Thematic reports and books


Push–pull: farmers tell their success stories


Analysing REDD+










Push–pull is an intercropping system that uses Napier grass and desmodium as companion crops to control two damaging pests of cereal crops – stemborer and striga – and to provide fodder for livestock. Arguably Africa’s most promising improved farming system, push–pull is now firmly established in western Kenya and has gained a foothold in parts of Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. There are thought to be over 70,000 adopters.

In 2013, the system’s creators, the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), invited Green Ink to help document farmers’ experiences with push–pull. One of our science writers spent 3 weeks in the field with a camera, a notebook and a couple of dedicated icipe field technicians. The result is this report, which has powerful testimony from 14 adopting households, together with a set of briefs describing the adaptation of the technology for specific conditions and user groups. Writing, editing, design and layout were completed in the UK and printing in India.



Running into problems: REDD+


Analysing REDD+










It’s a brilliant idea, but the UN’s novel funding mechanism for preventing deforestation is proving harder to implement than expected. That’s the main message of Analysing REDD+: Challenges and Choices, a book that reports on the findings of aglobal study conducted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Bringing this multi-authored 450-page volume out in time for its launch at the Rio+20 summit in July 2012 was a challenge. A team from Green Ink worked closely with authors, technical editors and communications staff at CIFOR to deliver a high-quality product. 

“I was [initially] sceptical about outsourcing. And I was worried about whether we would be able to have the book ready for Rio+20. However, the day I saw an email from Sophie sent at midnight, I knew we would make it. You have done an excellent job. I would be happy to work with you in the future and also recommend you to others.”­

Arild Angelsen, Editor and Senior Associate,
CIFOR Forests and Livelihoods Programme



NRM research: can CGIAR raise its game?


Analysing REDD+











A lot of people whose opinions matter – not least because they hold the purse-strings – think that the CGIAR system “could do better” in research on natural resource management (NRM). The system’s Independent Science and Partnerships Council (ISPC) has developed a ‘green paper’ that points possible ways forward.

The paper comes up with some interesting ideas, including a new research paradigm linking genetics, environment, management and institutional contexts. It also suggests taking a fresh look at the workings of consortia, key to future success as the new CGIAR research programmes develop their operations. Our team gave the paper a vigorous copy-edit and laid it out to series style.

“Thank you all for Green Ink’s hard work in bringing this publication out.”­

Peter Gardiner, Executive Director, ISPC



Africa’s high-potential drylands


Biodiversity and Livlihoods










This report describes the progress achieved during 4 years of technology testing and dissemination by the Desert Margins Program (DMP) of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Some of the areas where the programme worked have undergone nothing less than a transformation: vegetable gardens flourish year round, even during the dry season; newly planted trees provide fruit and other products for market; and wildlife has returned to rangeland previously pronounced ‘dead’. It’s all a far cry from the stereotype image of drought-stricken poverty conventionally associated with these lands.

The report also draws out the lessons from this work. One of these is the need to synthesize results at programme level and communicate them to donors if future support is to be secured. We hope this report, written and produced by Green Ink in partnership with DMP staff, succeeds in raising the funds needed to continue and extend this programme's excellent work.

“Thanks to your and your team’s efforts and all the other colleagues who put in so much time and effort.”­

Ramadjita Tabo, Former Assistant Global Coordinator, DMP



Certification with a human face


FSC: Success Stories









If certification sounds dull – just so much paper-shuffling – here’s a booklet that will change your mind. Celebrating Success: Stories of FSC Certification describes the impact of this badge of sustainability on people and forests worldwide. The stories are marvellously diverse – they span five continents, cover all manner of species and products, and describe benefits that are not merely environmental but also economic and social.

We at Green Ink were proud to be involved in compiling, editing and producing this amazing publication. Don't miss it!

“"[The stories] make a real contribution to the promotion of certification. It's been a great project.”­

Thomas Colonna, former Communications Manager,
FSC International Center GmbH



Making practice perfect












Research4Life, a partnership between UN agencies, universities and private-sector publishing and IT companies, provides scientists, practitioners and students in the developing world with low-cost on-line access to peer-reviewed journals. This report features 10 case studies describing the partnership’s life-changing, often life-saving, impact on everyday practice in the hospitals, clinics, colleges and communities of poor African and Asian countries. If you’ve ever wondered what scholarly publishing is for, here’s your answer.

A Green Ink science writer and graphic designer worked with staff at Research4Life to bring out the report, which can be downloaded at

“You’ve managed to bring out the real benefits of Research4Life and you’ve caught exactly the tone and style we were looking for.”­

Richard Gedye, co-author and Director of Publishing Outreach Programs, International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers



Towards a low-carbon economy


EBRD: The Low Carbon Transition











Shifting to a low-carbon economy makes economic sense. That’s the main message of this report from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. Co-authored by a high-powered team of economists including Nicolas Stern, the report examines past performance and future prospects for such a shift in the EBRD mandate region, which extends from Central Europe to Central Asia.  

We are delighted to have been invited to edit this landmark report, which was launched at EBRD in early 2011.

“I will be in touch in the near future to explore possible future collaboration.”­

Jane Ross, Publications Officer, EBRD



Working together for water security


Partnerships among stakeholders are the foundation for progress towards water security, as towards wider sustainable development. That’s the key message of a report launched by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) at World Water Week in September 2010. Titled Water Security for Development: Insights from African Partnerships in Action, the report presents the lessons learned from a 5-year programme to develop plans for the integrated management of water in 13 African countries.

