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The Open University Business School recognises that sustainability is of the highest importance.

Our world has become increasingly connected, so it's vital that we recognise the impact we have on our local and global environment. As academics, researchers, professional staff, students and alumni, we can all play a part in ensuring sustainability is built into all of our activity, rather than just being a tick box optional exercise.

From writing sustainability into our curriculum, to encouraging good practices in the workplace and at home, and by undertaking meaningful research with practical outcomes, we want to ensure that our actions reflect our commitment to meeting the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Find out more about how The Open University is committed to sustainable practices, or read on for a round up of our activity.

Principles for Responsible Management Education

Image of PRME logoOUBS has been a Communicating Signatory to the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) since 2011. This is a United Nations-supported initiative founded in 2007 as a platform to raise the profile of sustainability in schools around the world, and to equip today's business students with the understanding and ability to deliver change tomorrow.

Athena SWAN

Athena Swan Bronze logoWe are the first school outside of the OU’s STEM faculty to achieve an Athena SWAN Bronze ‘departmental’ award (in November 2021). This followed our submission to Advance HE, the British professional membership scheme which promotes excellence in higher education. This internationally recognised gender equality charter acts as a catalyst for change and cultural transformation for staff and students.

It was initially established to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the academic careers of women within STEM subjects but is now across all disciplines, professional and support staff and not just barriers that affect women, and also commits to considering the intersection of gender and other characteristics.


Current research activity

Social and Responsible Marketing this cluster draws on the Department of Strategy and Marketing’s scholarly expertise in social marketing, marketing ethics, marketing creativity, corporate social responsibility, social enterprise and voluntary sector marketing and sustainable and ethical consumption.

Social and Sustainable Enterprise addresses the connections between entrepreneurial activity, innovation and the transition towards more environmentally and socially sustainable ways of doing business.

Completed research projects

Current research projects

  • The Influence of Gender on Environmental Entrepreneurship, PhD research by Gizem Kutlu
  • Sustainable smart cities through the New Public Governance, PhD research by Fulvio Scognamiglio
  • Social Marketing for Combating Climate Change, PhD research by Zaineb Bouharda
  • Social marketing in combating climate change, PhD research by Kora Korzec

Previous Studentship opportunities

  • PuLSE01 Sustainability and consumption in critical times
  • DPO04 Performance Measurement System for a Sustainable and Resilient Supply Chain


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Climate Change: Transforming your Organisation for Sustainability

This microcredential delivered on the FutureLearn platform will help you develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to lead change for sustainability in your organisation.


Deborah Meaden of The Big Green Money Show

OU/BBC Co-production The Big Green Money Show returns

Eco-friendly podcast The Big Green Money Show is back, examining the way some businesses are becoming greener with academic expertise from Dr Rodion Skovoroda and Professor Ali Ataullah.

13 October, 2022

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SMEs and Net Zero – challenges and opportunities

OUBS Professor Richard Blundel asks how can small and medium-sized enterprises make the radical changes required to tackle the Climate Emergency?

05 January, 2022

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Another angle to COP26 - the role of the activist lawyer

Sister School Law Associate Lecturer Gillian Mawdsley considers the motivation and responsibilities in relation to the role of the activist lawyer.

17 November, 2021

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Should animals have legal standing?

The law recognises babies, companies and ships as ‘persons’ with legal rights, but not even the most intelligent animals. Is it time for this to change? Sister school Law Academic Fred Motson discusses animal rights in this OpenLearn article.

04 November, 2021

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Addressing climate change is not just an environmental issue

Gillian Mawdsley is an OU Associate Lecturer and wrote this blog earlier in the summer after working with open justice students on a research project in collaboration with the Environmental Law Foundation. Gillian is based in Glasgow and is attending COP26 as one of the chosen representatives of The Open University.

01 November, 2021

Eco-innovation and green start-ups – an evidence review

This report examines new ‘green’ start-up ventures and other forms of eco-innovation in which small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an active role. It also reviews recent evidence on entrepreneurial and innovative initiatives that address specific environmental challenges, including the Climate Emergency.

12 October, 2021

Giving SMEs the tools they need to grow greener

How can governments, and other agencies, ensure that such a large and diverse population of organisations can become more sustainable? Professor Richard Blundel and his colleagues have drawn on cross-disciplinary research insights to create new tools and techniques that will enable SMEs to ‘grow greener’.

10 September, 2021

Sustainable Leadership: How to put people at the heart of the green economy

How do you build a business that is positive for people, the planet, society and the economy? Maria Chenoweth, OU MBA alumna and Chief Executive of second-hand clothing charity TRAID, offers her top tips.

30 July, 2021

Resetting capitalism: How organisations can work for progress, people and planet

Capitalism as we know it is unsustainable. It is financially unstable, bad for the environment and politically unpopular. An increasing number of voices, including some of the world's most powerful leaders, are calling for business and society to align their mission, vision and rewards for the common good. How can organisations step up and play their part in this transformation?

29 July, 2021

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SMEs and Net Zero – a state-of-the-art (SOTA) review

Professor Richard Blundel and Dr Sam Hampton, a colleague from the University of Oxford, have just co-authored ‘SMEs and Net Zero’. This is the first of two ‘SOTA’ (state-of-the-art) reviews for the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)-funded Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) based at the University of Warwick.

6 July, 2021

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OUBS Professor joins the Government’s SME Net Zero Working Group

Professor Richard Blundel has recently joined the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) ‘SME Net Zero Working Group’. This group meets monthly to discuss UK Government initiatives to reduce carbon emissions from smaller businesses.

8 April, 2021

How much fuel does it take to send crypto to the moooonn?

There is an elephant in the room with cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the software infrastructure underpinning Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and thousands of other cryptocurrencies, and that’s the energy consumption (i.e. electricity) needed to power the efforts of crypto miners.

12 February, 2021


Open University Business School Public Lecture | Andreas Malm

Climate change and political economy academic Andreas Malm joins OUBS to talk about the key themes from his book White Skin, Black Fuel, which explores the racist and colonial roots of the fossil fuel industry and the legacy of these into present day reactionary and fascist responses to climate change.

27 October, 2021

Electric Vehicles and the quest for smarter urban mobility strategies: Cases from Milton Keynes, UK and Kampala, Uganda

After a rather lacklustre embrace of electric vehicles (EV) in the early years of the technology, a phenomenal acceptance by motorists has since emerged.

This webinar will discuss first-hand experiences from the UK and Uganda.

Watch the recording here.

17 June, 2021

The dark story behind cocoa

The US department of labour has estimated that two million children carry out hazardous work on cocoa farms in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The topic is more relevant than ever in light of the partial COVID-19 lockdown in the Ivory Coast which saw a sharp rise in child labour.

26 April, 2021

Grace Blakeley: Recovering from the Corona Crash with a Green New Deal

In this online public lecture, esteemed author and economist Grace Blakeley drew on ideas from her new book, The Corona Crash, and argued that the pandemic will reshape the UK and global economies in profound ways. The question is not whether things will change, but how. This present moment therefore offers an opportunity to reshape the future in liberating ways.

Watch the recording here

21 January, 2021