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Answering the big climate questions

Academics from across Alliance Manchester Business School are taking part in the Manchester Festival of Climate Action next month.

Over four days the conference, organised by The University of Manchester, will consider the challenges at the forefront of the climate crisis, providing a forum to share innovative solutions to drive urgent change.

Free, online and open to all, the festival from October 11th to 14th will unite policymakers, industry, academics, students, practitioners and members of the public to consider, debate and address the issues facing us on a local, national and global scale. Each day is dedicated to one of the four COP26 goals – Mitigation, Adaptation, Finance and Collaboration.


A number of AMBS academics are taking part in the Finance day on October 13th. In a session entitled 'Can greening the economy drive productivity?' Bart van Ark, Professor of Productivity Studies, and Dr Elvira Uyarra, Professor of Innovation Studies, will be joined by Jennifer Halliday, Finance Director at CF Fertilisers UK, and Lauren Pamma, Programme Director at the Green Finance Institute, to discuss the challenges facing businesses as we forge a net zero future. They will consider the next steps that business leaders need to take and look at the potential impacts, positive and negative, on productivity from making green investments.

During the same morning Jonatan Pinkse, Professor of Strategy, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, and Director of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, will discuss how strong domestic climate action is vital in demonstrating international leadership in the build-up to COP26. He will look at what the UK needs to do to ensure it retains international credibility, how to help manufacturing businesses decarbonise, and how can this deliver a green economy that works for all.

Role of accounting

On the afternoon of the 13th two academics from the Accounting and Finance (A&F) division of AMBS will be speaking.

Paolo Quattrone, Professor of Accounting, Governance and Society, and Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Investment Risk, will host a session discussing the shift to value-added accounting and the consideration of environmental impacts as part of the bottom line. He will particularly look at how value-added income statements can drive consideration of the production and distribution of value, and how accounting could be key in ensuring meaningful corporate sustainability.

Accounting for climate change is already an important feature of modules at The University of Manchester for students, and Professor Quattrone’s session will be followed by a talk hosted by A&F lecturer Jennifer Rose who will explore how teaching accounting needs to change to reflect climate change risks.

She'll explain how she links climate change to accounting in her teaching and how the risks it poses to the global economy can be taught in novel and informative ways which challenge the status quo. She will also be joined by MBA students who will discuss what climate change means to them personally, and how their current studies will help inform the decisions they make during their own business careers.

Towards net zero

Meanwhile during the Mitigation day on October 11th Frank Geels, Professor of System Innovation and Sustainability, will host a session discussing where we are when it comes to achieving net zero targets, and what we need to be doing better. For instance he will look at why UK decarbonisation is progressing well in the electricity sector, but struggling to make progress in sectors such as heating and mobility.

Drawing on his socio-technical transitions framework, Professor Geels will discuss and draw lessons about the interactions between innovation, company strategies, consumers, social acceptance, and policy choices in the UK electricity, heating, and mobility systems.


It is not just governments that need to respond to the challenge of climate change. Communities across the world have an important role to play in building their own resilience and providing a local resilience capability to mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from emergencies when they happen.

During the Collaboration day on October 14th Duncan Shaw, Professor of Operations and Critical Systems, will lead a panel discussion with resilience officers from cities across the world talking about the importance of such work, and how they are galvanising their local communities to ensure they become more resilient to the threats posed by climate change.

In recent years AMBS has been at the forefront of helping cities and local governing authorities to become more prepared for climate-induced disasters, in particular through the promotion of a global standard for disaster volunteers.

Further details about all the events and how to register can be found here.