On September 27, 2012, the National Academies released a report summarizing a workshop held in December 2011 on how better to foster sustainability considerations into procurement tools and capabilities across the public and private sectors. Daniel Tangherlini, Acting Administrator of the General Services Administration, and Bicky Corman, Deputy General Counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, provided remarks at a launch event held at the Koshland Science Museum in DC. On September 28, 2012, the National Academies held a dissemination event, bringing together procurement leaders from the public and private sectors to discuss the report and ways to move forward.
A National Academies Symposium: Science, Innovation, and Partnerships for Sustainability Solutions The National Research Council’s Science and Technology for Sustainability Program organized a two and a half day public symposium, Science, Innovation, and Partnerships for Sustainability Solutions. During the symposium, experts examined the National Science Foundation’s and other Federal agencies’ investments in research related to sustainability, including the most significant outcomes of these investments. In addition, participants identified opportunities and key priorities to enhance the link between science and decision making and to help encourage practices that would promote sustainability; and to foster partnerships and linkages between disciplines, sectors and agencies.
Sustainability and the U.S. EPA A 2011 report from the National Research Council presents a framework for incorporating sustainability into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s principles and decision making. The framework, which was requested by EPA, is intended to help the agency better assess the social, environmental, and economic impacts of various options as it makes decisions. The report is available to download from the National Academies Press. A report in brief provides a short summary of the report.
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Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability Established in 2003, the STS Roundtable provides a forum for sharing views, information, and analysis related to harnessing science and technology for sustainability. Members of the Roundtable include senior decision-makers from government, industry, academia, and non-profit organizations who deal with issues of sustainable development, and who are in a position to mobilize new strategies for sustainability.
Sustainability and the U.S. EPA An ad hoc committeee under the Science and Technology for Sustainability Program (STS) has authored a consensus report for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Office of Research and Development (ORD) to help define their efforts to incorporate sustainability concepts into agency programs. This report builds on existing sustainability efforts that ORD has conducted by strengthening the analytic and scientific basis for sustainability as it applies to human health and environmental protection within the Agency's decision-making process.
Sustainability Linkages in the Federal Government The National Academies’ Science and Technology for Sustainability Program is undertaking a nationally-focused study entitled Sustainability Linkages in the Federal Government. The Linkages initiative will attempt to identify and describe the linkages among domains such as energy, water, and health that are not routinely considered in decisionmaking. The premise is that sustainability is a systems problem that cannot be achieved by separately optimizing its pieces. The study will build upon existing and emerging expertise throughout the scientific, technological, and policy communities, describing the nexus where domains intersect but existing institutions and disciplines do not. The committee will convene a series of fact finding meetings, commission expert-authored case studies, review the pertinent literature, and author an overall consensus report, which will include a decision framework that can be used by U.S. policymakers and regulators to help them examine the consequences, tradeoffs, synergies, and operational benefits of sustainability-oriented programs.
Network for Emerging Leaders in Sustainability (NELS) Launched in 2008, NELS is an event series for early career professionals from federal and local agencies, the National Research Council, NGOs, private sector and foundations, in the Washington DC area. The Network includes leaders with diverse backgrounds and expertise, from natural resource management to energy policy to public health. Through NELS, these emerging leaders foster relationships that enable them to more effectively bring about a sustainable future.
Sponsor-Requested Workshops and Studies Sponsored studies that enlist the nation’s foremost scientists, engineers, health professionals, and other experts to address the scientific and technical aspects of sustainable development.
Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) Program
The National Academies' Science and Technology for Sustainability Program (STS) in the Policy and Global Affairs Division was established to encourage the use of science and technology to achieve long term sustainable development. The goal of the STS program is to contribute to sustainable improvements in human well-being by creating and strengthening the strategic connections between scientific research, technological development, and decision-making. The program concentrates on activities with the following attributes:
Cross-cutting in nature, requiring expertise from multiple disciplines;
Important both in the United States and internationally;
Effectively addressed via cooperation among multiples sectors, including academia, government, industry, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
To learn more about sustainability activities, both in the STS program and throughout the other boards and committees of the National Academies, please view the list of publications, upcoming meetings and ongoing studies.