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Topic Collection: Rational Sustainability Perspectives in Public Health

Rational Sustainability Perspectives in Public Health

In 2025, five years remain to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Agenda 2030, but progress is lacking. This Topic Collection aims to promote "Rational Sustainability", emphasizing evidence-based approaches to public health sustainability. It invites interdisciplinary contributions on monitoring, legal frameworks, trade-offs, philosophical foundations, and community perspectives to advance rational sustainability in public health. Submissions Open | Submission Deadline: 18th April 2025

Guest Editors

Eivind Engebretsen University of Oslo Oslo, Norway ORCID logoorcid.org/0000-0001-9455-110X  Jeanette Magnus University of Oslo Oslo, Norway ORCID logoorcid.org/0000-0002-1645-5910 
Gunnveig Grødeland University of Oslo Oslo, Norway ORCID logoorcid.org/0000-0001-6285-3162  Jens Petter Berg University of Oslo Oslo, Norway ORCID logoorcid.org/0000-0003-0157-5888 
Tony J. Sandset University of Oslo Oslo, Norway ORCID logoorcid.org/0000-0001-6813-9322 
In 2025, only five years remain until the target date for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set in Agenda 2030. Global expenditure on the SDGs exceeds US$20 trillion annually and continues to rise. However, the SDGs have thus far fallen short of their promise. They are often reduced to buzzwords, lacking the reasoning needed for action at deeper regulatory and institutional levels (Biermann et al. 2022).  This Topic Collection aims to transcend the buzzword approach by fostering rational strategies to accomplish the SDGs within the field of public health. The economist Alex Edmans (2024) has proposed the concept of "Rational Sustainability" as an alternative to the somewhat politicized and technocratic practice of adhering to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria in business. "Rational," in his terminology, denotes an approach that acknowledges diminishing returns and trade-offs. It is rooted in evidence and analysis and aims to prevent irrational sustainability bubbles. Similarly, we define "rational" broadly, encompassing both data- and theory-based justifications, recognizing the diverse rationalities that encompass scientific as well as community-driven perspectives. We invite contributions on, but not limited to, the following topics:
  • Monitoring and Evaluation, including effect assessment of sustainable public health interventions.
  • Legal and Political Frameworks of sustainability interventions in public health.
  • Paradoxes and Trade-offs between sustainability concerns in public health.
  • Philosophical Foundations and underlying principles of sustainability in public health interventions.
  • Community Perspectives on sustainability in public health.
We welcome submissions from scholars and practitioners across various disciplines, including public health, environmental studies, social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. This Topic Collection particularly encourages interdisciplinary collaborations, aiming to foster new insights and methodologies that can advance rational sustainability perspectives in public health. Case studies pinpointing the concept of rational sustainability perspectives in public health suitable for educational purposes will also be considered.
Please see the instructions for authors for submission requirements for each article type. To submit your article, please follow these instructions and select Rational Sustainability Perspectives in Public Health’ as the Topic Collection.   Please visit our author hub for more information about the benefits of submitting to a Topic Collection. All submitted articles will be subject to the journal's normal peer review process. The Chair of the Editorial Board and the Research Editors are responsible for the content of this Topic Collection. Guest Editors will manage peer review, invite reviewers and make a recommendation, but the final decision on all manuscripts will be made by the Research Editors. Articles accepted for publication will be published upon acceptance. Visit our author hub for more information regarding the publication process for topic collections.  Authors submitting to this Topic Collection are entitled to a 25% discount on the Article Processing Charge.  Discount is available upon request to info.bmjph@bmj.com. A number of institutions have an open access agreement with BMJ where the full cost of publishing can be covered; please view the list of institutions to which this applies. BMJ also offers full waivers for authors based in low income countries; please see further information on our waivers and discounts policy. For any inquiries regarding this topic collection, please contact topic.collections@bmj.com Keywords: sustainability, public health, SDGs, environment, healthcare, interventions References Biermann, F., Hickmann, T., Sénit, C.-A., Beisheim, M., Bernstein, S., Chasek, P., Grob, L., Kim, R. E., Kotzé, L. J., Nilsson, M., Ordóñez Llanos, A., Okereke, C., Pradhan, P., Raven, R., Sun, Y., Vijge, M. J., van Vuuren, D.,&; Wicke, B. (2022). Scientific evidence on the political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals. Nature Sustainability, 5(9), 795-800. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-022-00909-5 Edmans, A. (2024). Rational Sustainability. Available at SSRN.