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.
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
Benvenutti, L. M. M., de Souza Campos, L. M., Vazquez-Brust, D., & Liston-Heyes, C. (2023). Electric versus ethanol? A fleet-based well-to-wheel system dynamic model for passenger vehicles. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 115, 103604.
Acuti, D., Lemarié, L., & Viglia, G. (2023). How to enhance the sustainable disposal of harmful products. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 186, 122151.
Adomako, S., Simms, C., Vazquez‐Brust, D., & Nguyen, H. T. (2023). Stakeholder green pressure and new product performance in emerging countries: a cross‐country study. British Journal of Management, 34(1), 299-320.
When sustainability backfires: A review on the unintended negative side‐effects of product and service sustainability on consumer behaviour
Acuti, D., Pizzetti, M., & Dolnicar, S. (2022). When sustainability backfires: A review on the unintended negative side‐effects of product and service sustainability on consumer behaviour. Psychology & Marketing, 39(10), 1933-1945.
Smith, H., Discetti, R., Bellucci, M., & Acuti, D. (2022). SMEs engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals: A power perspective. Journal of business research, 149, 112-122.
‘I wanna be sustainable, but I don't wanna show it!’: The effect of sustainability cues on young adult consumers' preferences
Fani, V., Mazzoli, V., & Acuti, D. (2022). ‘I wanna be sustainable, but I don't wanna show it!’: The effect of sustainability cues on young adult consumers' preferences. Business Strategy and the Environment.
When social movements close institutional voids: Triggers, processes, and consequences for multinational enterprises
Preuss, L., Vazquez-Brust, D., Yakovleva, N., Foroughi, H., & Mutti, D. (2022). When social movements close institutional voids: Triggers, processes, and consequences for multinational enterprises. Journal of World Business, 57(1), 101283.
Gender equality in artisanal and small-scale mining in Ghana: Assessing progress towards SDG 5 using salience and institutional analysis and design
Yakovleva, N., Vazquez-Brust, D. A., Arthur-Holmes, F., & Busia, K. A. (2022). Gender equality in artisanal and small-scale mining in Ghana: Assessing progress towards SDG 5 using salience and institutional analysis and design. Environmental Science & Policy, 136, 92-102.
Sustainable buyer–supplier relationship capability development: a relational framework and visualization methodology
Annals of Operations Research, Volume 304, 2021, Pages 1-34, Chunguang Bai, Simonov Kusi-Sarpong, Sharfuddin Ahmed Khan, and Diego Alfonso Vazquez-Brust
Assessing the determinants of intentions and behaviors of organizations towards a circular economy for plastics
Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Volume 163, 2021, Owais Khan, Tiberio Daddi, Hendrik Slabbinck, Kerstin Kleinhans, Diego Alfonso Vazquez-Brust, and Steven De Meester
Circular economy, degrowth and green growth as pathways for research on sustainable development goals: a global analysis and future trends
Ecological Economics, Volume 185, Issue 19, 2021, Luis J. Belmonte-Ureña, José Antonio Plaza-Úbeda, Diego Alfonso Vazquez-Brust, and Natalia Yakovleva
Futures, Volume 125, 2020, Fabien Martinez, Ken Peattie & Professor Diego Alfonso Vazquez-Brust
Isn’t it time we transitioned to integrated sustainability? De-codifying the hard-soft divide from a systems-theoretic perspective
Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Volume 12, Issue 2, 2020, Pages 385-409, Fadwa Chaker, Samuel Bonsu, Majid El Ghaib, and Diego Alfonso Vazquez-Brust
Small business and entrepreneurship
Risk and security management
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.