An integrated framework for sustainable development goals

David Griggs, Mark Stafford Smith, Johan Rockström, Marcus C. Öhman, Owen Gaffney, Gisbert Glaser, Norichika Kanie, Ian Noble, Will Steffen, Priya Shyamsundar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Citations (Scopus)


The United Nations (UN) Rio+20 summit committed nations to develop a set of universal sustainable development goals (SDGs) to build on the millennium development goals (MDGs) set to expire in 2015. Research now indicates that humanity’s impact on Earth’s life support system is so great that further global environmental change risks undermining long-term prosperity and poverty eradication goals. Socioeconomic development and global sustainability are often posed as being in conflict because of tradeoffs between a growing world population, as well as higher standards of living, and managing the effects of production and consumption on the global environment. We have established a framework for an evidence-based architecture for new goals and targets. Building on six SDGs, which integrate development and environmental considerations, we developed a comprehensive framework of goals and associated targets, which demonstrate that it is possible, and necessary, to develop integrated targets relating to food, energy, water, and ecosystem services goals; thus providing a neutral evidence-based approach to support SDG target discussions. Global analyses, using an integrated global target equation, are close to providing indicators for these targets. Alongside development-only targets and environment-only targets, these integrated targets would ensure that synergies are maximized and trade-offs are managed in the implementation of SDGs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Development
  • Environment
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable development
  • Sustainable development goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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