Professor Jem Bendell

notes from a strategist and educator on social and organisational change

Funded PhD on Local Currencies

Posted by jembendell on December 26, 2017

Fully funded full time PhD on local currencies in stunning Cumbria, supervised by me, Prof Jem Bendell

Closing date: midnight 18 February 2018

The Lake District Pound (LD£) initiative is the context within which the research project will be carried out. This is an innovation in local currency that builds on the prior work and positive outcomes of other complimentary currency initiatives in the UK and globally. The LD£ will operate alongside sovereign Sterling currency with a more direct purpose to support the local rural economy.

This initiative will utilise a range of innovative methods to adapt and extend the idea of a ‘currency with a purpose’ to a rural context with a unique demographic including for the first time a National Park. A core aim of the initiative is to shift visitor spending from using large external businesses (e.g. online retailers and travel companies, remote delivery services, etc.) towards local companies and communities. The anticipated impact is to retain more wealth in the region to fund social and environmental projects and through the local focus and supply chains deliver measureable environmental benefits.
The LD£ initiative has a number of short and long-term aims, which will be greatly enabled through this research project. The aim of the research project is to provide a foundation and framework for measuring the success of the local currency initiative and from that measure, to identify optimum practice and future direction to improve such local currency initiatives.

The PhD research topic is the development of a framework for evaluation of the impact of the Lake District Pound and generation of data on that impact. This evaluation must include indicators of economic impacts, as well as social, cultural and environmental impacts. The evaluation needs to involve quantitative metrics, but can also include more qualitative assessments. It is a multidisciplinary study, with the candidate being able to draw upon a range of fields in consultation with the supervisor (for instance, potential insights from sociology, accounting, corporate sustainability, voluntary sector and organisation studies).

The PhD researcher will work with The Lakes Currency Project Ltd as well as conducting the research for the PhD – and will be based in the stunning Lake District National Park.

The Lakes Currency Project Ltd is the organisation behind the introduction and support of the ‘Lake District Pound’. It is incorporated as a private entity following the guidelines of a Community Interest Company to drive the LD£ initiative as a commercially sustainable project. The generation of revenue from the initiative will be directed in joint partnership with the Lake District Foundation to support vital sustainability projects in and around the National Park, and the Cumbria Community Foundation to support critical projects to help the poorer local communities. Their long-term aim is to develop an element of autonomy and economic resilience within the Lake District and surrounding communities in response to the continually increasing impact of global tourism that often serves to impoverish rural areas.


Full-time PhD – annual tax-free stipend of £15,000 p.a. for 3 years
Tuition fees paid for by the industry sponsor (Home/EU fee)

The PhD is supported by the ERDF funded Eco-innovation Cumbria project led by the University of Cumbria.

Application process

To apply please visit the website for details of the entry requirements which must be met and to access the application form. Under the Research Proposal section of the form please summarise your approach to the proposed project outlined in this advert under the following headings: General Overview of Area, Identification of the Relevant Literature, Key Research Questions, Methodology, Timescale/Research Planning

Please include a covering letter telling us why you want to study for a PhD, what interests you about this project and highlight the skills and experience you will bring. Give the title of your research proposal as: “The Lake District Pound: Developing Local Sustainability through Economic Innovation in a Rural Context”

For any queries relating to admissions please contact Research Student Admissions

If you wish to find out more about the project in the first instance please contact: Ken Royall, Chief Executive, The Lakes Currency Project Ltd. or Dr David Murphy, Institute for Leadership and Sustainability, University of Cumbria or

Closing date: midnight 18 February 2018

Interviews to be conducted 26th February 2018 in Ambleside, Cumbria. Candidates will be required to give a short presentation on their approach to the research proposal. Strong candidates may be given the option for an interview by video conference.


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What after we stop pretending? Quarterly 11

Posted by jembendell on December 1, 2017

Hello from Athens where I’ve started my sabbatical year researching a book and supporting an NGO creating systems for local currencies that enable the solidarity economy.


