Yunus Centre for Business, Sustainability and Social Impact

Businesses and governments worldwide face extraordinary challenges in responding to today's sustainability challenges.

The Yunus Centre for Business, Sustainability & Social Impact at the Adelaide Business School is here to help. Our mission is to work collaboratively with others to encourage, enable and realise sustainable development and positive social impact. We do this by creating and disseminating leading research, ideas, and advice that assist organisations, governments, and industries in solving sustainability challenges and other complex problems.

A world flourishingOur vision

The Yunus Centre for Business, Sustainability & Social Impact features twenty-four experts across five main research portfolios. Below you will find more information about our portfolios, and some examples of our work.

  • Social enterprise & social business

    • Our expertise: Our ‘social enterprise and social business’ research team explore all dimensions of social enterprise and social business. A social business exists, first, to address a social need. But a social business is not a charity – it generates profit and is financially self-sustaining over time. Our research team explores all dimensions of social ventures, including enabling social entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurial ecosystems and helping organisations undertake transitions towards sustainability.
    • Our experts: Dr Maryam Zomorrodi, Professor Stephen Zhang, Professor Paul Steffens, Dr Rajeev Kamineni, Dr Tiffany Lee De Sousa Machado, Dr Manjula Dissanayake, Dr Erica Lee, Dr Ankit Argawal, Dr Rudolf Wirawan, Dr Nurchasana

    Examples of our work:

    Kullak, F. S., Baker, J. J., & Woratschek, H. (2021). Enhancing value creation in social purpose organizations: Business models that leverage networks. Journal of Business Research125, 630-642.

    Abstract: As social purpose organisations (SPOs) feature dual economic and social goals, contemporary research is beginning to grasp the importance of value creation being shared amongst network actors. However, how an SPO's business model can fully leverage the resources of others to enable and enhance value creation has not yet been fully explained. This study investigates the case of a German music festival to explore how shared value creation has been enhanced by moving from an organization-centric business model to instead become a platform for engagement with numerous other actor groups. This study demonstrates that despite modest funding and minimal staffing, an organization can bring together a broad network of others to engage in resource integration and shared value creation for social good.

    Klyver, K., Steffens, P., & Honig, B. (2022). Psychological factors explaining Ukrainian refugee entrepreneurs’ venture idea novelty. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 18, e00348.

    Abstract: In this study we investigate the (relative) importance of four psychological factors previously identify as important for entrepreneurship in adversity. Specifically, we investigate the importance of personal initiative, individual resilience, entrepreneurial self-efficacy and crisis self-efficacy for new venture novelty among Ukrainian refugee entrepreneurs arriving in Denmark in 2022 early after the Russian invasion. We identify and surveyed a sample of Ukrainian refugee entrepreneurs through Google's training program labelled ‘WeStart for Ukrainians’. We found that crisis self-efficacy seems to be the most important psychological factor explaining new venture novelty among refugee entrepreneurs.

  • Transforming markets & behaviour

    • Our expertise: Our ‘transforming markets and behaviour’ research group has expertise in all dimensions of sustainability as it relates to consumers, markets, and ecosystems. Areas covered include transformative consumer and service research, consumer financial decision-making, well-being & (financial) vulnerability, green marketing and social marketing, sustainable consumption, sustainable market systems and market-shaping towards sustainable outcomes, and design thinking.
       
    • Our experts: Dr Jonathan Baker, Dr David Schmidtke, Dr Taylor Willmott, Associate Professor Sally Rao Hill, Dr Dean Wilkie, Dr Alison Joubert, Professor Arvid Hoffmann, Kate Sansome

    Examples of our work:

    Hoffmann, A. O. I., S. J. McNair & J. I. Pallant (2021). "The Financial Vulnerability Trap: Using Latent Transition Analysis to Explore the Dynamics of Consumers' Financial Vulnerability over Time." European Journal of Marketing, 55 (6), 1569-1593.

    Abstract: This research finds that consumers in a state of lower vulnerability are “fragile” in having a relatively high likelihood of moving to a state of higher vulnerability, whereas those in a state of higher vulnerability are “entrenched” in having a relatively low likelihood of moving to a state of lower vulnerability. This pattern of results is called the “financial vulnerability trap.”

