An 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.

Our planet is under threat.

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. The data is stark. Carbon dioxide levels rose to an all-time this year. Antarctic ice sheets continue to shrink. 2020 was the second hottest year on record.

We can, and must take action.

As a business school, we have an important role to play. At Exeter, our research is focused around three important themes – Environmental Intelligence, Responsible Leadership and Technological Transformation.

Business takes resources and develops products and services that consumers need. Sustaining the resources that make business possible, while addressing the environmental and climate emergency, is an extraordinary challenge and our first most important responsibility. We must not forget that those who suffer most from environmental degradation and Covid-19 are the poor. Rising income inequality exacerbates the widening opportunity economic and health care chasm between those who are very well off and those who have very little at all.

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, yes, also save our planet.

It’s daunting, and the aim sounds grandiose, but our success at creating wealth is also responsible for our environmental, health and social challenges. There are no easy fixes. Too often, our political leaders announce policies that don’t work, change their minds the next day, and look to blame others. I am certain, however, that together we can do better, and that we need to be much more determined in our own efforts.

In Exeter Expertise I will concentrate on writing about these challenges. 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.