Have you ever wondered what we might do if we stopped pretending we can prevent climate change from wreaking havoc? Next summer I’m hosting a retreat for environmentalists who sense despair at the current trends. It’s at the Kalikalos eco-retreat in Greece, a spin off from the Findhorn centre in the UK. The retreat explores the contours of the deep adaptation agenda (from personal to political). Please get in touch with me if this resonates and you are considering joining us (dr j  bendell at gmail).

The retreat builds on what I have learned by teaching the University of Cumbria’s sustainable leadership courses. I summarise the ideas on leadership which underpin those courses in a new journal article. I really enjoy what my students do once freed from the cautious narratives of incremental (often inconsequential) change. One of our new graduates, Julie Hutchison, was featured last week for launching a new charity trustee training programme. We are taking applications now for the September 2018 intake of this course. We are also keen to hear from organisations that could sponsor the student fees, so we could offer free places to people with potential to create major change.

Another of our students, Cheryl Clarke, is part of a team which today launches a pre-sale on a new blockchain platform and token, with the smallish aim of disrupting Hollywood! This field of crypto currencies has boomed in 2017. Previously I was only contacted about currency innovation by people with a passion for crazy ideas or creating change. My inbox now bulges with people serious about the commercial and investment opportunities. It makes writing a book about the future of money an interesting challenge. I’m currently sorting out which are my favourite blockchain projects and related start-ups and how I will support them (so watch this space). Certainly there are many better approaches than bitcoin, which has a horrible and unnecessary carbon footprint.

I’m really looking forward to the leadership conference we, that’s IFLAS, are hosting in the Lake District next September. The deadline for submitting an abstract for either a paper, poster or a workshop is January 30th. The conference is FREE, and is hosted with Crossfields Institute and Alanus University. Stunning location, fab keynotes, highly interactive, some stuff outdoors, cutting edge insights on heartfelt approaches to professional development. You should come. But the only way to make sure you have a place is to submit your idea now.

Volcano permitting, my research takes me to Bali for 3 months from January 1st. If you are volcanologist, maybe I’ll see you there?

@jembendellBlog / Quarterly Bulletin

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Deep Adaptation Retreat

Posted by jembendell on October 24, 2017


The emerging realisation that climate change is becoming a destructive tragedy, not just an urgent challenge, is bringing a sense of profound disorientation for many people.  How are we to feel?  What are we to do? What might become the purpose of our lives and work if we consider disruptive climate change as now inevitable?

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A view from the retreat

You are warmly invited to join us for a week of dialogue and reflection, with the aim of gaining a clearer sense of how meaning can re-emerge in full acceptance of the climate tragedy. We will explore dimensions of an emerging “deep adaptation” agenda, drawing on the lived experiences and various stories of each participant, and a range of wisdom traditions.

This retreat is for you if you:

  • work on sustainability in some form and are questioning your motivation and future,
  • want to explore implications of climate disruption in depth with supportive peers,
  • sense that a week in community and nature could support your transition.

The disorientation felt due to an awareness of our climate tragedy can lead to withdrawal and loneliness. Therefore, our intention for this retreat is to bring fellow travellers together to develop a new sense of purpose and community. Within a safely held and gently facilitated space, we hope to enable and discover insight on finding meaning, priorities and joy amidst tragedy. We anticipate you might feel inspired and supported to host future gatherings of peers on the deep adaptation agenda.

The retreat is hosted within an intentional community which lives lightly and beautifully on the verdant green and blue shores of the Aegean. The food is mostly locally sourced, all homecooked and vegetarian. A stunningly wild beach is a 20-minute walk away, while old villages are nearby through forests.

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The coastline near the retreat is the Mediterranean at its best

You are invited to bring a reading, practice or insight to share that is helping you to explore meaning after sustainability. You will be given pre-reading from the collection within your ‘preparation pack’ for the retreat. Its founder Dougald Hine will lead one session by video link.

