Published: 22 March 2016

Why study sustainability at Surrey?

If you are passionate about the environment and sustainability Surrey is leading research in this field.

PhD student in Sustainable Systems, Marcio De Lazzari, is researching UK business startups driven by sustainability with a focus on business and innovation.

Marcio said, “The growing eco-friendly market has allowed many business startups to target their market. However, it is not clear how successful these startups are, what may make them succeed in their businesses and what is the overall impact of their sector on the mainstream markets.”

The aim of Marcio’s research is to understand the role played by sustainability isssues in relation to startup companies manufacturing green products. Marcio is on a fully funded Science without Borders CNPq scholarship and his supervisors are Dr Walter Wehrmeyer, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Technology, Roland Clift, and Dr Jacquetta Lee.

He explained, “My research explores an investigation of the main drivers of sustainability-driven startups; the analysis of differences between business models adopted by mainstream and sustainability-driven startups; and a review of the factors which may affect the longevity of these startups.”

The methodology is an exploratory analysis focusing on 16 (early stage) British companies from three sectors: off-grid portable renewable energy (mobile electricity generators such as solar panels and related devices, biomass generators, energy storage systems) gifts (purses, bags, sunglasses, reusable bottles) and fashion clothing (t-shirts, hoodies and other related apparel). The real world applications include the dissemination of sustainability practices into mainstream startups as well as the use of tools and awareness of business models to provide a more scalable and consistent growth for sustainability-driven start-ups.

Marcio joined the world-renowned Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) in 2013 as a PhD student (from his native Brazil) and has contributed to the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences (FEPS) as a tutor for engineering drawing and computer aided design (CAD).

Highlights at Surrey include attending a Summer School with Climate-KIC, the EUs main climate innovation initiative, and winning three competitions: the Enterprise Academy student competition (November 2013), the Student Enterprise Video Challenge competition (November 2014) on the subject of: ‘Why would you choose to study at the University of Surrey?’ and the Wates Social Enterprise Award, organized by Research and Enterprise Support (RES).

Marcio said, “I’d recommend coming to Surrey if you are looking for a more focused approach into sustainability, especially for postgraduate courses. Through several opportunities to develop personal and professional skills, the University offers a very inspiring atmosphere.”

Prior to joining CES, Marcio lectured at the Federal Technological University of Parana State in Brazil (UTFPR) and worked with ecodesign in his own company with studies related to sustainable mobility and discarded products such as old cars and electronic waste including defunct mobile phones. This resulted in the development of a patented bicycle frame for electric bikes plus three national awards granted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the Brazilian Association of Automotive Engineering (AEA).

Find out more about our world-leading research and our courses in Environment and Sustainability.

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