9th March 2020

Developing a 10 year Transition Plan for Farming

In Partnership with Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

Farming is braced for a decade of change. With a general election just over, and Brexit getting ever closer, the future remains challenging and uncertain for UK farmers facing a new trading environment and an impending transition away from Common Agricultural Policy rules and payments. But we know an even more significant transition is coming, which is the change needed to mitigate and adapt to the climate emergency, and to restore wildlife and natural resources. Many farmers are already leading in responding to the challenges, but many others feel locked in to the current system through long term investments, circumstances and skills gaps.

We need a plan so that farmers can be confident of their future and plan for change. How can we enable farmers to take the driving seat in designing and leading the transition? What is the new financial deal for farmers that supports their wellbeing and ability to adapt? How much food will we need to produce and how do we ensure its affordability? What scenarios are likely to emerge and what support needs to be in place to accommodate them?

The actions we take together now will be vital in us avoiding the worst consequences of the climate emergency and halting the loss of wildlife we are seeing, as well as ensuring everyone has access to healthy affordable food produced in a way that enables us to meet the UK’s global obligations to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement.

Our Consultation built on the two year inquiry and recommendations already developed with cross sector support as part of the RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission and brought together a range of leaders, experts and forward looking practitioners from within the agricultural sector and beyond.

20th February 2020

Making the Best Use of Our Land

In partnership with Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

From climate change to housing and infrastructure, land is often the unspoken but decisive element in policy debate. Yet this debate is too often siloed and too rarely focussed on the potential for land to deliver multiple benefits. The July report of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission advocated a land use framework that could mediate between different uses of the land, encouraging and incentivising multifunctionality. The Commission is now entering its next phase, co-designing pilots to test the policy recommendations made in our report. The aim of this consultation was to bring together those working on the land with senior policy makers and others to take part in this co-design, shaping how a land use framework would work in practice and beginning to plan a pilot.

For the full consultation report click here.

16th January 2020

Climate Change among the Religions: A Forum for Engagement

In Partnership with Coexist House, the Lincoln Theological Institute (The University of Manchester) and the Reckitt Trust

What is the Forum trying to do? Informed by expertise on climate change, its aim was to create an event of mutual learning between and among religious traditions, and thereby inspire fresh action by religious communities. In other words, their aim was to support fresh thinking and action in the context of anthropogenic climate change at all levels in religious institutions.

In support of this aim, the forum had three objectives:

    1. To explore how religious traditions have interacted practically with and learned theoretically about climate change,  in order to evaluate difficulties that religious traditions have in engaging with climate change.
    2. To assess issues that inhibit action by religious communities in favour of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
    3. To devise practical strategies to address these issues.

To meet these objectives the Forum invited expert representatives from

  1. a range of religious traditions,
  2. scientific expertise,
  3. policy and institutional leadership.

The Forum had four outcomes:

  1. The building of confidence within and between religious traditions in the wisdom of aspects of their thought and life to make a contribution to change—personal, communal, social and global—in the context of climate change.
  2. Through a process of mutual exchange, to identify more clearly obstacles to religious engagement with climate change.
  3. To equip key change makers to generate change in their institutions.
  4. To provide an educational resource/legacy to support further processes of change.

The Forum is not interested in a parade of the ecological credentials of religious traditions. Such work has already been undertaken. Nor is the Forum concerned to provide an inventory of the pro-ecological activities of religious traditions—although this work is very helpful and the Forum seeks to enhance such work.

Instead, the Forum wanted to identify and address key questions that both support and inhibit engagement by religious traditions with climate change and our climate emergency. For example, do religious traditions have novel ways of supporting intergenerational solidarity? To what extent should religious adherents engage in political processes beyond voting and advocacy—especially acts of witness, lament, and even Non-Violent Direct Action? In the light of Extinction Rebellion, can disruptive action be affirmed? Religious traditions have regulations about food and diet: given the ecological costs of food production, are there religious obstacles to changes in diets but also religious resources for thinking differently about food production? Are religious traditions so strongly invested in the distinctiveness of the human that acknowledging the value of the non-human is difficult? Are there deep commitments in religious traditions that undermine the sense that the earth is “home”?

