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Growing green: SME perspectives on sustainable growth in a low carbon economy

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An ESRC Impact Acceleration Account ‘Kickstarting Impact’ project

This project combines leading-edge research on SME growth processes and environmental behaviours with practitioner expertise in SME engagement and climate change communication. Its primary aim is to help SMEs and intermediaries gain a better understanding of sustainable growth and its implications for their businesses.

Project outline

ogo of Growing Green

To meet the sustainability challenge, SMEs will need to make significant, and in some cases radical, changes to their day-to-day operational practices and also to their longer-term trajectories.

Intermediaries such as professional associations, business advisors and economic development organisations can help SMEs make this transition successfully. 

The primary aim of this project is to help SMEs and intermediaries gain a better understanding of sustainable growth and its implications for their businesses. The team has now completed the initial piloting of an innovative approach to engaging SME owners, managers and intermediaries in facilitated discussions that are designed to co-create new knowledge on environmentally sustainable growth.

We completed a literature review and conducted a short questionnaire survey, the ‘Oxfordshire Sustainable Growth Survey 2017’, which helped to inform the workshop design. These were followed by two in-depth workshops, which took place in Oxford in July 2017, facilitated by Dr Chris Shaw from Climate Outreach. Outputs from the project will include a short report and a working paper, to be presented at the ISBE 2017 conference and at the ESRC Festival of Social Science in Belfast in November 2017. We have also produced a short video, in which workshop participants discuss their experiences.

To find out more about the project, please contact: Richard Blundel

Project Videos

Workshop participants discuss their experiences

Video recording by Mike Lord, Blue Lotus Media.

Sam Hampton reviews the challenges and opportunities for SMEs

This video is featured in a new undergraduate module from The Open University, B327 Creating Futures: Sustainable Enterprise and Innovation.

Core team

Professor Richard Blundel, Professor of Enterprise and Organisation at The Open University and an Honorary Fellow of the ESRC Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), University of Surrey.

Dr Tina Fawcett, Senior Researcher at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford.

Sam HamptonNetwork Navigator for Business Resource Efficiency at Oxfordshire Business Support and a research student the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford.

Dr Chris Shaw,Senior Researcher at Climate Outreach, Associate of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and is a member of the Visiting Faculty at the School of Business, Management and Economics at the University of Sussex.

Key associates and contributors

Climate Outreach (formerly COIN) are one of Europe’s leading experts on climate change communication, bridging the gap between research and practice.

Oxfordshire Business Support (OBS) is the Growth Hub for Oxfordshire provided through the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP).

Professor Fergus Lyon is Deputy Director of the ESRC Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) and Professor of Enterprise and Organisations in the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR), Middlesex University.

Dr Anja Schaefer is a Senior Lecturer in Management and Head of the Department of Public Leadership and Social Enterprise at The Open University.

Dr Sarah Williams is an experienced business consultant and university lecturer who has worked for The Open University and is currently based at the University of Bedfordshire.

Upcoming Events

Sep 12

Rapid internationalisation and performance: Is the sky the limit?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 -

08:00 to 10:00

Juniper and Medlar, The Hub, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA

Open University Business School London Alumni Networking Informal Drop In

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 -

18:30 to 21:30

Champagne Charlie's, The Arches, 17 Villiers St, Charing Cross, London WC2N 6NG

Oct 6

AOUG Foundation for Education Research Awards and Lecture

Friday, October 6, 2017 - 12:00

The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA

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