1. ONS Renaissance Prize

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Renaissance Prize was launched, by the ONS, to encourage and celebrate the development of economic thought and argument, using a statistical evidence base, among UK undergraduates.

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2. Successful entry 2020

The standard of entries was very high, with all entrants identifying different angles from which to explore the economic benefits of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We are delighted to announce that the winning entry came from a group of four students from London School of Economics. The group members are Brooklyn Han, Patrick Leitloff, Sally Yang and Eddy Zou.

Their essay titled ‘Is a UK Government commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals good for the economy and business in general?’ is attached to this page.*

*The arguments and concepts outlined and explored in this essay are the opinions of the student authors and as such should not be taken as endorsed or representative of the ONS’ position on the essay theme.

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3. Comments from panel on winning entry

Fiona Dawe, Head of the Sustainable Development Goals Reporting Team at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said of the winning entry:

“In their essay, Brooklyn Han, Patrick Leitloff, Sally Yang and Eddy Zou make a strong, evidence-based case for the net benefit of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within governmental policy. By focussing their essay on one aspect of the SDGs, natural capital, they have demonstrated a good awareness of both the issues faced by businesses (such as climate change, the shifting public sentiment towards sustainability and the costs of implementing green innovations) and identified the current economic barriers and points of confusion faced by businesses. The essay provides a good evaluation of the current state of play between policy and SDG indicators and how a government commitment to sustainable development can foster innovations in urban planning and transport. Here, they refer to recent government policies and discuss how these may be linked to specific SDG indicators. The essay concludes strongly with a discussion around the limitations of the SDG framework and how further collaboration is needed to maximise SDG data to support business.”

Thomas Crossley, ONS Fellow, said:

“This excellent essay argues that the UK government’s commitment to the SDGs offers significant benefits for the economy and for business. Brooklyn Han, Patrick Leitloff, Sally Yang and Eddy Zou focus in particular on those SDGs related to natural capital. They marshal evidence that the integration of such goals into the design and evaluation of policy can benefit business and the economy in a number of ways. These include opening up new markets and opportunities for UK businesses, spurring innovation. Regulation can benefit firms by providing standards and thereby reducing uncertainty and facilitating private sector coordination. Greater natural capitals can reduce firms’ costs in a range of ways. They also argue that continued improvements in the measurement of progress against the SDGs can enhance the economic benefits of the government’s commitment to those goals.”

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