Ethics, responsibility and sustainability
With a spirit of innovation, Curtin infuses outstanding research with industry, business and government partnerships. We push the limits of understanding, solving problems for industry and society, and inspiring local, national and global communities.
Programs of Research
All research programs within the Faculty of Business and Law are underpinned by ethics, responsibility and sustainability, and align to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
ERS Research Industry Collaborations
Collaboration with industry partners and government agencies is essential to catalyse conversations about Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability. Notable ERS partnerships include:
- Volunteering WA (Professor Kirsten Holmes)
- Workplace Gender Equality Agency (projects with Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre)
- Shelter WA (Professor Steven Rowley and Dr Amity James)
- Amana Living Aged Care (Dr Graham Ferguson)
- Argyle Diamond Mine (Professor Helen Cabalu)
ERS Research Institutes, Centres and Clusters
The Faculty of Business and Law undertakes high impact research through various research entities which supports the achievement of a number of Sustainable Development Goals.
- Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI)
- Centre for Research in Applied Economics (CRAE)
- Curtin University Oil and Gas Innovation Centre (CUOGIC)
- The Centre for Transformational Work Design (CTWD)
- Health Economics Cluster
- John Curtin Institute of Public Policy (JCIPP)
- Tourism Research Cluster (TRC)
- Women in Social and Economics Research Cluster (WiSER)
Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre
The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre is an independent economic and social research organisation, which focuses on key economic and social issues that contribute to the wellbeing of West Australian families, businesses and communities.
BCEC releases a number of high-quality research reports each year, which are designed to influence economic and social policy debates within government, regional and national media, and the wider Australian community. Marquee report launches attract a large number of attendees from business, government, the not-for-profit sector, academia and the media.
Future of Work Institute
The Future of Work Institute (FoWI) promotes productive and meaningful work as essential foundations of a healthy economy and society. FoWI’s researchers focus on how people contribute to and benefit from new knowledge and practices, and their mission is to support thriving people and organisations in the digital age.
Thrive at Work, a wellbeing initiative centred on designing work that helps organisations to go beyond wellness in the workplace, to thriving. Thrive is founded on research that conclusively shows that if we’re happy at work and with our work, we’re happier and healthier in all domains of our lives. The initiative, led by the Centre for Transformative Work Design (part of FOWI), is supported with funding from the WA Mental Health Commission and other external sources. It aims to provide evidence-based tools and resources to help workplaces promote positive mental health among employees and supports SDGs 3, Good Health and Wellbeing and 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth.
The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE)
NCSEHE is a research and policy centre funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment, and based at Curtin University.
The NCSEHE provides national leadership in student equity in higher education, connecting research, policy and practice to improve higher education participation and success for marginalised and disadvantaged people.
The Centre plays a central role in producing, collating and disseminating research and recommendations to stakeholders — from policymakers and practitioners, to students and the general public.
The Centre’s diverse activities focus on strengthening Australia’s research quality, capability and capacity to build a robust evidence base; and informing evidence-based policy design and implementation, and institutional best practice.
ERS Research spotlight
Some of the high impact research being undertaken by our academics is highlighted below:
In 2020 we challenged all higher degree research students in the business discipline to tell us how their research matches the SDGs in our “PRME Pitch Challenge”.
The Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) is a UN accreditation that all Western Australian Business Schools have. The PRME mission is to realise the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through responsible management education.
Students were invited to submit a 1000-word extended abstract that also discussed how their research addressed the SDGs and the implications of their research in relation to the SDGs.
14 submissions were received (6 from Curtin, 5 from ECU, 2 UWA, 1 Murdoch). The winning submission was a UWA student’s study which investigates “Linking land, livelihoods, food and nutrition security in rural India: How to achieve the second SDG?”.
The winning submission will have fully funded registration at the ANZAM conference.
For more information contact: Robyn Ouschan, Curtin University by emailing Robyn.Ouschan@cbs.curtin.edu.au
Creating and sustaining a strong future for volunteering in Australia
- Professor Kirsten Holmes – School of Marketing
- Professor Debbie Haski-Leventhal, Macquarie University
- Associate Professor Leonie Lockstone-Binney, Griffith University
- Professor Lucas Meijs, Erasmus University
- Professor Melanie Oppenheimer, Flinders University
- Student – (now Dr) Christel Mex, Flinders University
This project sought to answer the question of how to increase social participation by converting non-volunteers to the benefits of volunteering. In Australia today, communities and governments are increasingly dependent on volunteers to build social capital and deliver an increasing range of services.