    Hoffmann, A. O. I. & D. Plotkina (2021). “Positive Framing When Assessing the Personal Resources to Manage One’s Finances Increases Consumers’ Retirement Self-Efficacy and Improves Retirement Goal Clarity.” Psychology and Marketing, 38 (12), 2286-2304.

    Abstract: Through a series of experiments, we show that when consumers assess personal resources to achieve a financially secure future, positive framing focusing on strengths instead of weaknesses is associated with higher retirement selfefficacy through an increased internal locus of control. Higher selfefficacy, in turn, leads to improved retirement goal clarity, with the improvement being more pronounced for individuals having a lower consideration of future consequences. 

    Schmidtke, D. J., Kubacki, K., & Rundle-Thiele, S. (2021). A review of social marketing interventions in low- and middle-income countries (2010–2019). Journal of Social Marketing, 11(3), 240-258.

    Abstract: This study aims to review social marketing interventions reported in peer-reviewed literature from 2010 to 2019 that were conducted in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This paper seeks to further contribute to understanding on the health of the social marketing field, synthesising studies to examine the extent of use of social marketing’s core principles.

    Other achievements:

    In November 2022, Associate Professor Jean Canil, Dr George Mihaylov, and Professor Ralf Zurbruegg won the Australian Business Deans Council Award for Innovation and Excellence in Climate Action. The award is based on their research work for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to investigate and develop innovative solutions to assist Australian crop farmers in dealing with climate change.

  • Sustainable supply chains & project management

    • Our expertise: Our ‘sustainable supply chains and project management research group have expertise in understanding and analysing complex systems in management and operations, sustainable operations (including lean, agile and flexible approaches), modern slavery, and circular economy.
    • Our experts: Associate Professor Indra Gunawan, Dr Sajad Fayaz, Dr Maryam Zomorrodi, Jacolyn Pratt, Dr Jonathan Baker

    EXAMPLES OF OUR WORK

    Zarghami, S. A., & Gunawan, I. (2021). Forecasting the Impact of Population Growth on Robustness of Water Distribution Networks: A System Dynamics Approach. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.

    Abstract: Robustness analysis of water distribution networks (WDNs) has recently come to prominence in the research literature. While the robustness analysis is garnering much attention, there is a knowledge gap surrounding the forecasting of robustness in response to changes in the parameters involved in the analysis, such as water demand and population growth. To fill this gap, this article looks at the robustness of WDNs through the lens of the system dynamics (SD) modeling approach. The results show that uneven demand distribution forced by uneven population growth has a strong influence on the robustness of WDNs. Furthermore, the simulation results highlighted the importance of considering the future development pattern of suburbs at the inception of the city development planning.

    Bhattacharya, A., & Fayezi, S. (2021). Ameliorating food loss and waste in the supply chain through multi-stakeholder collaboration. Industrial Marketing Management93, 328-343. 

    Abstract: This study elaborates mechanisms through which multi-stakeholder collaboration can ameliorate food loss and waste (FLW) from the end-to-end supply chain. In this context, the authors integrate the discourse on collaborative relationships in supply chains with stakeholder theory (roles and orientations) and use a multi-method approach combining systematic literature review (SLR) and embedded case studies based on secondary data. The study provides a conceptual framework that illustrates collective stakeholder orientation emerging from aligned vertical and horizontal stakeholder orientation across the supply chain towards reducing FLW. It explains how achieving such alignment requires these stakeholders to navigate various collaboration conditions (structural and sporadic) that otherwise spur individualism, culminating in FLW mitigation efforts across food supply chains.

    Zomorrodi, M., Fayezi, S., Lau, K. H., & McMurray, A. (2019). Supply chain adaptations for the base-of-the-pyramid business: towards a theoretical model. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management49(5), 599-624.

