Sustainability Research Institute

Our Partners & Funders

External Partners & Funders


Partnerships with two leading retailers noted for their approaches to sustainability delivered benefits for all parties. 

Marks and Spencer

Our partnership with Marks & Spencer included:

  • Joint MSc student research projects focusing on textiles, food and warehouses;
  • Guest lectures by the head of Plan A at the University;
  • A two-and-a-half year Knowledge Exchange Fellowship which identified environmental science evidence for M&S to improve the sustainability performance of its food products.


Our partnership with the sustainability team at Asda included:

  • Joint MSc student research projects leading to three graduates being employed in sustainability manager roles at Asda;
  • A three-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership funded by Asda, Innovate UK and the ESRC1, focused on helping customers reduce food waste at home;
  • A major contribution to Asda’s Sustain and Save initiative to support their 30,000 suppliers to reduce their environmental impacts;
  • Asda’s quarterly consumer insight survey on green issues, run by the Institute, through which 20,000 customers recorded their attitudes and behaviours on green issues.


A long relationship with DEFRA has resulted in the Institute being responsible for providing the UK Government with one of their headline indicators – “Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Consumption-based Emissions”. This indicator questions the notion of accounting emissions from a territorial perspective (emissions occurring within the boundary of the UK) compared to considering the emissions associated with the consumption patterns of the UK respective of where they occurred.

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

A long-standing partnership between the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) has provided the opportunity for SRI research to inform many of the UNCCD’s capacity building activities and to feed into new ways in which research informs policy and decision making. For example, SRI has input into curriculum development for the UNCCD’s Soil Leadership Academy (SLA) - a joint initiative between UNCCD and the private sector. The SLA aims to fill the gap in capacity building opportunities for policy makers to address land management issues, by distilling and sharing the latest research, knowledge and expertise in soil conservation and sustainable land management practices. SRI researchers have also played a key role in research underpinning the themes of the three UNCCD’s Scientific Conferences held over the period 2009-2015, developing supporting documentation, and identifying good practices in transdisciplinary dryland science.

World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

The partnership between the Sustainability Research Institute and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) has enabled various forms of research collaboration, from developing and implementing research projects, to fieldwork and co-authoring publications. We are currently exploring shared opportunities for research capacity development.

Internal Partners

Sustainable Cities Group

The Sustainable Cities Group is an inter-disciplinary network of researchers focused on the theory, action and policy of deepening urban sustainability in the coming decades. The Group takes as its starting point that this work needs to be transformational, going beyond the current 'business as usual' model, as urban societies run out of options to adjust.

The University of Leeds Sustainability Service

The University has made a strategic commitment to become a  become a university where sustainability is truly embedded through knowledge, engagement, collaboration and innovation. Sustainability will be an integral part of our operations and will bring about positive, sustainable change for the future.