IIED is one of the world’s leading independent policy and action research organisations

Our mission is to build a fairer, more sustainable world, using evidence, action and influence in partnership with others

Our history

Barbara Ward chatting over dinner

Working primarily in the global South, we have been applying original thinking to sustainable development issues – linking local priorities to global challenges – for more than 50 years.

Our founder, Barbara Ward, was one of the first people to articulate the concept of sustainable development.

Learn how IIED has been finding innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing sustainable development challenges for half a century.

Scroll through some of our key achievements over the years.

Our history

flora and fauna shapes arranged in a circle

In 1978, our 'Banking on the Biosphere' work sparked a revolution in the environmental performance of multilateral and bilateral agencies.

Just over a decade later, in 1989, we helped to pave the way for the concept of a green economy by publishing ‘Blueprint for a Green Economy’.

As a member of the Green Economy Coalition, we’re still working to accelerate the transition to green and fair economies.

Our history

Leaders from Rwanda, Liberia, Laos and Burkina Faso with their thumbs up

At the start of the century IIED encouraged the formation of the Least Developed Countries Group of the UNFCCC.

Since 2001 we have supported the group, which played a key role in the Paris Agreement, to fully and meaningfully engage in the UN negotiating process on behalf of those countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Our history

In 2022 we marked our 50th birthday by looking back at some of our biggest achievements and reflected with our current and former staff and partners.

We also looked forward to how we will continue to make a difference on the global stage.

Ahead of the Stockholm+50 conference we published research exploring the evolution of sustainable development since the early 1970s, highlighting our role in 10 key movements for change, including the drives for global climate justice and an inclusive green economy.

IIED Europe

We are continuing to expand: in 2021 a new foundation, IIED Europe, was created to focus on global environmental and social change, including the impacts of European actors.

More about IIED Europe, its mission and how to contact staff

Our experts

IIED brings together over 140 people, from diverse backgrounds and countries, to deliver high-quality research, analysis and impact.

Our research staff comprises four groups, led by three leadership teams and overseen by our board of trustees.

Learn more about our people
IIED staff photo from above
How we work illustration

How we work

Alongside over 350 partners in more than 60 countries, we generate evidence and build capacity in order to drive change in policy and practice.

Find out how we work and are achieving impact across local, national and international scales.

Find out more about our approach


We regularly look for new people to help us to make a difference in the world.

Manifesto for a thriving world

IIED works at the intersection of social and environmental justice.

Our manifesto sets out our strategic approach to tackling the triple crises of climate change, nature loss and inequality.

Our manifesto 

People holding signs during an environmental protest


We work hard to provide value for money for our funders and operate by the same standards we advocate.

Our policies reflect our commitment to integrity, equality and fairness.

See how we put our principles into action

IIED has a staff that is really committed to the values that inspired IIED from the beginning… where science and research and action happens together where we learn from the people, from the communities, from the local partners

– Rebeca Grynspan, secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)


IIED at a glance

International Institute for Environment and Development
+44 (0)20 3463 7399
Contact information

UK: 44 Southampton Buildings, London, WC2A 1AP, England
UK: 1 Boroughloch Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9NJ, Scotland
IIED Europe: Plantage Middenlaan 2K, 1018 DD, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED) is a company limited by guarantee and incorporated in England (Reg. No 2188452. VAT Reg. No. GB 440 4948 50) and an independent charity registered in England (Charity No. 800066) and in Scotland (OSCR No. 039864). IIED is recognised as an international organisation by the OECD Development Assistance Committee.

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