1st April 2019

The Theology of Governance in a Cathedrals Context

Supported by The Church Commissioners

As part of the follow up to the Cathedrals Working Group (CWG), the Third Church Estates Commissioner, in partnership with St George’s House, hosted a consultation on 1st – 2nd April to discuss the theology of governance in a cathedrals context. The consultation was designed to facilitate a conversation between those deans selected by their peers to discuss what theology has to say on the topic of cathedral governance. 

The idea was to use the principles or criteria that emerged to inform a critique of the CWG proposals, with a view to recommending appropriate changes to Synod both through a resulting GSMisc and through the Synodical process.

Impacting Learning Outcomes Through Space Design
21st February 2019

Impacting Learning Outcomes Through Space Design: Methods for Now and the Future

In partnership with Herman Miller

Participants explored the notion that active learning spaces and respective pedagogies directly impact learning outcomes. These outcomes are typically considered in, for example, the areas of progress in student grades, user satisfaction, and sustainable design. Participants will however also investigate learning space design and its impact on student skills development, and how we can best evidence and present this at our organisations and universities.


The Future of Urban Living
13th December 2018

The Future of Urban Living

In partnership with Future iQ

The future of urban living is an increasingly critical issue given population trends which show more and more people becoming urban dwellers. Cities and their inhabitants are becoming one of the most influential factors shaping the future of the planet.

On the current trajectory, by 2050 the urban population is estimated to be 6.3 billion (66% of the world’s projected population). Currently 54% of the global population already live in cities. With a further three million people per week moving to urban centres, the future of urban living is an issue we needed to explore in depth and prepare for creatively and pragmatically.

The full report from the consultation can be read here

On-Farm and Local Slaughter
8th November 2018

On-Farm and Local Slaughter

Questions surrounding on-farm and local slaughter are a significant issue in UK agriculture. This Consultation looked in depth at the topic, embracing questions of economics, technology, public perception, practicalities and policy development at government level.

In particular, we looked at whether there is a need for more local abattoirs; whether new technologies offer the opportunity to revisit the concept of on-farm slaughter; and if opportunities do exist, what actions are required to turn those opportunities into practice?

The full report from the consultation can be read here

Sustainable Development Goals
26th January 2018

Further and Higher Education and the Sustainable Development Goals

The seventeen SDGs present a novel framework for domestic and global pursuit of sustainability solutions. Our Further and Higher Education institutions have a key role to play in developing scholarship and skills to critically engage with the SDGs and the wider sustainability agenda.

A recent consultation examined how education in schools might consider the SDGs, but the tertiary sector presents additional complexities. Some universities and colleges already have initiatives addressing the SDGs, in research, teaching and operations; and students, policy makers and many academics have called for more sustainability in tertiary education. How might we deepen sustainability education in the tertiary sector? What role might the SDGs play? What might the outcomes be?

The full report from the consultation can be read here.

Sustainable Development Goals
1st December 2017

Young People and the Sustainable Development Goals

The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are hugely important for the future wellbeing of all people, and for the integrity of the biosphere. It is clear that education has a key role to play, not only in helping people understand the significance of the goals, but also in helping to ensure that the goals, and their targets, are achieved.

We already know that a number of schools have programmes focusing on this, but if goal-related learning by students can help increase the likelihood that the goals will be valued, supported and hence realised, is it also the case that a critical study of the goals can enhance the focus, and help raise the quality of student learning? This Consultation examined these twin propositions. We looked in depth at what good goal-related outcomes might be; and explored what more can be done to embed a focus on the SDGs in work with young people both in and out of school.

To read the report from the Consultation please click here.

Supporting farmers post brexit
20th June 2017

Supporting Farmers Post-Brexit

In March, the Prime Minister triggered Article 50, formally beginning the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union. These are uncharted waters but there is little doubt that potentially seismic changes lie ahead.

UK agriculture will face a range of challenges in the years ahead.

While the government has guaranteed the financial status quo until 2020, the sector needs to look much further ahead. What are the potential threats and opportunities relevant to farmers in the post-Brexit world? How will the transition be managed? What scenarios are likely to emerge and what support needs to be in place to accommodate them? The implications go beyond the purely economic outcome of Brexit.

The full report from the consultation can be read here.