Sustainability First celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in 2015 with a reception at the House of Lords, kindly hosted by Lord Teverson. We were delighted to see so many partners and colleagues join us for this event. As part of the proceedings, we asked five key players in the sustainability arena (Simon Roberts, Cathryn Ross, David Baldock, Simon Anderson and Pip Roddis) to give us one big or new idea on what is needed to tackle sustainability over the next fifteen years, which those attending voted on. We have now published a pamphlet (also available at http://www.sustainabilityfirst.org.uk/index.php/other-publications) containing their contributions as a way of sharing these thoughts with colleagues who were not able to be present.
To whet your appetite, here is a shortened version of the introduction to the pamphlet by the Chair of our trustees, Ted Cantle:
“At Sustainability First we like to think of ourselves as a ‘think-tank’s think-tank’. Whilst we don’t shout from the roof tops, we continue to have credibility and influence, driven by our expertise and the substantive contribution we make. We provide authoritative, in-depth research that helps shape ideas early on, often choosing areas that are overlooked by mainstream policy circles or that require substantial thought to progress. We have been at the forefront of thinking in some key areas, most notably on the energy demand side; sustainability and regulation, customer engagement, and smart meters, smart grid and energy savings.
“We have also developed new thinking on long term issues for the water sector.
“Fifteen years is a long time in sustainability.
“We were established in the year 2000, which is just a blink of an eye in environmental terms, yet since this time we have seen some amazing changes, not least in the use of technology. The next fifteen years will witness huge changes again and will herald some important national and global decisions on how we deal with energy demand, climate change and environmental degradation. This year itself is a crucial one for the environment, with the UN climate summit in Paris and new Sustainable Development Goals.
“We hope that Sustainability First will continue to weave its magic behind the scenes during the next fifteen years. We still maintain a very active interest in the energy demand-side and how that will play out in terms of practical implementation. Much of our work over the next fifteen years will focus on the long-term public interest, both in energy and water, with a current focus on the New Energy and Water Public Interest Network (New-Pin), which brings public interest groups together with regulators and companies to develop a more clearly-articulated ‘public interest voice’ to underpin both the short-run operation and the long-run investment programmes of the water and energy sectors.
“We sincerely hope to be able to celebrate Sustainability First’s next fifteen years with you all in 2030. Or, if not, that by then sustainability issues are so mainstream that the organisation is no longer needed.”