Professor Jem Bendell

notes from a strategist and educator on social and organisational change

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Jem’s Quarterly #9 – Lead collaborations for meaningful change

Posted by jembendell on April 26, 2017

I will keep it quick this quarter and focus on the resources and opportunities now available to you on sustainable leadership, collaboration, and currency innovation.


My paper on a needed revolution in collaboration between business and NGOs will appear in the JCC academic journal in June. I wrote this to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the publication of my first book, In the Company of Partners. I gave a lecture about that to our international MBA students and invited guests, and it’s been nicely produced here.

The next course offer from IFLAS on this topic is the “Skills for Leading Teams” course over 3 days in June. That is a wonderful time to visit the Lake District. Led by IFLAS Doctoral Researcher Jo Chaffer, the course will be a special experience and I look forward to seeing some of you there. The module is also part of our MA in Leadership Development. The foundational 6-day residential for that is also in the Lake District, and starts 12th September.

Sustainable Leadership

The special issue of the SAMPJ academic journal is now complete and will appear in September. It features a paper “Beyond Unsustainable Leadership” which I wrote with Richard Little (Impact International) and Dr Neil Sutherland (UWE). I will present this in Carlisle on July 17th. My research in leadership has been recognized with a prize from a Swiss institute, who will host me in June to discuss implications for leadership within the United Nations system.

Our number of doctoral students focusing on these topics grows, with Aimee Leslie of WWF joining us to explore how leaders in the environmental sector interpret the tragedies as well as successes in this line of work. Speaking of environmental tragedy, the video for my talk at Griffith University on getting real about what troubles climate change presents us is online here.

The Institute continues to animate discussion on these topics, with former RGS VP and TV personality Paul Rose and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood both speaking about sustainable leadership on our Ambleside Campus this summer. These are some of the 10 free public events IFLAS is organising to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the University of Cumbria.

If you are wondering how we approach sustainability and why we think the heritage and landscape of the Lake District matters in what we do, I recommend my Inaugural Lecture, and some thoughts I shared on our research at IFLAS.

Currency Innovation

In March, more people completed our free Money and Society MOOC than ever before. We hosted 30 of them at a summit in London, which was also part of our PGC in Sustainable Leadership. We are delighted the Finance Lab also offered one free fellowship for 6 months for alumni of our MOOC. We look forward to hosting them on their retreat in the Lake District this summer.

In May I will be presenting a paper on the future of complementary currencies in an age of blockchains at the joint academic-practitioner RAMICS conference in Barcelona. We will be explaining the proposal for a new Credit Commons Collective to create the protocols and tools for the massive scaling of socially useful new currencies. I’m also helping organise a workshop there for PhD researchers and then, a first for me, helping with a hackathon to develop some of the software that is needed. I’m pleased to be working with my PhD student Leander Bindewald and MOOC colleague Matthew Slater on these efforts.

I have long advocated these solutions for Greece, and in June will be presenting the ideas and tools with Matthew to community groups and local government at the RIPESS event in Athens and then will guest lecture on a course a few hours north near Volos, with the commercial barter guru Tom Greco (course info here).

The common theme of all this stuff is enabling people to lead collaboration for  meaningful change in an unstable environment. I hope to continue doing that in various ways, new and old, in the coming years.



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Publications by Jem Bendell

Posted by jembendell on January 9, 2017

This is a rolling list of all my publications, which I will endeavour to keep up to date. Many of the references have links to the actual publications (I will add more over time).  

Books and Refereed UN Reports

Bendell, J. and A. Miller (2015) Enhancing the Contribution of Export Processing Zones to the Sustainable Development Goals, UNCTAD, Geneva.

Bendell, J., W. Ruddick and M. Slater (2015) Re-imagining Money to Broaden the Future of Development Finance: What Kenyan Community Currencies Reveal is Possible for Financing Development, Working Paper 2015-10, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), Geneva. Download here.

Bendell, J. and I. Doyle (2014) Healing Capitalism, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield, UK.

Bendell, J. (2011) Evolving Partnerships: A Guide to Working With Business for Greater Social Change, Greenleaf Publishing: Sheffield, UK.

Bendell, J. and A. Ellersiek (2009) Noble Networks: Advocacy for Global Justice and the “Network Effect”, Programme Paper, UNRISD, Geneva.

Bendell, J. et al (2009) The Corporate Responsibility Movement, Greenleaf Publishing: Sheffield, UK.

Bendell, J. (2006) Debating NGO Accountability, Development Dossier, United Nations NGLS, Geneva.

Bendell, J. (2004a) Barricades and Boardrooms: A Contemporary History of the Corporate Accountability Movement, Programme Paper 13, UNRISD, Geneva

Bendell, J. (2003d) Waking Up to Risk: Corporate Responses to HIV/AIDS in Developing Countries, Programme Paper 12, UNRISD

Bendell, J. (ed.) (2000a) Terms for Endearment: Business, NGOs and Sustainable Development, Greenleaf: Sheffield, UK

Murphy D. F. and Bendell, J (1999) Partners in Time? UNRISD Discussion Paper 109, UNRISD: Geneva

Murphy D.F. and J. Bendell (1997) In the Company of Partners: Business, Environmental Groups and Sustainable Development Post-Rio, Policy Press: Bristol, UK


Refereed Journal Articles

Ruddick, W., Richards, M. and Bendell, J. (2015) ‘Complementary Currencies for Sustainable Development in Kenya: The Case of the Bangla-Pesa’ International Journal of Community Currency Research, 19.  ISSN 1325-9547. Download here.

Bendell, J. and R. Little (2015b) ‘Seeking Sustainability Leadership’, Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Issue 60, pp. 13-26(14). Download here.

Bendell, J and L. Thomas (2013) ‘The Appearance of Elegant Disruption: Theorising Sustainable Luxury Entrepreneurship’ in The Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Issue 52.

Bendell, J., A. Miller, and K. Wortmann (2011) “Public Policies for Scaling Corporate Responsibility Standards: expanding collaborative governance for sustainable development”, in Sustainability, Accounting, Management & Policy Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2.

Bendell, J., Eva Collins and Juliet Roper (2010) ‘Beyond partnerism: toward a more expansive research agenda on multi-stakeholder collaboration for responsible business’, in Business Strategy and the Environment, Volume 19, Issue 6,  pages 351–355, September.

Bendell, J. (2010) ‘What if we are Failing? Towards a Post-crisis Agenda for the Global Compact’, in The Journal of Corporate Citizenship, No. 37.

Bendell, J. and C. Ng (2009) ‘Characteristics of Asian CSR’, Social Space, Issue 2, Singapore Management Uni, Singapore. p56-61 Bendell, J. and I. Chawla (2007) ‘The South and Carbon Dioxide: Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining’, Finance and Common Good, 27.

Bendell, J and C. Valor (2006) ‘Hacia una responsabilidad social «responsable»: análisis de la legitimidad de las iniciativas multi-stakeholders’, Revista Principios,  Número 5 (Mayo 2005).**

Bendell, J. (2005) Beyond Accountability, in Accountability Forum, 7: 34 – 41

Bendell, J. & Kearins, K. (2005). ‘The ‘political bottom line’: The emerging dimension to corporate responsibility for sustainable development’, Business Strategy and the Environment, 14 (6), 372-383.

Bendell, J., 2005, ‘In Whose Name? The Accountability of Corporate Social Responsibility’ in Development in Practice, Volume 15, Numbers 3 & 4, June, p362-374.

Bendell, J. and Font X (2004) ‘Which Tourism Rules? Green Standards and GATS’, in Annals of Tourism Research, Volume 31, Issue 1, January 2004, Pages 139-156

Prieto, M., J. Bendell and R. Shah (2003) ‘Women Speak about Corporate Responsibility from Factories and Plantations in Central America’ New Academy Review, Volume 1, Number 4

Bendell, J. (2001e) ‘Civil Regulation – How Nonprofits are Co-Regulating Business in a Global Economy’, Non-Profit Quarterly, Volume 8, Issue 4, Winter 2001

Bendell J. (ed.), (1998) Greener Management International, special issue ‘Business-NGO Relations and Sustainable Development’, Issue 24, Greenleaf Publishing: Sheffield, UK

Bendell J. & Murphy DF (1997) “Strange Bedfellows: Business & Environmental Groups” in Business & Society Review, Washington.


Book Chapters

Bendell, J. (2015) ‘What if we are failing? Towards a post Crisis agenda for the Global Compact’, in McIntosh, M. ed (2015) Business, Capitalism and Corporate Citizenship: A Collection of Seminal Essays, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield. Download here.

Bendell, J. and T. Greco (2013) Currencies of Transition, in McIntosh ed (2013) The Necessary Transition, Greenleaf Publishing: Sheffield, UK.

Bendell, J. and A. Ellersiek (2012), Advocacy for Corporate Accountability and Trade Justice: The Role of “Noble Networks” in the United Kingdom, in Global Justice Activism and Policy Reform in Europe: Understanding When Change Happens, Edited by Anne Ellersiek, Mario Pianta and Peter Utting, Routledge.

Bendell, J. and A. Ellersiek (2012) The Potential and Practice of Civic Networks, in Global Justice Activism and Policy Reform in Europe: Understanding When Change Happens, Edited by Anne Ellersiek, Mario Pianta and Peter Utting. Routledge.

Bendell, J, Jay P. and M. Bendell. (2010) “These Pages Have Been Regulated for You: Issues Arising from the Governance of markets by NGOs” in Steffek, Jens and Kristina Hahn. (2010) Evaluating Transnational NGOs: Legitimacy, Accountability, Representation. New York: Palgrave, Macmillan. P 129-156.

Bendell, J (2010) Back to the Future of Luxury, in Giron, ME (2010) Inside Luxury: The Growth and Future of the Luxury Goods Industry: A View from the Top, LID Editorial. ISBN: 9781907794094

Bendell, J (2010) ‘Prologue’, in Giron, M.E. (2009) Secretos de Lujo, LID Editorial, Madrid, Spain. Bendell, J (2007a) ‘La responsabilidad de las organizaciones’, in La comunicación de las grandes empresas gira hacia la gestión de intangibles y el enfoque relacional, Informe 2007, Pearson Prentice Hall, Madrid.

Bendell, J and M. Bendell (2007) ‘Facing Corporate Power’, in Steven K. May, George Cheney, and Juliet Roper (eds) The Debate Over Corporate Social Responsibility, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Bendell, J and P. Cox (2006) ‘The Donor Accountability Agenda’, in Lisa Jordan and Peter van Tuijl (eds) NGO Accountability:  Politics, Principles and Innovations, Earthscan: London, UK.

Bendell, J. and A. Sharma (2006) The Civil Regulation of Corporations: Towards Stakeholder Democracy, in S. Benn and D. Dunphy. (Eds.). (2006). Corporate Governance and Sustainablity: Challenges for Theory and Practice. London: Routledge.

Bendell, J. (2004b) ‘Flags of Inconvenience? The Global Compact and the Future of the United Nations, in M. McIntosh’, G. Kell and S. Waddock eds. (2004) Learning To Talk, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield.

Murphy, D. F. and J. Bendell (2002) ‘New Partnerships for Sustainable Development: The Changing Nature of Business-NGO Relations’, in Utting, P. The Greening of Business in Developing Countries Rhetoric, Reality and Prospects, Zed Books: London, UK

Bendell, J. and D. F. Murphy (2002) ‘Towards Civil Regulation: NGOs and the Politics of Corporate Environmentalism’ in Utting, P. The Greening of Business in Developing Countries Rhetoric, Reality and Prospects, Zed Books: London, UK

Bendell, J. (2003b) ‘Talking for Change? Reflections on Effective Stakeholder Dialogue’, in Unfolding Stakeholder Thinking 2: Relationships, Communication, Reporting and Performance, by J. Andriof, S. Waddock, B. Husted, and S. Rahman, Greenleaf.

