“What makes SEI distinct is that we produce engaged, robust science that is applied through useable tools to empower people and institutions and to support decision making. ”

— Åsa Persson, Research Director and Deputy Director

The global community is almost five years on from the adoption of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda. The next five years will define the conditions for sustainable development for decades to come. 

Right now, 2015 seems like a high-water mark for global action on sustainable development. Now, the undercurrents of political populism are becoming mainstream. Scientific reports have repeatedly warned of environmental collapse. Children have taken to the streets calling for urgent action on climate change. 

At the same time, some policymakers are taking unprecedented steps to make countries and cities carbon neutral. Innovation is transforming traditional sectors and enabling disruptive business models. And green financial instruments are more in demand than ever before.

The world needs bold political decisions, as well as changes in business practices, resource management, and consumer behaviour. 

The SEI Strategy 2020–24 readies us to make a marked contribution to the changes needed in how human society governs and interacts with the environment.

2020-24 Strategy

Read about SEI’s priorities, theory of change, focus-areas and more for the upcoming five years.

Explore the Strategy

Our impact in the world

Over the coming years, we will focus on three areas of crucial importance: 

  • Reduced climate risk 
  • Sustainable resource use and resilient ecosystems
  • Improved health and well-being 
Sustainable Development Goals

Our goals in these areas apply to all research and engagement at SEI. They will define and guide our research agenda, and act as yardsticks for monitoring our results and evaluation and learning.

“With new, made-to-measure processes and online platforms in place, we are stepping up to a higher level when it comes to organizational learning and knowledge management.”

— Marie Jürisoo, Head of Operations and Donor Relations

How we bring about change

SEI’s new theory of change focuses on planning, implementing, and following up on three types of outcome: changing agendas, enhancing capacities, improving decisions. We work with a clear and traceable pathway to impact that elaborates the type and extent of SEI’s contribution. Our projects and initiatives are designed through the lens of this overall theory, setting out intended pathways and results.

SEI theory of change

Complementing our three impact areas, and their detailed priorities for change, we will ramp up policy support and engagement at the global level, being closer to and proactive in different governance processes and providing science-based knowledge support. At the regional level, we will deepen our engagement with regional political and economic cooperation bodies. At national and local levels, we will continue to support capacity development and provide actionable insights for government departments and agencies, communities and city administrations.

“Decisions made over the coming five years will determine mankind’s living conditions for decades ahead. SEI’s enhanced focus on impact and strategic policy engagement reflects this urgency.”

— Måns Nilsson, Executive Director

Walking the talk: an enhanced environmental policy

Over the strategy period, each SEI centre will develop and implement annual action plans that chart progress on environmental targets and set plans for the year ahead. While the nature of SEI’s work means that travel will always be necessary, we must reduce our footprint. Our approach to monitoring and reporting carbon emissions from air travel encourages each employee to reflect on the need to travel, in what way, and how often. Where possible, online meetings and remote participation in events are prioritized for international collaboration. And we have set ourselves an emissions reduction target: to reduce the carbon footprint of our travel by at least 25% per capita by 2024.

Read the full SEI 2020–24 Strategy.