Businesses and governments around the world face challenges that defy conventional thinking and analytical approaches. The Centre of International Business and Sustainability (CIBS) contributes a distinctive voice by bringing together researchers from economics, econometrics, computational economics, policy analysis, strategy and ethics to explore together what we call the 'Sustainability World'.
As an interdisciplinary research centre at London Metropolitan Business School (LMBS), CIBS and its members work with collaborators in other institutions to examine the 'Sustainability World' and its interrelated issues and policy responses.
- Technical Expertise, particularly the development of decision-support tools based upon the Environment-Energy-Economy framework (e.g., ACEGES )
- Evidence-based Research for policy makers and practitioners (e.g., CIBS Working Papers)
- MSc Sustainable Business, Energy and Finance
- CIBS Doctoral Training Programme based upon the CIBS core research areas
CIBS core research areas are:
- Energy and Investment
- Ethics and Philosophy
- Climate Change and Environment
- Governance and Policy
together with the global transformations:
- Financial and Economic Systems
- Technology and Innovation
- Drivers of societal change
- Drivers of sustainable development
"Energy and Investment": Energy resources, particular the fossil hydrocarbons of coal, conventional oil and natural gas, have fuelled much of human progress and economic growth since the industrial revolution. A key threat is that for decades the more advanced industrial societies have been able to assume virtually uninterrupted energy supplies and related services. The prospect looms of this no longer being the case because of the finite nature of these fossil hydrocarbons and the increased demand for flexible energy services such as electricity and transport fuels. Thus, "Investment and Energy" is likely to become a key theme during the 21st century, particularly during periods of uncertain supply and volatile prices. This will involve balancing home-grown energy generation with imported energy with obvious implications for both the balance of payments and energy security. Achieving sustainable economic growth will require a re-assessment of the energy supply-demand dynamics and investment decisions to develop indigenous and alternative energy resources, ranging from new nuclear and fossil hydrocarbons to renewables. Technology and innovations at the supply and demand side will affect when, where and what can be achieved. The financial and economic systems will be key drivers towards a sustainable energy system for the 21st century, particularly if drivers of societal change are examined to i) identify what might prevent attractive investment opportunities from being captured and ii) evaluate practical measures to overcome the structural and behavioural barriers.
"Ethics and Philosophy": Sustainability is a fundamentally ethical and interdisciplinary issue that challenges us to reconsider established ways of thinking. How we ought to respond to climate change, the depletion of mineral resources, environmental degradation, and the loss of animal and plant species is a fundamentally ethical and philosophical question. Sustainability demands that government policy, business strategy, and consumer behaviour reflect the interests and well-being not only of the living but also of future generations. It forces us to consider how much the welfare of people not yet born matter in our decisions regarding present-day resource use. This means that intergenerational ethics and distributive justice are at the core of sustainability as an economic, social, and policy issue. Should we, for example, be concerned with future people’s welfare, as the economist tends to think, or should we prioritise their rights? To what extent, and with what justification, can we discount the interests of future generations? Sustainability also raises important intra-generational ethical issues. Is there, for example, a morally defensible distribution of carbon emissions rights? Should we prioritise climate policy over global poverty? And, importantly, if environmental and climate policy is to have a sound moral basis we must consider what kind of political institutions would best deliver this. The ethical dimension of sustainability brings together current discussions in economics, politics, and philosophy. At its heart is the question: Can we deliver morally justified sustainability policy?
"Climate Change and Environment": One of the major challenges to sustainable development is the need to cope with climate change, a matter of great global concern and one which shows the extent to which societies are unsustainable. The increases in CO2 emissions, the inefficiency in energy use or the emphasis on fossil fuels all point out to the need for a paradigm shift, whereby the principles of sustainable development may be used in order to tackle the challenges posed, particularly by researching the inter-relations between sustainable development, environment and climate change.
"Governance and Policy": A key source of the sustainability and environmental problems that the world currently faces are the huge income and wealth inequalities both within and across countries. Poverty and economic desperation are at the root of deforestation and soil erosion in many countries; the need to create jobs and relieve unemployment is at the root of cheap coal burning in other countries and so on. To tackle these problems requires government funding, but here we have a vicious circle: poverty restricts the amount of tax revenue raised by governments in many countries while it is at the same time the source of environmental problems. This vicious circle is further compounded by the fact that many of the poorest countries, desperate to attract foreign funds, compete with each other to give foreign private and institutional investors the most generous tax privileges; this tax competition then undermines the ability of the governments of the advanced economies to tax the wealthy and others who are mobile and can thus hold up the threat of exit and relocation to another tax jurisdiction; these tax revenue losses then further undermine the international aid program which is key to tackling sustainability issues. The upshot is that tax harmonization measures form a key part of the funding process needed to materially underpin the measures for tackling sustainability issues.