Interdisciplinary Research

Sustainable Business

The Sustainable Business Research Cluster (SBRC) is an interdisciplinary initiative designed to encourage and promote research in sustainable business practices. Activities of the cluster include hosting conferences and seminars on aspects of sustainable business research, encouraging interdisciplinary research among Miam Herbert faculty on sustainable business, and promoting research by graduate students in sustainable business.

Recent Research & Publications

Understanding the Improbable: A Survey of Fat Tails in Environmental Economics
Black Swans or catastrophic events are rare, but sometimes happen more frequently than might be expected with standard statistics. These are known as “fat-tailed” distributions. Catastrophic hurricanes and floods are happening more frequently due to climate change, and firms are experiencing catastrophic events from pandemics to housing crises. Modeling of these risks is important for not only directly impacted industries such as insurance, but also for individual firms seeking to manage risks. This paper surveys recent work on fat-tailed distributions and their implications for firms and government policymakers.

Striving for Improvement: The Perceived Value of Improving Hurricane Forecast Accuracy
Hurricanes are the costliest type of natural disaster in the United States. Every year, these natural phenomena destroy billions of dollars in physical capital, displacing thousands, and greatly disrupt local economies. While this damage will never be eliminated, fatalities, evacuation costs, and business disruptions can be reduced through improved forecasts. This paper seeks to establish the public’s willingness to pay for further improvement of hurricane forecasts by integrating atmospheric modeling and an interactive survey. We focus on areas affected by hurricanes in 2018 to elicit residents’ willingness to pay for improvements along storm track, wind speed, and precipitation forecasts. Our results indicate improvements in wind speed forecast are valued the most, followed by storm track and precipitation, and that maintaining the current annual rate of error reduction for another decade is worth between $90.25 and $121.86 per person in vulnerable areas. Our study focuses on areas recently hit by hurricanes in the United States, but the implications of our results can be extended to areas vulnerable to tropical cyclones globally. In a world where the intensity of hurricanes is expected to increase and research funds are limited, these results can inform relevant agencies regarding the effectiveness of different private and public adaptive actions, as well as how publicly funded hurricane research programs benefit coastal economies.

Past Speakers & Events

Engaging with professionals across different industries to promote a more planet-friendly business culture.
Helias picture at Lecture Series
Beyond COP26: What Businesses Must Do

Virginie Hélias

Chief Sustainability Officer, Procter and Gamble
November 9, 2021
Hélias, named in 2012 to develop and operationalize Procter & Gamble’s sustainability strategies and goals, highlighted a range of product innovations—from reduced-weight diapers and cold-water detergent to reduced packaging and digital watermarks to improve recycling identifications—that have supported revenues and simultaneously lessened environmental impact.
Suni Hartford, President of UBS Asset Management
Beyond COP26: What Businesses Must Do

Suni Harford

President, Asset Management, UBS
October 27, 2021 
Suni Harford is the President of Asset Management, UBS, talks about her role at UBS, the state of the global "build back better" agenda as it relates to climate, and how asset management can help in the fight against climate change.
HRH Prince Charles

Chief Sustainability Officer Summit

March 24, 2021
The fourth annual Chief Sustainability Officer Summit, a virtual full-day conference attracts chief sustainability officers from a cross-section of industries and countries to share their experience promoting sustainability in the field. This year, Prince Charles, who for decades has been an advocate for environmental concerns, delivered a five-point road map to conference attendees during a nine-minute address.

Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever

Paul Polman

Co-founder & Chair of IMAGINE, former CEO of Unilever
February 25,  2021
Paul Polman, co-founder and chair of Imagine, a social venture accelerating business leadership to achieve sustainable development goals,  addresses the global shift toward green energy technologies—such as the production of batteries to power electric cars— and how it is motivating executives to pursue more holistic performance priorities.
Paul Polman

How Can Business Save the World?

 March 5, 2020
Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, and co-founder and chair of Imagine, shared how business strategies that foster inclusion, diversity, and green business practices are the most likely to succeed in the changed world economy.

Purpose-Driven Leadership

The following is a list of members of the Sustainable Business Cluster, all of whom are from the University of Miami community. Clicking on a member's name takes you to their curriculum vitae.