Bendell, J. and Murphy D. F. (2001) ‘Getting Engaged: Business-NGO Relations on Sustainable Development’, in Welford R. and Starkey R, (2001) Earthscan Reader in Business and Sustainable Development, Earthscan: London, UK

Bendell, J. (2000e) ‘Rainforest Alliance and Chiquita Brands in Costa Rica: Lessening Environmental and Social Impacts of Banana Monoculture’ in S. Heap (2000) NGOs Engaging Business: A World of Difference and a Difference to the World, INTRAC:Oxford,UK

Bendell, J. (2000c) ‘Jenseits der Selbstregulation von Umweltmanagement: Einige Gedanken zur wachsenden Bedeutung von Business-NGO-Partnerschaft’ in K. Fichter and U. Schneidewind  (Hrsg.) Umweltschutz im globalen Wettbewerb, neue Spielregeln für das grenzenlose Unternehmen, Springer-Verlag: Berlin

Lake, R. and J. Bendell (2000) ‘New frontiers: emerging NGO activities to strengthen transparency and accountability in business’ in J. Bendell, J. (ed.) (2000) Terms for Endearment: Business, NGOs and Sustainable Development, Greenleaf: Sheffield, UK

Plante, C. and J. Bendell (2000) ‘The art of collaboration: emerging business-NGO relations in Asia’ in Bendell, J (2000c) ‘Civil regulation: a new form of democratic governance for the global economy?’ in J. Bendell, J. (ed.) (2000) Terms for Endearment: Business, NGOs and Sustainable Development, Greenleaf: Sheffield, UK

Murphy, D. and J. Bendell (2000) ‘Planting the seeds of change: business-NGO relations and tropical deforestation’ in J. Bendell, J. (ed.) (2000) Terms for Endearment: Business, NGOs and Sustainable Development, Greenleaf: Sheffield, UK

Bendell, J (2000b) ‘No win-win situation? GMO, NGOs and sustainable development’ in J Bendell, (ed.) (2000) Terms for Endearment: Business, NGOs and Sustainable Development, Greenleaf: Sheffield, UK

Murphy D. F. and Bendell, J. (1998) ‘Do-It-Yourself or Do-It-Together? The Implementation of Sustainable Timber Purchasing Policies by UK Retailers’ in Greener Purchasing, T. Russell, ed. (1998), Greenleaf Publishing, London


Conference Proceedings

Bendell, J. and A. Miller (2016) “The Relationship of Special Economic Zones to Sustainable Development Goals: Findings from an international survey in developing countries.” In Pathways to a Sustainable Economy Conference, 28th to 29th November 2016, Griffith University, Brisbane. Info here.

Bindewald. L. and J. Bendell (2016) The Grammar Of Money: A Discursive Institutional Analysis Of Money In Light Of The Practice Of Complementary Currencies, in Proceedings of the 6th Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines Conference CADAAD, 2016, University of Catania. Download here.

Lead in Asia Conference, Nusa Dua, Indonesia, 20-22 January, 2016. Presented J. Bendell, R. Little and N. Sutherland (2016) ‘Beyond the Impasse in Western Leadership’.

International Leadership Association, 17th Annual Global Conference, Barcelona, 14-17 October, 2015. Presented Bendell, J and R Little (2015) ‘Searching for Sustainability Leadership’.

World Trade Organisation, Public Forum, Geneva, October 31st, 2015. Presented Bendell et al (2015) ‘Enhancing the Contribution of Export Processing Zones to the Sustainable Development Goals.’

UNRISD conference on the Potential and Limits of the Social and Solidarity Economy, 11 May 2015, Geneva. Presented Bendell, Ruddick and Slater (2015) ‘Re-imagining Money to Broaden the Future of Development Finance: What Kenyan Community Currencies Reveal is Possible for Financing Development’.

Ruddick, W.O, Richards M.A and J Bendell (2013) Complementary Currencies for Sustainable Development in Kenya: The Case of the Bangla-Pesa, Presented at the 2nd International Conference on Complementary Currency Systems (CCS), at ISS, The Hague, 19 – 23 June 2013. Here.

Bendell, J. and K. Kearins (2004c) The Political Bottom Line: The Emerging Dimension to Corporate Responsibility for Sustainable Development, Academy of Management Conference 2004 Best Paper Proceedings.

Bendell, J. (2003c) CSR for Development: Western Imperialism or Cosmopolitan Democracy? Paper presented at the Academy of Management Conference 2003

Bendell, J. (2002d) Banana Karma: The Role of Civil Society in Chiquita’s Conversion to Sustainability, Paper Presented at Academy of Management Conference 2002, Denver, 9-14 August

Bendell, J. (1998) Citizens’ Cane? Relations Between Business and Civil Society. Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference ISTR, Geneva

Bendell, J. and Warner E. (1996) If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em! The Costs and Benefits of Partnerships with Environmental Groups: The Case of the WWF 1995 Plus Group, ERP Business Strategy and the Environment Conference, September 1996 at the University of Leeds: ERP, Leeds

Bendell, J. and F. Sullivan (1996) ‘Sleeping with the Enemy? Environmentalist-Business Partnerships for Sustainable Development – The Case of the WWF 1995 Group’, in R. Aspinwall and J. Smith Business-Environmentalist Partnerships : A Sustainable Model?, White Horse Press: Cambridge, UK.

Murphy D. F. and Bendell, J. (1997) The Politics of Corporate Environmentalism: Civil, Legal or Self-Compliance for Sustainable Development?, paper presented at the UNRISD 1997 Conference “Business Responsibility for Environmental Protection in Developing Countries” in Heredia, Costa Rica: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva


Professional Magazines and Newspapers

Bendell, J. and M. Lopatin (2016) Democracy Demands a Richer Britain, Huffington Post, 02/12/16. Listed here.

Bendell, J. (2016m) Pro-Competition Regulation can Help Fintech and Virtual Currencies Fulfil Potential, European Financial Review, 22/10/2016,

Bendell, J. and M. Lopatin (2016) Why New Labour And Talk Of Austerity Must Go, Huffington Post, 13/10/16. Listed here.

Bendell, J. (2016l) Businesses Like Apple Need Politicians Who Can Stand Up To Them, Huffington Post, 09/09/16. Listed here.

Bendell, J. (2016k) Drug Pricing Threatens Political Flashpoint For Labour, Huffington Post, 24/08/16. Listed here.

Bendell, J. (2016j) Monty Python’s Lessons for Leaders: or how spirituality & leadership are close at hand, Huffington Post, 19/07/16. Listed here.

Bendell, J. (2016i) Stopping Blair Trashing International Law Means Justice Can Come, Huffington Post, 07/07/16. Listed here.

Bendell, J. (2016h) Leadership after Brexit must involve this, Huffington Post, 29/06/16. Listed here.

Bendell, J. (2016g) Does capitalism need some Marxism to survive the Fourth Industrial Revolution? World Economic Forum, 22/06/2016. See here.

Bendell, J. (2016f) Our Planet Needs a Purposeful Private Sector, confirms UN, Huffington Post, 20/06/16. Listed here.

Bendell, J. (2016e) Carry on flying: why activists should take to the skies, Open Democracy, 22/05/2016, See here.

