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Jenni Downes


Jenni is a Research Consultant at ISF, bringing with her a keen interest in individual, organisational and societal change to address environmental issues such as climate change. Jenni works primarily in the area of Social Change focusing on design and evaluation of behaviour change policies and programs, particularly around issues of food, consumption and waste.

Recent social change experience includes a series of food waste education projects, targeting tertiary students, households and small businesses, and research on the affordability and accessibility of healthy food in the City of Sydney. She also contributed to the development of the Green Electricity Guide, a resource for consumers in choosing their electricity provider, UTS's Sustainability Action Plans on Waste and Energy, and the Australian Technology Network of Universities' Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update which included recommendations to reduce emisisons. Jenni also supervised a UTS Industrial Design project on food waste.

Recent evaluation experience includes the current evaluation of the impact of green space in the newly renovated Goods Line behind UTS, contributing to qualitative and quantitative data analysis for a combined program- and impact evaluation of the Nature Conservation Council’s Powersavers Challenge for Low income households; a major document review and synthesis for a large-scale evaluation of World Vision International’s Global Child Health Advocacy Campaign, design and analysis of a large customer survey for Ausgrid’s Smart Grid, Smart Cities $10 million trial and an evaluation of Leichhardt Council’s food waste recycling program in multi-unit dwellings including semi-quantitative interviews.

Jenni has a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction (Sociology), focusing on social regulation and policy, a Grad.Cert. of Science in Applied Statistics and is currently completing a Masters of Evaluation.


Recent media contributions

Image of Jenni Downes
Research Consultant, Institute for Sustainable Futures
Associate Member, ISF - Institute for Sustainable Futures
+61 2 9514 4376

Research Interests

Resource use and social change

  • Food practices and behaviour change; food systems
  • Consumption habits and behaviour change; collaborative consumption
  • Waste practices and reduction (individuals and organisations)
  • Behaviour change program design and evaluation

Energy and climate change

  • Operation of the electricity market (policy, regulation, practice and impact)
  • Energy use and behaviour change (individuals and organisations)
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (Organisational policy and practice)

Corporate social and environmental responsibility

  • Corporate sustainability policy, practice and evaluation
  • Corporate community investment
  • Corporate sustainability reporting

Journal articles

Wynne, L.E., Downes, J. & Willetts, J. 2014, 'Development futures: Using futures thinking to re-evaluate the direction of the development sector', Development Bulletin, vol. 26, pp. 10-15.
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Downes, J. & Herriman, J. 2015, 'Don't knock 'ugly food' campaigns – they help the fight against waste'.


Downes, J., Norris, K. & Rutovitz, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2015, 2015 Green Electricity Guide Methodology and Results, pp. 1-38, Sydney, Australia.
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The Green Electricity Guide helps to inform Australians about which electricity retailers are really as 'green' as they say they are. It is the only independent analysis and ranking of the environmental performance of all electricity retailers around Australia. It is an important source of information for consumers keen to support retailers who align with their values. In 2014 the first edition of the online Guide was produced by TEC and Greenpeace, using earlier ISF research as one of main the inputs to the ranking criteria. The Guide ranked 20 retailers against 7 criteria and has been visited by over 100,000 people. In 2015, ISF was contracted to update the Guide's methodology and rankings. The cost of the work was partly funded by an Advocacy grant from Energy Consumers Australia. In addition, ISF, TEC and Choice all contributed in-kind support to the project. ISF reviewed the 2014 Guide criteria and rankings, and then conducted background research to identify additional criteria and sub-criteria to expand the 2015 Guide to more comprehensively assess the 'green' credentials of Australia's electricity retailers. ISF developed a survey for retailers to capture the required information for the rankings. Information provided by retailers was then supplemented by and verified against desktop research of company websites, company reports and public reports conducted in September 2015. Each retailer's data was assessed and scored, to determine a final score and ranking for 2015. The rankings are available online at www.greenelectricityguide.com.au
Riedy, C.J., Jackson, M., Berry, F., Downes, J., Harris, B., Matyus Flynn, S., Saintilan, C. & Levine, D. Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney 2015, GreenPower Program Review: Final Report, Sydney.
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Rutovitz, J., Dominish, E. & Downes, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2015, Calculating global energy sector jobs: 2015 methodology, pp. 1-48, Sydney, Australia.
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Langham, E., Downes, J., Brennan, T., Fyfe, J., Mohr, S.H., Rickwood, P. & White, S. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2014, Smart Grid, Smart City, Customer Research Report, Sydney, Australia.
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Prepared by the UTS: Institute for Sustainable Futures as part of the AEFI consortium for Ausgrid and EnergyAustralia
Herriman, J., Mikhailovich, N., Wynne, L.E., Downes, J. & Boyle, T.M. 2014, Leichhardt Council Community Engagement and Participation Plan: Food recycling in multi-unit dwellings, Sydney.
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Downes, J., Berry, F. & Rutovitz, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Electricity retailer disclosure study: Briefing notes for the Total Environment Centre, pp. 1-26, Sydney.
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Ison, N., Ross, K.E., Cooper, C., Brennan, T., Langham, E., Wynne, L.E., Riedy, C. & Downes, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Our energy future: Renewable energy master plan, pp. 1-133, Sydney.
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Herriman, J., Razian, H., Moore, D.D., Ross, K.E., Downes, J. & Paddon, M. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Research into the Economic, Social and Environmental Implications of Population Growth in Australian Cities: Case Study - Logan, QLD, pp. 1-75, Sydney, Australia.
Dunstan, C., Sharpe, S.A. & Downes, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Investing in Savings: Finance and cooperative approaches to electricity demand management - A scoping study for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, pp. 1-124, Sydney, Australia.
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Dunstan, C., Downes, J. & Sharpe, S.A. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Restoring Power: Cutting bills & carbon emissions with Demand Management, Sydney, Australia.
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Langham, E., Ison, N., Brennan, T., Downes, J., Boronyak, L.J. & White, S. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Smart Grid, Smart City: Analysis and Reporting. Stakeholder Engagement Report, Sydney, Australia.
Downes, J. & Ison, N. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Community Attitudes to Wind Power: A Literature Review, Sydney, Australia.
Downes, J. Catalyst Australia 2012, What gives? How companies invest in communities, pp. 1-73, Sydney, Australia.
Daly, J.G. & Downes, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2012, Response to Australian Dietary Guidelines Review, pp. 1-8, Sydney.
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Downes, J. & Friedlander, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2012, Response to the Draft Appendix in the Australian Dietary Guidelines: Through an Environmental Lens, pp. 1-13, Sydney.
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winterford, ross & downes Child Health Now Evaluation: Phase 1 - A review of the campaign model and contribution to World Vision advocacy capacity.