The retreat centre Alexandros, part of the Kalikalos community, is less than 2 hours from the Greek city of Volos. The nearest village with a bus stop is Ag Ioannis. Buses to Volos leave from Athens and Thessaloniki, where flights arrive. Flights are also available into Volos with seasonal airlines like Small Planet and Thomas Cook. More information here. Prices and booking here.


Friday, the 1st day, is our arrival with check-in, registration and the welcome meal in the evening. Dialogue and reflection will begin after dinner with an opening circle. The 2nd day includes a welcome circle with our hosts, the volunteers of Kalikalos. From the 3rd day onward our rhythm will flow as follows:

  • 8:00am – 9:00am Breakfast
  • 9:00am – 9:15am Opening Circle
  • 9:15am – 10:15am Opening talk (30 mins) and discussion.
  • 10:15am – 11:00am Two or more participants share a resource (text, art, other) with discussion.
  • 11:00am – 11:30am Drinks break
  • 11:30am –  12:30pm Group Activity (typically in pairs, threes or fours)
  • 12:30pm – 1:00pm Closing Circle
  • 1:30pm Lunch
  • 2:30pm – 6:00pm Free time for reflection (beach, forest, villages).
  • 6:30pm Karma Yoga (supporting the community)
  • 8:00pm Dinner
  • 9:15pm – 10:30pm Optional evening activities (some activities such as Ecstatic Dance are organised at nearby centres).

On one of the days the morning session will involve a walk. The flow of the daily sessions above is indicative; actual activities will be woven organically from the programme above in response to the emergent needs and wishes of the group.

Prices: include the workshops plus full accommodation with 3 daily vegetarian meals (except for one evening out in a Taverna). One week in a tent € 470, triple room € 520, twin room € 620, single room € 770. All rooms are en suite with views and/or balcony.

Registration opens from November 2017. For more information, please contact me, Jem Bendell: drjbendell @ gmail dot com

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Jem Bendell began offering transformational professional development courses after 20 years pursuing a variety of methods for social change. From anti-globalisation activism and sustainability consulting in the late 1990s, via senior management in large environmental organisations and research roles with the United Nations, to grassroots economics and social venture capital today. One theme throughout has been sense-making and communication, with Professor Bendell responsible for over 100 publications and a range of Masters courses worldwide. In the past few years Jem has focused his research, advice and teaching on sustainable leadership and communication, working with senior officials in business, politics and civil society. His approach to teaching is participative, experiential and focused on the whole person. A graduate of the University of Cambridge, Jem is the founder of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS).

In 2014, Jem began to sense he had been emotionally dependent since the age of 16 on a story of meaning, focus and self-worth through helping society transform in the face of climate change. This insight came from taking to heart the latest climate science and no longer resisting doubt, grief and despair. In 2016 he gave a speech to climate scientists that outlined a “deep adaptation” agenda to the climate tragedy.


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This personal is political – Jem’s Quarterly #10

Posted by jembendell on July 31, 2017

I used to avoid party politics. I thought it wouldn’t be a way to promote positive change, because political leaders would only consider options framed by national vested interests and international finance. Instead, I focused on the contexts around political parties, such as increasingly public awareness of key issues, promoting change in the practices of business and financial institutions, and supporting alternatives at the grassroots. This year, that changed for me.  As my University role is part time, I took an opportunity to support the office of the Leader of the Opposition in the UK. For the first time in my life, I saw the potential for a mainstream political party in the UK to engage with wider social movements for a sustainable transformation.

A lot has been said about the current leadership and direction of the Labour Party, and of left-wing politics in general. Nothing beats hearing directly from the people involved. So, for a sense of his philosophy on leadership and change, I recommend a speech Jeremy Corbyn MP gave in London on April 29th called “Stepping Up for Britain”. For an insight into the economic approach Labour proposed, I recommend a speech in May from John McDonnell MP, the Shadow Chancellor. For Corbyn’s views on security and foreign policy I recommend the latter half of a speech he gave some days after the terrible bombing in Manchester. I was pleased to work with them on those speeches, during my support for the election campaign.

