Social research on sustainability

Building on our existing interdisciplinary collaborations across the University to develop a strong conceptual framing for sustainable development, using insights and methods from the social sciences.

Developing concepts and themes

This theme develops the strong existing interdisciplinary social science research based within our Centre and across the University. The theme advances conceptual thinking on sustainability and strengthens the base of empirical evidence, underpinning the systems research of sustainable systems.

Drawing on strong interest in policy and business in 'behaviour change' and the social aspects of sustainability, the theme encompasses economic and institutional aspects of sustainability as well as the social and psychological dimensions of environmentally-relevant behaviour. It aims to extend and build upon existing links within the Faculty and across the University, in particular with psychology, sociology, economics, management and law.

Topic areas

  • Sustainable consumption practices and lifestyle choices
  • Environmental values and value change
  • Social impact of flooding and community resilience
  • Business models for the delivery of energy services and carbon reduction
  • Factors underpinning Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Environmental justice for disadvantaged communities/developing countries
  • Modelling sustainable economies
  • Consumer responses to micro-generation and renewable energy technologies
  • Behavioural changes (demand reduction) in the energy/water sectors
  • Fair trade and fair trading: the distribution of profits along the supply chain
  • Wellbeing and sustainability.

Research projects

This is a highlighted selection of projects we are and have been working on.

Active projects

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Completed projects

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Start date: February 2019

End date: July 2020

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Start date: January 2013

End date: June 2016

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Start date: 2011

End date: 2015

Student projects

Our research takes place via our Environment and Sustainability PhD; grants awarded by the EPSRC and the ESRC and applied research via collaborations with industry.

Interdisciplinary environmental social science

The Environmental Psychology Research Group focuses on how environmental conditions influence people as well as how individuals perceive and act on the environment.