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Hub for Sustainable Enterprise

Planetary boundaries

For over a decade an international team of scientists has been working on a suite of key indicators showing the dramatic acceleration of human impacts on the Earth system through the last two centuries.

Their work provides sobering evidence that, in the words of Oxford University geographer Professor Andrew Barry, humankind's “impacts are now connected, and systemic”.

Nine measures of the planetary boundaries of human induced changes in the biophysical environment of Earth

Planetary boundaries. Crossing these boundaries could generate abrupt or irreversible environmental changes. Respecting the boundaries reduces the risks to human society of crossing these thresholds. Graphic: Globaia and Stockholm Resilience Centre - www.stockholmresilience.org

The planetary boundaries concept aims to define a safe operating space for humanity within the dynamics of the Earth system. It sets the context for our quest to support the emergence of truly sustainable business practices.

 

The UTS Business School Hub for Sustainable Enterprise is a community of practice supporting the work of diverse researchers, educators and business professionals who share a focus on sustainable enterprise.

Many of today’s business priorities relate to society and the environment. Resource constraints, demographic change, disruptive technologies, bio-physical crises such as climate change and bio-diversity loss and other transformative trends, emerging risks, and shifting expectations are challenging business models and the notion of business itself.

Scientists tell us we are transitioning into a period where humankind has become the dominant earth-shaping force - a new geological and cultural era which they have called the Anthropocene(For more information on the Anthropocene visit the Age of Transition website.)

What does it mean to do business in a time when our species is disrupting the life support systems of the planet? How can we refashion our institutions and our professional practice to face a period of environmental and social upheaval and profound uncertainty?

Our response is to rethink and remake business in a time when 'business-as-usual' is no longer a viable option. Through our research, teaching, professional engagement and networks, we want to accelerate the transition to sustainable enterprise within the challenging context of the Anthropocene. The Hub's objective is to improve human and societal wellbeing and to maintain and restore stocks of natural capital. We support business that is restorative.

reTHINKbusiness

Our approach

We extend the Business School’s practical and integrative approach by:

  • Connecting research centres and disciplines within the Business School, across UTS and beyond, including supporting excellence in tertiary sustainability education via sustainability.edu.au
  • Advancing essential transdisciplinary scholarship and dialogue through involvement in initiatives like the Anthropocene Transition Project, hosted by the UTS Business School
  • Equipping the leaders of today and tomorrow to think differently by making design-thinking and innovation a central concern and building sustainability, ethics and creativity into all our degree programs
  • Supporting best practice through our consulting work, relationships with leading intermediaries and professional consultancies, and networks including sustainability professionals, non-executive directors, institutional investors and NGOs
  • Demonstrating sustainability in action through the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building and broader city campus master plan, and strong governance via a faculty-wide working plan

Our focus

Our research interests are diverse but share a common change agenda:

  • Accelerating the shift to sustainability within established enterprise through longstanding research on the complex organisational change required
  • Providing policy recommendations and other practical solutions for the most pressing substantive sustainability issues
  • Encouraging transformational change by exploring emerging business models, including new corporate forms like Benefit Corporations, and emerging macro-models like the Circular Economy
  • Exploring the risks and opportunities of scaling up beyond the single organisation, with research on global supply chains, local and City-level initiatives and other connected communities
  • Building networks of collaborative inquiry and experimentation across disciplines, areas of professional practice, and community engagement through involvement in initatives like the Anthropocene Transition Project
  • Designing the institutional and governance arrangements required to support sustainable enterprise including the role of investors and asset owners and non-executive directors
  • Mobilising the power of capital markets to drive change, with research on impact investing and other new models

Resources

Title slide of Michael Molitor's presentation

Download Michael Molitor's presentation slides here:

PDF iconUTS Circular Finance talk 29 June 2016-1.pdf

Click on the link below to download a PDF of the content of this page:

PDF iconHub for Sustainable Enterprise | University of Technology Sydney.pdf

Contact

Professor Suzanne Benn, Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, Management, UTS Business School
Email: suzanne.benn@uts.edu.au
Phone: (02) 9514 3060

Kenneth McLeod, Convenor of the Anthropocene Transition Project, UTS Business Schooll
Email: kenneth.mcleod@uts.edu.aul
Phone: +61421 791 713l
Web: www.ageoftranstion.org