Sustainable Development Goals


Encouraging collaboration to accelerate action to protect the environment

UCL researchers are collaborating with businesses and the UN Environment Programme to accelerate action to protect the environment and build a sustainable world by 2050.

SDG Case study G17.4-GEO6 report-Ekins

8 October 2020

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority, which provides leadership and encourages partnership across and within countries to care for the environment and protect it for future generations. 

Professor Paul Ekins, Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources (ISR), is collaborating with colleagues at UNEP on a suite of activities that will help countries achieve the environment-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and meet other internationally agreed targets, such as those in the Paris Agreement, which aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change. 

As co-chair of UNEP’s sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) report, Professor Ekins is calling on decision-makers to take immediate action to address pressing environmental issues and ensure countries are on a path to a truly sustainable future. 

“To achieve this, it is vital to get the business community and public policymakers behind transformative environmental policy,” he explains.  

“The UK has led the world in setting ambitious carbon-reduction targets, but it is not on track to meet an 80% reduction by 2050, let alone net zero.” 

Professor Ekins says: “The UK has led the world in setting ambitious carbon-reduction targets, but it is not on track to meet an 80% reduction by 2050, let alone net zero.” 

The report highlights the need for systemic and integrated policy action to transform production systems and consumption. Innovations in the commercial sector can help, but can also create risks and have negative environmental impacts, such as causing pollution and creating waste.  

He is now co-chairing the Advisory Group of UNEP’s ‘GEO for Business’ workstream, providing briefings on key business-related issues in light of the findings of GEO-6.  The six briefings will give an overview of the business and sustainability agenda, before examining topics such as the circular economy, infrastructure, sustainable finance, the food system and the decarbonisation of electricity. 

“By providing a platform for the business community to liaise with academics on environmental impacts, we hope to see a positive response to the stark messages laid out in the GEO-6 report.   

“Environmental sustainability should be central to both business practice and measures of human progress. We need to bring all aspects of society closer to a more positive relationship with nature,” he adds. 

Related links

GEO-6 Report