Monash Business School launches first climate research group

7 June 2022

Group convenor Dr Anita Foerster, and Deputy Dean Research, Prof Russell Smyth.

Group convenor Dr Anita Foerster, and Deputy Dean Research, Prof Russell Smyth.

What do economists, marketers, accountants, lawyers, bankers and finance experts all have in common?

An understanding that climate change is the challenge of the age – and a passion to make a difference.

That’s why more than 50 researchers from across Monash Business School have joined forces to form the School’s first climate change research network.

“Obviously, we are all working in different disciplinary spaces, using different methodologies,” group convenor Dr Anita Foerster said.

“This is an experiment in bringing those different perspectives together under a common research goal.”

Dr Foerster is the Director of Research for Monash Business School’s Department of Business Law and Taxation. She said the group aims to continue to grow through enabling collaboration and engagement between researchers.

“We want to explore how we can work together in different ways to maximise our impact and influence both (inside) and outside the university,” Dr Foerster said.

Monash Business School’s Deputy Dean Research, Professor Russell Smyth said addressing climate change was about more than just the science.

“The science tells us we have a problem, and that we must do something about it, but an area that is often overlooked is the economics and finance around climate change,” he said.

“When countries, industries and businesses have to grapple with the thorny issue of climate change, and deal with things like carbon emissions, the economics and financial impacts become central as there are often trade-offs involved.”

Dr Foerster said the business economics perspective was critical to the systemic change needed to address climate change.

“Our economic systems – the way we use and allocate resources, our systems of production, consumption and distribution of goods and services – are the root cause of climate change,” she said.

“The solution to climate change really lies in how we make these systems more circular and sustainable – it’s these systems that we need to change and business is critical to this.”

Dr Foerster said the group’s collective research would help to understand, quantify and measure the socio-economic impacts of climate change, including on vulnerable populations.

“These are important contributions to the development of policy and regulation to address climate change,” she said.

Professor Smyth said the group’s work would also support Monash University’s new research agreement with Fiji National University, which aims to launch a new centre for research on climate change in the South Pacific next year.

“This centre will be the flagship research for the business school, as a joint collaboration between Fiji National University and Monash University,” he said.

Dr Foerster said throughout 2022, the group would host a number of research workshops to profile the group’s climate research.