Bendell, J. (2016d) Financial technology start-ups need power of the EU behind them, The Telegraph, 17/05/2016. See here.

Bendell, J. (2016c) London’s Fintech Boom Needs the EU, Huffington Post, 10/05/16. Listed here.

Bendell, J. (2016b) How can we fund the Sustainable Development Goals? World Economic Forum, 21/03/2016, See here.

Bendell, J. (2016a) Retiring Trident Is a Defence Imperative, Huffington Post, 24/01/16. Listed here.

Bendell, J (2015f) From castle to cage: what to do about the housing crisis? Open Democracy, 22 April 2015. Download here.

Bendell, J (2015e) What happens to democracy in a cashless society? Open Democracy, 8 April 2015. Download here.

Bendell, J (2015d) Could electronic parallel currency ease Greece’s big cash freeze? New Scientist, 6 July 2015. Download here.

Bendell, J (2015c) 4 sinister threats that loom for the cashless society, New Scientist, 3 June 2015. Download here.

Bendell, J (2015b) To save growth, we must leave fossil fuels in the ground, World Economic Forum, 30th November. Download here.

Bendell, J (2015a) Could enterprise zones help us achieve the Global Goals? World Economic Forum, 14th December. Download here.

Bendell, J. (2013c) Is sustainable business still possible? The Guardian.

Bendell, J. (2013b) Trading without money? Why a new system can address the economic spiral, The Guardian.

Bendell, J. (2013a) Uncovering Davos Ma’am, Al Jazeera. Here.

Bendell, J (2011) Fixing the 9 Flaws of ESG Analysis and Ratings, in Responsible Investor, April 2011.

Bendell, J (2009) One day we could all benefit from luxury, The Financial Chronicle, Delhi, India.

Bendell, J. (2008d) Can gloom spell upturn for planet? Today Newspaper, November 10th (Singapore)

Bendell, J. (2008c) How about a green prix? Today Newspaper, Wednesday, February 20 (Singapore),

Bendell, J. (2008b) ‘Shopping is Not Complete Without Life’, XL Magazine, February.

Bendell, J. (2008a) ‘Iconic Brands and the Ethics of Luxury’, Today Newspaper, 17th January  (Singapore)

Bendell, J. (2003a) ‘Chiquita’s path from pariah to paradigm’ Ethical Corporation Magazine, March

Bendell, J. (2002g) ‘Have you seen my business case?’, Ethical Corporation Magazine, November.

Bendell, J. (2002e) ‘It’s CSR Jem, but not as we knew it’, Ethical Corporation Magazine, September.

Bendell, J. (2002c) ‘Psychos in Suits: American CEOs in need of an Asylum’, Open Democracy, August

Bendell, J. (2001g) ‘The Politics of Partnership’, Cambridge Programme for Industry Newsletter, November 2001.

Bendell, J. (2000d) ‘Civilizing Markets’, The UN Chronicle, Vol. XXXVII No. 2 2000, Department of Public Information, UN: New York.

Bendell, J. (2000) ‘Mind the Gap’, Tomorrow Environment Business Magazine, May-June No. 3, Tomorrow Publishing: Sweden.

Bendell J. and D.F. Murphy (1997) ‘New Spiderman, New Solutions’, in Green Futures, Number 3 February/March



Bendell, J and R Little (2015a) ‘Searching for Sustainability Leadership’, IFLAS Occasional Paper No. 1, University of Cumbria, UK. Download here.

Bendell, J. et al (2010) Capitalism in Question, Lifeworth, Manila, Philippines. Bendell, J. et al (2009) The Eastern Turn in Responsible Enterprise, Lifeworth, Manila, Philippines. Bendell J. and A. Kleanthous (2009) Deeper Luxury (en Espanol): Calidad y Estillo Responsables con el Planeta, Adena / WWF-Espana and Lifestyle 3.0, Madrid, Spain. Bendell, J with J Cohen and C. Veuthey (2008) The Global Step Change, Lifeworth Annual Review of Corporate Responsibility.

Bendell, J. and A. Kleanthous (2007) Deeper Luxury: Quality and Style when the World Matters, WWF-UK, Godalming, UK.

Bendell, J with J. Cohen, S Shah and L Rimando (2007) Tipping Frames, Lifeworth Annual Review of Corporate Responsibility.

Bendell, J with J. Manoochehri and S Shah (2006) Serving Systemic Transformations, Lifeworth Annual Review of CSR.

Bendell, J. (2005) Making Business Work for Development, Insights, No. 54, ID21, Institute of Development Studies, UK

Bendell, J. (2004a) Flags of Inconvenience? The Global Compact and the Future of the United Nations, ICCSR Research Paper Series No. 22-2004, Nottingham University, ISSN 1479-5124

Mercier, F. and J. Bendell (2004) The Business Case For Financial Stability: A Global Dialogue With The Financial Sector, Bread for All: Berne.

Prieto, M. and J. Bendell (2002) If You Want to Help Us Then Start Listening to Us! From Factories and Plantations in Central America, Women Speak out about Corporate Responsibility, Occasional Paper, New Academy of Business: Bath, UK

Bendell, J. (2001d) Growing Pain: The Lessons of Allying with a Major Transnational to Reduce the Social and Environmental Impacts of Banana Plantations, Report funded by the Aspen Institute, on Eldis.

Bendell, J. (2001f) Towards Participatory Workplace Appraisal: Report from a Focus Group of Women Banana Workers, Occasional Paper, New Academy of Business, Bath, UK

Bendell, J. (2000f) Talking for Change: Reflections on Effective Stakeholder Dialogue, Occasional Paper, New Academy of Business: Bristol UK


In addition, Prof Bendell wrote 40 columns of 5000 words that reviewed relevant research in each previous quarter, for the Journal of Corporate Citizenship.


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Jem’s Quarterly: Le Freak, Ain’t Chic

Posted by jembendell on June 21, 2016

Are yoChicfreaku freaked out by climate change? We should be. But it is difficult to stay freaked out for long. So I’ve often distracted myself with other important things to do. Or with fun. Or retreated into existential naval gazing. I’ve sometimes thought about tuning out and living lightly. But I’ve kept coming back to the question: “if the shit’s coming, how I am helping?” Wondering about the meaning of life, being nicer to mum, or stopping flying, just doesn’t seem to cut it.

