IIED is on the move

Ahead of IIED’s 50th anniversary in 2021, IIED director Andrew Norton announces plans for a change to the institute's location in London and the establishment of IIED-Europe as a new independent entity in the Netherlands.

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Insight by 
Andrew Norton
Andrew Norton was director of IIED from 2015-2022
20 November 2020
An illustration showing connections between IIED's focus on 'partnerships for change', 'research excellence' and 'continual learning'

Continual learning, using partnerships for change and focusing on research excellence are key parts of IIED's strategy behind the decision to move offices in London and create a new European entity (Photo: Kate Green, IIED)

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges. Our hearts go out to those for whom this has been a sad and worrying time, losing friends and family, looking after the vulnerable, looking after children and working as well as being on furlough or losing livelihoods altogether.

The other side of that coin has been many opportunities which we have been glad to embrace and learn from. By adapting quickly to new ways of working and different ways of interacting with colleagues and partners, we have seen the potential, first-hand, of realising a number of our ambitions sooner than we might have done.

We have seen an upsurge in online engagement to our content through our digital booster strategy, we have seen greater attendance at events since they have been online, we have experienced greater equality through online conferencing with many of our partners and participants in meetings that reach out across the globe. With the monumental support of partners, we have continued momentum on project delivery despite a temporary loss of travel.

IIED in London

This has given us the confidence to make the decision to move from our much-loved office in Gray’s Inn Road to pursue a leaner, more contemporary way of working.

Gray’s Inn Road helped secure our reputation as a place to meet, strategise and forge new relationships. Recognising a desire by many to change the balance between travelling to work and working from home since the pandemic experience has given us the evidence behind our move.

We are going to spend 2021 in a short-term home in High Holborn. We will then work with colleagues and friends over the next year to choose a long-term home for IIED in London that is fit for a new way of working.

Retaining the look and feel of the IIED offices, we will want our new home to help us achieve a progressive environmental stewardship strategy. We want to deliver value for money, develop an agile and flexible style of working that prioritises convening and collaboration while supporting our staff in their ability to deliver high quality research and policy change.

Outside of five-storey office building

IIED will leave its Gray's Inn Road office in London in late November (Photo: Matt Wright, IIED)

Making room for engagement with our partners remains a top priority and combining more online engagement and less air travel will be at the heart of these important relationships.

IIED in Edinburgh

IIED’s home in Edinburgh, which we settled into in 2019, remains a vibrant hub for colleagues based in Scotland. Rooting IIED firmly in the Scottish ambition on climate and nature and well placed for the next climate COP, Edinburgh colleagues ensure the voices and views of our partners in the global South are fed into relevant debates and discussions.

IIED in Europe

It will be IIED’s 50th anniversary in 2021 so it is fitting that this is the year we establish IIED-Europe as an independent entity in the Netherlands.

As an international organisation, IIED is keen to stay firmly rooted in the European Union post-Brexit. More excitingly there are many new ideas and opportunities emerging in the EU and its member states that we are keen to contribute to as well as forging links between European partners and our colleagues in the global South.

IIED-Europe will be registered by the end of 2020, and we anticipate a gradual growth throughout the next year focusing on identifying where we can add the best value to the community of like-minded organisations across Europe.

Fit for purpose

As we come up to our 50th year we are confident that our Make Change Happen strategy remains the right one and shows how much of our experience and thinking is just as relevant for the pandemic as it is for the globe’s pressing challenges around climate and biodiversity.

We reviewed the impact of the pandemic on the five global challenges that frame our strategic approach this year in order to ensure that we are focused on making the best contribution we can to green recovery at a global scale, with a particular emphasis on the poorest countries and places.

Dr Tara Shine, who joins as the new chair of IIED’s board of trustees, says: “We know that post-pandemic things will be different for many of us – and with that change comes challenge and amazing opportunity. We look forward to negotiating a fresh start to the new decade and finding the right home in London will be a part of this exciting new chapter.”

Please stay in touch and watch this space.

About the author

Andrew Norton was director of IIED from 2015-2022 

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