Centre for Business Relationships Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS)
What is the Business Relationships Accountability, Sustainability and Society Centre?
BRASS is a joint venture between Cardiff University’s School of City and Regional Planning, Business School, and Law School.
What does BRASS do?
BRASS pursues high quality, interdisciplinary social science research and engagement with research users, to create knowledge and tools that will promote more sustainable stakeholder relationships amongst and within businesses, society and the environment.
The centre aims to generate knowledge, skills and learning, and to facilitate practical changes within businesses and policy arenas, based on four areas of distinctive research which promote:
- More sustainable and responsible use of technologies and natural resources by business: addressed through research from a legal perspective looking at the role of the environmental protection regulation and extended producer regulation in minimizing environmental damage by companies. It also examines the role of corporate social responsibility strategies in areas such as extractive industries, nanotechnology and genetically modified organisms
- Patterns of consumption and other behaviours, which promote wellbeing and sustainability: research into the role of consumption and marketing in creating progress towards more sustainable societies. This includes work focusing on key issues of sustainability impacts including transport and food, and the promotion of particular forms of more sustainable consumption such as ethical trading initiatives. This research also considers other forms of individual and collective behaviours linked to lifestyles, organisational behaviour and collective action to promote wellbeing and sustainability.
- More resilient local economies and communities through the application of sustainability principles: research work on sustainable communities and the role of businesses within them including small businesses, social enterprises (and other third sector organisations. The promotion of more localised food production and procurement systems is a particular focus for this work, along with the generation of new patterns of living and working geared towards sustainable development and wellbeing.
- More socially responsible and accountable approaches to governance, management and learning: research work into the ‘soft’ pathways towards sustainability of improved leadership, management strategies, reporting, learning and knowledge transfer. It includes investigating how social, ethical & environmental aspects of business (and economic activity) can be better managed, measured and reported. Governance also forms a key theme for this research bringing together issues of corporate governance and financial governance with issues related to food governance, environmental governance with sustainable development policy.
Environmental change is a common theme across these projects, either as an influence of businesses, communities, organisations and consumers and their behaviour, or as a consequence of the activities of businesses and their stakeholders within our production and consumption systems.
BRASS projects address a number of the specific objectives of the LWEC programme including:
- Climate change orientated research, particularly projects looking at how consumers perceive and respond to climate change as an issue in their behaviour and lifestyles and the potential future impact of the ‘energy crunch’ on the economy and communities within Wales
- Work on environmental regulation and justice, including work on contaminated land and regulatory protection of biodiversity
- Projects tackling human well-being including research on alternative economic indicators and measures of wellbeing, research into the impact of corporate social responsibility strategies on poverty alleviation in poorer countries, research into food security and waste minimisation strategies
- Research on biosecurity in agriculture and the food industry examining policies and practices which will limit the spread of disease and maintain food safety and the viability of rural economies
- Infrastructure related projects including research into reducing car dependence and promoting more sustainable forms of personal mobility and research into the behavioural aspects of reducing energy use in buildings
- Research into sustainable communities including how to improve cohesiveness and wellbeing through sustainability initiatives.
PROGRAMME FACTS AND FIGURES
Total investment: £5.2 million
Start and end date: 01/10/2009 to 30/09/2012