For 18 years, Dr. Tima Bansal has led NBS. In November 2021, Dr. Jury Gualandris takes the lead…
The Network for Business Sustainability brings academics and managers together to advance business sustainability. “I felt that executives didn’t know where to find business sustainability research,” recalls NBS Founder Dr. Tima Bansal, describing why she began NBS in 2003. “Similarly, researchers often didn’t know what was on the minds of executives. Connecting researchers and managers would make sustainability more achievable.”
Eighteen years later, the Network for Business Sustainability offers almost 900 content resources, providing evidence-based, relevant guidance on many business sustainability topics. More than 35,000 followers on different platforms access those resources, and NBS fosters a network of 180 business school sustainability centres.
“NBS has been my baby, but I think transitions are so important for every organization,” says Tima. Now, a new leader will guide NBS: Dr. Jury Gualandris.
Introducing Jury Gualandris, professor at Ivey Business School
Jury is Associate Professor of Operations Management and Sustainability at Ivey Business School, and a colleague of Tima’s. “I couldn’t be more excited about the hands NBS is going into,” says Tima. “Jury’s good ideas will take us to the next level.”
Jury’s academic work focuses on sustainability and competitiveness in supply chains. He looks at how supply chain sustainability is affected by sourcing practices, supply chain structure, and NGO partnerships. Most recently, he’s focusing his work on the circular economy: when firms use another firm’s waste to generate environmental, societal and economic value.
For Jury, research is a spark for practical engagement. He has raised over $400K CAD to fund circular economy activities, including helping a circular economy non-profit establish a resource exchange marketplace. He’s currently leading a program in collaboration with circular economy effort Our Food Future and many local businesses in Ontario and Quebec. He shares research insights with industry leaders like HP, Walmart Canada, Philips and Eco-Vadis, and he collaborates with federal agencies such as Environment and Climate Change Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
NBS’s next steps involve content and communities
NBS will continue to provide rigorous, relevant content. “We will support the different and ever-changing informational needs of different sustainability stakeholders,” says Jury. Those stakeholders include students, business leaders, policy advisors and researchers or educators. “NBS gives its members the opportunity to learn facts, frameworks and experiences.”
Under Jury, NBS will also focus more on building communities, so that people have a peer network to support them in creating change. “Around the world, I see the emergence of diverse, interconnected communities around topics such as the circular economy, sustainable finance, net-zero, social justice, and many others,” says Jury. “NBS will have to support these communities, so that they can expand their contributions to thriving societies and ecosystems.
These efforts by NBS will rest on engagement and analysis. Over the next months, the organization will work to:
better understand what content current and future members would like to access through or co-create with NBS;
improve the productivity of internal processes; and
differentiate sources of funds, to grow and better sustain impact.
Jury says: “Expect an invitation from us soon to learn about your informational needs and inform our future actions. Too impatient? Sign up here and the NBS team will reach out.
Jury’s commitment comes from caring and children
For Jury, commitment to sustainability started early. “At the age of five, I would go with my dad to clean up the Serio river, just outside Calcinate, the small Italian community in which I grew up. We did this every year, as part of a local campaign.
“Sustainability is about caring. The act of ‘caring’ is altruistic, because it’s free of charge and targeted to improve the wellbeing of others. But it can also be egoistic, because of the pleasure we can derive from offering a contribution. Caring can be a win-win, for individuals and businesses alike.”
When Tima invited Jury to lead NBS, he saw an opportunity to provide a stronger future for his own children. As part of a Canadian government roundtable on the circular economy, he had helped shape a strategy focused on 2050.
“I realized that by 2050, I’ll be senior, but my girls that are now three and five years old will be just my age, so I really felt the responsibility to work towards a better future for them. NBS is my way to create impact by translating and co-creating content, together with other researchers and practitioners.”
Tima Bansal becomes NBS Senior Advisor and Innovation North Director
Tima Bansal will continue to be involved with NBS. “Jury has asked me to stay on as NBS’s Senior Advisor and I love giving advice,” she says.
But she has a new “baby” as well. Tima’s leading an innovative project: Innovation North. It’s a lab where leading corporations and organizations in Canada ‘innovate the innovation process.’ Tima explains: “As organizations face greater complexity and disruption than ever before, we are creating a space where researchers and managers work together to cocreate knowledge on how to innovate better in an age of disruption.”
We’re excited about the future
There’s lots to do, and we’re excited about continuing to create impact together. Everyone can contribute, as we advance business sustainability to assure a better, more fair and ecologically sound present and future for all.
For inspiration, here’s a picture from Jury.