Centre Research Fellow Projects

"We will create robust, authentic, responsible business solutions based on high-quality evidence and theoretically informed research, engage and communicate effectively with business, policy-makers and change agents and, through our education programmes, develop individuals with the capacity to deliver change for the common good and a sustainable future".

Our Research Projects:


Sustaining Responsible Finance for Micro and Small Enterprises

Lead: Radman Selmic

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Synopsis >

Radman is examining financial inclusion for marginalised and vulnerable individuals and communities.

Financial inclusion for all is the responsibility of the stakeholders/lenders, the borrower and the state. Only with joint action from all three of these parties can we accomplish fair finance for under-served individuals and communities. While there are some financial institutions that will lend to those vulnerable communities, the asymmetry of information between lender and borrower makes this a complex problem.

Radman is reviewing Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) who lend more responsibly but often must rely on subsidiaries from the state, investors who invest because their risk is reduced due to guarantees, and online lenders with high interest rates and no public guarantees.

Since commencing his research Radman has opened a new line of enquiry, based on emerging data that an increasing number of borrowers refinance their initial loans taken from online lenders by using CDFIs. He has expanded his research to investigate why this phenomenon is taking place.

Through his research, Radman hopes to:

  • Understand how public guarantees operate and explore whether they can be used differently;
  • Explore whether state infrastructure of public guarantees can be modified and thus improved;
  • Understand the difference between responsible lenders in respect to their relationship approach to borrowers and mission vs. online lenders;
  • Investigate the asymmetry of information between lender and borrower.

 

Radman Selmic

Accounting for Fairness

Lead: Roger Berquier

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Synopsis >

Roger hopes to explore and understand the role and place of management control practices for fairness in food supply chains from a dairy farmer’s perspective.

Roger’s research has two aims:

  1. To define if dairy farmers feel that they’re being treated fairly, and
  2. To understand how to account for fairness (or unfairness) in complex food supply chain management.

Milk deliveries have been steadily on the increase since 2006, and yet the price of milk has been extremely volatile in the same period, with significant peaks and troughs. Some studies have shown that the costs of producing milk far outweighed the price of the milk, with the average price paid to the producer only covering 76% of the costs. Mortality due to suicide is also relatively high amongst farmers, with 296 suicide related deaths recorded between 2010 – 2011. The number of people taking up this profession has also fallen dramatically in recent years. Roger’s preliminary research results have found a potential power struggle in the French milk process, from suppliers through intermediaries, distributors (supermarkets) and finally the consumer.

As part of his research, Roger is planning to investigate organisational justice frameworks and how they work for individuals. He intends to conduct 30 or 40 interviews with individuals, farms and associates to gather data from a wide range of sources. He also seeks to question the ‘Fair Trade’ concept, in that the concept not only seeks to set a higher price, but also to improve the governance of value chains in global supply chain.

Roger poses that fairness has not been considered from the point of view of the supplier and aims to challenge this lack of perspective.

 

Roger-Berquier

Britain’s ‘Road to Zero’: Analysis of the Potential Electric Vehicles Battery Circular Built Environment

Lead: Nana O.Bonsu

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Synopsis >

Nana seeks to deeper understand the policy dynamic of Britain’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy, which sets out ambition for at least 50% — and as many as 70% — of new car sales to be ultra low emission by 2030, alongside up to 40% of new vans.

His research can be divided into four sections:

  1. Understanding the policy dynamics and influencing factors. Nana would like to comprehend the thoughts and feelings around Britain’s zero emission electric vehicle strategy from stakeholders and interest groups.
  2. Governance and Infrastructure. Nana aims to further investigate the current schemes and public education around electric vehicle updates and what infrastructure networks for mass uptake could mean for the public.
  3. Circular economy paradigms. This involves exploring UK protocol/best practices for battery second/end of life use, following the Global Value Chain.
  4. Lithium-ion battery Global Value Chain. Nana seeks to investigate ethical and environmental sustainability concerns within the raw materials and supply chains for electric vehicles.

Circular economy chains aim to maximise value at every point in a product’s life, while also creating new jobs, reducing waste and costs, reducing resource consumption & risks and harnessing environmental benefits. Lithium-ion batteries have the potential to help reduce poor air quality and contribute to decarbonising the transport sector.

