CBiS White Paper Series
We are delighted to publish our new White Paper series.
The Centre for Business in Society examines the impact – good or bad – of organisations’ activities, behaviours and policies on society, to promote responsibility and changed behaviours for the benefit of economies and societies.
Here we offer a set of White Papers and Thought Pieces aimed to inform, spark debate and to showcase aspects of our research.
Dr David Bek explores why the business case for sustainability matters, within the context of the global standards and certifications industry. A wide range of standards and certifications provide assurance around the sustainability of business practices, usually via an audit-based process whose primary goal is to establish whether a business is compliant against a core set of criteria. This compliance-based approach is increasingly coming under criticism, for failing to facilitate improvements in overall performance. As argued in this paper, a better approach is to develop models which focus upon continuous improvement in performance.
Professor Lyndon Simkin examines disruption and strategy in fast-changing markets, with a focus on the automotive sector. Market disruption poses threats and opportunities, resulting in the re-thinking of strategies and often requiring new business models in response. Few markets have faced as much disruption as today’s automotive sector. Whether connected, electric or autonomous vehicles, the pace of change is dramatic. New entrants are engaging in this sector, existing automotive players are striving to respond, regulators and policy-makers are developing their viewpoints, while consumers are faced with unfamiliar innovations and untested options. A set of key strategic questions is posed.
Our research teams are (a) examining sustainable production and ethical consumption, which underpin the new circular economy; (b) searching for durable and inclusive economic growth and development models, which promote new partnerships between state, economy and society; (c) exploring at the national, organisational and individual level the economic and social impacts of the financial crisis and post-financialisation, with a focus on responsible personal finance and debt; and (d) addressing the implications of the digital era and big data for business and society, notably regarding the strategy, use, privacy and security of data in organisations and society.
Further papers on these themes will be added in the future.
Author: Professor Lyndon Simkin
Disruption in markets poses threats and opportunities, requiring the re-thinking of strategies and new business models in response. Few markets have faced as much disruption as the automotive sector today. Whether connected, electric or autonomous vehicles, the pace of change is dramatic. New entrants are engaging in this sector, existing automotive players are striving to respond, while regulators and policy-makers are developing their viewpoints. But what of the consumers in this fast-evolving market? How receptive are they to these developments? Which consumers will modify their behaviours and which will resist? Do we understand why?
It will be very interesting to identify the emerging ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ between the more traditional players in automotive and the new-comers to this fast-changing sector, such as:
• Jaguar Land Rover or Toyota versus Tesla or Google’s Waymo
• GKN or Leah versus FEV or LG Chem
• Shell or Exxon versus EDF or Eon
• Petrolheads versus new-thinking consumers
• The Gulf’s oil versus Coventry’s EV batteries.
How these trade-offs and disruptive dynamics unfold will shape the future of the automotive sector, the mix of companies and partnerships involved, the products brought to market and their channels, as well as radically alter consumer purchasing and behaviours. This is the focus for this thought piece paper, which is part of a large body of research across the transport and automotive arena being undertaken by the Centre for Business in Society at Coventry Business School.
Author: Dr David Bek
This paper explores the need to explore the business case for sustainability within the context of the global standards and certifications industry. A wide range of standards and certifications provide assurance around the sustainability of business practices usually via an audit-based process whose primary goal is to establish whether a business is compliant against a core set of criteria. This compliance-based approach is increasingly coming under criticism as it is not seen to facilitate improvements in overall performance. Drawing upon research conducted in the horticultural sector in South Africa, this paper outlines some of the shortcomings of the compliance-based approach and then considers how things can be done better by developing models which focus upon Continuous Improvement in performance.
Wider debates within the certification and standards field are reflected upon and a holistic model is proposed, which shifts the emphasis to performance rather than compliance. The paper concludes by stating the imperative for research to be an integral component of the Continuous Improvement process. Such research can elucidate the relationships between specific business practices and sustainable outcomes. This is important for ensuring that training and support offered to businesses are appropriately targeted and for enabling better business planning. Furthermore, research can demonstrate the benefits to business of specific sustainable practices. In this way the business case for sustainability can be articulated and the notion that sustainability is a ‘luxury’ can be dispelled.