David L. Kelly, Co-Chair: Environment
David L. Kelly is a professor of economics, Co-chair of the sustainable Business Research Cluster, and academic director of the Master of Science in Sustainable Business at the University of Miami. Professor Kelly has published in leading journals including Science, Nature, the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, and the Journal of Economic Theory.

Vidhi Chhaochharia, Co-Chair: Governance
Vidhi Chhaochharia is an associate professor of finance and co-chair of the Sustainable Business Research Cluster at the University of Miami. Professor Chhaochharia’s research focuses on corporate governance. Research by professor Chhaochharia has appeared in leading finance journals such as the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Financial Economics, and the Journal of Finance.

Marie T. Dasborough: Social
Marie Dasborough is a Professor of Management. She is a member of the Academy of Management, the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology (Division 14 of the American Psychological Association), the Network of Leadership Scholars, the International Society for Research on Emotions, and is an invited member of the Emotional Intelligence Consortium. Her research aims to promote human sustainability in organizations, by focusing on employee emotional wellbeing. She has published in the top management journals, including Academy of Management Review, Journal of Business Ethics, The Leadership Quarterly, and Journal of Organizational Behavior. Her publications focus on leadership, teamwork, emotions, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and authenticity.

Christopher Parmeter: Environment
Associate Professor Christopher Parmeter’s research focuses on statistically estimating the value of providing environmental goods. Such valuations allow firms to prioritize their efforts towards environmental activities that have the largest impacts. Professor Parmeter has published in leading environmental economics and econometric journals including Journal of Econometrics, Ecological Economics, and Resource and Energy Economics.

Uzma Khan: Social
Uzma Khan is an associate professor of marketing. Her research focuses on risk perceptions. Her research has been published in leading marketing journals including the Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Marketing Research and in Management Science.

Sammi Yu Tang: Environment
Sammi Yu Tang is an associate professor of management. Professor Tang’s research focuses on supply chain risk. Her research has been published in leading management journals including Production and Operations Management.

Rong Hai: Social
Rong Hai is an assistant professor of economics. Rong Hai’s research focuses on inequality and labor economics. Her research has been published in leading economics journals including the Journal of Monetary Economics and Economic Journal.

Daniel Hicks: Sustainability
Daniel Hicks is an economics professor, professional journalist, former network tv news producer, management consultant & talent coach. While covering Hollywood and West Coast business news in 2004, he created CNBC's first-and-only, multiyear corporate sustainability series sponsored by Japanese carmaker Toyota Motors, oil giant British Petroleum and General Electric.

Alok Kumar: Environment
Alok Kumar is the Gabelli Asset Management Professor of Finance and Chair of the finance department. Recently, Professor Kumar’s research has investigated the risk premium for low climate beta stocks and the effect of weather on stock performance. Research by Professor Kumar has appeared in leading finance journals including the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Financial Economics, and the Journal of Finance.

Claudia Townsend: Social 
Claudia Townsend is an associate professor of marketing. Her research focuses on visual presentation and how to nudge prosocial behavior. Her research has been published in leading marketing journals. She is an associate editor for the Journal of Marketing, and on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Consumer Research and the Journal of Marketing Research. She teaches Sustainable Marketing among other courses.

Fabrizio Ferri: Governance
Associate Professor Fabrizio Ferri’s research focuses on corporate governance issues, with particular emphasis on shareholder activism and executive compensation, and has been published in leading accounting, finance, and law journals, including the Journal of Accounting Research and the Journal of Financial Economics.

Renato Molina: Environment
Renato Molina is an engineer and economist specializing in environmental and resource economics. His work focuses on topics at the intersection between game theory, sustainability, and institutional settings. His current research explores the role of property rights in the economic impact of natural disasters, the use of conservation for strategies to control for competitive incentives in the commons, and how global trade is affected by criminal activities in the ocean.

Claudio Rizzi: Environment
Claudio Rizzi is a doctoral student in Finance. His research focuses on the interdisciplinary connection between environmental sustainability, climate change, and finance. His current research explores the importance of nature for local economies and the firm's dependency on nature.