Spring 2017/18

Business & Environment

Business & Environment includes student work on the interactions between organisations and the environment, and the implications of this for sustainable societies.

Pasi Heikurinen’s questions over technological innovation providing sustainability solutions (2016) made me think. Previous messages from study/experience hold technology as the solution to society’s troubles; energy, poverty, and climate change (Lomborg, 2001). Optimistically, I still follow the technocentric point of view, the converse not offering feasible solutions to the problems....

Following the completion of a degree in Environmental Sustainability, I believed that the fundamental role of businesses was to drive profit maximisation, rather than act within the ecological boundaries of Earth’s ecosystem. The notion that the “social responsibility of businesses is to increase profits” was emphasised during lectures on the...

Our discussions of voluntary regulation leading to political corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the limitations of the business case for CSR have most influenced my thinking on business and sustainability. Friedman’s view that businesses are primarily responsible for making profits for owners/shareholders (Friedman (1970), has been superseded by the argument...

Ecological Economics

Ecological Economics addresses the interdependence and coevolution of the economy, society and the natural environment, understanding the economy as an embedded subsystem of the planet. Student work in this section discusses social and environmental issues from this perspective.

Overfishing is one of the greatest threats our oceans face. By catching more than the seas can sustain, humanity trespasses the limits of the environment and compromises the well-being of future generations. According to FAO, overexploitation of fish stocks has reached levels of 31% supported by unprecedented increases in production...

If trends continue, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the World’s oceans than fish [1]. This is an especially shocking prediction seeing as though only 30 years ago, thanks to the publication of the Brundtland report, we set sustainable development as a goal of mankind [2]. The United...

I’ll never forget my snorkelling trip to idyllic Indonesia. Imagine white sandy beaches and a stunning maze of vibrant coral. Now litter the sand with chocolate wrappers and replace the sea bed with a colourful picture of carpeted plastic. This is the reality – our oceans are a giant dustbin....

Tropical forests cover just 7% of total land but within them contain 50% of all plant, insect and animal species, making them one of the richest ecosystems on Earth [1]. But they are disappearing fast. Storing roughly 25% of terrestrial carbon, tropical forests contribute significantly to climate change mitigation [2],...

A modern cure to the epidemic of unemployment The financial crisis of 2008 has had devastating impacts on the world’s economies[1]. While economic recovery has lately been witnessed in several countries, the young generation still bears the consequences of the economic recession[2]. Several European countries have been hit hardest with...

Air pollution is often seen as a product of modern living, of industrialisation and urbanisation and is essentially taken for granted. A primary source of urban air pollution in the 21st Century is the transport sector. It’s apparent now more than ever that there are too many cars on the...

October 2017 saw the UK National Health Service (NHS) begin a 3-year trial of the Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) drug Truvada1. This once-a-day tablet, likened to taking the contraceptive pill, could significantly reduce the likelihood of uninfected but ‘high-at-risk’ people contracting HIV amongst certain communities2.The United States Food and Drug Administration...