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Students and faculty in the Sustainability subgroup recognize that the role of business is to create and distribute wealth equitably, both within and across generations. They subscribe to the principles of sustainable development, which is development that ‘meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. A core assumption of researchers in this group is that the broader social and environmental contexts matter to business and that sustainability is core to effective management of risks and opportunities in today’s world. Researchers in this group are also interested in research with the potential to address broad global challenges and to make the world a better place.

The Sustainability group therefore looks to push the boundaries of current theories and methods. We are excited by new ideas and new approaches, as current theories have not adequately addressed some of the significant macro challenges confronting us. We are also excited by research that has practical implications and engages with real-world problems and phenomena.

The faculty members comprising this group include Diane-Laure Arjaliès, Pratima (Tima) Bansal, Oana Branzei, Jury Gualandris, Rob Klassen, Deishin Lee, and Wren Montgomery. They have published cutting-edge sustainability research in top journals across disciplines, including Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Operations Management, Management Accounting Research, Management Science, Organization Science, and Strategic Management Journal. PhD students in the Sustainability area have also received several awards including the Governor General's Gold Medal (Mark DesJardine, Natalie Slawinski), conference best paper prizes, and have placed at top schools (McGill, Penn State etc.).

Ivey's sustainability community is large and active, providing a thriving environment for our Sustainability PhD students. Approximately one third of faculty members across Ivey engage in sustainability research, reflecting its true cross-disciplinary nature (e.g. Janice Byrne, Nadine de Gannes, Alison Konrad, Kirk Kristofferson, Nouri Najjar and Brandon Schaufele, among others). As well, Ivey’s Sustainability group attracts a large number of high-quality doctoral students, post-doctoral students, and international faculty and student visitors. This rich support at Ivey across disciplines and methodological perspectives means the sustainability community at Ivey is vibrant, active and highly generative. Importantly, this structure also offers students the unique opportunity to explore sustainability questions and challenges that cross traditional academic boundaries and ways of seeing the world.

Ivey has gained an international reputation for its sustainability activities. We host the Sustainability PhD Academy that brings together 15 students and 5 faculty from around the world annually in this highly competitive program. Ivey’s annual Sustainability Conference also brings top global sustainability thinkers to Ivey for 2 days of deep conversation with Ivey PhD students and faculty, and aims to build a local community of sustainability scholars that crosses university boundaries. Sustainability doctoral students are also able to access conference and research funding through Ivey’s well recognized Centre for Building Sustainable Value. In addition, the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS) was founded at Ivey. NBS aims to bridge research and practice in order to advance business sustainability. Over 7500 managers and researchers subscribe to NBS’s newsletter.

*Please note that Sustainability is a stream under General Management

Areas of Research Focus

  • Time, space, and scale
  • Systems thinking/theory
  • Social and environmental entrepreneurship
  • Collective and cross-sectoral action for sustainability
  • Sustainable and conservation finance
  • Impact assessment and integrated reporting
  • Circular economy
  • Sustainable food supply chains
  • Co-evolutionary embedded systems (circular products, business models and supply chains)


PhD Student Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in our PhD program. The Sustainability group at Ivey is always happy to hear from superb students who are passionate about researching environmental and social sustainability issues. However, due to constraints on faculty supervisory capacity and a large 2020 cohort, the Sustainability group is unfortunately not recruiting new PhD students this year. If you are interested in working with one of our faculty members, and have familiarized yourself with their specific research interests, it may be possible for you to find a fit and apply through their other area home (Accounting, Business Economics & Public Policy, Entrepreneurship, Operations Management, Strategy). This will still allow you to engage closely with our Sustainability faculty, students, reading group, and programming. We do hope to be accepting applications next fall for September 2022. Please feel free to contact Dr. Wren Montgomery with any questions.

Thank you for your interest in Sustainability at Ivey and we wish you the best of luck in your academic adventures!



Post-graduate Opportunities

The doctoral program in Sustainability is designed for those interested in pursuing academic careers in sustainability at top business schools.

Dr. Mark DesJardine (2016 PhD)

Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University

PhD Dissertation:

The Causes and Consequences of Corporate Short-termism

Corporate short-termism is one of the most significant concerns facing companies and society today. It demands that companies maximize profits in the short term regardless of the long-term consequences. Corporate short-termism can destroy long-run wealth generation, fuel job lay-offs, impede innovation, and neglect society’s social and environmental interests. Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, declares that short-termism, “lies at the heart of many of today’s problems.”... Read more about this thesis

Faculty Advisor(s):

Dr. Natalie Slawinski (2010 PhD)

Associate Professor, Memorial University

PhD Dissertation:

Short on Time: The Role of Organizational Time Orientation in Business

Our research explores the role of time in explaining firm responses to social and environmental issues. We draw on time perspective and other related individual level constructs from the psychology literature, along with research on time from the organizational and sociology literatures, to develop time orientation as a multi-dimensional firm-level construct.... Read more about this thesis

Faculty Advisor(s):


Discipline Coordinator

Wren Montgomery

Dr. Wren Montgomery’s research, teaching, and impact work focuses on environmental and social organizing, how it changes norms and institutions, and how it interacts with corporations. She is primarily interested in unique forms of collaboration and unconventional coalitions with the potential to overcome obstacles to solving many of the world’s most pressing challenges, with a focus on the intersections of climate change, water crises, soil degradation, and social justice. Her research integrates and contributes to theories of change across institutional theory, social movements, economics, and entrepreneurship. Wren’s multi-year research project on water access and affordability – with a focus on Detroit, Michigan – has received several prestigious honours including a best dissertation (ONE, 2016) and best paper award (OMT, 2016) at the Academy of Management. The first publication from this project, Water Wars in Detroit: Custodianship and the Work of Institutional Renewal (AMJ, 2020) also won both the IACMR-RRBM Award for Responsible Research in Management and the NBS-ONE Research Impact on Practice Award in 2020. Other research interests include corporate greenwashing and environmental and social entrepreneurship.

Dr. Montgomery is also deeply committed to doing research that has both academic significance and a more immediate impact on the world around us. She does this by helping students to understand the roots of problems and identify leverage points for change, by working with organizations to raise awareness of these challenges, by highlighting successful approaches and tools, by engaging and working collaboratively with impacted communities, and by serving on government and corporate boards. Wren is also an experienced management consultant and senior government policy analyst and is always happy to collaborate with organizations, entrepreneurs, and students doing the vital work of making change. 

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