The result of the election was one step forward in the process of establishing a broad left agenda for the future of economy and society. Nevertheless, there remains much to be done in the UK, Europe and elsewhere for governments to enable people to improve their lives and communities in a rapidly changing world.

In other news:

2017 marks 20 years since my first book was published! With Dr David Murphy, we looked at collaborations for sustainable development in the book “In the Company of Partners.” To mark this anniversary, I gave an open lecture at the University of Cumbria, which you can watch here. My article of reflections on what has happened on this topic over the last 20 years is available in Issue 66 of the Journal of Corporate Citizenship.

I recorded a video to promote our free online Money and Society MOOC, which starts again on August 19th. You can read more about it and sign up at

CCCIn May, with Matthew Slater, we presented a paper on the future of complementary currencies in an age of blockchains at the joint academic-practitioner RAMICS conference in Barcelona. We also outlined a new initiative to create the protocols and tools for the massive scaling of socially useful new currencies. We then presented these ideas to participants and supporters of the social and solidarity economy at a RIPESS event in Athens. In my next update, I will outline the shape of this effort, which federates over 300 local currencies into one initiative. For some of the philosophical background see

From September, I am taking a year-long sabbatical to (attempt to) write a popular book that will convey some of the things I work towards. The project will take me through London, Valencia, Athens, Geneva, Milan, Manila and Bali, so if in any of these locations, it would be great to hear from you.

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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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Despite Everything – Jem’s Quarterly #8

Posted by jembendell on February 7, 2017

What with so much going on in the world to tire our eyeballs and adrenal glands, I’ll keep this Quarterly short. Please read on if you are interested in…

– getting to the root of the malaise in the world, that’s found in our monetary systems

– what environmentalists should do as we realise we won’t beat climate change, or

– some of the latest ideas on meaningful leadership in disturbing times

Otherwise, just delete, walk away from your device, breathe deeply, look at the wind swaying in the branches of the trees, and marvel at the wonder of being alive despite all the troubling stuff going on.

Still here? OK…

Money. It’s the root of all evil. Or rather, the way it’s issued. Things are changing fast, sometimes aggressively, as with demonetisation in India. What happens with money will shape the future of humanity. If there’s one free course you do this year it should be ours, starting Feb 19. Sign up here. Once you have done that course you can join us for our free Money and Society Summit in London in April. You will meet awesome people and be gently inducted into the global network of people who have had the veil taken from their eyes.

The summit is part of my University’s celebration of our 10th anniversary, where IFLAS is doing 10 free events. It will be the 2nd summit we have done, the first was in Bali (someone’s gotta). The video of the super speech my MOOC co-author Matthew is here.

You can also get qualified in this field with the Sustainable Exchange certificate course in London, for 5 days from April 19th. You can attend that for 600GBP without enrolling in the University (here). Or you can enrol, do assignments, and receive University credits of 20 points at Masters level, for 795GBP GBP for UK or EU students, and 1167GBP for others (here)hands up

OK, enough sales talk. In November I had the privilege of giving a keynote speech to a group of climate scholars. It was a bit scary as I decided to talk about climate change as a tragedy, not challenge, and what that means for our future work. My background notes on the talk are here. Things are bad. I don’t hold back. I will post this link on our Sustainable Leaders Linked In group, so it would be good to hear your thoughts on the issues raised, over on that thread.

