About the Working Group


Sustainability is one of the most important challenges of our time. Great changes are needed to prevent massive degradation of the environment we depend upon, and to ensure the wellbeing of current and future generations. We believe that open knowledge can be key in helping this transformation. Therefore openness and building up our knowledge commons should be an integral part of sustainability thinking.

This Working Group seeks to:

  • advocate and promote the opening up of sustainability information and datasets
  • collect sustainability information and maintain a knowledge base of datasets
  • act as a support environment / hub for the development of community-driven projects
  • provide a neutral platform for working towards standards and harmonization of open sustainability data between different groups and projects.


  • Providing a meeting point and exchange platform for best practices
  • Creating and curating a repository of existing open environmental data resources
  • Organization of events for working with open sustainability data such as hackathons
  • Setting up a website with a blog and resources

By sustainability data we mean data that measures the state of the environment, and data which supports progress towards sustainability. For instance this includes1:

  • Scientific climate data and temperature records
  • Real-time energy production, use and pricing data.
  • Reports of emissions data for countries, municipalities, companies.
  • Biodiversity, including deforestation & marine stocks
  • Food security & production information
  • Environmental impact analysis of products and services
  • Toxicity and chemical information
  • Pollution data for air, water and soil
  • Natural resources flow and industrial metabolism data.

By open sustainability data we meant that:

  1. Sustainability data should be open and freely available so that anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it. Data should be published under any of the licenses conformant with the Open Definition http://opendefinition.org/
  2. Sustainability data should be published online and easily accessible both in human- and machine-readable non-proprietary formats.
  3. Membership

    The Open Sustainability Working Group is open for anyone to join. We hope to form an interdisciplinary network from a range of backgrounds such as academics, business people, civil servants, technologists, campaigners, consultants and those from NGOs and international institutions. Relevant areas of expertise include sustainability, climate and environmental science, cleanweb development, ecological economics, social science, sustainability, energy, open data and transparency.

1 Other examples: http://wiki.okfn.org/Open_Environmental_Data | http://www.cleanweb.org.uk/publications/open_data.html

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