Shaping global business sustainability

Collaboration between business and academia can identify the most urgent research priorities to ensure the sustainability of food, energy, water and the environment.

This is according to a new study including Liverpool John Moores University, led by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The study 'Research priorities for managing the impacts and dependencies of business upon food, energy, water and the environment, published in the Journal Sustainability Science, included academics and companies such as Asda, EDF Energy, HSBC and Nestlé, to produce research priorities that are both scientifically feasible and offer results that can be practically implemented by the business community.

Co-author Dr Colm Bowe from the LJMU School of Natural Sciences and Psychology was one of the select group of senior business practitioners and researchers. He helped to identify areas of research based on questions submitted by 230 participants from a range of backgrounds, that could be developed between academia and businesses to help companies manage their natural source dependencies and impacts.

He commented:

“If academic research is to have impact, it is important to engage with and develop ideas and priorities alongside businesses. We can then bring these communities together to shape the global response to sustainability challenges.

“The collaborative study revealed that we need to create tools to make food, energy and water demands part of the decision making chain in business, while considering social and livelihood factors to identify the most effective levers for behaviour change.”

The project is part of the work of the Nexus Network, an extensive network of researchers and stakeholders coordinated by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), the University of Sussex, the University of East Anglia, the University of Sheffield and the University of Exeter, and supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Environment is a key research area within the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology. Visit the Environment Research Group for further information.


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