In 2017, for the fifth year in a row, SEI was ranked among the top two think tanks in the world working on environment policy.

“This annual report shows how SEI is stepping up to the challenge of delivering sustainability,” says Måns Nilsson, SEI’s Executive Director. “The stories we present here provide evidence of how our research is connecting science and decision-making, improving the lives of people and communities.”

The report is in three sections. ‘SEI in Review’ provides a summary of our activities and turnover for 2017. ‘From Goals to action’ tells the story of our work and its impact through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals. The ‘SEI Foundation Annual Report’ presents the audited accounts of the SEI Foundation.

Sustainable Development Goals

SEI has supported the development of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ever since the Rio+20 conference in 2012.

Our work is now focused on enabling implementation by supporting multilateral organisations, national governments and industry in translating the 2030 Agenda from wide-ranging, idealistic ambitions into achievable, actionable policies.

Our aim is to turn this from an agenda for action into an agenda of action.

Enabling action, unlocking delivery

In 2017 we found new ways to move our research from the academic literature to formats and services that make scientific insights applicable to policy. In conjunction with the COP23 climate summit in November, the German Development Institute and SEI launched a visual tool, the NDC-SDG Connections Tool, that shows how climate action corresponds and contributes to each of the 17 SDGs.

In the field of health, SEI’s Integrated Benefits Calculator was presented at the UN Environment Assembly. This decision-support tool translates emission scenarios into impacts, such as avoided premature deaths and crop losses. For example, policy-makers can see how many lives would be saved through an emissions reduction policy – and view that impact by age, disease and contributing pollutant.

In a different area, the Trase tool is now recognised by decision-makers in both the public and private sector as a “game changer” in supply chain transparency. Throughout 2017, Trase has seen rapid uptake by decision-makers, including to support specific decision-making around purchases of sustainable commodities and management of risk in both production and consumption economies.

Global impact, locally relevant

With ten offices in seven countries, and more than 220 employees from over 50 nationalities, SEI shows that diversity is a strength in its own right: alongside deeper collaboration with our partners, it is central to our development as an organisation.

Our funding sources

Who funds us, and how much do they provide? The annual report gives a full account of the finances of the SEI Foundation and our funders. Compared to 2016, our total funding has increased by about 20%. Over the last three years, our funding base has diversified substantially, and we now receive funding from over 140 different organisations.