Overview

The Smith School's Business Fellows' programme, established in 2008, provides a supportive forum where senior corporate representatives share and respond to the sustainability challenges that businesses face. Our mission is to find solutions by facilitating productive relationships and promoting increased awareness and engagement. To this end, the Business Fellows programme convenes a cross-section of business practitioners, active in areas of sustainability, with Smith School academics who can engage through their respective research agendas. Membership is limited and by invitation, to encourage deeper interaction between participants. Students from across the wider university are invited to attend lectures, debates and events.

Approach

Complementing the established research strands, Business Fellows contribute through:

  • Fellowship: Sharing ideas and discussing sustainability challenges with academics in a 'Chatham House Rules' based setting
  • Mentoring: Mentoring students and academics through dialogue about translation of academic research into real-life business sector applications
  • Publications: Encouraging collaboration on academic publications. Providing students with the opportunity to base their dissertations and research papers on aspects of business sustainability
  • Presentations: Presenting academic seminars and forums at the University of Oxford on the theme of business sustainability

People

The Business Fellows Programme is led by Dr Alex Money, under the guidance of Prof. Gordon L Clark, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.

Michael Alexander

Michael Alexander

Michael is a sustainability professional with over 20 years of multi-disciplinary experience leading the development, implementation, and evaluation of sustainability strategies, policies and communications, focussing on the value to business, to society and to the environment.

Mike Barry

Mike Barry

Mike is the Director of Sustainable Business (Plan A) at Marks and Spencer. He deals with issues as diverse as sustainable fish sourcing, chemicals in products, labour standards in factories, animal welfare, food miles, privacy and data protection, genetic modification, fair trade, wood sourcing, community investment, cotton sourcing and climate change.

Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy has been responsible for Shell's Global Business Environment team since 2006. His team is best known for developing forward-looking scenarios to support the company's strategic thinking and direction-setting. He joined Shell in 1980 following post-graduate experience at the California Institute of Technology. He read Physics at Oxford University and holds a MSc in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Osvald Bjelland

Osvald Bjelland

Osvald is CEO and founder of Xynteo, which works with global companies to identify and carry out projects that enable businesses to build growth fit for the resource, climate and demographic realties of the 21st century. Collaboration is essential when facing 21st century challenges and all the projects contain collaboration at their heart.

Emma Howard Boyd

Emma Howard Boyd

As Director of Stewardship at Jupiter Asset Management until July 2014, Emma was integral to the development of their reputation in the corporate governance and sustainability fields. She currently serves on various boards and advisory committees including the Environment Agency (Deputy Chair), ShareAction (Chair of Trustees), Aldersgate Group, the Executive Board of The Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project and the Carbon Trust Advisory Panel.

Jamie Butterworth

Jamie Butterworth

Jamie is an experienced business professional and entrepreneur with a deep understanding and experience in circular economy innovation. Jamie is a Partner at Circularity Capital and was formerly one of the founding team and Chief Executive of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a global hub for circular economy innovation. Circularity Capital is a specialist fund manager supporting the growth and innovation of small-medium sized businesses in the circular economy.

Sandra Carlisle

Sandra Carlisle

Sandra is head of responsible investment at Newton, reporting to the Head of Investments. She runs the RI team which is an investment research team within Newton's global research department. The RI team carries out four key activities: ESG research, engagement and active stewardship, proxy voting and client reporting. Sandra is Newton's spokesperson on RI issues, and is also EMEA lead on the BNY Mellon Social Finance Advisory Group.

Julie Hudson

Julie Hudson

Julie heads the Global Sustainable and Responsible Investment and sustainability team at UBS, which she also founded at the end of 2004. She is a Visiting Fellow of the Smith School. Ms. Hudson is a CFA. She holds an MBA from City University Business School, an MSc in financial economics from London University, and an MSc in Economic Regulation and Competition from City University, and a BA from Oxford University.

Leo Johnson

Leo Johnson

Leo's key topic is Future Proofing, pinpointing the megatrends shaping both risk and opportunity for global business. A Judge for the FT Boldness in Business Awards, Leo is the co-author of "Turnaround Challenge: Business and the City of the Future" (Oxford University Press, 2013), described by Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at LBS, as "indispensable reading for the next generation of business leaders".

Peter Lacy

Peter Lacy

Peter Lacy leads Accenture's Strategy and Sustainability practice in Asia Pacific and Greater China. Peter has worked for over a decade with CEOs and top management of a range of Fortune 500 companies, the United Nations, European Union and public sector organizations on sustainability and climate change strategy and execution. He is currently a board member of Nottingham University Business School and of Cranfield School of Management Doughty Centre.

