The restructuring of rural and urban areas and infrastructure in line with the three pillars of sustainability also forms part of our research agenda. In this regard, theoretical and evidence-based policy analysis, systems thinking, socio technical scenario design, life cycle assessment, economic valuation, Markal technology-rich least cost modelling and regulatory and strategic environmental assessment form the toolbox with which our researchers seek to address change management and accelerate sustainable innovation within firms, governments and broader civil society.
An additional strand of our research concerns the development and application of sustainability indicators in both procedural and substantive contexts to a variety of environmental problem solving situations. Typical examples include:
- Carbon abatement strategies for leading firms
- Drivers and barriers to the implementation of leading air emissions abatement technologies for sustainability
- On site energy management for sustainability in transnationals and SMEs
- Restructuring of agriculture towards sustainability
- Creation of a regional investment fund for sustainable innovation
- Transition management of intergovernmental institutions for sustainability
- International trade regulation and sectoral sustainability
- Strategic investment in developing country carbon mitigation and abatement in the tourism, transport and agriculture sectors
- Transition management towards renewable energy (co-led with ICEPT)
- Introduction of sustainable transport technologies within a systems analytical framework (co-led with ICEPT)
- National strategies for de-carbonisation of electricity (co-led with ICEPT)
- Sustainable innovation policy and regulation
- The development of collaborative business models for improved environmental and social performance, in part, through the valuation of the environmental and social impacts of businesses and projects; and
- The development and implementation of disruptive and radical innovation to drive business towards sustainability.
Integrating Masters and PhD Candidates into our Research Activities
Sustainable Transitions staff work closely with our MSc and PhD candidates in pushing forward the boundaries of human understanding across a range of thematic areas. These areas are drawn from our Course-related products at Masters level with a number of our Masters candidates also going on to conduct PhD research. To better understand our thematic interests and related course interests, the following Masters level Courses are briefly described below:
MSc in Environmental Technology - Global Environmental Change and Policy (GECP) Option
Our specialism in GECP has a significant focus upon climate change where our work has been taken up by stakeholders worldwide. Still we have broadened out the option to cover 4 key questions:
• What are the nature and causes of global environmental change (GEC)?
• What do we know and not know about GEC - and why?
• What are the biological, physico-chemical and human implications of GEC?
• What can and should be done about mitigating and adapting to GEC?
These questions are addressed using small group seminars and case studies arranged into three strands. The physico-chemical - which explores the analysis and prediction of change in the earth's physical and chemical systems and their impact. Sessions include analysis, prediction and impact of changes in the atmosphere, oceans, the water cycle and global land cover and use. The biological - explores biodiversity loss, conservation strategies, the monitoring and prediction of change in the earth's ecosystems and their response to a range of environmental changes including climate change, and the impact of these changes on humans and the management of natural resources such as fisheries and forests. The human - examines the social and economic causes of the physico-chemical and biological changes with respect to population, urbanisation, energy policy, and pollution. The role of international law and policy in developing innovative solutions for global, environmental problems is emphasised.
MSc in Environmental Technology - Business and Environment Option
The Business and Environment Option provides students with an understanding of the risks and opportunities that business faces in the light of growing environmental and sustainability demands, and helps them to develop creative, entrepeneurial solutions that maximise those opportunities. It equips them with the knowledge to deal with the complex choices that business must face in order to respond to customer demand and function as responsible members of society. Graduates from this Option become leading strategists in advancing the growing world of sustainable business.
MSc in Environmental Technology -Environmental Economics and Policy
What are the underlying causes of tropical deforestation? How rapidly should we take action to deal with global warming? What is the most efficient way to tackle air pollution? Are consumers willing to pay more for cleaner fuels and technologies? These are some of the questions which environmental economics attempts to address , pointing to the need to link individual choices and patterns of behaviour to the underlying structure of the e conomy and its institutions. A central insight is that environmental degradation, far from being an incidental consequence of economic activity, is in many ways a central feature of the way production and consumption is currently organised. Economists are uniquely well placed to comment on, and offer analysis of, these linkages. At the same time, economists argue that solutions require systematic changes to the economic incentives which drive human behaviour in these domains, bringing about the shifts in production and consumption that are necessary for sustainable development.
MSc in Management - Sustainability and Corporate Regulatory Frameworks and Masters in Business Administration Elective in Sustainability
We offer Sustainability courses to MScs and MBAs in the Business School here at Imperial College.
As we see it, globalisation and sustainability are partners in an intricate dance that will determine corporate winners and losers. Yet, today's corporate strategists are only just becoming familiar with the critical dilemmas that lie ahead for the corporate world and the challenges and opportunities that sustainability poses for business and innovation. These courses takes a bold approach to this problematic by employing cutting edge knowledge and cases to demonstrate how tomorrow's corporate strategist can turn sustainability into a mantra synonymous with corporate excellence and improved market share.
These courses equip students to understand the practical implications for business of sustainability in global and local contexts; and
Explore role of international law and policy in developing innovative solutions for global, environmental problems will be explored;
Consistent with our corporate experience as well as academic delivery of Imperial MSc Options in Business and Environment and Global Environmental Change and Policy, these Sustainability courses employ cutting edge pedagogical methods to a compelling topic of interest. In addition to conventional lecture/seminar formats we utilise caselets addressing issues such as:
• sustainability and corporate responsibility as a driver for shareholder value: risks and opportunities
• integration of corporate responsibility into corporate strategy
• International law: Kyoto Protocol, climate change and business impacts/opportunities
• economic instruments and the new environmentalism
• the transition from a products to a services model of business growth