The Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) generates cutting-edge research and empowers collaborative action to tackle the world’s interwoven economic, social, and environmental challenges in all societies and at all scales.

Rooted in a focus on the needs of people being left behind, the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) harnesses a unique blend of outlooks to inform decisionmakers across international institutions, North American policy arenas, and platforms that connect leaders across global geographies, sectors, and scales. We engage with leaders in venues ranging from the United Nations, World Bank, and G20, to national governments, mayoral offices, and local community organizations.

CSD scholars draw from experience in government, nonprofits, multilateral organizations, philanthropy, and academia to rally the attention of key actors toward issues and perspectives that too often remain overlooked in policy debates. By fostering insights and alliances across countries and constituencies, CSD amplifies its expertise on issues such as eradicating human deprivation, advancing gender equality, mobilizing public finance, addressing climate change, and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

The CSD approach

The heart of CSD’s work is to inform public debates and engage with decisionmakers. Doing so hinges on a distinctive three-pronged approach to shaping debates, empowering stakeholders, and catalyzing long-term change.

  • Research leadership. We produce a blend of cutting-edge scholarly analysis, actionable insights, and pragmatic policy recommendations to inform decisionmaking and help stimulate systemic gains. This ranges from influential academic journal articles to highly practical policy briefs.
  • Knowledge hub. Embracing a collaborative ethos in knowledge creation, we harness, distill, and elevate cross-disciplinary insights and expertise from a broad constellation of academics, policymakers, and practitioners. This is done through an array of mediums, from edited book volumes tapping into leading experts around the world to podcasts introducing fresh voices into national policy debates.
  • Network catalyst. Our teams actively convene and strive to empower diverse groups of leaders and innovators from around the world. We curate the exchange of viewpoints to bridge gaps and advance practical problem-solving at every level, ranging from local and national efforts to global-scale endeavors.

CSD research

CSD’s research pillars strategically reinforce each other to advance foundational progress toward inclusive, resilient, and sustainable prosperity for all. Our specialized focus areas include:

  1. Sustainable development economics and empirics. We provide an array of analytical economics and quantitative studies to help shape global debates on sustainable development paradigms, measurement methodologies, trend assessments, and frameworks for alignment across private and public sectors.
  2. Gender equality for sustainable development. Our newest multi-dimensional workstream focuses on financing for gender equality and women’s empowerment, updating global institutional architectures, and the evolving needs of the care economy amid challenges of climate change.
  3. National and subnational sustainable development. Leveraging place-based insights and data-driven peer learning networks, we create opportunities for national and subnational leaders around the world to augment their own cross-cutting economic, social, and environmental strategies.
  4. Financing for sustainable development. Through applied research and direct engagement with policy leaders tackling the biggest challenges of climate and sustainable development, we tackle key issues of public finance, private finance, philanthropy, and resource effectiveness.
  5. Tools to advance implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We propose pioneering instruments to unlock stubborn policy challenges, generate accessible guidebooks to inform entrepreneurial decisionmakers, and build innovative problem-solving platforms such as the “17 Rooms” initiative to empower practical SDG actions across geographies and sectors.

CSD is also actively exploring the launch of a sixth research pillar on private sector alignment with global sustainable development. This will likely place special emphasis on alignment frameworks to inform future global sustainable development objectives post-2030.

Our team