It has become a conversation I have with colleagues quite often: “Given what we think we know, how are we helping?” Our discussions helped me to realise that everyone will find their own answer for what to think, feel and do, and what is key is asking ourselves the question. Regularly. In my case, whatever hat I’m wearing, I’m mostly a communicator. But since the 90’s, raising the alarm hasn’t seemed enough. Instead, I focus on promoting insight and action on two areas that are key for rapid mitigation at scale, and preparing for the troubles to come. I call them “sustainable leadership” and “sustainable exchange”.

When scared or frustrated, we may look for leaders. But this can be counterproductive. Because there’s no one coming. We all need to take our turn; to lead in some way, together. And those of us who have knowledge and networks to attempt more systemic change have a responsibility (and opportunity!) to try. But as professionals in sustainability how often do we ask ourselves if our actions respond to our awareness of the challenge? To trigger such discussion, my article “Carry on Flying: why activists should take to the skies” was a touch provocative. I’d welcome your thoughts in the Sustainable Leaders LinkedIn group.   

Having a “theory of change” is something we explore on the Sustainable Leadership course that I tutor, the next of which involves 6 days in the English Lake District this September. I was pleased to see the global management trainers Impact International conclude that our courses are cutting edge.

One idea we explore at the Institute is whether we are so encased in our corporate lives that we need opportunities to awaken to our ecological selves. So I’m pleased to welcome Jo Chaffer to study for a PhD on the role of wilderness in leadership development. She has been taking people into the Himalaya for leadership development for years. Jo tells me “Heart Mountain is a trip of creativity and exploration. Seven days’ magical trekking under the eyes of Everest region staying in luxury lodges.” This November, Jo guides the trek with Jamie Catto, the creative genius behind the band 1GiantLeap. If you fancy some adventure, personal development, coaching, and playfulness, see here

I will be co-leading a wilderness-based leadership development course in Costa Rica, for 5 days from January 3rd. It is a project with another student at IFLAS, Georgia Wingfield Hayes, who used to work in the nature reserve we will visit. Profits from “Leading Wild” are going to support the amazing place. Georgia is writing some great poetry that evokes some of the essence of what we work on. If you know people in either Central America or the Indian subcontinent (for Heart Mountain), please forward them the info on these two retreats.  

My theory of change involves transforming economic governance. Part of that means aligning global capital markets with progress on the various “sustainable development” issues. I wrote about that here for the World Economic Forum and here for the Huffington Post – and took this message to the WEF’s ASEAN Summit, among other events. With other WEF Young Global Leaders, we will launch an initiative to promote investment aligned with the Global Goals for sustainable development (if you work with an institutional investor please get in touch). Much can be done even within existing rules, as we are discovering at Trimantium Capital, where we make significant investments with an “impact investing” mindset.

Another aspect of this agenda is far deeper and tougher: changing the monetary system so it doesn’t drive us toward unsustainable maldevelopment. One approach to that is currency innovation, and so I gave a keynote talk at a conference of local currency innovators, focusing on implications of the end of cash for local pounds. Innovation doesn’t happen in a policy vacuum, so I pitched in on the Brexit debate, with an article in the Daily Telegraph, about the need for regulations to support financial technology start-ups to compete with the big banks. I also promoted fresh thinking on these topics on the World Economic Forum blog, suggesting Capitalism could use a little Marxism. This summer at IFLAS we host retreats for both the Finance Innovation Lab and the Positive Money campaign and offer our free online course on Money and Society (over 4 weeks from August 21st… so this is your last reminder – enrol!)   

I’m doing a bunch of talks and seminars in Cumbria and Lancaster this summer, so if you are nearby, the best way to keep in touch is by joining the email group that participants of the LeadingWell events have set up.

All of this can seem quite far from climate change, but not if you understand it as the outcome of economic governance shaped by worldviews that undermine our ability to collaborate for the common good.

And at least it feels better than freaking out.  

Dr Jem Bendell

Professor of Sustainability Leadership, Institute For Leadership And Sustainability (IFLAS)

Non-Executive Director, Trimantium Capital

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Postcard from Post-Britannia

Posted by jembendell on May 23, 2016

A history of the end of the UK 2008-2018..
After bankers ransacked the country in 2008, the resultant unhappiness from unemployment and austerity was directed by corporate and government media away from banking and towards others that people could feel self righteous about: the unemployed, immigrants, muslims. This was stoked by a party previously founded by the bankers, called UKIP.
The narrow vote to leave the EU was mostly based on worries over immigration rather than doing anything about banking, tax evasion or any of the other more material influences on citizen’s wellbeing. Psychologists found that people’s vote for Brexit was largely about people feeling that they could exert some power at a time when they increasingly felt powerless.
This result led the SNP to demand a referendum within a year so they could leave the UK and stay in EU. This was rejected by Westminster but the Scottish Parliament voted to go ahead anyway. A difficult period ensued and as violence threatened to escalate, so Westminster caved in and Scotland left the union the day UK left the EU. The government fell and Boris Johnston became Prime Minister. Anticipating problems with trade and finance as a result of leaving the EU (and some argue to help his friends), he scrapped various taxes for corporations and banks. This created a balanced of payments crisis and was used to justify even more draconian cuts on the welfare state. Now people had to pay for their children to go to school, not just university.
A vote for the Tories in 2015 General Election should have been seen as a risk to the UK due to how a EU referendum could lead to Brexit and thus Scotland demanding a new referendum. But the Labour party had been so completely paralysed by concern for appealing to everybody (including their own grandees) that they had no core analysis and narrative and reacted to the media rather than setting agendas. Therefore they let the mass media repeat the story that Labour was a threat to the union and they lost, ushering the end of Britain as it was known.
As the banker rule of the remainder of Britain continued and government ministries began to be merged or shut down and all responsibilities moved to new regional governments, so serious movements began to emerge for Cornwall, Yorkshire and other regions to secede from the UK. Many intelligent people such as Tristram Hunt MP welcomed this in the name of greater democracy, and were given much air time for their views, as none of these new entities could do anything about regulating banking.
Unfortunately an influx of millions of pensioners returning from abroad after losing their residency in Europe was the straw that broke the back of the NHS, which was finally bought by a Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund. Boris’s campaign for Britons to buy more petrol to generate more oil profits so Kuwait would have the money to invest in new hospitals was criticised by Friends of the Earth but welcomed as realistic by Britain’s tabloids. “Given that Britain is now a small federation of local parishes, we can’t expect more of our government than funding Trident” explained the editor of the Daily Mail, in 2020.
That year Labour were elected into coalition government. In what the public hoped was merely a first step, they passed a law that Kuwait would only be able to sell the NHS to another sovereign wealth fund. Accused of breaking their manifesto pledge, a spokesman said  “We believe in the public ownership of the NHS. We didnt say it had to be our own government.”
A post card from post Britannia: fearmongering, farce or forecast?

