About Us


The Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD) is a research unit of Simon Fraser University.  We use the resources and talents of the University to deepen understanding and create solutions to advance sustainable development.  The Centre is affiliated with SFU’s Sustainable Development Program, which offers related academic programs and courses.

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the global development agenda through 2030.  The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. 

These 17 Goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, and peace and justice, among other priorities.  Whereas the eight MDGs were aimed primarily at so-called developing countries, all nations must commit to and report on their progress toward the 17 SDGs.  The Global Goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.

The SDGs work in the spirit of partnership and pragmatism to make the right choices now to improve life, in a sustainable way, for future generations. The 17 Goals provide guidelines and 169 targets for all countries to adopt in accordance with their own priorities and the environmental challenges of the world at large. (SDKP 2015, UNDP 2015).

The SFU Centre for Sustainable Development is part of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to mobilize global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development, including the design and implementation of the SDGs. Along with SDSN, we are committed to supporting the implementation of the SDGs at local, national, and global scales. 

Our mandate is to stimulate the research and study of sustainable development in BC and elsewhere; collect and provide information about sustainable development within and outside the province; carry out projects on sustainable development in partnership with communities and agencies outside the university, facilitate effective use of the university’s resources in responding to requests for assistance on sustainable development problems; create opportunities for professional development experience and programs for sustainable development practitioners; and establish working relations with similar centres internationally, particularly in developing countries.

We aim to integrate economic, social and environmental objectives in development. Our approach to sustainable development is based on a consideration of the relationship between economic factors and other elements such as housing, education, the natural environment, health, accessibility and the arts. Sustainable development has emerged as a compelling alternative to conventional approaches to development: a participatory, holistic and inclusive process that leads to positive, concrete changes in society by creating employment, reducing poverty, restoring the health of the natural environment, stabilizing local economies, and increasing community control.

We are committed to developing practical, effective solutions for environmental, social and economic challenges.  We possess a unique understanding and approach to support businesses and communities in their transition to sustainability.  Our research is conducted by faculty and staff, graduate and undergraduate students, adjunct faculty and centre associates. 

The Centre was established in 1989 as the Community Economic Development Centre, re-named in 2004 as the Centre for Sustainable Community Development, and in 2017 became the Centre for Sustainable Development.  The Centre is a unit of the SFU Faculty of Environment.