The FT names Trinity Business School sustainability research from the Horizon 2020 Connecting Nature project as ‘highly commended’ in the recent Responsible Business Education Awards.
The award recognises business schools who are conducting research that has real-world impact, helping companies and other organisations do better.
The successful project was presented in two papers, the first one entitled Innovating with Nature: From Nature-Based Solutions to Nature-Based Enterprises, and the second one entitled: Innovating with Nature: Factors Influencing the Success of Nature-Based Enterprises, both published in 2021.
According to the research, pioneered by Trinity Business School researchers Siobhán McQuaid, Esmee Kooijman, Mary Lee Rhodes and Sheila Cannon in collaboration with Marcus Collier of Trinity School of Natural Sciences and Francesco Pilla of UCD, nature-based enterprises contribute to a diverse range of sustainable economic activities, that standard industry classification systems do not adequately account for. The recognition of the value created by these activities is essential for designing effective policy support measures, and for market development of the sector and its potential to facilitate the wider adoption of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS).
The study presents findings from a systematic review of literature and a survey on 130 private sector agents in the planning and implementation of NBS, with the aim to identify them. The study used a typology for organisations delivering NBS and a categorisation of their economic activities. The most common organisation type found is ‘nature-based enterprise’ (a term coined by the paper), which offers products or services where nature is a core element and used sustainably and engages in economic activity. Moreover, eleven categories of economic activities were identified, ranging from ecosystem restoration, living green roofs, and eco-tourism to smart technologies and community engagement for NBS.
These research papers were made possible through Connecting Nature, a €12 million initiative funded by Horizon 2020, the European Commission programme for research and innovation. Connecting Nature is led by Trinity College Dublin who coordinated the work of 10 cities in Europe and 29 other collaborators from across industry, NGOs and academia. International hubs raising awareness and uptake were established in Brazil, China, South Korea and the Caucuses. Trinity Business School led a series of research papers (two published, two in progress) to explore the potential of nature-based solutions to support economic activities.
Reflecting on the findings of the study, Siobhán McQuaid, PI of Connecting Nature, Trinity Business School, said:
“We’re delighted that our research defining the concept of nature-based enterprises is being recognised for the impact it continues to have on shaping city, EU and global policies, and the equally importantly impact it continues to have on practice, through the establishment of the Connecting Nature Enterprise Platform, connecting thousands of nature-based enterprises globally.”
Professor Mary Lee Rhodes, Director of the Centre for Social Innovation added: “This is just the beginning of a rich vein of multi-disciplinary research and innovation that we hope will make a significant contribution to addressing the climate and biodiversity crises.”
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