So what does meaningful leadership look like in disturbing times? I discussed this with consultant Mark Drewell in that enclave of contrarian cultural creatives who still drink great coffee and homebrews. The town of Totnes.  He has had some “fun” chats with police about the coming collapse. As a paid speaker, not arrestee. We recorded it on Facebook Live, so you can see the recording here. That followed my first three attempts at IFLAS live conversations. Lynne Franks, is the PR and womens leadership guru, also known for inspiring the TV show Absolutely Fabulous. We discussed a bunch of things which we labelled “Eat, Pray, Lead” because we were so pleased with ourselves for catching up in Ubud. I also discuss with long term Bali resident Stephen, who is a world expert on complementary currencies. We discussed why development NGOs and donors aren’t very good at backing such innovations, so what next. I then caught up with fellow “Young Global Leader” Toshi, who founded and runs a dynamic NGO bringing eco tech to rural poor communities around the world. We discussed leadership. You can hear him here and feel useless by comparison. Or inspired. Yep, let’s try inspired.

Leadership is a theme that my university works on in various sectors, such as health and education, so we summarised our research and outputs in 2016 here.

If you want to work in developing leaders then the best course you can do for that is, obviously, an MA with me, at IFLAS, and it happens to be less than 8,000 pounds, and can be done with just 4 week-long visits to the UK. The feeder courses have got rave reviews, with people becoming new colleagues as a result (“best educational experience ever” said one senior manager of an environmental group). If interested, then the course info is here, and please contact me after looking at it.   

Our MBAs are also focused on leadership and we launched our alumni network for them recently, bringing together hundreds of our executive students from around the world. We encourage ongoing reflective practice, and so I shared some thoughts on the books I read during 2016, and invited the alumni to do the same. My thoughts on those books are here. I recommend doing it as a gratifying exercise as well as a learning one.

That link to sign up to our phenomenal online course:

Time to go look at some wind in some trees…

Until April,
Thx for reading, Jem

Upcoming public talks and workshops.

London, April 22, Money and Society Summit, University of Cumbria London Campus, chairing and facilitating. Info here.
Barcelona, May 10-14, Complementary and Community Currency Summit, two papers plus co-facilitating PhD student workshop. Info here.
Lancaster, July 18, Critical Perspectives on Leadership, University of Cumbria. Limited external participation. Request attendance via
Brussels, October 12-15, multiple panel presentations at the International Leadership Association conference, on Leadership in Turbulent Times. Info here.

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The Accidental Columnist

Posted by jembendell on January 9, 2017

I just completed an audit of my 2016 outputs, as required of me by the University of Cumbria. It covers things like applications made, bids won, keynotes delivered, papers presented, conferences co-organised, and so on. Looking back, I discovered I wrote 15 opinion editorials (op eds). From The Telegraph to Open Democracy, Huffington Post to the World Economic Forum, over the past 12 months I offered contexts for current affairs that drew on my grounding in critical social theory and political economy.

Prior to 2016, I restricted myself to publishing on topics that I research academically and only those non academic outlets that closely align with my field, such as Guardian Sustainable Business. So something happened last year, to make me broaden my engagement. I think this reflects what is happening with a number of my peers in the sustainable business and finance fields, as we realise the need to engage more broadly on matters of economy, politics, society and culture.

My splurge of opinion arose from irritation, rejection and then collaboration. A year ago, the mainstream media debate on Trident was so mood-driven, without a serious discussion of the issues, that while on a business trip, sitting in a hotel lobby, I penned an opinion piece for the Portsmouth Evening News. I’m from the city, and it’s a Naval town, so I thought a great place to stimulate more informed debate. And I was a bit bored and lonely in that lobby. The News rejected my piece, saying they should have a debate between me and Admiral Lord West instead (which is here). So I reached out to Jo Confino at the Huffington Post, and his support meant I unleashed a stream of writing. Fortunately another friend, Marc Lopatin, was once a professional journalist and ghost writer, and could school me in how to appear less boring in print. Yep, those lessons are ongoing.

Writing is only one form of public engagement, and often with limited impact. But writing demands that you clarify your thoughts and what you think could be useful to say. So it’s a start in a process of broader engagement.

I will publish less in 2017, as I have started writing a book. I will also be finishing academic papers (those things no one reads but we academics have to produce).

In reverse chronological order:

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, See here

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.