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2015 Publications

Posted by jembendell on January 29, 2016

In 2015 my research focused on currency innovation, leadership and corporate social responsibility. I shared some of this research via publications. Here are the links…j-wn2CSbMMczqXXYTG5TFemn3De1qB1wC1UgJVIKg34,5WewfNosQC6fP5dUNe-oD1hg7Icy5uBVH1QSITeVogE

My published academic outputs from 2015

On monetary reform and currency innovation…

Ruddick, W., Richards, M. and Bendell, J. (2015) ‘Complementary Currencies for Sustainable Development in Kenya: The Case of the Bangla-Pesa’ International Journal of Community Currency Research, 19.  ISSN 1325-9547. Download here.

Bendell, J., W. Ruddick and M. Slater (2015) Re-imagining Money to Broaden the Future of Development Finance: What Kenyan Community Currencies Reveal is Possible for Financing Development, Working Paper 2015-10, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), Geneva. Download here.

On leadership…

Bendell, J and R Little (2015a) ‘Searching for Sustainability Leadership’, IFLAS Occasional Paper No. 1, University of Cumbria, UK. Download here.

Bendell, J. and R. Little (2015b) ‘Seeking Sustainability Leadership’, Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Issue 60, pp. 13-26(14). Download here.

On corporate social responsibility…

Bendell, J. (2015) ‘What if we are failing? Towards a post Crisis agenda for the Global Compact’, in McIntosh, M. ed (2015) Business, Capitalism and Corporate Citizenship: A Collection of Seminal Essays, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield. Download here.

UNCTAD (2015) Enhancing the Contribution of Export Processing Zones to the Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), New York and Geneva. Co-authored by J. Bendell. Download here.

My mainstream articles about this research

On monetary reform and currency innovation…

Bendell, J (2015) From castle to cage: what to do about the housing crisis? Open Democracy, 22 April 2015. Download here.

Bendell, J (2015) What happens to democracy in a cashless society? Open Democracy, 8 April 2015. Download here.

Bendell, J (2015) Could electronic parallel currency ease Greece’s big cash freeze? New Scientist, 6 July 2015. Download here.

Bendell, J (2015) 4 sinister threats that loom for the cashless society, New Scientist, 3 June 2015. Download here.

On leadership…

Bendell, J (2015) To save growth, we must leave fossil fuels in the ground, World Economic Forum, 30th November. Download here.

On corporate social responsibility…

Bendell, J (2015) Could enterprise zones help us achieve the Global Goals? World Economic Forum, 14th December. Download here.

But not just official publications…

Like many of us, I blogged on these issues both here and at and also shared my research via 12 public talks in 5 countries.

To be able to do this research and share it I’m grateful to colleagues at the University of Cumbria, UNCTAD, UNRISD, Impact International, WEF, Grassroots Economics, Community Forge, New Scientist, Greenleaf and Open Democracy.

It is difficult to know what the impact of my publications are. Citations, like via Google Scholar, give you a bit of a feel for that (ooh, an i-10 index of 35!), but that takes time.

Looking back on 2015, I think the main impact on people’s learning and unlearning via the Leading Wellbeing Research Festival and the free online course on Money and Society (which starts again on Feb 21st 2016).

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Beyond the Leadership Impasse

Posted by jembendell on January 18, 2016

Books on leadership are flying off the shelves and managers are flying in to leadership courses around the world. Is this helping them, their organisations and wider society? Or might some of the advice and training do more harm than good?

More research on leadership is exposing some of the limiting assumptions of mainstream ideas and teaching on leadership and its development. This is coming to be known as “Critical Leadership Studies” (CLS).

This week I’m attending the Lead in Asia conference in Indonesia and will be presenting a summary of CLS and what it could mean for non-Western scholarship and training. Ive written the paper with Richard Little of Impact International and Dr Neil Sutherland of Bristol Business School. I’m hoping to learn of critical approaches already underway in the region and also sense the way critical social theory might be further utilised in the management academe in East Asia.

You can download the pdf here: Leadership Impasse.

We base some of our leadership courses at IFLAS on these ideas, including the PGC in Sustainable Leadership and the new MA in Sustainable Leadership Development.

Feedback welcomed, especially via the Sustainable Leaders group on LinkedIn.


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On Fests, Currency, Zones & The Police: Quarterly #3

Posted by jembendell on August 6, 2015

I’ve been looking back on how I accidentally became a festival organiser. It all started this time last year I looked out from a stately hall across emerald lawns to England’s largest lake. In the distance, I could see a group in a boat, rowing across the sparkling blue of Windermere. Young people, on a summer camp, doing one of the many outdoor activities offered by the Brathay Trust. This would be a great venue for a festival, I thought. Could we combine a research conference and ideas festival with lots of outdoor and creative activities, from kayaking to drumming, storytelling to flying the zipwire? “Great idea” said Kaz, then head of research at Brathay. After a month of emailing and phone calling, we had an initial programme of remarkable speakers and cool music, complemented by an academic committee, special issue of a journal and sponsorship from Futerra and Reagent.

On the lake at Leading Well with Charles Eisenstein, Nandita Das, Sue Adams, Mathew Slater and new friends

On the lake at Leading Well with Charles Eisenstein, Nandita Das, Sue Adams, Mathew Slater and new friends

In 2013 I had given the closing keynote for Brathay’s first wellbeing conference, where I argued that individualistic and purposeless notions of wellbeing can be unhelpful, as we must recognise the importance of collective wellbeing – or “sustainability” – and the importance of serving a purpose beyond our selves – or “leadership.” Fast forward two years and I was welcoming 200 people from 20 countries to an event that started with that premise: the Leading Wellbeing Research Festival. It was seamlessly organised by my colleagues Phil, Lucy, Jane, Wendy, Martin and Leander. I recommend you see some of the videos from the festival, including Charles Eisenstein, Nandita Das, Jo Confino, Lynne Franks and Anna Zegna. Or read a reflection on it on the blog of our Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS).

