Our wider work

We are committed to protecting and sharing the wonders of plants and fungi to enable a better world for everyone.

A forest in Vietnam

Kew and the Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to improve both human prosperity and the health of the planet.

That’s something we passionately believe in at Kew.

The 17 SDGs are divided into 169 targets, taken on by 197 countries.

Understanding the natural world is essential to achieving those targets.

Our partnerships in more than 100 countries around the world play a crucial role to helping the UK fulfill their commitments. 

Plants and fungi underpin human existence, and we rely on their diversity. Eradicating poverty and hunger are dependent on their survival.

Nine of the SDGs on food security, sustainable agriculture and protecting the natural world are particularly relevant to our work at Kew

How Kew contributes to the SDGs

Our scientific priorities underpin our contribution:

  1. To document and conduct research into global plant and fungal diversity and its uses for humanity
  2. To curate and provide data-rich evidence from Kew’s unrivalled collections as a global asset for scientific research
  3. To disseminate our scientific knowledge of plants and fungi, maximising its impact in science, education, conservation policy and management.

Our research into food and fuel crops, medicinal plants, climate change and conservation is a real example of how we can best make an impact.

Our scientists use their work to recommend evidence-based approaches to sustainable land management and reconcile local livelihoods with reforestation and the preservation of biodiversity.

We are committed to a world where the best possible use of our natural resources is made sustainably, to improve the lives of everyone.

The Kew International Medal 

We want to recognise and support the efforts made by individuals to protect our natural world.

The Kew International Medal is an annual award given to those who have demonstrated distinguished, internationally recognised work aligned with our mission. 

Nominations are received from across the organisation and a selection panel made up of Kew Trustees and Executive Board Members decides the winner.

Criteria the panel benchmark against are:

  • Building a world where plants and fungi are understood, valued and conserved - because our lives depend on them;
  • Providing knowledge, inspiration and understanding of why plants and fungi matter to everyone;
  • Helping to solve some of the critical challenges facing humanity including (but not limited to): biodiversity loss, climate change, food security, plant pathogens, fighting disease;
  • Increasing public awareness of the threat to plant and fungal diversity.

Previous award winners include Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury (1994); Sir David Attenborough (1996); Stella Ross-Craig (1999); Margaret Stones (2000); Mary Grieson (2003); Peter H. Raven (2009); Jared Diamond (2012); E. O. Wilson (2014); Dr Kiat W. Tan (2015); Professor Sebsebe Demissew (2016); Juan Santos, then President of Colombia (2017); Mary Robinson, Chair of the Elders and Former President of Ireland (2018).

More about our wider work

  • Dame Judi Dench

    Kew Ambassadors

    Meet the Kew Ambassadors championing the power of plants and fungi.

  • Plants growing in a neat pattern by huts on a hillside.

    Kew Science and the SDG's

    Scientist Paul Wilkin explains how Kew is making a significant contribution to the UN’s SDGs through its biodiversity science.

  • Mary Robinson

    Mary Robinson awarded Kew International Medal

    We are proud to announce the recipient of this year’s Kew International Medal is Mary Robinson, a world-leading advocate for environmental and human rights, and the first female President of Ireland. 

Get in touch

The External Affairs team identifies, builds and maintains strong strategic relationships in order to support Kew’s science, collections, botanic gardens and educational offering.

We work with UK and overseas governments, policy makers, charities and NGOs to ensure the impact of Kew’s work is felt in the UK and internationally.


  • Engage with governments and inter-governmental organisations on relevant public policy
  • Build supporting partnerships to enable opportunities and strengthen collaborations
  • Enhance Kew’s global outreach
  • Develop Kew’s international reputation

To work with our team, please contact Sarah Roberts, Head of External Affairs and International Engagement:

Email: s.roberts@kew.org 

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