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Supporting science-based decision-making for a sustainable future

  • Lian Pin Koh

    Roles Conceptualization, Writing – original draft

    Affiliations PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, San Francisco, California, United States of America, Centre for Nature-Based Climate Solutions, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

As PLOS Sustainability and Transformation turns one, we reflect on the importance of our mission at a crucial time for sustainability research, where openly available findings and the inclusion of diverse voices has never been more necessary to shape alternative futures. We have a busy second year ahead, as we continue to build a connected community and strive to put leading research in the hands of those able to enact real societal and environmental change.

2022 was an important year for sustainability for many reasons, perhaps most notably because, with the end of 2022, we approach the halfway point for the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) deadline [1]. Now just seven years from 2030, the magnitude of environmental, cultural, political and economic transformations required to bring global communities closer to meeting these goals is brought into stark focus. Ongoing pressures from climate change, global conflicts and economic disruption threaten progress towards the SDGs. These challenges were also the focus of discussion during the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) and United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) last year. Our ability to reach these goals will be underpinned by the collaborations of researchers, practitioners and policymakers as the research landscape flexes to bring these communities together. The 2022 SDG report highlighted three urgent priorities as ‘a roadmap out of crisis’, all of which will require multifaceted efforts based on strong research to address; (1) ending ongoing conflicts to create a stable state for sustainable development, (2) implementing development pathways that combine clean energy transitions with resilient food systems and thriving economies, and (3) transformations of global economies for equitable recovery for all [2].

Amid these pressing challenges, PLOS Sustainability and Transformation outlined its mission to support decision making for a more sustainable future by publishing catalytic research from a diversity of researchers and policy experts across disciplines, sectors, and geographies [3]. Publishing original research from corresponding authors in 27 countries across our full scope, ranging from changing perceptions of sustainable choices in consumer behavior [4,5] to recommendations for more resilient agricultural practices [68], emerging threats to ecosystem services [9,10] and challenges in incorporating transformative innovation into policy practices [11]. We’re incredibly grateful to include so many brilliant minds in support of such a pressing mission. We’ve been excited to continue to build a diverse community of editors, authors and reviewers, and we’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to developing our first volume to share timely original research to drive critical transformation toward a more sustainable future.

As facilitating Open Science within the environmental and social sciences remains central to our mission, our anniversary also marks an opportunity to highlight our recent partnership with the preprint server EarthArXiv (, alongside our sister journals at PLOS. This integration allows authors to choose to automatically forward their manuscript for posting as a preprint upon submission to PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, making it easier for authors to disseminate their work and gain community feedback as early as possible ( We are excited to see that our authors are already starting to engage with this opportunity.

As we look to our second year of publication and beyond, we are committed to delivering quality author experience and supporting our contributors in working towards our shared mission. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation will persistently explore avenues to amplify policy-relevant research to empower those able to enact real change for a sustainable future. We will continue to elevate diverse perspectives and facilitate the implementation of transformational change as we collaboratively work to disseminate compelling research for the benefit of society, global economies and the environment.


  1. 1. United Nations. Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. United Nations. 2015. Available from:
  2. 2. United Nations. The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022. United Nations; 2022 Jul. Available from:
  3. 3. Koh LP. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, empowering immediate actions for a sustainable future. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation. 2022 Mar 1;1(3):e0000004.
  4. 4. Seo Y, Kudo F. Charging plastic bags: Perceptions from Japan. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation. 2022 May 2;1(5):e0000011.
  5. 5. Erkkola M, Kinnunen SM, Vepsäläinen HR, Meinilä JM, Uusitalo L, Konttinen H, et al. A slow road from meat dominance to more sustainable diets: An analysis of purchase preferences among Finnish loyalty-card holders. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation. 2022 Jun 16;1(6):e0000015.
  6. 6. Aich A, Dey D, Roy A. Climate change resilient agricultural practices: A learning experience from indigenous communities over India. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation. 2022 Jul 28;1(7):e0000022.
  7. 7. Paas W, Meuwissen MPM, van Ittersum MK, Reidsma P. Temporal and inter-farm variability of economic and environmental farm performance: A resilience perspective on potato producing regions in the Netherlands. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation. 2023 Feb 23;2(2):e0000046.
  8. 8. Dorin A, Taylor T, Dyer AG. Goldilocks’ quarter-hectare urban farm: An agent-based model for improved pollination of community gardens and small-holder farms. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation. 2022 Jul 15;1(7):e0000021.
  9. 9. Cavender-Bares JM, Nelson E, Meireles JE, Lasky JR, Miteva DA, Nowak DJ, et al. The hidden value of trees: Quantifying the ecosystem services of tree lineages and their major threats across the contiguous US. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation. 2022 Apr 5;1(4):e0000010.
  10. 10. Jiren TS, Schultner J, Abson DJ, Fischer J. A multi-level assessment of changes in stakeholder constellations, interest and influence on ecosystem services under different landscape scenarios in southwestern Ethiopia. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation. 2022 May 9;1(5):e0000012.
  11. 11. Ulmanen J, Bergek A, Hellsmark H. Lost in translation: Challenges in creating new transformative innovation policy practices. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation. 2022 Oct 17;1(10):e0000031.