Steam coming from cooling station chimneys

Science-based targets for action

Research indicates that the growing instability of our planet’s ecological system poses an existential threat to humanity.

This research theme supports the ongoing development and implementation of Action2020, an ambitious collaboration between the WBCSD and a globally prominent network of scientists, which aims to develop targets for how businesses and markets can improve sustainability efforts.

Activity includes:

  • Centre Director, Professor Gail Whiteman, is WBCSD Professor-in-Residence, providing scientific advice to the WBCSD and actively engaged in developing and utilising science-based targets for business action (see videos at bottom of page).
  • Ongoing engagement with WBCSD - Dr Jess Davies has given presentations on soil health at COP and WBCSD Liaison Delegate Meetings. Funding from the Natural Environment Research Council, awarded to Dr Jess Davies and Dr Victoria Janes-Bassett, enabled a new soil sustainability project in partnership with WBCSD member, Olam International, and collaborated on a Natural Capital Synthesis Report on soil natural capital valuation in agribusinesses, which was officially launched in Autumn 2018.
  • A new £3.4M, EPSRC-funded project, Data Science of the Natural Environment (DSNE), uses data science techniques to make better use of environmental models to assist in decision making. The Air Quality Theme of DSNE is led by Pentland Centre Associate Director Dr Paul Young, who is working with the DSNE team to develop techniques to understand the role that climate change may have on future air quality extremes, and how this may be mitigated by policy decisions to address pollution sources.
  • Professor Whiteman has co-authored a number of high profile Nature Comment papers with Christiana Figueres (Mission2020, former Executive Secretary of UNFCCC) and business leaders. The most recent was Emissions are still rising: ramp up the cuts.
  • Professor Rodney Irwin of WBCSD is an Honorary Teaching Fellow at the Pentland Centre.
  • Professor Whiteman is continuing to develop links with Mission2020 and define a strategy that positions the Pentland Centre as a facilitator of sustainability science communication.

Key researchers: