Sustainable consumption and production

The state of nature report has revealed that more than half of UK wildlife species studied have declined since 1970. This decline has been linked to intensive farming practices although farm leaders have disputed the findings. Understanding these issues and the role of agriculture will contribute to the advancement of SDG 15.5 to take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
An autonomous harvester starts to cut robot-grown barley
The groundbreaking Hands Free Hectare project has just seen its first harvest. This £200,000 Innovation UK-funded project by Harper Adams University with Precision Decisions has modified existing machinery to drill, sow, spray and harvest the crop without any human control. The project aims to show how automation can facilitate a sustainable farming system where multiple smaller, lighter machines will enter the field, minimising the level of compaction (SDG 15, life on land and SDG 9, industry, innovation and infrastructure).
Global consumption of aquatic foods has been increasing in recent decades but demand outstrips supply. This study evaluated the sustainability of cage production systems for Nile tilapia in the Santa Cruz Reservoir. The results showed that by creating a framework to measure the sustainability of aquaculture production, effects of increasing production can be assessed and measures can be taken to meet SDG 14.2 to sustainably manage and protect marine ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts.

Special Report, 3 July 2016

Covestro has produced bio-based PU dispersions for textile applications
Growing demands from brand owners and consumers for fibres and textiles that are more environmentally friendly are now creating a huge market for bio-based polymers produced using renewable feedstocks. The textile and packaging industries have a significant impact on the environment: this report highlights how recent developments in new materials support SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy.
Constructing and maintaining transportation infrastructure is very resource intensive and can have negative impacts on the environment. Reviewing geotechnical engineering in transport infrastructure highlights the transformation in the past twenty years to using more sophisticated technologies integrating sustainability principles. SDG target 11.2 aims to provide sustainable transport systems, which this article focuses on, in particular activities relevant to sustainable earthwork construction aimed at minimising the use of energy and production of CO2.

Energy geotechnics involves the use of geotechnical principles to understand and engineer the coupled thermo-hydro-chemo-mechanical processes encountered in collecting, exchanging, storing, and protecting energy resources in the subsurface. In addition to research on these fundamental coupled processes and characterization of relevant material properties, applied research is being performed to develop analytical tools for the design and analysis of different geo-energy applications. This paper summarizes some of the major research and practical developments in the emerging area of energy geotechnics which relates to SDG 7, 11 and 13.

How are sustainability transitions effectively implemented across borders? This case study of the coffee sector shows the impact of adopting ‘sustainability standards’ and how a ‘modular governance architecture’ in a transnational setting has helped different actors turn sustainability from an ambiguous concept into a concrete set of semi-independent practices. Modular processes like these are able to play an important role in reaching SDG 17 to strengthen the means of implementation.
Food security is enshrined in SDG2 and is also a core component of the human development and capability paradigm, since food access and entitlements are critical for reinforcing essential human capabilities. This paper argues that agriculture is central to improving food security and reducing poverty in Africa, requiring rapid increases in land productivity and increases in agricultural yields. A science-based approach that integrates gender and sustainability is critical to design and implement policies that improve the availability of farm inputs and farm technology.

Building and Environment, Volume 97, 15 February 2016, Pages 196-202

Heat map of simulated annual heating demand for South Boston using UMI (a) and daily gas and electricity demand profiles for the highlighted building in South Boston (b).
Targets to reduce GHG emissions in cities require significant political willpower. Transportation and industrial activity have varying contributing factors to GHG in cities, while emissions from buildings is always a key contributor. Understanding building emissions is important in achieving SDG 11 and SDG 13. This article reviews both individual building energy models and regional and country-level building stock models as a way of analysing the energy performance of neighbourhoods.
Key strategies to low energy buildings
The behaviour of a building's occupant has a significant impact on the energy consumption of that building. Behaviour patterns of building occupants are uncertain but social scientists have been studying behaviour patterns for decades. Drawing on this research, this paper explores advances and obstacles in modelling occupant behaviour and the impact this can have on measuring energy consumption. Target 11.6 is concerned with reducing the adverse impacts of cities, therefore understanding and being able to predict occupant behaviour will play an important role in achieving this target.