Resource

Report // Nexus2020: The most important research questions for business sustainability

Partnerships between businesses and researchers are fundamental to generating tangible steps towards sustainability, reveals the Nexus2020: The most important research questions for business sustainability report. Nexus2020 is led by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, as part of the Nexus Network activities to bring together business and academia.

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CISL website (full report)

Summary

The most efficient way for academics to identify the research needs of companies is to talk with them; likewise the most effective way for companies to obtain useful insights from academics is to work with them as partners from the beginning of a research process to its conclusion – and potentially beyond into practice where new questions arise. This is surprisingly rare. A more conventional approach is for academics to engage companies at the end of a research process (or not to engage them at all!) in what is usually referred to as dissemination. The absence of users during the design phase of a research study can inhibit its ability to make sense to – or even be seen by – users after publication. For this reason the Nexus 2020 project set out to build a bridge between the business and academic worlds to identify the top 40 questions that, if answered, would best help companies to manage their food-energy-water-environment nexus dependencies and impacts. This was the first time that these two communities have been brought together effectively to co-produce research priorities that underpin solutions to nexus challenges such as managing competing uses of land, building resilient supply chains and sustaining livelihoods in resource-scarce parts of the world.

The report

  • outlines nexus research priorities
  • explains why partnerships between businesses and researchers are critical in the long term for companies to thrive
  • calls for researchers and business practitioners to develop specific projects to answer pressing nexus issues
  • outlines the opportunities of this co-production approach for research funding agencies

Content

  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Why should business consider the nexus?
  • Business and academics co-create research questions
  • Top 40 questions for Nexus2020
  • Five emergent themes
  • Categorising the top nexus questions for business
  • Incentives for change
  • Collaboration and stakeholder engagement
  • Investing in sustainability
  • Supply chains taking a landscape approach
  • Making better policy
  • Creating opportunities
  • Next steps
  • Participants

Published

2016

By

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