    Abstract: Research has not yet captured nor synthesized the supply chain (SC) adaptations exercised by various base of the pyramid (BoP) initiators for successful BoP business. The authors draw on Carter et al.’s (2015) theory of SC and use a multi-method approach combining systematic literature review and embedded case studies based on the secondary data. The authors compare BoP SC adaptations of MNCs, local companies, NGOs, social enterprises and governments and develop propositions. The authors find that SC adaptations exercised by BoP initiators are influenced by their sense making of institutional and agency drivers at the BoP, and contingent on whether the poor are engaged as recipients or value co-creators.

     

  • Reporting & measuring impact

    • Our expertise: Our ‘reporting and measuring’ research group have expertise in ESG reporting and strategies, carbon accounting, impact investing and social impact measurement, financial vulnerability and microfinance.
       
    • Our experts: Professor Ralf Zurbrugg, Professor Arvid Hoffman, Dr Tariq Haque, Dr Tracey Dodd, Janice Loftus, Dr Erica Lee, Dr Nurchasanah

    Examples of our work:

    Liu, C., Cheong, C. S., & Zurbruegg, R. (2020). Rhetoric, reality, and reputation: do CSR and political lobbying protect shareholder wealth against environmental lawsuits? Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, 55(2), 679-706.

    Abstract: This paper, published in an FT-50 journal, examines the impact that environment lawsuits have on firms that have been greenwashing and the moderating effect that lobbying can have on this impact.  

  • Strategising for sustainability & responsible management

    • Our expertise: Our ‘strategy and CSR’ research team have expertise in Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Social Innovation, sustainability leadership, the incorporation of ESG and sustainability into organisational strategy, and how to achieve responsible management.
       
    • Our experts: Dr Tracey Dodd, Associate Professor Matthew Mount, Professor Stephen Zhang, Dr Ankit Argawal, Dr Tiffany Lee De Sousa, Dr Manjula Dissanayake, Dr Jonathan Baker

    Examples of our work:

    Tang, J., Zhang, S. X., & Lin, S. (2021). To reopen or not to reopen? How entrepreneurial alertness influences small business reopening after the COVID-19 lockdown. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 16, e00275.

    Abstract: COVID-19 lockdowns have been effective in curbing the spread of the virus and saving lives. Government-imposed restrictions and lockdowns have required that businesses close temporarily. While many businesses survived in lockdown, others, particularly small businesses, did not, or were not able to reopen when the lockdowns were relaxed. We sought to study the phenomenon of small businesses still being squeezed and explore the internal drivers for their reopening after the lockdowns. We collected two-wave data from 303 small businesses in China during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Our findings indicated that entrepreneurs with higher level of alertness were less likely to reopen their businesses after the lockdowns were lifted. In addition, the negative relationship between alertness and reopening was attenuated for older firms. Our findings underscore the role of entrepreneurs’ cognitive characteristic in determining the reopening of businesses during the pandemic. 

    Baker, J. J., Little, V. J., & Brodie, R. J. (2022). Toward socially responsible business: A typology of value postures in nested service ecosystems[JB2] . In B. Edvardsson & B. Tronvoll (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of service management, Palgrave MacMillan, pp.371-391.

    Abstract: The need to share value with multiple stakeholders has become a business imperative. This chapter argues a service ecosystem perspective gives insight into how this might be achieved. We propose five interrelated, interdependent “value postures” that system actors adopt—systemic, strategic, relational, operational, and individual. A value posture is the way actors think about and practice creating and delivering value with others. Each posture reflects unique combinations of stakeholders, stakeholder goals, resources, and institutional arrangements. This chapter argues achieving alignment and consistency within and between value postures at different levels enables sharing of value with stakeholders and socially responsible business.

The original Yunus Centre was founded in 2011 by Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus with Saskia Bruysten and Sophie Eisenmann to expand the success of social business around the world. In 2018, the Adelaide Business School established its Yunus Centre for Social Enterprise. The Centre’s mission and purpose were broadened in 2022, and the Centre was renamed Yunus Centre for Business, Sustainability & Social impact.

The activities of the Yunus Centre for Business, Sustainability & Social impact primarily aim to address ten of the United Nations’ seventeen Sustainable Development Goals:

1. No poverty
3. Good health and wellbeing
4. Quality education
8. Decent work and economic growth
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
11. Sustainable cities and communities
12. Responsible consumption and production
13. Climate action
16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
17. Partnerships for the goals