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:


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