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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.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Engaging the Climate Tragedy

Posted by jembendell on November 26, 2016

When discussing the sorry state of efforts to address climate change with professionals working on this topic, across sectors, I often hear a reluctance to question whether it is too late to avert catastrophic climate change, or what such a view might mean for the focus of our work. Various objections to this view are raised and prevent open discussion or an evolution of work. Therefore, I decided to deliver a speech at a leading climate business and finance event in Australia, at Griffith University, to seek feedback on my argument that we must now shift focus.

In my keynote, Nov 29th, I’m outlining the following:

  1. There has been some progress on environmental issues in past decades, from reducing pollution, to habitat preservation, to waste management.
  2. Much valiant effort has been made to reduce carbon emissions over the last twenty years.
  3. There have been many steps forward on climate and carbon management, from awareness, to policies, to innovations.
  4. Larger and quicker steps must be taken and can be now that there is COP21 and major Chinese engagement on the issue.
  5. To support the maintenance and scaling of these efforts is essential.
  6. Small steps have been taken on adaptation to climate changes, such as flood defences and planning laws.
  7. Yet these steps on climate mitigation and adaptation are like walking up a landslide. If the landslide had not already begun, then quicker and bigger steps would get us to the top of where we want to be. But the latest climate data, emissions data and data on the spread of carbon-intensive lifestyles tell us that the landslide has already begun.

That the ground is already moving beneath our feet is summarised thus:

  1. The politically permissible scientific consensus is that we need to stay beneath 2 degrees warming of global ambient temperatures to avoid dangerous and uncontrollable levels of climate change, with impacts such as mass starvation, disease, flooding, storm destruction, migration and war
  2. If the world does not keep further anthropogenic emissions below a total of 1,300 billion tonnes of carbon, we won’t keep average temperatures below that 2 degrees warming.
  3. If we are not already on the path to dramatic reductions we will not keep within this limit.
  4. We are not on such a path, with emissions still at around 40 million tonnes of CO2 a year and the decoupling of growth from emissions minimal.
  5. The uncertainties on the edge of scientific consensus do not suggest a respite, with some increased carbon sequestration through increased vegetation not as significant as the methane emissions not factored into most models, and where Arctic warming is already progressing beyond even the most extreme predictions.
  6. Therefore, we are set for disruptive and uncontrollable levels of climate change, bringing starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war.
  7. The implication is that we need to expand our climate work into a deep adaptation agenda, including resilience, relinquishment and restoration while learning why this tragedy is occurring.

I will explain more about that deep adaptation agenda in a moment. I realise that at this point the reader, or listener, might feeling a bit affronted, disturbed, or saddened. In the past few years, many people have said to me that “it can’t be too late to stop climate change, because if it was, how would we find the energy to keep on striving for change?” With such views, a possible reality is denied to permit a continued striving which has its rationale, therefore, not in serving the expressed goal but in maintaining self-identities related to espoused values. This form of denial is different from outright climate denial, but is also unhelpful, as John Foster argues well in his book After Sustainability (2015).

It is emotionally difficult at first, but we need to move beyond that pretence if we are to remain relevant. In doing so, we open ourselves up to discuss a ‘deep adaption’ agenda as well as exploring why this tragedy has begun and why we have been so poor at responding effectively. I will make some brief comments on these topics before concluding with some thoughts on how we evolve our research accordingly.

A deep adaption agenda will involve increasing resilience, relinquishment and restoration Resilience involves people and communities better coping with disruptions. Examples include how river catchments can better cope with rains, or how buildings can better cope with floods. What I’m calling relinquishment, involves people and communities letting go of certain assets, behaviours and beliefs where retaining them could make matters worse. Examples include withdrawing from coastlines or giving up expectations for certain types of consumption. Restoration involves people and communities rediscovering attitudes and approaches to life and organisation that the hydrocarbon-fuelled civilisation eroded. Examples include re-wilding landscapes so they provide more ecological benefits and require less management, or increased community-level productivity and support.

