Field trial visit to the Center of Excellence for Rice in Malaysia, left to right: Shahrizal Abdul, Rob van Daalen, Raudhah Talib, Dr. Suzana Yusup, Noor Hafizah Ramli and Abu Bakar Ahmad.
The winner of the first ever Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge, Dr Suzana Yusup, invited Rob van Daalen (publisher Chemistry and initiator of the Challenge) to make a site visit to see the progress of her project "Biopesticide for Improvement of Paddy Yield". The visit made clear that the Elsevier sustainability program and specifically this challenge have a positive impact on health, environment and society in local communities in Malaysia, enhancing efforts to advance SDGs 1, 6, 12 and 15.

Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 31, 2017, Pages 12-25

Urbanization is transforming human society in many ways. Besides all the obvious benefits, it also brings negative impacts such as the well-documented urban heat island (UHI) effect and the magnified human heat stress. One way to reduce human heat stress is to increase vegetation density in urban areas, because they can provide evatranspiration and shading benefits. This study investigated the impact of various trees on urban micrometeorological conditions in both open space and high density settings, and how they regulate outdoor thermal comfort contributing to SDGs 11 and 15. This study suggests that urban trees should be planted strategically to improve human thermal comfort as an integral part of all modern urban developments.
Using newly-released and globally available high-resolution remote sensing data on forest loss, the authors update the assessment of the cross-country determinants of deforestation in developing countries. Agricultural trade, relatively neglected to date, is found to be one of the main factors causing deforestation. Insights into the relationship between the levels of forestation and trade are vital for understanding how to address SDG 15.2 to promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests.
Reducing large-scale deforestation in commodity frontiers remains a key challenge for climate change mitigation and the conservation of biodiversity. Public and private anti-deforestation policies have been shown to effectively reduce forest loss, but the conditions under which such policies get adopted are rarely examined. This paper proposes a set of conditions for the adoption of effective anti-deforestation policies. Such conditions will help to advance SDG 15.2 to promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests and halt deforestation.
This is the first global quantitative assessment of how humanity is negatively affecting Natural World Heritage Sites (NWHS) by analysing human footprint and forest loss . The lessons being learnt from this research on NWHS is clearly related to how we need to protect our natural ecosystems, directly advancing knowledge for SDG 15, which is about the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. This article has also won the February 2017 Atlas award.
This is a timely article with potential to tackle multiple fronts of sustainable development with regards to agricultural intensification and green revolution which are currently taking precedence in most developing countries as a means of boosting productivity and ensuring food security. Given the high dependence of the modern global food production system on the continuous supply of commercial phosphorus (P) fertilizers, this study presents a detailed, methodical, and up to date assessment of the key sustainability challenges for the global P resource, and highlights their implications for global food security. This article addresses SDG 2; SDG 12; SDG 14 and SDG 15.
In the US, land owners are liable for environmental impacts in relation to contaminated land. This Lexis Practice Advisor practice note explains what due diligence should be carried out in relation to the purchase of land/buildings to assess the environmental risk. Environmental due diligence advances SDG 3.9 to substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination, and generally supports SDG 11 Sustainable cities and SDG 15 Life on land.
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).
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.