose solutions through scientific analysis, communication and advocacy."

Redefining Progress

The group that produced the 1997 Economists' Statement on Climate Change drafted by Kenneth Arrow, Stanford University; Dale Jorgenson, Harvard University; Paul Krugman, MIT; William Nordhaus, Yale University; and Robert Solow, MIT, and signed by Nobel Laureates.

Green Economics Institute

 One of the largest green research centres in the world and runs the Green Economics Conference at Oxford University.

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

"The Journal of Environmental Economics and Management publishes theoretical and empirical papers devoted to specific natural resource and environmental issues"

Ecological Economics

The journal of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE)

Sustainability is Good for Business

Here are 3 studies and 3 books to get you excited about going green in the workplace. Ethical, environmental & sustainable choices are guaranteed to make workplaces more productive & successful. You can start to build up loyalty & goodwill among customers and employees while you help make the world a better place.

Study: Environmental standards and labor productivity: Understanding the mechanisms that sustain sustainability

"firms that have adopted environmental standards enjoy a one standard deviation higher labor productivity than firms that have not adopted such standards"

Nielsen Report: Doing Well By Doing Good

"average annual sales increase of 2 percent for products with sustainability claims on the packaging and a rise of 5 percent for products that promoted sustainability actions through marketing programs. A review of 14 other brands without sustainability claims or marketing shows a sales rise of only 1 percent" 

2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study

91% of global consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit, but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues
84% say they seek out responsible products whenever possible
90% would boycott a company if they learned of irresponsible or deceptive business practices

Whether you are a large or small business here are some inspiring examples of sustainable ideas and guides:

By Darcy Hitchcock, Marsha Willard
By Marc J. Epstein, Adriana Rejc Buhovac

Social Responsibility Handbooks

Corporate Social Responsibility An Implementation Guide for Business

"A study from the International Institute for Sustainable Development."

The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility

"Bringing together leading experts in the area, it provides clear thinking and new perspectives on CSR and the debates around it"

Sustainability Disclosure Database

A database of reporting from thousands of organisations worldwide on their sustainability and CSR practices

Handbook on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for Employers’ Organizations

An EU funded "Review of the current situation in partner countries (Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Turkey)"


The challenges of e-waste are immense, from the millions of tons thrown away each year causing untold toxicity to the environment and human health to the financial and resource mismanagement of minerals lost in the process. 

Here are some studies worth reading to get an idea of the heavy burden we all pay in e-waste.


"The intrinsic material value of global e-waste is estimated to be 48 billion euro in 2014. The material value is dominated by gold, copper and plastics contents. The annual supply of toxins from e-waste is comprised of 2.2 Mt of lead glass, 0.3 Mt of batteries"

Illicit trade in electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) from the world to the region

"E-waste is classi ed as hazardous waste due to the presence of toxic materials which can be considered either hazardous or non-hazardous waste in accordance with the Basel Convention and can have adverse impacts on both the environment and human health "

Health effects of exposure to e-waste

"Reported adverse effects include: fetal loss, prematurity, low birthweight, and congenital malformations; abnormal thyroid function and thyroid development; neurobehavioural disturbances; and genotoxicity"

Climate Innovation

Climate Technology

"Through its Climate Business Innovation Network, the program convenes local and global institutions to promote the diffusion of innovative business models across borders"

Innovation to Drive Climate Change Solutions

"The Business Innovation and Climate Change Initiative aims to answer these questions through leadership education, multi-stakeholder events, applied research and bipartisan analysis related to clean energy innovation."

Business innovation and climate change: Policy makers must favour dynamism

"policies will be for nought in the absence of a dynamic business environment, particularly one which encourages the entry of new, adventurous firms and the exit of less innovative and less productive firms"

Why business innovation will help build a new climate economy

"Given the scale and pace of innovation required to construct a new climate economy, many incumbent companies will struggle to adapt their business models and practices in the short term. They risk missing opportunities for value creation, and jeopardising their existing markets and reputations if they fail to keep up with consumer expectations."

Ceres Policy Network: Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP)

"The Ceres BICEP Network was founded in 2009 on the understanding that climate and clean energy challenges present tremendous opportunities, but also urgent risks for global businesses"

Videos: Planning Parks

Need some inspiration? 

Sit back and watch these lectures, talks and short films about sustainable park design and public space.

Those of you interested in parks and public space will want to watch this.

This is a fascinating project to revive and save forest and waterways and reintroducing and protecting wildlife.

Interesting examples of public spaces activated not just by the designers of the space but by the users.

The Insurance Industry & Climate Change

The insurance industry has long acknowledged the fact of climate change, because they have had to insure the results of it. The rise in natural disasters, as a result of man-made global warming, is clear and recognised. Here you can explore what insurance companies have done to face climate change.

First a podcast from the Centre for International Governance Innovation:

The Insurance Companies

Climate Change: Value at risk to investment and Aviva’s strategic response

Reports from Aviva on how they respond to the challenge of climate change 

"Over coming decades, climate change presents solvency issues to businesses in many different industries, including our own" Aviva

Swiss Re: Managing climate and natural disaster risk

Zurich based Swiss Re is the world's second-largest reinsurer

"Swiss Re understands the relationship between climate and natural disaster risk and how both affect our world" Swiss Re

AXA & Climate Change

France’s largest insurer has taken many steps including a 2015 commitment to divest of coal assets. 

"Over the past 50 years, the frequency of climate-related natural disasters was multiplied by more than 5 and the cost for the society was multiplied by more than 10" AXA

Climate Change Education: Preparing Future & Current Business Leaders

Climate Change Education: Preparing Future and Current Business Leaders: A Workshop Summary (2014)

A useful resource for those interested in educating the business community in climate preparedness and challenges. 

"Climate change poses challenges as well as opportunities for businesses and, broadly speaking for the entire economy. Businesses will be challenged to provide services or products with less harmful influence on the climate; respond to a changing policy, regulatory, and market environment; and provide new services and products to help address the challenges of a changing climate. Many businesses are beginning to see climate change as another context within which they need to consider their core functions of strategy, finance, operations, marketing, and their regulatory environments, a context that poses both risks and opportunities." NAP

Masters Programs: Economics + Environment


Environmental Change and Management, M.Sc.

This University of Oxford programme includes modules like Environmental Economics and Policy and Sustainable Responses to Environmental Change

MSc Environmental Economics and Climate Change

This 12 month programme from the London School of Economics (LSE) prepares you to look at environmental problems through an economic lens.

MSc Global Energy and Climate Policy

This programme at SOAS includes modules in Multinational Enterprises in a Globalising World – Economic and Legal Perspectives  and International Economics.

MA Economics with Environmental Studies

This program from The University of Edinburgh is a 4-year combined programme 

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics MSc

A one year programme from the University of Birmingham which "combines a solid foundation in key areas of economics, with specialized field courses"


Master in International Development

This programme at Sciences Po Paris "combines intensive training in finance, economics, public policy (from the global to local level), project design, management and evaluation"

Master 2 Environmental and Natural Resources Economics

This programme at the Toulouse School of Economics has several paths that prepare you for the many challenges and policies facing the environment and the economy.

Master of International & Sustainable Finance

This programme at the Business School Lausanne in Switzerland lets you "explore the interdependence between finance and sustainability and will be exposed to the latest thinking on shared economy, social value, sustainable investing, micro-crediting, and other models beyond finance as usual"


Environmental, Resource and Development Economics

This University of Winnipeg programme help you learn "economic analysis, and apply this knowledge to issues surrounding low-income communities, resource use, and the environment"


Environmental Economics & Policy

This Duke University concentration is part of the Master of Environmental Management program. It provides "core training in environmental economics, law, politics and analytical methods and tools"

MS in Environment and Resources/MBA

This Stanford University program is a "joint MS Environment and Resources/MBA degree program with the Stanford School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences"

Master of Environmental Studies

This University of Pennsylvania programs includes Environmental Business foundation courses, and environmental policy as well as resource management concentrations .

Sustainable Development MBA

This Brandeis University MBA "ideal for early- to mid-career managers of domestic and international organizations working on poverty alleviation, community development, healthcare, women’s development, biodiversity, conservation, disaster mitigation, small enterprise creation and advocacy"

The Consensus on Climate Change

Scientists are rigorous, they relish challenges and they are always looking to disprove or prove a hypothesis. This is why it's very important that Climate Change and the fact that we are causing it, are agreed upon by the overwhelming majority of scientists.

In fact the 3% of studies that supposedly fell outside of that consensus were proved to be flawed in recent studies. 

Here is some reading to back that up:

Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming

"We examine the available studies and conclude that the finding of 97% consensus in published climate research is robust and consistent with other surveys of climate scientists and peer-reviewed studies."

Learning from mistakes in climate research

This is the study that found the 3% of climate change denier studies were flawed or biased. Well worth a read. 

"A common denominator seems to be missing contextual information or ignoring information that does not fit the conclusions, be it other relevant work or related geophysical data. In many cases, shortcomings are due to insufficient model evaluation, leading to results that are not universally valid but rather are an artifact of a particular experimental setup. Other typical weaknesses include false dichotomies, inappropriate statistical methods, or basing conclusions on misconceived or incomplete physics. We also argue that science is never settled and that both mainstream and contrarian papers must be subject to sustained scrutiny"

Those 3% of scientific papers that deny climate change? A review found them all flawed

"researchers tried to replicate the results of those 3% of papers—a common way to test scientific studies—and found biased, faulty results"

Scientific Consensus: Why Should We Accept It?

"As opposed to politics, where vested interests contend for supremacy, science is a field where the single goal is to discover the truth. The spirit of science propels those who work in their various fields to make sure current popular beliefs are tested for veracity"

A little video to help introduce you to the topic: