About

Showing you how systems thinking can drive sustainable performance and improve life for everyone including future generations

We work with city-region stakeholders to demonstrate how they can use systems approach in design, planning, implementation and operations to unlock value and drive sustainable performance.

Acting as “brokers”, we facilitate cross-sector partnerships, access to effective tools and a thriving environment for collaboration that will enable cities to deliver the best solutions to their region-specific challenges.

Our phased and adaptable offering allows city regions to gradually apply, test, revise and embed this approach.

Our offering is designed to help cities:

 

  • Increase infrastructure productivity and reduce investment costs by up to 40%.
  • Improve management of resources and multi-hazard risk – including the adverse impacts of climate change.
  • Put citizens’ wellbeing at the centre of planning and investment decisions.
  • Scale solutions to support the delivery of local, regional and global sustainability targets.

We champion a practical and holistic approach to systems change. Our tools and frameworks are designed to support planning and investment decisions that can deliver positive regional transformations.

We are a networked organisation, with global alliances and partnerships across industries, sectors and communities including business, science and academia, and youth and multi-faith groups

We are united in our mission of working with city regions to learn, develop and share our knowledge

Our vision

Enabling resilient communities to provide a better future for generations.

Our mission

Unlocking value and driving sustainable performance in city regions using systems thinking.

Our values

Courageous

“Because business as usual is no longer an option.”

We push the boundaries to design systems solutions to achieve transformational change, at the speed and scale required.

We are determined to put citizens and their wellbeing at the centre of city-region planning and investment decisions that achieve win-win outcomes.

Collaborative

Collaboration is embedded in our organisation, making it stronger than the sum of its parts.

Our work is driven by collective intelligence, fuelled by continuous learning and knowledge sharing.

We bring this value to life in our work with our partners on the ground, across all our target regions.

Ingenious

We continuously challenge ourselves, and our network, to redefine what is possible and come up with new ways to make things happen.

We seek out disruptive and transformative innovations and match them to regional needs, finance, and scale them.

We learn from our mistakes and are quick to solve problems by operating in an intuitive, responsive and flexible environment.

Our approach

A holistic approach to systems change, driven by the power of collaboration, innovation and disruptive technology.

Our phased offering to embedding systems thinking into the planning process is designed to help regions to demonstrate how to accelerate the transition to sustainable development paths.

We are developing innovative systems modelling tools to support data driven, regional planning, policy and investments, powered by the systems modelling technology of resilience.io

Building on the strength of the Resilience Brokers Network, we are working to trigger the great global mobilisation required to speed up the transition to sustainable development paths in all economies and regions.

Our ultimate goal is to help advance the delivery of the Global Goals in city regions.

Efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development need to go beyond diplomatic efforts and Government programmes.

The civil society, academia and the private sector–all have to be mobilized–to find the resources needed to achieve the Goals, and apply them in the best possible way. Antonio Guterres, February 2018

Secretary General of the UN

Because business as usual is no longer an option…

Rapid urban population growth, coupled with the adverse effects of climate change, are having a devastating impact on city-region’s support structures.

The challenges we face today call for an urgent global mobilization of governments, business, civil society, science and academia. They call for new ways of thinking and collaborating, and smart cross-sector partnerships backed by effective technologies and breakthrough business models.

The urgent transformational change required by cities to withstand the emerging global challenges can only be achieved through systems thinking.

The missing middle

The good news is the rapid, transformational change required is actually feasible. There is unprecedented momentum driven by UN agencies, access to data and technology and available finance. However, we are still lacking new institutions for collaborative mobilisation in what is now called “the missing middle”.

Resilience Brokers are facilitators in a neutral space, providing city regions with access to effective tools and support and facilitating a thriving environment for multi-sector partnerships to form and flourish.

Our approach empowers communities to take a leading role in the planning and development processes. Most importantly, it helps creating a long-term legacy of solid partnerships and learnings, critical to supporting a permanent shift to sustainable development and a circular economy in city regions all over the world.

Turning data into wisdom

Our work is fueled by data, science, evidence-based thinking and pioneering, open source systems models (resilience.io), networked across global to local scales.

The Resilience Brokers Network is building a global knowledge and data sharing infrastructure to enable the advance of leading research; dissemination of learnings; and the rapid evolution and adoption of innovative solutions across city regions worldwide. This include working with Network partners such as CODATA among others.

Introducing key innovations

A holistic approach to systems change, with a focus on improving human, ecological and resource systems health. A regenerative, resilient development model in which human and ecological systems health are central to land use decisions.

Resilience Brokers champion a Collaborative, Human, Ecological, Economic and Resource systems approach (CHEER approach) to harness data and scientific evidence for decision making, by integrated modelling of social and natural systems and their interlinkages.