Britain’s ‘Road to Zero in 2050’ lacks coherent strategy, as there is simply not sufficient resource at present to support such an ambitious plan. Nana’s investigations include looking into how Britain would ‘close the loop’ to create a circular business model, taking into consideration current ethical issues such as child labour within the cobalt supply chain and the reusing/recycling of electric vehicle batteries.

Some of Nana’s preliminary results include Local Authority stakeholder opinions that there should be ‘recognised international standards’ and experts in lithium-ion batteries and circular economies stating that these types of batteries are ‘not a burden on the environment but rather valuable’.

Nana’s case studies include the Renault Zoe, which sells the consumer the car but merely rents the battery, allowing them to safely recycle it when it is returned, and the Amsterdam Energy Arena, which uses electric vehicle battery packs to store energy.

 

Nana Osei Bonsu

Face of the Firm: Aesthetic Diversity in the Workplace

Lead: Juliet Kele

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Synopsis >

Juliet’s project examines diversity in the workplace, with a particular focus on whether firms’ use of diverse imagery in promotional materials reflect the true diversity of their workforce. Juliet also explores the differences between aspects of diversity that are immediately apparent and less obvious characteristics.

Juliet believes that refinement and adjustment of the abstract and subjective concept of ‘diversity’ is necessary. Changing societal demographics generate organisational benefits and challenges in managing increasing levels of diversity.

Juliet’s research focusses on small to medium size law firms and finds that although diversity management is legitimised in their business cases, in some circumstances firms are not fully aware of the importance of diversity in practice.

Juliet conducted 44 interviews across four small and medium law firms in the UK. She also reviewed the companies’ webpages and hard-copy marketing brochures and held telephone conversations with marketing personnel.

Her initial findings include:

  • Diversity continues to be viewed as the most obvious characteristics, such as race and disability.
  • Less obvious diversity traits such as knowledge and experience are more overlooked.
  • Age as a diverse trait is notably absent from most people’s definition of diversity.
  • While firms continue to portray visible diversity through marketing strategies, they apply a less rigorous commitment to their diversity and equal opportunity policies in the workplace.

Juliet concludes that diversity utilised for aesthetic reasons has policy implications, ethical implications, as superficial inclusivity allow firms to tap into new markets. She also argues that there are economic implications, as diversity on marketing materials may encourage new employees and customer base who feel the firm represents them. 

 

Juliet Kele

Visual Representations of Sustainable Agriculture

Lead: Jane Glover

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Synopsis >

Sustainable agriculture has historically primarily been investigated through an environmental scientific lens to investigate the impact of agriculture on the environment.  Jane’s project takes a more humanistic view through critically exploring visual representations. Jane’s project examines a wider notion of sustainability to include economic and social as well as environmental.

Jane’s project investigates how (sustainable) agriculture is represented in wider society through different forms of visual media. Jane has a particular focus on broadcast television and critically analyses the context of these programmes. Through critically assessing these representations, Jane aims to explore how media could affect people’s views on sustainable agriculture.

Jane aims to highlight how the public explores notions of sustainability in agriculture and food production and how media engages with the public on issues surrounding sustainable agriculture.

Jane’s work contributes to the growing interest in how multi discourse is constructed by actors and their representatives, and assimilated to the public through text and visuals (in this case television). Jane aims to analyse this media to comprehensively understand and legitimatise responses or practices in relation to sustainable agriculture and other aspects of farming.

Jane has begun to examine television programmes ranging from repeats of This Farming Life, A year on the farm, Countryfile, Love in the Countryside, The Family Farm and Spring Time on the farm. 

Jane has turned her attention to televised media due to 2017 statistics stating that on average each person watches three hours and 32 minutes of broadcast television per day (Ofcom). This does not include online services such as ‘on demand’.

One of Jane’s initial findings show that country life is often portrayed as ‘a way of life’, meaning that should hard working farmers not earn a fair living wage, this is glossed over in the media to maintain the image of the idyllic country life. She has also found that references to sustainability or responsible businesses focus on the environment, and tend to comment on the negative rather than the positive. There are little references to social elements, such as sustainable livelihood and the fabric of isolated rural communities.

 

Jane Glover