In 2014 the Brookings Sustainability Council organized the Brookings Benchmark Baseline Sustainability Report. The report's purpose was to measure progress toward sustainability that was reliable. It included 58 indicators that fit under one or more of the 11 sustainability principles that include regional economy, community design, community knowledge, native plants and animals, smart energy, green building, reasonable mobility, clean water, smart resource use, healthy local food and healthy air.

The report, under the principle of regional economy, determined that an indicator that measured the percent of residents to be living in poverty was 22.4%. The benchmark report also determined 33% of homeowners and more than 50% of renters are living beyond their means. 

The Poverty and Housing Report was researched through the direction of the City of Brookings Sustainability Council with financial support from the College of Education and Human Sciences at South Dakota State University.

On May 9, 2017, the City Council made a motion directing staff to research curbside compost bins or neighborhood compost collection areas. A subcommittee of the Sustainability Council's Urban Agricultural Committee researched the issue and presented the Curbside Composting Report to the City Council on August 8, 2017.