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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)

Program Requirements

Students have program requirements, put into place by the PhD office, and discipline requirements, which are governed by the student’s respective area group. On a case by case basis, some students may be able to waive out of particular required courses or substitute others. Such a course of action must be approved by the PhD director

All PhD students must complete the following requirements.

Discipline Requirements

To be completed before the comprehensive exam unless otherwise noted.


These milestones are designed to ensure students make forward progress. A student who does not achieve these milestones within the required timeline may have their funding partially or fully cut or be withdrawn from the program.

Discipline Coordinator

Wren Montgomery

Dr. Wren Montgomery joined Ivey in 2018 as a member of the Sustainability and General Management groups. She also holds a Visiting Research Scholar appointment at the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Business Sustainability. Professor Montgomery’s research focuses on emerging pressures on water resources and institutions including tensions over ownership, corporate water management, and access and affordability challenges. She also studies environmental entrepreneurship, cross-sectoral collaboration, and corporate greenwashing. Prior to returning to academia, Dr. Montgomery worked as a government relations and management consultant, as well as a policy analyst and strategist at senior levels of government.

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