Sustainability assessment program

group picture sustainability
SAP staff and research students (L-R): Guangwu Chen, Michalis Hadjikakou, Paul Wolfram, Hazel Rowley, Juan Pablo Alvarez Gaitan, Ruth Fisher, Judith Schinabeck, Soo Huey Teh, Tommy Wiedmann,Sven Lundie, Yumi Kobayashi and Prof. George (in Yumi's arms).

The Sustainability Assessment Program (SAP) team includes researchers with diverse backgrounds: environmental, chemical and materials engineering, environmental science, environmental management, geography and economics. All members of our team are experts in different aspects of quantitative environmental, economic and social impact assessment. We understand that decision making for sustainable development must be based on methodologically sound, life-cycle based evaluation of products, companies, projects and policies. Our research projects address industry and government policy challenges related to sustainability.


Areas of expertise

Our ambition as a team is to employ our tools and expertise to provide insight to grand sustainability challenges such as water and wastewater management, rising anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, food security and dietary transitions, urbanization and infrastructure.

Through our research and quantitative tools in the water and wastewater domain we aim to support the water and wastewater industry in improving their services and decision making with an integrated framework and appropriate assessment tools that quantitatively assess the economic, environmental and social dimensions along the value chain (i.e. cradle-to-grave approach).

In the food domain, we develop methodologies to assess the environmental and health impacts of different food products and diets, including impacts on local water resources and their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. These issues are at the heart of the water-energy-food nexus.

In the infrastructure and energy domain, our team is developing novel methodologies and tools facilitating comprehensive inventories and impact assessment of embedded carbon flows and emissions in trade, building materials and other goods.


We undertake innovative research of national and international significance and provide research services to industry and government. Our flexibility and versatility as a team is one of our strongest assets. We actively seek to develop methods and tools within our areas of expertise combining the following techniques and methodologies:

  • Input-output analysis (IOA)
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Hybrid input-output LCA
  • Streamlined LCA tools
  • Environmental footprinting
  • Triple bottom line assessment (TBL)
  • Multi-criteria assessment (MCA)
  • Life cycle costing (LCC)
  • Materials flow analysis (MFA)

Key projects

Academic excellence

Our key academic disciplines include: Industrial Ecology; Chemical Engineering; Environmental Engineering; Ecological Economics; Environmental Management and Risk Assessment. Our group is located within the Water Research Centre (WRC) which provides us with access to state-of-the-art simulation facilities. We are also administrators of the Australian Industrial Ecology Lab (IElab), an e-platform with unique footprinting capabilities.

Working papers (continuous updating)

Partners & network

SAP academics collaborate extensively with university researchers, industry partners and government, both internationally and within Australia. Current partners include the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Sydney Water, SA Water, US Water Reuse Research Foundation, Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living, and CSIRO.

We are members of the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE), the Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society (ALCAS), the International Input-Output Association (IIOA) and the International Society of Ecological Economics (ISEE). We consistently participate in national and international academic conferences to extend our knowledge and connections. We are also an official sales partner for the LCA software tool GaBi in Australia.


PhD candidates

Visiting scholars


More information:

Professor Tommy Wiedmann
Leader, Sustainability Assessment Program
P: (+61 2) 9385 0142


   SAP staff and research student gathering (Nov 2018).