Research constantly teaches us new lessons about how to influence or protect the environment. Nonetheless, these findings do not always attract attention or result in appropriate environmental measures.

Many environmental management decisions are taken on the basis of routine and tradition, rather than a scientifically evaluated approach. Some working methods in the sector may be obsolete and ineffective; others may be new but inadequately reviewed. This was the background to the formation of the Mistra Council for Evidence-Based Environmental Management (EviEM) in January 2012.

Systematic reviews a solid basis for informed decisions

Through systematic reviews of research results in areas of importance in terms of environmental strategy, the Council sought to improve documentation for decision-making in Swedish environmental management. In this way EviEM aimed to help make this management evidence-based as far as possible, i.e.  built on the best possible scientific foundation.

The initiative for EviEM came from Mistra (the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research), which in 2010 surveyed the scope for establishing a body to carry out systematic reviews of environmental issues in Sweden. This survey was headed by Sigbrit Franke and the recommendations were presented in March 2011. Six months later, Mistra’s Board decided to set up the proposed Council. An agreement was reached with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences that the Council’s Secretariat would be located on the Academy’s premises. In 2016, the Secretariat was transferred to the Stockholm Environment Institute.