Current approach

Conventional process deprioritises environmental and social elements and promotes siloed, sequential, short-term development.

CHEER systems health approach

Increasing investment and shared stakeholder value through interactive design, systems thinking and collaborative urban‑rural approaches.

resilience.io

 

A pioneering systems modeling platform that combines computer representations of human and business activity, resource flows and infrastructure of a city region, to generate an integrated view that highlights the interlinkages between the systems.

The resilience.io platform is designed to support Earth Systems modelling, down-scaled to city-region scale for multi-hazard risks, to enable scenarios and investments to be risk-assessed and fully backed by science and research.

The prototype development team–from Imperial College London (ICL), the Institute for Integrated Economic Research (IIER), and NUS Engineering Singapore–continue the ongoing multi-sectoral expansion of resilience.io use cases from the Greater Accra datasets, as described in several peer-reviewed journal articles.

New ways to engage with young people and the wider community

To broaden understanding of the Global Goals and empower young people and the wider community to lead change at the systems level (including a “gaming” version of resilience.io).

Involvement of the world’s major Faith groups

To support this transformational change efforts, through a global mobilisation of their followers.

We are attracting faith-consistent investment groups to our Network and providing them with access to a pipeline of bankable projects in city regions, designed using resilience.io, with a focus on protecting and improving our sacred planet.

Bringing solutions to key challenges

Helping to bridge the existing infrastructure investment gap. By reshaping unproductive and unrewarding finance and redirecting investment into building resilience in city regions.

Replacing the siloed approach to sustainable development to tackle resource inefficiencies. By mobilising a global network of partners and supporters to enable a rapid and seamless deployment to any region in the world–in line with existing UN agencies’ plans and frameworks for the Global Goals.

Filling the “data gaps”. In terms of both availability and accessibility, to improve our ability to target resources, develop policies and track accountability.

Activating disengaged groups. Youth and community initiatives designed to engage, educate and influence “bottom-up” behaviour. Creating a long-term legacy necessary to support transformational change at the systems level.

Introducing a holistic risk-layer approach at scales. Development of a global-to-local risk assessment approach to support development, planning and design processes and to inform investment decisions.

Capacity for global scalability

  • Access to open data and pioneering modelling technology.
  • Multiplying impact through Partners and supporters’ global networks.
  • Engagement and mobilisation of young people and communities, globally.
  • Access to finance and tools to develop a pipeline of bankable projects in all city regions.

Accelerating positive impact

We are committed to accelerating the positive impacts of transforming cities into thriving communities for current and future generations, including the most vulnerable and least resourced, leaving no one behind.

  • Impact and progress will be measured against the Global Goals.
  • Projects’ targets will be set through the agency of business leaders; municipal and national government leaders; faith and community groups; and academia.
  • Measuring tools and approaches will be codeveloped with local stakeholders and will form the basis of future decision making and local approaches to governance and investment.

The team

Our growing team operates within a governance structure of world-leading expertise. Together, we foster a collaborative, emergent and frictionless working environment to balance global reach with leading-edge practice.

We are used to rapidly deploying expertise and resources to address city-region challenges around the globe and deliver positive outcomes.

We always collaborate and innovate to empower the Resilience Brokers Network to deliver our shared vision. Our preferred legal approach is alliance contracting, which ensures there is collective ownership of projects.

Management Team

Jeroen Brink

Jeroen Brink

Associate

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Andre Head

Andre Head

Product Director

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Evo Novillo

Evo Novillo

Marketing Director

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Andrew Simmons

Andrew Simmons

Research Director

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Ed Synnott

Ed Synnott

Innovation and Business Director

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Philipp Ulbrich

Philipp Ulbrich

Development Researcher

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Advisory Board

Xuemei Bai

Future Earth

Emma Torres

UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Anthony Capon

International Council for Science

Eugenie Birch

University of Pennsylvania

Michael Cohen

New School New York

Rachel Kyte

Sustainable Energy for All, Fletcher School

Mike Rann

Independent

Sue Parnell

University of Cape Town

Michael Appelbaum

City of Boulder, Colorado

Theresa Anderson

Social Infomatics

Michael Braungart

Cradle to cradle and chemistry

Ruth Deakin Crick

Systems learning and leadership

Andy Goldring

Permaculture

Prof Laura Lee

Systems design

Clare Saunders

Materials resource recovery

John D Liu

Ecology and landscape remediation

Nick Mabey

Climate politics

Kerry Mashford

City energy systems

Bill McDonough

Cradle to cradle and built environment

David Miller

City governance for sustainability

Martin Palmer

Religions and cultural heritage

Pankaj Patel

Bio-energy

Michael Pawlyn

Architect biomimicry

Sanjay Prakash

Architect sustainable development

Prof Kristin Ragnarsdottir

Soil science and health

Michael Velders

Urban agriculture

Dr Kongjian Yu Fasla

Landscape, water and ecology systems

Rita Soni

Philanthropy

Geoff Smith

GEO data and mapping

Scott Williams

Mission Finance

Our journey so far

In September 2017, the Ecological Sequestration Trust (the Trust) convened a high-level meeting of the Resilience Brokers Programme team at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center in Italy. “Approaching Programme Implementation” was the third in a trilogy of workshops delivered by the Trust, and kindly hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation.