There will be increasing discussion about what is to be learned from the tragedy of climate change, and honest inquiry existing alongside strategic attempts at framing disruption, degradation and loss to maintain one’s relative power in society.  Disruption, degradation and collapse will be framed by different people as a resulting from foreigners, capitalism, industrialism, individualism, consumerism, patriarchy, anthropomorphism, secularism, liberalism, progressivism, and atomism (where we see things as separate). We are even seeing framing of disruption by religious fundamentalists, who, to my knowledge, don’t discuss climate but seek to respond to the disruption it has already caused. One study by Columbia University argues that in Syria, the worst drought in 100s of years, made worse by climate change, led to 1.5 million people being displaced from their lives in rural areas and increased food prices in cities. Some radical Islamists were able to thrive in this situation with their explanations of cause and solution, replacement stories of personal identity and purpose, and offers of sustenance.

My own analysis is that the West’s response as restricted by the dominance of neoliberal economics since the 1970s. That led to hyper-individualist, market fundamentalist, incremental and atomistic approaches. By hyper-individualist, I mean a focus on individual action as consumers, switching light bulbs or buying sustainable furniture, rather than promoting political action as engaged citizens. By market fundamentalist, I mean a focus on market mechanisms like the complex, costly and largely useless carbon cap and trade systems, rather than exploring what more government intervention could achieve. By incremental, I mean a focus on celebrating small steps forward such as a company publishing a sustainability report, rather than strategies designed for a speed and scale of change suggested by the science. By atomistic, I mean a focus on seeing climate action as a separate issue from the governance of markets, finance and banking, rather than exploring what kind of economic system could permit or enable sustainability.

Given this context, while the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the culture they reflect are helpful for non-climate related matters, given the systemic nature of the impacts of global warming, they may be ill-focused. Instead “minimum survival goals” would be more appropriate, to reduce the rate of increase in starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war. We don’t need consensus on that, but a shift right now from those who have a professional income, skill set and network to work on matters broadly related to climate change and its effects.

The implications for researchers working on climate issues, whether on campaigning, policy, business, finance, include asking the following questions:

On other’s research:

“How might these findings inform efforts for a more massive & urgent transformation to resilience & relinquishment in face of collapse?”

On one’s own research:

“If I didn’t believe in incremental incorporation of climate concerns into current organisations and systems, what might I want to know more about?”

“How might neglected theories of political economy suggest I inquire into this or related topics?”

To explore some of these ideas further, my recent writings may be of interest, on implications for the future of the climate debate, on what sustainability leadership involves, on how we need to heal capitalism, and how we need to ask ourselves tough questions if we consider ourselves climate activists. Better still, these publications will help you explore this emerging “post-sustainability” paradigm:

Benson, M. and Craig, R. (2014) ‘The End of Sustainability’, Society and Natural Resources 27; 777-782

Foster, J. (2015) After Sustainability (Abingdon: Earthscan from Routledge)

Hamilton, C. (2010) Requiem for a Species (London: Earthscan)

Hamilton, C. et al. (eds.) (2015) The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis (Abingdon: Routledge)

Jamieson, D. (2014)  Reason in a Dark Time (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Mulgan, T. (2011) Ethics for a Broken World  (Durham: Acumen)

As the point of no return can’t be fully known until after the event, ambitious work on reducing carbon must increase. But a new front of work on deep adaptation is as important today. Understandable emotional traumas from realising the tragedy that is coming, and in many ways upon us already, shouldn’t prevent us from exploring what this probable reality could mean for our choices now. Moreover, from social psychology, there is some evidence to suggest that by focusing on impacts now, it makes climate change more proximate, which increases support for mitigation.

In my talk at Griffith I explore more about the nature and future of leadership in light of this assessment of the climate tragedy.

More on the event is here.

