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Sustainability and business research

Explore our work into sustainability and business

Sustainability and business is a new area of expertise at the University, developed to align research in the Faculty of Business and Law with the University-wide research theme of Sustainability and the Environment, and with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

The UN SDGs are a shared vision for sustainable development that can be used by civil society, the private sector and governments to develop strategies to create a world of dignity, peace and prosperity for people and planet.

Our research looks at integrating sustainability principles with business to achieve sustainable development, and focuses predominantly on the following UN SDGs:

  • SDG 8: promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • SDG 12: ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • SDG 13: take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • SDG 14: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources
  • SDG 15: sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss

Through our work, we're understanding how corporate practices can help or hinder achieving the SDGs, and directing companies on how to put sustainable practices into action by aligning their business models and strategies with sustainable development.

We're also addressing the challenges businesses face in incorporating sustainable practices, and helping to measure their progress in embedding sustainability, and exploring the unintended negative consequences that can occur when some goals are met.

For example, when standards of living are raised and improvements in welfare made, this may put pressure on non-renewable resources – as people have more disposable income to purchase things like cars and flights.

Through our research in the area of sustainability and business, we're informing industry and government policies on sustainable development, corporate sustainability, the circular economy, mining, and green and inclusive growth.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Corporate sustainability/Social responsibility
  • Corporate irresponsibility
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Green and inclusive growth
  • Socially-inclusive circular economy
  • Environmental discourses
  • Green organisational practices (including green marketing, green human resources, sustainability accounting, sustainable/green supply chain management)
  • Sustainable innovation
  • Multinationals and the informal economy


We use quantitative research methods, such as experiments, regressions and structural equation models to measure causal effects on the variables of interest. We also use qualitative research techniques, including ethnography and grounded theory to develop and identify best practice.

Funders and collaborations

We frequently collaborate with researchers around the world, including:

  • Argentina – Claudia Natenzon and Diana Mutti Martin Di Marco, University of Buenos Aires
  • Brazil – Lucila Campos and Monica Luna, Federal University of Santa Catarina; Marly Monteiro Carvalho and Roberta Souza, Sao Paulo University
  • Canada – Catherine Liston-Heyes, Ottawa University;
  • China – Chunguang Bai, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
  • France – Charbel Jabbour and Ana Beatriz Sousa Jabbour, Montepellier University; Fabien Martinez, EM Normandie, Jorg Hofstetter, Kedge Business School
  • Ghana – Samuel Bonsu, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, GIMPA
  • India – Himanshi Gupta, Adani Institute of Infrastructure Management
  • Japan – Minori Kusumoto, Berkeley Consulting
  • Spain – Jose Cespedes-Llorente, Jeronimo-Burgos-Jimenez, Jose Plaza-Ubeda, Miguel Perez-Valls, Almeria University
  • The Netherlands – Maria-Laura Franco Garcia, Twente University
  • United States of America – Nicole Darnal, Arizona State University; Joseph Sarkis, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, James Cordeiro, New York University

Recent projects have received funding from Panasonics PHC, the Argentinean Ministry Of Education, Culture, Science and Technology, and Interreg2Seas, an EU programme facilitating cross-border cooperation between England, France, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Project highlights



An Interreg2Seas-funded project, which aims to develop replicable strategies and solutions to increase recycling rates in urban environments from 20–30% to over 50%, by unlocking the use of ‘lost plastics’ as secondary resources from the urban environment


Publication highlights

Discover our areas of expertise

Sustainability and business is 1 of 4 areas of expertise within the Business and Management research area. Explore the others below.

Innovation management

We're looking at how organisations can optimise product and process development while meeting the needs of a changing market that demands innovation.
entrepreneur talking about innovation
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Small business and entrepreneurship

We're investigating the social and economic factors affecting entrepreneurship and the economy, and how small business practices affect entrepreneurship.
Eric Downer
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Risk and security management

We're working to overcome risk and security challenges for individuals, organisations and societies.
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Professor Diego Vazquez-Brust

Professor of Global Business Sustainability and Strategy

Associate Head (Research and Innovation)


Portsmouth Business School

Faculty of Business and Law

PhD Supervisor

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Research groups

  • Corporate Governance Research Group

    We're researching how companies are managed and controlled, seeking to explore how governance styles can impact the wider economic and socio-economic agenda.

Interested in a PhD in Business & Management?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Business & Management postgraduate research degrees page.