The first event, in March 2015, brought together world-leading experts to brainstorm innovative ways to effectively mobilise long-term investment in city regions. The resulting report was very well received at the UN Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa.

In the run up to Habitat III, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) raised the need for a roadmap to support the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. To this effect, in March 2016, the Trust convened a second high-level meeting to cocreate Roadmap 2030: Financing and Implementing the Global Goals in Human Settlements and City Regions.

Roadmap 2030 is the consolidation of leading-edge research and practice from city experts, renowned scholars and world-leading specialists including Eugenie Birch, Aromar Revi and Jeffrey Sachs among many others. Roadmap 2030 was the first fully integrated action plan presented at Habitat III, capable of supporting the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. It continues to be very well received and widely adopted by leading organisations.

Following the introduction of Roadmap 2030 at Habitat III, a number of key actors stressed the urgent need to take things forward. In response to this call, the Trust assembled the Resilience Brokers in 2017, and convened a high-level meeting to identify the critical concepts and opportunities for collaborative and transformative action within Roadmap 2030.

The three-day workshop brought together delivery partners and key supporters–including Jeff Sachs and John Elkington­–who cocreated a detailed delivery plan for the Resilience Brokers Programme.

How it began

Peter Head

In 2004, after 34 years of my professional career as a civil engineer, I joined ARUP as their Global Planning Division lead. I moved from delivering major infrastructure projects to evolving ways to plan city-region systems, thinking I would be in a better position to influence change at scale.

I went on to lead a long list of sustainable development projects, including eco-cities in China. But time and again, I felt we were falling short of delivering the impact we could achieve because we could not demonstrate long-term economic benefit.

I kept quizzing world-leading experts, at events and conferences, on the reasons why nobody seemed to be addressing existing challenges and coming up with a sound plan, capable of delivering more inclusive resilient solutions at the systems level. Until one day at a conference in Hong Kong, when I had asked this again, someone in the audience said:

Why don’t you do something about it, Mr. Head?

It then became clear to me that the urgent transformational change required wasn’t the responsibility of a single nation or organisation. It wasn’t going to be achieved through the conventional siloed approaches. It needed new institutions for collaborative mobilisation. Shortly after, I left ARUP to embark on an extraordinary journey. I set up the Ecological Sequestration Trust, a UK-based charity, to work alongside world-leading experts and organisations, to identify effective ways to deliver change at a speed and scale required. We have since come a long way, including assembling a great team of Resilience Brokers who are now deplyoing demonstrations of the transition to sustainable, inclusive development paths in city regions, globally.

We continue to grow and work with the Resilience Brokers Network to build on the strengths of city regions, including young leaders, to improve ecological and human health, and infrastructure productivity, to steer towards the Global Goals and beyond. Together, we can mobilise billions of people and unlock and redirect trillions in investment and finance into city-regions to build a better future for generations to come. A future built on equal opportunity, justice, dignity and shared prosperity for all.

 

Driven by the power of collaboration and the combined strengths of a powerful global Network

 

The Ecological Sequestration Trust (the Trust) convened a series of three high-level meetings at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center in Italy kindly hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation.

The first event, in March 2015, brought together world-leading experts to brainstorm innovative ways to effectively mobilise long-term investment in city regions. The resulting report was very well received at the UN Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa.

In the run up to Habitat III, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) raised the need for a roadmap to support the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

To this effect, in March 2016, the Trust convened a second high-level meeting to cocreate Roadmap 2030: Financing and Implementing the Global Goals in Human Settlements and City Regions. Roadmap 2030 is the consolidation of leading-edge research and practice from city experts, renowned scholars and world-leading specialists including Eugenie Birch, Aromar Revi and Jeffrey Sachs among many others.

Roadmap 2030 was the first fully integrated action plan presented at Habitat III, capable of supporting the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. It continues to be very well received and widely adopted by leading organisations.

Following the introduction of Roadmap 2030 at Habitat III, a number of key actors stressed the urgent need to take things forward.

In response to this call, the Trust assembled the Resilience Brokers in 2017, and convened a high-level meeting to identify the critical concepts and opportunities for collaborative and transformative action within Roadmap 2030.

The three-day workshop brought together delivery partners and key supporters–including Jeff Sachs and John Elkington­–who cocreated a detailed delivery plan for the Resilience Brokers work.