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Sustainable Living

A Research Theme that helps to encourage people and societies to move towards lifestyles that have lower adverse impacts on the environment.

Measuring the economic impacts of environmental pollution

We attempt to express impacts of air and water pollution, and climate change, in monetary terms, even when they do not have market prices. This involves measuring people’s preferences relating to such as health, ecosystems and future time periods.

Using a common metric may help understanding their importance relative to other challenges that society faces. Similarly, these measures are compared with the costs of policies that alleviate the environmental impacts in order to develop an economic justification of these policies. At a more aggregated scale we use such data to create more holistic indicators of sustainable development.

View our work on the impact of environmental pollution
A large pile of plastic bottles next to the sea

Understanding behavioural changes and the environment

We use insights from psychology within an economics framework to explain why individuals are more or less pre-disposed towards actions that are beneficial or less damaging for the environment. Specifically, we investigate the role of social norms in determining behaviours that affects the environment and triggers that might be effective in making such behaviour more environmentally sustainable. By observing real human behaviour in a controlled environment, we aim to test hypotheses regarding decisions relating to sustainable living.

View our work on behavioural changes
An adult and child outside in a woodland. The adult picking up a plastic bottle and can while the child watches

Population behaviour and international environmental policy

The main topics in this context are:

  • better understanding the emergence of cooperation in economic - ecological systems
  • the sudden transitions that characterise collective behaviour
  • whether the emergence of cooperation is a viable alternative to binding political agreements in the quest for a solution to our pressing global environmental problems
View our work on behaviour and international environmental policy
An aerial photo of people walking down a hall

About us

We find ways to encourage environmental degradation to be de-coupled from economic activity and develop and analyse policies that result in more equal societies. We are also interested in developing indicators that give a broader guide to human well-being than conventional economic measures such as GDP.

Our researchers take part in a wide range of activities around externally funded projects accounting for a total of about £600,000.

Contact us

Contact us if you have any questions about our research theme.