Besides the main report, Green Ink worked with GWP to produce a range of supporting materials in English and French. These included two brochures distilling the achievements and lessons, a policy brief, two posters and a CD-ROM. We provided both editorial and graphic design support, coming up with the attractive unifying design for the report and linked materials. All outputs from the programme can be found at:

“Thank you and your colleagues for your hard work on the project. As you can see, the result is fantastic.”

Helene Komloss Grill, Communications Officer, GWP



Master plan launched at Copenhagen


This report raised the profile of agricultural research in the climate change debate. Developed in time for the Copenhagen climate conference of 2009, it describes the technologies, policies and other approaches that could enable agriculture to rise to the challenges of climate change in the short to medium term. The report was launched at a media session during the conference and promptly labelled a ‘masterplan’ by SciDevNet.

Fittingly, this complex, multi-contributor report was developed entirely through distance working, making savings in carbon emissions as well as time and cash costs. As well as compiling and editing the report, we designed and produced it, organizing printing in Copenhagen to a tight schedule in time for the launch meeting. The report’s publisher is the new Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

“We were very pleased with the content.”

Thomas Rosswall, Director, CCAFS Program, CGIAR



Coping with environmental emergencies


The explosion of a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl in 1986 woke the world up to the need for an international response to the mounting threats posed by environmental disasters. One result was the formation, in 1993, of the Joint Environment Unit of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This report marks 15 years of increasingly successful work by the unit and its partners in improving disaster preparedness and response.

To create the report, a Green Ink science writer travelled to the UNEP-OCHA office in Geneva to sift through background documents and interview key staff members. This phase was followed by further extensive information gathering from partners. The report’s concise, jargon-free text is complemented by telling photos, displayed to maximum effect in a landscape format.

“I speak on behalf of the unit when I say we were truly pleased by the publication and the launch event.”

Ingvill Tveite, Associate Humanitarian Affairs Officer, OCHA



Migration: let’s have more of it


UNDP Human Development Report 2009










In most people’s minds the word ‘migrant' evokes images of people at their most vulnerable and marginalized – think displaced Tamils trapped on a coastal spit of Sri Lanka or Chinese cockle gatherers drowning on an English beach. The 2009 Human Development Report paints a refreshingly different picture: the vast majority of migrants move voluntarily, not under duress, and most make a success of their move, benefiting not only themselves and their families but also their new community and the people they leave behind them. Superbly researched, the report argues powerfully for a more liberal approach to migration, including lower barriers to movement for non-skilled workers.

A Green Ink team worked alongside HDR director Jeni Klugman to edit the report critically, then copy-edit and proofread. We also helped complete the layout.

“You did a great job in helping to pull us  over the line.”

Jeni Klugman, Director, Human Development Report, UNDP



Climate risk management: Africa shows the way 


In 2006 the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) decided to launch a new series of reports exploring different aspects of climate change and its implications for society. Series editor Molly Hellmuth came to Green Ink for advice and support in developing the first volume of the series, on learning from African experiences in managing climate risk.

Green Ink writer/editors Anne Moorhead and Simon Chater worked closely with the IRI team throughout the project, helping to flesh out the concept and write and revise chapters. We also worked on the design, laid out the report and proofread it before printing and mailing out in India. We wrote a policy brief to accompany the full-length English report, then translated the main report into French and the brief into French, Portuguese and Arabic. The result is a set of materials that shows African countries leading the way in forging responses to the risks posed by climate variability and change to infrastructure, food security, crop production and other important aspects of development.   

“It has been a good partnership. I am very happy.”

Molly Helmuth, Series Editor, Climate and Society, IRI



Cool look at index insurance


Believe it or not, we’ve co-written an interesting report on the subject of…. insurance! This is the second volume in the Climate and Society series published by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), part of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, New York.

The report takes a cool look at the current fashion for index insurance as a tool for poverty reduction, examining the pitfalls as well as the successes. A Green Ink science writer worked with series editor Molly Helmuth and co-authors to bring this technically complex subject alive. We also collaborated on the design, laid out and proofread the report, then translated it into Spanish.

“Thanks so much for the superlative writing and editing – and to the whole team for working overtime to pull it all together.”

Molly Helmuth, Series Editor, IRI



The private sector: essential development partner


World Economic Forum











For too many in the private sector, ‘profit’ is a dirty word. A report published by the World Economic Forum shows it shouldn’t be.

The Next Billions: Business Strategies to Enhance Food Value Chains and Empower the Poor reveals the tremendous potential for equitable growth unleashed when companies take poor people seriously as a market and tap into NGO or government support to realize this potential. With editorial support from Green Ink, this report was launched at the Forum’s 2009 annual meeting in Davos, where we’re told it ‘made quite a stir’.

“Thanks very much for your great help in a pinch – it was hugely appreciated."

Lisa Drier, Director, Food Security and Development Initiatives, World Economic Forum



Method in our madness


Method in our madness









Modelling as an aid to decision making has taken great strides forward since the bad old days of the ‘black box’ model, incomprehensible to all but its proud owner. This two-volume set tells the story of the Ecoregional Fund, a Dutch programme that set out to apply modelling to natural resource management problems – a tougher proposition than conventional crop growth modelling. Case studies range from pesticide overuse in Ecuador, through land use planning in Asian rice systems, to climate change adaptation in South Africa.

Both volumes were written, edited, designed, produced and printed by Green Ink – a good example of the way we can work from concept to final product.

“I am very impressed with it. It is eminently readable and conveys the results of our work in a unique manner.”

Johan Bouma, Chairman, International Scientific Advisory Committee, Ecoregional Fund