In 2018 I worked with WWF, Oxfam, NEF and others on a research project investigating how inequality and sustainability relate. My job was to take a series of research reports and repackage them as something shorter and more accessible that drew out the key lessons for policymakers. The result is How fair can be green: exploring the connections between equality and sustainability, which has now been published by the Green Economy Coalition.

The report takes an in-depth look at the three very different countries of India, Kenya and Britain, looking at patterns of exclusion and how environmental problems often affect those who are already marginalised. Four shorter chapters then look at similar patterns across the sectors of waste, transport, food and energy. Interspersed shorter case studies highlight projects or businesses that address environmental and equity concerns at the same time, and some of them may be familiar to regular readers of the blog…

I found this a really fascinating project to work on, and I think its message is an important one. Unless we keep an eye on both issues at once, it is easy for environmental policies to compound inequality, or for measures aimed at reducing inequality to produce worse outcomes for the environment. By understanding the inter-connections, it is entirely possible to pursue policies that are both green and fair.

You can download the report here.