Person wearing pink holding two small blue boots

Social sustainability challenges

Social aspects of sustainability are central to the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals, and social justice concerns infuse all aspects of our work. At the same time, some of our work focuses centrally on social sustainability issues that arise for business organisations.

Selected research in this theme

  • Visiting Researcher Dr Nadine Andrews is a psycho-social researcher, mindfulness and nature connection teacher and qualified Mountain Leader. Through climate psychology, ecopsychology and ecolinguistics, her research explores human-nature relationship and transformational change, with the aim of supporting people and organisations to be in more harmonious relationship with nature. Nadine also works part-time in the Scottish Government, currently leading the research on Scotland's Climate Assembly. She previously worked in the science team of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change technical support unit for Working Group II (impacts, vulnerability and adaptation) with a focus on social sciences and psychology for the Sixth Assessment Report.
  • PhD candidate Ophelia Chidgey combines her background in politics and human rights with supply chain and management science to conduct interdisciplinary research into how different political and regulatory environments affect corporate social responsibility initiatives' abilities to protect human rights, and reduce their abuses, within the supply chains of the garment industry.
  • Dr Celine Germond-Duret has expertise in international environmental politics and sustainability. Her most recent work has centred on marine policy and on the blue economy. It has highlighted the importance of social and justice considerations for the sustainability of coastal and marine environments.
  • Professor Yuka Fujimoto has been researching the diversity and inclusion of weak stakeholders in economic production to address societal inequality for the past 15 years. Her research areas include a community-business interface for creating inclusive business and inclusive human resource management practices that support the Pentland centre’s aspiration to promote organisations and stakeholders to advance social sustainability via the role of inclusive leadership and stakeholder management.
  • Matt Leahy is working towards a PhD as part of Lancaster University Management School's partnership with The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation. He holds an MA in Outdoor Education from the University of Wales and has worked internationally as an entrepreneur, enabling sector level change and innovation in experiential education and adventure tourism. His academic interest is in the Sociology of Value and Evaluation, particularly as it relates to sustainable, pro-environmental behaviour change.
  • Professor Linda Hendry researches socially sustainable supply chain management, with ongoing work on approaches needed to address the global issue of modern slavery in the supply chain.
  • Dr Felix Martin is interested in exploring the interaction between business ethics (how the organization behaves) and business social sustainability (how it ought to behave) through the analysis of organizational image and organizational identity. His work to date has focused on the relationship between organizational virtues and business performance, with a particular focus on ethical issues in service delivery, in both developed and developing markets.
  • Dr Dermot O’Reilly researches leadership and organisational mechanisms, and how they negotiate between and amongst coordination and conflict, both in terms of operation and ethical grounding and evaluation. He is particularly interested in how ‘normal’ modes of organisation and management produce relations and effects of domination, and also how ‘alternative’ modes of organising and leadership offer different relational possibilities and drawbacks.
  • Dr Martin Quinn's research is centred on the organisation of the economy through the development of public policy, including consideration of the Anthropocene and efforts to meet the challenges it poses through effective place-based initiatives which bring together the public and private spheres in a more sustainable manner. Other related work includes research on the craft and creative industries and their contributions to communities and their environments.
  • Dr Kostas Selviaridis is exploring how procurement strategies and practices can promote social value creation and place-based economic development, with a particular emphasis on the role of “anchor institutions” as large buyers that influence and shape supply markets.
  • Professor Valerie Stead is Director of the Academy for Gender, Work and Leadership. Her research focuses on understanding the persistent and global phenomenon of women’s under-representation in leadership and positions of influence, and examines how inequalities are embedded and sustained in the workplace. Current projects include Gender Matters and TARGETED MPI that engage academics, policy-makers and businesses in tackling gender inequality at work, and to develop more socially responsible and sustainable ways of organising and doing business.
  • Professor Mark Stevenson conducts research into socially sustainable supply chain management. This includes work on the diffusion of socially sustainable practices to the upper tiers of supply chains and the actions firms can take to detect and remediate modern slavery risks to supply chains.

[Image used with permission of Pentland group]