Alex Money

Alex Money

Alex has 20 years of investment industry experience, initially as a fund manager at Citigroup, and latterly within capital markets advisory and financial technology. Alex lectures on the geography MSc courses, and co-leads a module at the Said Business School. He is also an undergraduate tutor in human geography at St Catherine's College. Alex holds an MSc with distinction in Water Science, Policy and Management; and a DPhil in Corporate Water Risk and Return, both from Oxford.

Andy Wales

Andy Wales

Andy is Corporate Affairs Director for SABMiller Europe and a member of the regional executive committee. He leads government and industry affairs, internal and external communications and sustainability for the European business. He joined the business in 2007 as Director of Sustainable Development and led the development of SABMiller's Prosper strategy, including its leadership positions on water and enterprise development.

Kate Wylie

Kate Wylie

Kate is Mars' global sustainability director, leading development of the company's sustainable sourcing strategy, including recently working with Danone to launch 79m fund to boost the productivity of smallholder famers. She led the development and embedding of corporate sustainability strategy for Mars Drinks global business, and leads the development of the sustainable sourcing strategy, reporting into the Chief Sustainability Officer.

Forthcoming Events

Participants at a recent SSEE Business Fellows event

The Business Fellows programme convenes termly events to which students, researchers, faculty and members of public are usually invited. The venue generally alternates between the School of Geography and the Saïd Business School. The next meeting will take place after the end of the Hilary term, on March 28th 2017 at the School of Geography and the Environment.

Past Events

SSEE Business Fellows Event: Fellowship Meeting

School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford. 13 June 2016

At this in camera meeting, Business Fellows were provided an update on the School's latest research projects, followed by a discussion on progress against strategic objectives. The Fellows were introduced to the new SSEE View programme, and provided feedback and recommendations. As ambassadors for the School's activities, their support for this initiative is important and welcome. The meeting also focused on teaching plans for an MBA module at the Saïd Business School, which is scheduled for next Trinity term. Ways in which Business Fellows could contribute to the module were discussed, emphasising aspects which are not traditionally part of the MBA curriculum. This project is work in progress, and will be reviewed at the next Fellowship meeting in the Michaelmas term.

SSEE Business Fellows Event: Sustainability and the Circular Economy

Event Poster

Saïd Business School, Oxford. 4 February 2016

Peter Lacy of Accenture gave an informative lecture on the Circular Economy, drawing on his recent book Waste to Wealth. His talk explored five new business models to promote circular growth, alongside the technologies and capabilities that were required to turn them into competitive advantage. This was followed by a talk from Andy Wales of SAB Miller, who provided an insightful perspective into how multinational companies embed and incorporate social, environmental and governance issues within the most senior tiers of management strategy. The complexity of the challenge was made clear through this open and engaging lecture. Both speakers were introduced by the Founder of the Smith School, Sir Martin Smith. He also shared some remarks on the progress of the School to date, and his hopes for what it might do in the future.

SSEE Business Fellows Event: Careers in Sustainability

Saïd Business School, Oxford. 4 February 2016

Peter Lacy, Andy Wales, Emma Howard Boyd and Osvald Bjelland each shared their individual perspectives, based on diverse career experiences. Career prospects in the sustainability field - which might have dimmed slightly following the 2008 global financial crisis - were again very bright. They agreed however that one of the challenges for prospective candidates was in demonstrating their ability to apply knowledge, skills and a mind-set to practical tasks in a workplace environment. The panel answered a broad range of questions posed by an audience of 80+ undergraduates, postgraduates and business school students.

SSEE Business Fellows Event: This House Believes

Event Poster

School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford. 23 November 2015

Jamie Butterworth, Jeremy Bentham, Emma Howard Boyd and Leo Johnson participated in a debate with the motion "This House Believes Times and Space are the Enemies of Business Sustainability". Speakers were given plenty of latitude in where they took the debate, which ranged from expectations of COP 21 through to the future of fossil fuels. A lively audience of nearly 90 students, researchers and faculty from across the School of Geography wasted no time in putting the speakers through their paces during the debate, and at the reception afterwards. The event was introduced by Prof. Heather Viles, Head of Department. An edited video of the debate is available.