UPDATE: Until June 1st 2018 I am receiving PhD applications on the topic of deep adaptation, connected to either organisational studies, policy or sociological disciplines, for starting Oct 1st 2018. Either based in Cumbria or remote working, full time or part time. There are no scholarships for these. Fees information from If you have a masters degree and are interested in this topic and self fund, then please drop me a note.

Posted in Academia and Research, Sustainable Development, Talks | Tagged: | 7 Comments »

Do a PhD part-time from anywhere with me: Jem’s Quarterly #7

Posted by jembendell on September 22, 2016

Studying for a PhD can seem like a terrible idea. All that isolated reading and writing, and for what: to disappear into your own world of abstraction? Well it doesn’t have to be that way. Three or more years to explore questions that are deeply important to you, in ways that draw upon a range of scholarship, is an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So I look for people who are less concerned about a career in academia or getting the  letters PhD, and more interested in inquiry. I am seeking 2 new PhD students to start next year in the general field of “leadership” or “leadership development” or methods by which individuals can support social change through organisations or networks.



I will say more about the PhD in a moment. In the past quarter the future of money and investment was a significant theme of my work. 60 people completed the 4th cohort of our free course on Money and Society. Alumnus of this online course are gathering in Indonesia in December. The next cohort starts in February and you can enrol here. Back home, this summer we hosted retreats for the Finance Innovation Lab and the Positive Money campaign, two initiatives that share our view that the financial system must be transformed to enable more fair and environmentally friendly economies.

The impact investment group I work with has made a significant move forward with a 100 million dollar investment for one of its ventures, to bring a tech smart approach to the Australian superannuation (pension) sector. The potential to enhance business analytics and engagement on environmental, social and governance factors is large. Trimantium also plans an IPO for a business that helps incumbent firms to embrace the disruptive potential of digital technology.

I published a few articles on spirituality, leadership and politics in the Huffington Post. My next keynote is in November, at Griffith University in Brisbane, on the topic of the kinds of leadership we won’t need to stop making the climate crisis worse. You might need to read that sentence again.

Now back to that PhD opportunity. At the University of Cumbria, it doesn’t cost a fortune, you engage a contrarian intellectual tradition of the Lake District, and can come on our great leadership courses but don’t have to be based here all the time, nor do it full time. You also receive a PhD accredited by Lancaster University (a top research Uni). We don’t have funding to offer at this moment. If interested, please write one page only on what issue you are interested in, what literature you know of that relates to that, and why you want to do a PhD. Before that, please read some of my thoughts on “sustainability leadership” here.

In Q4 I will be focusing on a new research project on perceptions of world leaders on what forms of leadership, and leadership development, are necessary to address global challenges. We are seeking an additional sponsor for the report launch at a high level event next year, so if you can help, do get in touch. Below follows a box of info on what is happening at Cumbria Uni which may be relevant if you are based nearby or passing through.

Thanks for reading, Jem

Professor of Sustainability Leadership, Institute For Leadership And Sustainability (IFLAS) and Non-Executive Director, Trimantium Capital. Next update is in 3 months.

Sign up here to receive my Quarterly Bulletin


Some relevant offerings from the University of Cumbria

The intersection of governance, ethics and investment – Julie Hutchison IFLAS Open Lecture 4th October, 530pm, Ambleside Lake District Campus, Cumbria University, Ambleside, UK. Info here.
Leading Wellbeing in Rural Contexts – One Day Conference by the Brathay Trust and University of Cumbria. 1st November 2016, Ambleside, UK Info here.
Participatory Mapping as a research Method – Dr Chris Loynes lunchtime research seminar 30th November, 12.00-13.00 Kitching Room, Ambleside Lake District Campus, University of Cumbria, UK Participatory mapping is an approach to collecting, interpreting and analysing data about the places people inhabit. Come and make your own maps of your landscapes and see how they can work as a research tool. Register:

The University of Cumbria is always taking applications for its suite of MBA programmes which involve specialisms in sustainability, delivered in partnership with the Robert Kennedy College. Info here.

Posted in Academia and Research, Sustainable Development | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »