UCL News


UCL academic awarded 2018 World Sustainability Award

25 September 2018

Economist Dr Zhifu Mi has been awarded the prestigious 2018 World Sustainability Award in recognition of his on-going research into the economics of climate change.

World Sustainability Award 2018

Nominations for the World Sustainability Award are sought from the international research community. Individuals or groups must have both made and be making a significant academic or societal contribution to sustainability in general or to a particular sustainability issue.

Dr Mi (UCL Bartlett School of Construction & Project Management) was presented with his award at the 7th World Sustainability Forum held in Beijing, on September 20, 2018. He was specifically recognised for his work on climate change economics and sustainability, particularly the methodologies and applications of carbon footprint.

Dr Mi said: "I am very excited to receive the World Sustainability Award. My research focuses on climate change economics which is highly relevant to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including Sustainable Cities and Communities and Climate Action.

"Thank you to the School and Prof D'Maris Coffman for supporting my research on sustainability in the built environment."

Dr Mi's work on carbon footprint aims to track carbon emissions along interregional trade routes, helping to address the challenge of carbon leakage, which is where a reduction in emissions in one region results in an increase in another.

He is currently focusing his work on two climate change and sustainability topics:

  • Consumption-based carbon emission accounting. Most current emission inventories are taken at the point of production. Mr Mi's work considers the methodologies and applications of consumption-based emission accounting in which all emissions occurring along the chains of production and distribution are allocated to the final consumers of products.
  • Sharing economies as a pathway to sustainable societies. In collaboration with Professor D'Maris Coffman, Dr Mi's research explores a new business model for a sharing economy in which public authorities, enterprises and consumers can collaborate to achieve environmental and societal benefits.

Dr Mi has published more than 30 papers in peer reviewed journals, with nine in the Essential Science Indicators (ESI) highly cited papers list, an indicator of how influential his research is.

Professor D'Maris Coffman (UCL Construction & Project Management) said: "We are enormously pleased and proud of Zhifu for winning this prestigious recognition for his tireless efforts to understand how economies and societies can achieve on behalf of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

"His Herculean research productivity, his openness to and generosity about research collaborations, and his commitment to building a global academic network to tackle climate change are all in the very best traditions of UCL.

"We are delighted that the MDPI Sustainability Foundation has recognised and awarded his efforts, and feel both privileged and glad that he has found an academic home at UCL."

The World Sustainability Award was established and is funded by the MDPI Sustainability Foundation, who are committed to supporting societally relevant research that contributes to regional and global efforts towards a sustainable world.

This is the second year that the awards have been held. Dr Mi's co-winners are Mathis Wackernagel, co-creator of the Ecological Footprint and President of Global Footprint Network.




Media contact 


Kate Corry

Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 6995

Email: k.corry [at] ucl.ac.uk