The Sustainability Laboratory


The Sustainability Laboratory was established in 2008 by Dr. Michael Ben-Eli in order to help address urgent sustainability issues facing the planet.

To guide its activities, The Lab has developed its own unique, action-oriented conceptual framework, which takes a holistic perspective and features cross-sector and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Applying this holistic approach, The Lab engages in research, development, and education activities focused on key sustainability-related issues. Our growing portfolio of projects demonstrate cutting edge, model strategies for addressing sustainability challenges on a local, regional, and planetary scale.

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Why A Lab

Addressing the sustainability challenge requires going beyond mere adjustments in existing patterns of doing things to fundamentally changing the way we manage human affairs.

Lab Tech

The unprecedented nature of the required change means that there is no tried-and-true operating manual to guide us. The capacity for thinking in new paradigms and pursuing creative experimentation is, therefore, essential. Hence the concept of a laboratory, with connotations of exploration, radical innovation, going beyond the familiar, and breaking new ground.

Just as the great defense laboratories assembled extraordinary talent to develop destructive technologies, The Sustainability Laboratory will harness worldwide talent to advance a planetary sustainability agenda, helping humanity secure the promise of its next evolutionary step.


“To act as a catalyst for accelerating the transition of world’s society and its economy to a sustainable basis by researching, developing, demonstrating and facilitating adoption of breakthrough sustainability practices, thereby expanding prospects, and producing positive, life-affirming impacts on people and ecosystems in all parts of the world.”

Areas of Competence

The Lab’s work will integrate four interrelated areas of competence that are essential to catalyzing deep change. These competencies include a mastery of means and methods to tackle: Development Projects, Technology Innovations, Green Economics, and Education.

Development Projects: While most sustainability-related projects today tend to be sector or issue specific, development issues are comprehensive and multifaceted by nature. The ability to employ a holistic, system-based approach to development is critical for ensuring lasting, positive effects.

The Lab will initiate, design and implement groundbreaking model development projects that integrate all the interdependent dimensions of sustainability in a holistic, practical, and impactful way.

Technology Innovations: As has been the case throughout history, technological innovations will continue to underlie the evolution of society. Low-technology approaches have an important role to play, particularly in less developed areas of the world and in the short to medium term. Ultimately, however, it will be radical advances in science and disruptive new technologies which will play a vital role in driving change.

The Lab will undertake the development of game-changing sustainability-enhancing technologies, and facilitate the prototyping of integrated green technology applications on the ground.

Green Economics: Economic activity which ignores true costs continues to drive markets in directions that produce multiple adverse impacts. Introducing new models and new financial instruments in order to reorient economic activity is fundamental to ensuring appropriate change.

The Lab will research, develop and experiment with new financial instruments that incorporate true cost calculations and account for externalities, and it will assist in tailoring financial strategies for the realization of specific sustainable development goals.

Education: In order for change to occur, the new paradigm must become a part of people’s innermost consciousness. Broad-based sustainability literacy is an essential component of the necessary transformation.

The Lab will engage in a variety of educational activities including the creation of training programs for leaders in business and government, the development of special programs for students at all levels, and the dissemination of sustainability-related materials for the general public.

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These four main competencies will be designed to reinforce one another, thus amplifying the cumulative impacts of Lab initiatives.