Mission and Goals

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to fulfill a bold commitment: to create a world wher people and the planet thrive.

Our vision

A world where people and the planet thrive.

Our mission

To accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resources, and fair economies.

Our values

  • People
    Our primary focus is improving the lives of people and communities, fostering a more equitable and sustainable world.

  • Planet
    We are committed to supporting the healthy ecosystems and biodiversity that underpin all thriving communities.

  • Excellence
    We produce work of the highest quality, and our independent advice is backed by evidence.

  • Collaboration
    We believe diverse partnerships produce better and more resilient outcomes.

  • Impact
    We aim for creative, bold solutions with significant impact. We create the knowledge to act.

Financial support

IISD is a registered charitable organization in Canada and has 501(c)(3) status in the United States. IISD receives core and project funding support from numerous governments inside and outside Canada, United Nations agencies, foundations and the private sector.

For more detail, view our latest annual report.
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Our strategy

As Canada’s voice for sustainable development around the world, we are inspired by the words of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Announcing the founding of IISD to the United Nations in 1988, he reminded world leaders that:

“Mankind is not destined to destroy itself; war is not inevitable; poverty can be alleviated; the environment can be preserved; injustices can be made right.”

The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney

Powered by this conviction, IISD has been a continuous force for change for 30 years, experiencing remarkable growthnearly doubling in revenue since 2014—and making indelible impacts along the way.

These five core priorities guide our work toward a sustainable future.

Five intersecting leaves labelled Climate, Resources, Economies, Act Together, and Engage, to spell CREATE.

To deliver the knowledge to act, IISD’s work is organized around the following five programs.

Economic Law & Policy

Enabling economic policy-making in support of sustainable development, including investment, trade, public procurement, infrastructure financing, and sustainability standards, with sector-specific practices in agriculture and mining.

Energy

Supporting clean and just energy transitions by developing evidence, advocating, working with partners, and directly advising governments in Canada and in large emerging economies around the world.

Resilience

Helping governments, civil society, communities, and businesses manage climate- and conflict-related risks and, through the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network, supporting developing countries to advance NAP processes and accelerate climate change adaptation efforts.

Tracking Progress

Providing analyses, networking, and tools to interpret the state of sustainability in systems or regions, and promoting measurable, collaborative action.

Water

Creating better policy and programming solutions for governments, civil society, and industry to protect global freshwater supplies—based on scientific research conducted on whole lakes at our Experimental Lakes Area.