Building from the corona crisis towards a sustainable future

By Paul Bignell ​ As health practitioners, scientists, economists and those in government continue to navigate the country through the Coronavirus crisis some eight months on; fire-fighting simmering virus hotspots whilst simultaneously attempting to reinvigorate the economy; those tasked with looking further into a post-Corona future have so far b...

Building from the Corona crisis to a more sustainable future

Interview with Tim O'Riordan Emeritus Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia 29th May 2020  Please could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background, and what sustainability means to you? Well, I began as a geographer and I taught for 40 years as a professor of environmental science, at the University of ...

Sustainability First’s Project Inspire ‘A catalyst for change’

Groundbreaking work on innovation and vulnerable customers supported by many, including CEO of Ofgem We are on the cusp of a revolution in the energy industry. Millions of smart meters have already been installed in homes in Great Britain. Alongside artificial intelligence and other new technologies, this could provide the potential for a digital t...

Over 25 organisations work in partnership in ground-breaking public interest project

Sustainability First's innovative New Energy and Water Public Interest Network (New-Pin) project is leading the way in thinking about the long-term public interest in energy and water. On the 28 th of February representatives from over 25 organisations battled through the Beast from the East's snow to attend the final New-Pin conference at Church H...

Demand for change


Francesca Moll explains why an active demand side is the key to unlocking some of the greatest challenges in the energy and water sectors.

Lawns paved over. Cars going unwashed. Sirens in public showers.

This is everyday life for ordinary people in drought-stricken Cape Town, South Africa. The city has been experiencing the worst drought in 100 years, and will shortly approach a ‘day zero’ where the majority of the city’s water supply is shut off and water rationed through collection points around the city.  This gives us an early foretaste of the formidable environmental challenges energy and water may face in the coming years.

Pippa Malherbe, resident of Cape Town suburb Somerset West, is one of the many South Africans who have had to adapt to the city’s new normal. She has installed a host of water efficiency measures in her home to help her and her family keep within the allowance of 50 litres a day per person.

She has pipes to collect used water and runoff from her shower, gutters and washing machine, which is used to water her garden and flush toilet cisterns. She reports not using municipal water for this purpose for over a year. Rather than shower every day, Pippa and her husband bathe in their pool, which they keep topped up with water they buy from those lucky enough to have access to boreholes.