New award recognizes global research providing sustainability solutions

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Environmental Management Systems (EMS) increase employee productivity by 16%. When professor Magali Delmas’s research produced this result, she knew it was information business executives needed. Environmental Management Systems comprehensively address organizations’ environmental impacts; effects on productivity are unexpected.

Delmas and her collaborator, Sanja Pekovic, are the inaugural winners of the Research Impact on Practice Award, which recognizes sustainability research that has important implications for managers and other practitioners. Delmas is a faculty member at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Pekovic is based at University Paris-Dauphine.

Award sponsors are the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS), which provides research-based resources for managers; and the Organizations and the Natural Environment (ONE) Division of the Academy of Management, a professional organization for sustainability researchers. While academics produce high-quality research, much of it remains in publications and conferences targeted at other academics. This award seeks to celebrate and share research that has the opportunity to change business.

Award recipients were announced on Monday, August 12, at the Academy of Management’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

“Sustainability requires collaboration by managers and researchers,” said Tima Bansal, Executive Director of NBS. “Managers can identify important problems for research, and academic researchers can provide the answers."

The award recognizes a winner and two runners-up, honoured for articles published within the last year. All will share their research with managers through NBS over the coming year.

“We looked for research that was really actionable,” said Teresa Ko, sustainability performance analyst at Westport Innovations and a member of the evaluation committee. “After I finished reading the [winning] article, I wanted to send it to our environmental engineer in charge of EMS.”

EMS implementation increases productivity because it results in more employee training and connections across the company, Delmas and Pekovic found. These activities, in turn, increase employee engagement and commitment.

The award runners-up had other illuminating findings:

  • Eco labels need to be simple for customers to understand. Researchers Stefanie Heinzle and Rolf Wuestenhagen studied a proposal to change European Union energy efficiency labels from a 7-point A-G rating scale by adding new classes: A+, and A++. They found that the proposed changes led consumers to switch away from energy-efficient products. Heinzle and Wuestenhagen are both at University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.
  • 99% of professionals in Canada’s oil and gas industry agree that the climate is changing — but they disagree on the cause and required actions. In a study of 1000 engineers and geologists, many working on Canada’s oil sands, Lianne Lefsrud and Renate Mayer identified a range of perspectives — and a potential way to unify them. They argue that everyone can agree that climate change is a risk to be managed. Lefsrud is at University of Alberta and Mayer is at the Vienna University of Economics and Business.

“Going forward with this award, we anticipate seeing an ever-widening range of research addressing managers’ needs,” said University of Alberta professor Dev Jennings, incoming Program Chair of the ONE Division.

For more information, please contact Jessica Kilcoyne, Communications Coordinator, NBS at 519-661-2111 x88932 or jkilcoyne@nbs.net.

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About NBS: A Canadian non-profit established in 2005, the Network for Business Sustainability is a powerful and growing network of international academic experts and business leaders. NBS produces authoritative resources on important sustainability issues – with the goal of shaping management practice and research. (http://nbs.net/)

About ONE: The Organizations and the Natural Environment (ONE) Division of the Academy of Management is dedicated to the advancement of research, teaching, and service in the area of relationships between organizations and the natural environment. (http://one.aomonline.org/ONE_Web/Home.html)

About the research: