The role of economics, law, systems analysis, and governance in such transitions is of particular importance. CEENRG approaches law as a technology to bring, guide and/or manage environment-driven societal transformations. Whereas other research groups within the University of Cambridge cover questions relating to the environment, energy and natural resources from a natural science, engineering, conservation, or policy perspective, until 2014 there was no centre concentrating on the law and governance aspects of environmental transitions. CEENRG was established to fill this gap in the policy research cycle, in line with University’s strategic research initiatives on energy, conservation, global food security and public policy.

CEENRG is housed in the David Attenborough Building and is part of the Conservation Research Institute (CRI) of the University of Cambridge alongside several other research groups working on sustainability, geography, plant sciences, zoology, business, and computer science. The David Attenborough Building also houses the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, which includes CRI, as well as conservation organisations such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Tropical Biology Association, TRAFFIC, or BirdLife International, among others.

CEENRG also works in close collaboration with other groups and centres within the University (e.g. the Energy Policy Research Group, the Centre for Science and Policy, Cambridge Zero, the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law or the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction in Engineering) as well as around the world.