As participants wanted to stay in touch we have created a facebook group. Some of the participants will reconvene in the Lake District on April 9th for discussions, barn dance and a hike. If you want to join, please tell us via That reunion occurs during our next offering on the same theme, which is our Sustainable Leadership Spring School. That also represents the first intake of our new MA in Sustainable Leadership Development. I’ve designed and co-tutor these courses. Click here to learn more about it.

In October I will present some of the ideas on leadership that underpinned the Festival and the new MA, at the International Leadership Association in Barcelona. That paper (pdf), co-authored with Richard Little from Impact International, is also relevant for academics with interest in submitting a paper for the special issue of the academic journal we are editing. The deadline for submissions is September 1st 2015.

Before then, my next teaching takes the form of a free online course on Money and Society, with one lesson a week for a month from August 23rd (i.e. soon!). The tension between a troika of institutions and a Greek government mandated to resist further austerity has brought the importance of our monetary systems for the future shape of democracy into stark relief. Therefore, in an article for the New Scientist magazine in June I explained the importance of currency innovation for countries facing austerity. Our free course, which I encourage you to enrol on, delves into the very essence of money, its history, current formation and possible future due to currency innovation. An 18 minute lecture presents some of the opening critiques of our current system of bank-issued money.

Unfortunately most governments have thus far ignored this aspect of contemporary banking systems in their discussions on an agenda for financing development, which they concluded in Ethiopia in July. Some of us who work on currency innovation sought to inform the negotiations via an inter-agency task force of the UN, but were ultimately unsuccessful. However, on the eve of the UN summit in Addis Ababa, the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) published a paper on heterodox monetary theory and currency innovation for development, which I co-wrote with Matthew Slater and Will Ruddick. As far as I’m aware, it is the first UN paper to discuss the implications of Bitcoin and currency innovation.

When the knowledge of policy-makers lags behind key challenges and technologies, it feels right to get on and do what you think is useful and might have a massive future. In the case of monetary reform and currency innovation, that is why I’m pleased to join the Advisory Board of Grassroots Economics, a Kenya association that is launching local currencies with business networks across Africa. It is also why I’m starting as a non-executive director of the impact investors Trimantium. With significant sums under management, an ethical pension fund, and investments in crowd-funding platforms and health technologies, the aim of Trimantium is to make capital matter by putting it into profitable businesses that can be part of a viable future for all. On the board I will join experienced investment professionals and tech entrepreneurs, so am looking forward to learning with them.

While working on these transformative entrepreneurial approaches is important, there is another more reformist paradigm for our efforts, which is to help manage existing forms of global capitalism a bit better. One key component of many nations economic development strategies has been the establishment of special economic zones, or export processing zones (EPZs). These have tended to give businesses preferential tax rates to encourage them to set up manufacturing operations to export to global markets. On the one hand, many countries are expanding these, while on the other hand, rules established by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) now restrict the amount of ‘trade-distorting’ subsidies that governments can offer to attract investment into such zones. So what is the future of such zones? Could social and environmental excellence become a new basis for their attractiveness for investment? Since March I have been supporting the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to research this issue. We will launch the report on the future of EPZs at the WTO on October 1st in Geneva.

Fortunately this type of engagement with international organisations to seek some influence for one’s research is now more welcomed by the audits conducted on the work of academics. The suitability of metrics for our research and teaching is a hot topic in the UK at the moment, and therefore I’m hosting the lead author of the recent ‘Metric Tide’ report, Professor James Wilsdon, at a free open lecture in Lancaster on October 13th

Looking ahead to the new academic year, it is an exciting time for the Institute we launched in 2013, as it diversifies on the basis of the talents and interests of the team. For instance, this autumn my colleague and IFLAS Deputy Director, Dr David Murphy, will teach the opening module of the MSc in Strategic Policing. Through our participation in this MSc, we are integrating our approaches to leadership development, community engagement, stakeholder collaboration, ethics, and sustainability into what is set to become one of the leading policing masters degrees in the UK. Given the strength of international recruitment to this programme it could be an intriguing development for the years to come. We anticipate learning a lot from our colleagues in the policing subject area, and also from the participants on this innovative course.

If you are interested in receiving quarterly updates from me, please subscribe at

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Ecuador’s helpful knee in the balls of the Bitcoin boys

Posted by jembendell on September 9, 2014

So its confirmed Ecuador will be launching their own digital currency. In the meantime, they have banned other forms of private digital currency like Bitcoin.

On the one hand, it is brilliant that the fame of bitcoin, and its distributed ledger technology, has helped Ecuador’s government consider not only the issuing of a digital currency, but the concept that economies can have multiple currencies. I have always thought the power of Bitcoin is in opening minds to the field of currency innovation for the common good, rather than the specific properties of the Bitcoin currency itself.

What should we make of Ecuador’s move? The best starting point is for a government’s central bank and treasury to have a clear public purpose, to serve the long term interests of people. Ecuador is ahead of most in making its Central Bank have to innovate to deliver “buen vivir” i.e. wellbeing. Other central banks simply assume that managing inflation and interest rates within certain levels is what’s key, with some secondary attention to employment and government deficits. That maintains the delusion that monetary policy isnt innately political and shaping all aspects of social and political life. But I digress…

Some bitcoin enthusiasts are upset with Ecuador’s move as they like to pretend that computer software can replace matters of governance, and that a pre-defined algorythym for currency issuance means we dont need to question whether issuance is either fair or useful. It is simply ridiculous to think that issuance to those with the most powerful computers is a valid form of issuance. It is equally ridiculous to ignore this question of issuance, and the resulting inequities in bitcoin distribution, because it might be inconvenient to one’s libertarian views, a rush to get rich, technotopian obsession or desire to smash the system and be proven right afterall (all of which are rather immature adolescent attitudes, which correlates with the pioneers of this space – sorry chaps!).

The main problem with the bitcoin boys is they dont base their enthusiasm on a coherent view of what’s wrong with money and what’s needed for socially useful currency innovation. To recap: currently national currencies are not issued by governments or central banks but by private banks when they issue loans. In most countries this is circa 97% of money in circulation. Think of the dollar, pound, euro and so on, and they are all predominantely issued for profit by private banks, not by either govenments or treasuries. Thats nuts for many reasons, environmental, social and economic (as my various talks and writings on this blog have explained). This simple fact is so stupidly overlooked by mainstream economists, financial journalists, its bizarre. Thankfully some like Martin Wolfe at the FT have now started breaking this taboo subject, as has the Bank of England’s own publications.