SSEE Business Fellows Event: Rethinking Finance - How GDP and other Financial Constructs and Mindsets Effect Business Sustainability

Saïd Business School, Oxford. 30 October 2014

GDP and similar constructs are an essential part of discussions about what we can and cannot do to tackle social and environmental sustainability. But they can also be very destructive. In this public seminar, leading sustainability practitioners from companies such as UBS, Shell and PWC will present and lead a discussion on how the very way we think about finance and economics more generally affects business' responses to sustainability challenges. The seminar will be led by Julie Hudson CFA and Hubert Jeaneau of UBS.

Every term, the fellows of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment's Business Fellows Programme hold a seminar on a key aspect of business and sustainability in the run up to the 2015 Climate Change Conference and the new Sustainable Development Goals. This is the fourth of a seven seminar series in which leading business practitioners debate the essential elements for business to contribute to a prosperous, sustainable society. Each seminar is led by which includes individuals from leading companies in finance, retail, manufacturing, food and drink, energy, accounting and consulting.

"THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY: If it decouples resource consumption from economic development does it mean redefining growth?"

Saïd Business School, Oxford. 19 June 2014

The circular economy is rapidly gaining the attention of businesses, government and the next generation as a framework for re-thinking and designing the future economy.

Speakers: Mr. Jamie Butterworth, CEO, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and SSEE Business Fellows - and - Mr. Peter Lacy, Managing Director, Strategy and Sustainability APAC at Accenture, and SSEE's Business Fellow.

"A new economic model is essential if current growth rates are to be maintained". That was the provocation offered by Jamie Butterworth, CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to the audience at the SSEE Business Fellows event on 19th June. On a show of hands, the response was unanimous - business as usual, or the 'linear economy' based on resource abstraction, depletion and disposal - was simply not a model that will work long-term. Jamie then framed a debate on whether the circular economy, based on resource reuse, replenishment and enhancement, could actually decouple growth from resource constraints. Offering a complementary perspective, Peter Lacy, Managing Director of Strategy and Sustainability APAC at Accenture, suggested that corporate awareness of the resource challenge is high, and interest in alternative models of delivering products as services is strong.

For example, aircraft engine manufacturers such as Rolls Royce - instead of just selling the engine - increasingly offer the buyer a contract to deliver an agreed number of flying hours. The relationship is structured to provide incentive to both buyers and sellers to increase the efficiency of the engine through e.g. innovation and R&D. This trend has further to go - Peter even gave an example of a leading shoe manufacturer, where senior management have discussed the concept of shoes being sold as services, with buyers returning the product to the store for exchange or replacement.

Jamie than curated a conversation with the audience, who offered a lively debate on where the responsibilities lay for the transitioning economies from linear to circular models. Disruptive technologies such as cloud computing have opened up economic incentives for the reuse and sharing in the digital world, and there was an intriguing discussion on if and how this could translate into physical goods and services, led by consumer demand. There was an impassioned debate on whether current structures were optimised for the transition, or whether fundamental changes to the financial system were necessary. The conversation became philosophical: was it be market competition or a more cooperative system that would be most effective in delivering a restorative, circular economy? To this question, a member of the audience remarked that the Latin etymology of the word compete was in fact to "strive together"; bringing a thoughtful end to a engaging session.

Building a Sustainable Business

School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford. 19 March 2014

The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment announced second seminar in its Business Fellows' Seven Steps to True North programme. The seminar focused on what deep challenges are to building a sustainable business, and how they look to people who are at the forefront of driving change in major corporations. Audience members had the chance to hear and engage with the leading sustainability practitioners from companies such as Shell, SAB Miller, UBS, Mars, Marks & Spencer and Sustainable Finance Ltd. In unusually frank discussions, they set out their views on where the key challenges are and how well we are doing at tackling them.

The event was a mix of panel and open discussions, and is part of a longer-term interaction with people in and around Oxford.

Business Fellows Programme Launch: True North: seven biggest steps for business to address social and environmental sustainability

Saïd Business School, Oxford. 4 November 2013

The Smith School Business Fellowship launched its new 2 year programme at Said Business School.

The new programme focuses on the steps companies can, could and need to take in order to tackle the most burning and difficult sustainability issues. At the 4 November event we had the chance to hear and engage with the leading sustainability practitioners from companies such as Shell, SAB Miller, UBS, Mars, Marks & Spencer and Sustainable Finance Ltd. In unusually frank discussions, they will set out their views on where the key challenges are and how well we are doing at tackling them.