Visualising and communicating research: How can we reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals within the planetary boundaries?

Stockholm Resilience Center & BI Norwegian Business School conducted a research project to uncover if it is possible to achieve the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the planetary boundaries, and what it will take to do so. Are the SDGs really sustainable? Based on historical figures, facts and advanced algorithms, researchers performed a quantitative scenario analysis of economic, social, and environmental changes. The research resulted in four scenarios from 1970 to 2050.

Challenge:

Articulate, visualize and communicate a research report on sustainability and the UN Sustainable Development Goals for a broad audience, while increasing the credibility and enthusiasm for both the researchers and the target audience. Develop a visual identity for both a one-hour presentation and a 12-minute TED Global talk about the research.

Solution: By mapping the project and discussing with the researchers, the presentation’s primary focus and logic were clarified. By including the project’s data inputs and results, the presentation’s structure, text and design were created.

The report compares actual data with forecasts, and presents four different scenarios for the future. Through flow charts with subsequent tracks for the different choices, four scenarios are presented as logical conclusions that are easy to follow. The conscious choice and use of color leaves the audience with a clear understanding. Every continent was assigned a color, which was again used on maps to show affiliation. The four scenarios were also assigned their individual colour and the colours give associations to traffic lights. In this way, green is associated with a positive forecast, and red is more gloomy forecast. The presentation has clear titles, calls to action and the language is easy to understand, thereby reaching as many people as possible.

The result was a presentation that is approachable and understandable to a wide audience. The focus remains on the results and underlines the main message of the report: how can we achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals within the planetary boundaries? Follow the conversations on social media #SDGinPB.

“Leidar took the assignment with great dedication and has worked out clear messaging that is both visualised and emerge through clear messages in the presentation of the #SDGinPB project. The team of consultants have been flexible and easy to work with during our many interactions. Now I’m looking forward to be using the presentation from this great collaboration to bring the researchers message to the people.” – Per Espen Stoknes