The School of Earth and Environment: An International Powerhouse for Sustainability Research

Sustainable Business Leadership The main entrance to the School of Earth and Environment building on the University of Leeds campus.

Recognised as an international powerhouse for sustainability research, the School of Earth and Environment has a wide-ranging and positive impact on the world. With a strong track-record of national and global collaborations, it tackles complex challenges at the forefront of global research agendas including climate change, earth sciences, energy and more.

Read on to learn more about the school, its latest developments and the unique partnerships you can learn from.

Learn more about our Sustainable Business Leadership course

What is the School of Earth and Environment?

The School of Earth and Environment is a department within the University of Leeds, with a specialist focus on sustainability covering a variety of areas such as:

  • Atmospheric sciences.
  • Physical climate change.
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Energy pathways.
  • Environmental processes, management and policy.
  • Ancient environments.
  • Earth dynamics.

The school delivers pioneering global research and facilitates expert courses such as the Sustainable Business Leadership MSc / PGCert by bringing together expertise across five institutes: the Earth Surface Science InstituteInstitute of Applied GeoscienceInstitute of Geophysics and TectonicsInstitute for Climate and Atmospheric Science and the Sustainability Research Institute.

The sustainability course is delivered in collaboration with Leeds University Business School and examines the importance of sustainability decisions in relation to wider business objectives, and how organisations can leverage sustainable business models (e.g. doughnut economics) in their sustainability strategies.

“The collaboration between the School of Earth and Environment and Leeds University Business School is great because we’ve been able to develop a unique programme that brings together sustainability knowledge and business knowledge from schools that are both recognised for world-leading research. Sustainability is really embedded into this business leadership programme, so it really benefits from the expertise from both of those schools”.

Dr Laura Smith Lecturer for Sustainable Business Leadership, University of Leeds
Read the full conversation here

A notable sustainability research project by the School of Earth and Environment

According to UK waste reduction charity WRAP, the UK throws away 9.5 million tonnes of food each year with household food waste accounting for 70% of this amount. It’s also reported that less than half the UK population associates throwing away uneaten food with climate change.

Action could be taken to reduce 50% of food waste by 2030 and in line with this, the School of Earth and Environment and major UK retailer Asda have investigated how retailers could tackle knowledge barriers faced by consumers around food waste.

The team developed a range of strategies to help customers waste less by using psychological theories and food waste reduction models. Memorable messaging on the consequences of wasting food and methods to prevent it were communicated through Asda’s in-store magazine and on product packaging.

Measurable reductions in domestic food waste were visible after six months of the scheme, and Asda have continued testing the initiative by refreshing its messaging every six months. The initiative also led to Professor William Young from the School of Earth and Environment being recognised for several sector-wide awards.

“The Asda research found that attaching a personal value or benefit to the (consumer) behaviour, such as how to be organised and save money, had the strongest long-term results (to reduce food waste).”

Professor William Young School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds

Who does the School of Earth and Environment collaborate with?

The school has a strong track-record of national and global collaborations with academic institutions, businesses, NGOs, policymakers and government bodies. It hosts many national centres, bringing scientists together to provide leadership in earth systems research, and is home to several major UKRI Energy Programme Centres.

The school also works extensively with other schools and centres across the University of Leeds, including the Priestley Centre for Climate Futureswater@leedsthe Global Food and Environment Institute, and Geosolutions Leeds. Alongside this, they also have strong links with Energy LeedsLeeds Institute for Data AnalyticsLeeds Social Sciences Institute, and the Bragg Centre for Materials Research.

Insights from these collaborative efforts informs the content of teaching, ensuring that it aligns with the changing sustainability landscape and latest trends in sustainability and business.

What are the latest developments at the School of Earth and Environment?

To keep up to date with all the latest developments at the School of Earth and Environment, visit the website or follow the @SEELeeds Twitter feed.

Study an online Sustainable Business Leadership course with the University of Leeds

Our Sustainable Business Leadership Masters / Postgraduate Certificate is delivered online by the University of Leeds. With a 100% online method of study, you can join from anywhere in the world, benefitting from the world-class academics and research.

There are several reasons why studying the course can benefit you, but primarily this course is ideal if you:

“The Sustainable Business Leadership course is a fantastic opportunity for individuals that are looking to either transition into the fields of business and sustainability or those who want to upskill in more sustainable leadership roles within their existing organisations. It’s taught over 24 months and there’s three core foundation modules which are broadly within the field of sustainability and business, followed by six development modules which are more around the business skills side of it, which is exactly what employers want. There’s also a project module so students can choose to tailor the degree and move in the direction that they’re interested in and the field or discipline that they want to study further”.

Dr Jamie van Alstine Associate Professor for Sustainable Business Leadership, University of Leeds
Read the full conversation here

A bespectacled person smiling, lowering to look at models of windmills

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Preview of the University of Leeds Sustainable Business Leadership programme page

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Check out the course content and how to apply.

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