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More in this section Business and policy makers

Business and policy makers

The Centre for Research into Sustainability is a multinational and interdisciplinary research-based group with a wealth of knowledge and experience on organizational responses to sustainability challenges. With expertise in sustainability relating to accounting, supply chains and logistics, corporate social responsibility and business ethics as well as environmental issues, it is a privilege for us to work in partnership with other organizations. We have experience working with small and medium sized enterprises, social enterprises, multinational corporations and the public sector. Our work is always rooted in our internationally renowned scholarship.

We engage with business, policy-makers and NGOs in the following ways:

Impact and engagement 

Recent engagement by CRIS members:

Professor Laura Spence is currently a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Corporate Responsibility, and contributor to an All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group publication: Vazquez-Brust, D. and Spence, L.J. (2016) ‘Supply chain metrics’: Driving Resource Efficiency Across Supply Chains. Policy Connect. London. Pp 79-86. http://www.policyconnect.org.uk/apsrg/research/link-link-driving-resource-efficiency-across-supply-chains.

Professor Jeremy Unerman is a Member of the Expert Panel of the Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project. He is also author of ‘Accounting for externalities’: an academic research paper commissioned by the ICAEW as one of four papers for presentation at a high-profile academic/practitioner conference in December 2017 and to be published (subject to peer review) in a special issue of Accounting and Business Research in 2018. Includes a grant of £6,000 to undertake and analyse interviews with a sample of key opinion leaders.

Professor Laura Spence is also involved in a long term collaboration with the Supply Chain Sustainability School (the leading group for sustainability in the construction industry with 10,000+ members, mostly SMEs but including e.g. Skanska, Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Wilmott Dixon). This has resulted in developing impact based on published research on small business ethics and social responsibility including: Two co-created e-learning modules on business ethics, participation in a ‘Horizon Group’ collaborative committee (Chair from 2017) between academics and construction industry leaders, and co-authorship of an SME guide on sustainable procurement standard ISO20400: Spence, L.J. and McCarthy, S. (2017) How to be a responsible supplier: Making sense of ISO20400 Sustainable Procurement for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.  Supply Chain Sustainability School, London. https://www.iso20400.org/documents/how_to_be_a_responsible_supplier_final_final.pdf

Collaborative research

  • Applied research – the application of practical knowledge to practical and pressing problems
  • Consultancy – our consultancy is strongly informed by the latest scholarship. Our approach is very much partnership based, working with clients to better understand their sustainability challenges and identify solutions.
  • Evaluating organizational responses to sustainability – sustainability awareness is of little help without understanding the impact of sustainability initiatives
  • Policy analysis – we can contribute to evaluating and developing effective policy encouraging and enabling sustainability
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Case study - Sainsbury's

Through the Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability Project, a team of CRIS members worked with the third largest UK multiple food retailer, Sainsbury’s, to better understand their initiative to embed sustainability in the supply chain.

The specific focus was the lamb supply chain – for which Sainsbury’s have a large market share. We spoke to a range of managers at the retailers, from the Chief Executive, Justin King to those more closely related in day-to-day decisions about the business. We also met suppliers, observed meetings and discussed the issues with key interest groups such as the National Farmers Union.

From this work we developed a case study on embedding sustainability in decision-making which we were able to feed back to Sainsbury’s and which is published in the Accounting for Sustainability book (details below). Our partnership continues with Sainsbury’s via a welcome contribution to our teaching programmes by the Environment Projects Manager and continued research for academic publication.

 

 

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