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This report is a product of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.


“This business-focused synthesis report, ‘Nexus2020: The most important research questions for business sustainability‘ shows the importance of collaboration between businesses and academics to ensure that academic research is informed by business and enables more rapid progress towards sustainability. It builds upon a CISL-led academic paper published in the scientific journal Sustainability Science in October 2016.

The report was produced by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), as part of the Nexus Network project, a three-year initiative funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and co-ordinated by a team from the University of Sussex, University of East Anglia and University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership to foster debate, innovative research and practical collaborations across the linked ‘nexus’ domains of food, energy, water and the environment.

The study is the first of its kind to bring businesses and academics together to address the challenges companies have in managing their impact and dependencies on the nexus domains. Over 250 stakeholders, including representatives from companies such as Asda, EDF Energy, HSBC and Nestlé and academics from institutions including Cambridge, Leeds and Exeter Universities all contributed to the study.

From the 722 questions that had been submitted by business, civil society, policymakers and academics over a five-month period, 40 critical research priorities were identified at a two-day workshop. These are categorised into five themes;

  1. Incentives for change
  2. Collaboration and stakeholder engagement
  3. Investing in sustainability
  4. Supply chains taking a landscape approach
  5. Making better policy

Since the list of priority research questions was produced in 2015, CISL has begun to investigate some of the questions, including ‘What common metrics can be devised to enable nexus comparisons to be made that will help businesses and investors choose priorities and inform decision making?’ CISL is leading this important piece of work by engaging with researchers as well as with members of the Natural Capital Leaders Platform and the Investment Leaders Group on this priority research area…”

Read on and access the report at: Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.