Introduction from Professor David Bruce Allen

Welcome to Exeter Expertise – a place where we distil our research and insights to help you tackle the world’s biggest challenges.

Professor David Bruce Allen

Our planet is under threat. Carbon dioxide levels rose to an all-time high this year according to the World Meteorological Organisation. Antarctic ice sheets continue to shrink according to NASA and European Space Agency research.

In his 2020 World Environment Day statement, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, warned how climate disruption is getting worse, with fires, floods, droughts, and superstorms becoming more frequent and damaging. Added to this is a COVID-19 pandemic that is threatening health, livelihoods, and exacerbating inequalities globally.

We can, and must take action.

As a business school, we have an important role to play in helping to make the world a better place. At Exeter, our research is focused around three important themes – Environmental Responsibility, Purposeful Leadership and Technological Innovation.

Business takes resources and develops products and services that consumers need. Sustaining the resources that make business possible, has become with the environmental and climate emergency, our first responsibility. Not surprisingly, those who suffer most from global warming are the poor. Rising income inequality has exacerbated the impact of COVID-19 on the poor as well. It is as much an environmental crisis as it is a pandemic.

Our job, as business leaders, is to work alongside government and civil society organisations to figure out how we can create wealth and well-being for all and save our planet while we are at it.

Yes, it’s daunting, and the aim grandiose, but we created the challenge ourselves thanks to our extraordinary success. It isn’t obvious how we will do this. Some of our political leaders seemed determined daily to demonstrate their unparalleled incompetence. Why would we as business leaders think we can do better? We don’t know that we can. We just have a moral obligation to try.

In Exeter Expertise I will concentrate on writing about the challenges to our survival. In the other sections of Exeter Expertise, my colleagues will do the real work. They will provide you with the latest academic research and practical insights and advice to help you work more productively and with greater success.

Thank you for reading my opening blog. I hope you will return for the next instalment and that you’ll let me know what you think.

 Professor David Bruce Allen is Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean at the University of Exeter Business School.

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