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Co-designed research themes to tackle global challenges

A research paper showing how collaboration between business and academia can identify the most urgent research priorities to ensure the sustainability of food, energy, water and the environment is published in the journal Sustainability Science.

The process engaged over 250 people, including academics and companies such as Asda, EDF Energy, HSBC and Nestlé, to co-produce research priorities that are scientifically feasible and also include outputs that can be practically implemented by the business community.

The themes that emerged include

  • research around development of pragmatic yet credible tools that allow businesses to incorporate the interactions between food, energy and water demands in a changing environment into their decision-making
  • the role of social considerations and livelihoods in business decision-making in relation to sustainable management
  • identification of the most effective levers for behaviour change
  • understanding incentives or circumstances that allow individuals and businesses to take a leadership stance on these issues.

The work was led by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, as part of the Nexus Network and involved Dr Ruth Welters.

Research priorities for managing the impacts and dependencies of business upon food, energy, water and the environment. Green, J.M.H., Cranston, G.R., Sutherland, W.J…..Welters R.E et al. Sustainability Science (2016). doi:10.1007/s11625-016-0402-4