The next virtual meeting of the Innovating for Sustainability Salon will be held on October 1, 2019, 10:30 am – 12:00pm Eastern Time. The theme for the session is: From Local to Global: The study of sustainable innovation at various systems levels.
The study of sustainable innovation at various systems levels. Solutions to grand challenges are being addressed at different levels in the system. Increasingly, many sustainability approaches advocate the implementation of local solutions to tackle global challenges. This approach presents both advantages and limitations. For instance, district levels are seen as critical to effectively innovate small-scale infrastructures for renewable energy upgrades such as mini-grids and local energy communities, enabling neighbourhood sustainable grid configurations. However, for policies such as those intervening on climate change, this approach might compromise their effectiveness, since they address environmental damages extending beyond local jurisdictions. The systems nature of grand challenges calls for systems solutions. While a local approach to grand challenges comes with limitations, a holistic approach to sustainable innovation presents many challenges. The next salon seeks to explore the study of sustainability innovation at different levels in the system.
Today I presented the latest version of our research on woman-owned businesses and sustainability certifications at the 2017 Global B Corp Academic Community Roundtable. The paper is co-authored with Matthew G. Grimes (Indiana University) and Ke Cao (University of Alberta) and has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Business Venturing as part of a special issue on “Enterprise Before and Beyond Benefit: A Transdisciplinary Research Agenda for Prosocial Organizing.” The special issue is being edited by Oana Branzei (Ivey Business School), Ed Gamble (Montana State University), Peter Moroz (University of Regina), and Simon Parker (Ivey Business School). Continue reading →
In August, at the 2017 annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, I received the ONE Emerging Scholar Award from the Organizations and the Natural Environment Divison of the Academy of Management. Today, in its Fall Newsletter, the ONE Division Published a nice Q&A with me, which I have excerpted below. Continue reading →
On Wednesday, I received an email from David Staples, a columnist at the Edmonton Journal.
I need your advice on something. I’m looking for an expert in sustainability issues and contracts… The city is buying 250 bike racks, and in the procurement contract it strikes me there is a ton of red tape for such a small purpose. I also wonder if the policy will work to cut down greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainability, or if there might not be better ways of doing it, more elegant ways, as opposed to this way, which strikes me as a make-work project and one that is difficult if not impossible to verify.
China has become the top energy consumer in the world. At the same time, China is facing intense international and domestic pressure to reduce the greenhouse gas and other emissions resulting from its primarily coal-based energy system. Given these twin pressures of increasing energy demand while controlling emissions, the development of China’s shale gas industry has emerged as a strategic national priority.The shale gas resource distribution in China is illustrated in Figure 1. Seven provinces—Sichuan, Xinjiang, Chongqing, Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei and Shanxi—account for 68.9% of the nation’s total reserves.
Figure 1. Shale gas resource potential in China’s provinces (trillions of m3).
On November 4, 2016, I was invited to speak at the 2016 Ivey Sustainability Conference. This one-day event was organized by Diane-Laure Arjalies, Oana Branzei, and Tima Bansal (all from Ivey Business School). Other invited faculty included Fabrizio Ferraro (IESE Business School) and Donal Crilly (London Business School). Several students, post doctoral research fellows, and faculty from Ivey Business School also made presentations.
The day concluded with a plenary session: “The Future of Research on Sustainability in Management.” Donal, Fabrizio, and I were each asked to submit a picture that captured our answers to five questions. The slides I prepared to accompany my remarks are available in a previous post. Today, Ivey Business School posted some video clips from the session to YouTube.
1. What do you think is the current position of sustainability in the management research landscape?
Q1.Why do innovation and sustainability need to go together? How hard is it to accomplish this in business?
Answer: Sustainability is about creating shared value—value for the business and for society simultaneously. It means business activities benefit a range of stakeholders—shareholders, employees, the community, society, the ecosystem—today and over time.
But if sustainability was easy, everyone would be doing it well. It’s not easy. It’s complex and it’s uncertain. In an effort to simplify, firms often think about sustainability as an ‘add on’ to what they’re already doing. This approach results in a vastly distorted picture of a firm’s long-term sustainability potential.