A leading expert institution in navigating the transition towards social justice and change in complex futures in Africa
As a research and learning institute with a deep understanding of sustainability, we do values-aligned consulting work for clients in various sectors. Our network of alumni researchers and advisory associates stretches across sectors and disciplines to bring a diverse and experienced skillset to each project. We provide research and consulting contract work to development institutions, multinational organisations, government institutions and private companies in various fields.
Finding solutions to complex issues within the sphere of sustainability cannot be done by taking a singular worldview. Faced with the reality that consensus does not always exist amongst experts, the Institute takes a process driven, context-based, multi-disciplinary approach to research and consulting. We emphasise driving processes that are inclusionary, participatory and ethically bound. By doing this we acknowledge that answers must consider the complexities and interconnected nature of environmental, organisational and social systems – therefore understanding nested dependencies. We also place value on understanding the unintended consequences of approaches, decisions and practices.
Our expertise range across the following sustainability-related areas:
- Sustainable Food Systems (primary)
- Renewable Energy Transitions (secondary)
- Corporate Governance and Sustainability (primary)
- Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation (primary)
- Cities and Infrastructure (secondary)
- Alternative Economics (secondary)
- Sustainable Communities (primary)
- Transformative Learning (primary)
Corporations, governments and development agencies tend to have a significant impact on society and therefore partnering with them on actual projects provide opportunities to influence sustainable transitions practically and more strategically. Supporting transitions within systems through institution specific research, providing context relevant advice and recommendations, allow for practical influence in strategic areas. This Institute’s strong team and strategic partnerships make it one of the leading influencers in the field.
The SI has access to the latest research and thought leadership on sustainability, a key strength in this rapidly growing field. We undertake robust transdisciplinary and applied research that addresses the specific challenges faced by institutions in business, government and civil society. The core group of researchers are top-level graduates from the Masters’ and PhD programmes, with some also having extensive industry experience. Where the SI lacks specialised capacity and/or experience, strategic partnerships and research associates are brought in to execute work and develop leading research outputs.
Sustainability can be daunting if it is not explained in a clear and approachable manner that engages the target audience. Many of those best positioned to make the changes necessary to incorporate sustainability into business, government and civil society decision making, don’t have time to complete the academic programmes offered by the Institute. The Institute, therefore, provides short training courses and in-house programmes tailored to the needs and expertise of the audience. The Institute also prefers to build in-house capacity instead of getting stuck in endless consulting contracts.
The compilation of sustainability literature requires a thorough understanding of the field and a network of reputable contacts. Guided by leading academics at the Institute, the research team has developed expertise in the management of large writing projects including international reports and books on sustainability, and is able to draw on experts from around the world to compile documents that are relevant and accessible to a variety of target audiences.