In response, we shouldnt see assets like precious metals as the answer, as this leads to contraction of economic activity and the cornering of the currency by the powerful, as it did in the past. A gold standard would be a disaster. Gold bugs have always struck me as a little odd in wanting to assert their personal power against a dangerous world.

But non-commodity currencies and non-state currencies should be issued not-for-profit far more than is the case today. Otherwise, we risk creating the same problems with our current systems where the ability to make money from money has led to an over-financialised economy that extracts wealth from the real economy and leads to gross inequality and unsustainable debt levels. That’s not controversial, as the UN has been describing this over-financialisation problem for the past decade.

Not-for-profit currencies can be issued by national or local governments or privately. So I am in favour of governments issuing their own digital currencies. For instance, state or city governments could issue a currency that they would offer to pay as wages, and could request tax be paid in it, or limit certain services to payments in such currency (e.g. business rates or car park fees etc). The power of a government to demand tax in a certain currency is a key way it maintains the value of national currencies at present. This tax-power could be used to enable an ecology of currencies that aren’t controlled by the banks.

It is clear that Ecuador will seek to spend the new currency into circulation, as wages for socially useful work. It is unclear what services or taxes they will price in this currency, or whether they will restrict payment options for some items in the new currency. To do so would be the simplest way to uphold the value of the currency, as it would mean there would be a market for people to buy it in order to pay for certain services or taxes.

Banning private currencies is compromising freedom but is Ecuador’s response to the potential for abuse and a concern they might lose further control of monetary policy and their tax base. Regulation rather than prohibition is the answer. I hope that after launching their own digital currency, Ecuador will revisit its digital currency ban and instead introduce rules for private digital currencies and related payment service firms.  Any prohibitions on private currencies should not be applied to nonprofit community currencies or b2b credit systems, which are really useful coping systems for communities and businesses with cash flow problems.

Ecuador will face great technological challenges in protecting their new digital currency from attack by both financial and ideological interests. They had best get the best coders and also create paper records! Maybe some maturing bitcoin boys could help.

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Posted by jembendell on August 28, 2014

… I think 2 years in the land of Beatrix Potter is rubbing off on me.


A boy, walking alone on a felltop stops to look at a sheep. It stares back.

Boy: You seem calm. Are you happy?

Sheep: What’s happy?

Boy: Oh… it means lots of things.

Sheep: So “happy” is a concept?

Boy: Er, sort of. It’s an idea about a bunch of feelings.

Sheep: So you want to know if I’m experiencing the idea of “happy”?

Boy: Not quite, I guess I was asking about the feelings. Are you in pain?

Sheep: No

Boy: Are you comfortable with your life?

Sheep: I’ve a bit of an itch.

Boy: No, I mean comfortable with what you do! Are you doing enough stuff?

Sheep: Is “enough” another idea?

Boy: Yes. But are you worried about death?

Sheep: I know it happens but I don’t know when. What’s there to worry about?

Boy: I think we worry about death a bit as we don’t know what the purpose of life is.

Sheep: Is “purpose” another of your ideas?

Boy: Yes

Sheep: Is worrying an idea too?

Boy: It’s more like a feeling.

Sheep: What’s the feeling?

Boy: A feeling of going round and round in circles with my ideas, and this then tensing the muscles in my chest.

Sheep: So you create a purpose-idea to experience a happy-idea that is difficult because you have created a worry-idea and end up tensing your muscles?

Boy: Sort of

Sheep: So why do you focus on that happy-idea if it tenses you up?

Boy: Maybe because it’s what grown-ups do. But are you saying you don’t think?

Sheep: Baa! Animals think too. Didn’t you notice? But I don’t create ideas. I appreciate stuff I like, and avoid experiences I don’t like. Just look at the sunset!

Boy: Yes, it’s nice. But isn’t that a bit selfish?

Sheep: There you go again with another idea! “Selfish!” My positive feeling from looking at the sunset is the Universe’s experience as well as mine. I’m enjoying the universe enjoying me enjoying the sunset. Wjy else would it have made it so beautiful to us?

Boy: So are all our ideas and concepts bad?

Sheep: No, your ability to create concepts and ideas has given you your technology and culture. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. Neither would so many of you! Your ideas of geometry and building mean I have a nice warm barn for the winter, if I’m still here.

Boy: OK, I get it. Some ideas are useful and some are not. It’s what they do to us, and what we do with them, that matters.

Sheep: Nice. Will you experience a happy-idea when you eat me?

Boy: I did before. But I’m not sure anymore.


There endeth a bit of Lakeland Zen

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Sustainable Leadership course takes off

Posted by jembendell on July 18, 2014

DSC_5219 500px

Scholarship winners Tom Shakli and Emily Oliver (centre) receive their certificates from guest lecturer Jane Burston and IFLAS director Professor Jem Bendell.


On September 1st the inaugural cohort of the Post Grad Certificate in Sustainable Leadership will gather for a week in the Lake District. Lucky them! Around a dozen professionals in the broad field of sustainability are going to explore how to better lead change at scale. Im pleased we have also been able to offer scholarships to two of the participants.

The scholarships have been funded by the Robert Kennedy College, which is based in Switzerland. Together with the University of Cumbria, RKC jointly delivers an MBA in Leadership and Sustainability, which regularly brings executives from around the world for a week’s residential study in the Lake District.

Emily Oliver and Tom Shakhli, both from London, have been accepted onto the Postgraduate Certificate for Sustainable Leadership which will be delivered at both Ambleside and the university’s campus in the capital.

Tom Shakhli is co-manager of the Brixton Pound, perhaps one of the best-known community currencies in the UK.

He said: “It is an exciting area of work to be in, because it feels like it’s the start of something bigger. There isn’t really a blueprint for success. That’s why I think it’s important that there are academic institutions such as the University of Cumbria that have departments dedicated to this area of work.

“The Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership seems ideal because it can give organisations such as ours the requisite knowledge to take our initiatives and have them really make a difference.”

Amongst other freelance projects, Emily Oliver has recently founded and currently co-manages FoodCycle Wandsworth and is keen to begin her studies.

She said: “I’m aware that in order to further develop skills in organisational leadership, an understanding of sustainable strategy, and ability to nurture impactful results, I need to study them effectively.

“As I learn best through practice, this course’s experiential approach is an ideal opportunity to do that – as well as build a support network.”

To find out more about courses offered by IFLAS, including the new Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership, visit

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