This project created new theory by examining three levels of analysis: the micro level of the individual volunteer or non-volunteer; the mezzo level of the volunteer-involving organisation; and the macro level of society. This innovative approach developed two tools to help volunteer-involving organisations. The first tool – the convertibility tool – calculated an individual’s likelihood of volunteering. The second tool – the recruitability tool – assessed a volunteer-involving organisation’s recruitment and retention strategy and provided resources for reorienting that strategy. Both tools are freely available online. The tools were disseminated through workshops with end-users and through state volunteering peak body websites.
Volunteering underpins many of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 11, in strengthening communities. However, globally and within Australia volunteers are essential in providing health services (Goal 3), education (Goal 4), supporting democracy (Goal 16), and increasingly in drawing attention to the need for climate action (Goal 13).
Global Production Networks and Worker Representation in Myanmar
- Associate Professor Htwe Htwe Thein – School of Management
This project will generate important new knowledge about Myanmar’s growing integration into global value chains (otherwise known as ‘global production networks’) and the impact of this on employment relations and the well-being of workers. Project findings will provide a strong evidence base for government policies and socially responsible business practices that promote sustainable and equitable economic development in this rapidly evolving nation.
This Australian Research Council-funded project is the first major study of its kind and aims to:
- Assess the impact of Global Production Networks on worker voice and representation in Myanmar’s garment manufacturing sector
- Consider the relationship between industry development and labour standards
- Explore the implications of the Myanmar case for our understanding of worker well-being in late-industrialising countries
- Consider the influence of international organisations and corporate social responsibility initiatives
We plan to gather this information by interviewing representatives of a broad range of stakeholders, including government, worker and employer associations, civil society organisations, international clothing brands/buyers, suppliers and the International Labour Organization. The managerial relevance and policy impact of the research will be supported by stakeholder engagement workshops and other outreach activities to communicate and discuss the key findings.
Traditional Owner and Neighbouring Community Readiness Assessment for Mine Closure: The Case of Argyle Diamond Mine (Research Project)
- Professor Helen Cabalu – School of Economics, Finance & Property
- Dr Amma Buckley – School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry, Faculty of Humanities
- Professor Michael Dockery – Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre
Although the Argyle Diamond Mine is the largest diamond producer in the world by volume, due to the low proportion of gem-quality diamonds it is set to close. Mine closure and the impact of payments cessation on seven Traditional Owner (TO) family groups and five neighbouring communities is not clearly understood.
The overall aim of the study is to identify these knowledge gaps to enable Argyle and the Gelganyem Trust to develop more targeted intervention and mitigation strategies to be included into the closure planning process. The study also addresses key concerns regarding the TO families’ and communities’ reliance on Argyle, including:
- To understand and analyse the range of impacts relevant to both TOs and communities across the issues of income, mobility, skills, and alternative work options with mine closure and payments cessation;
- To ascertain the extent of preparedness for mine closure by TOs and communities and explore options for income and employment generation in order to sustain their communities into the future; and
- To investigate indirect impacts to TOs and communities from closure beyond mining payments cessation.
Argyle pays benefits to TOs and neighbouring communities. With mine closure, these benefits will cease. TOs and communities may not be adequately prepared for the direct and indirect impacts of the forthcoming mine closure. The degree of awareness and preparedness of TOs and neighbouring communities of the implications of the mine closure is variable and inconsistent. This study is expected to have a positive impact by identifying economic drivers and opportunities that could potentially provide pathways (and generate community-based jobs) to communities’ and families’ sustainable future.
- Prof Fran Ackermann (School of Management, Faculty of Business and Law)
- Prof Euan Harvey (Molecular and Life Sciences, Science and Engineering)
- Ms Georgie Hill (School of Management, Faculty of Business and Law)
- The University of Western Australia
- Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
- Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI)
- Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)
- Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC)
This research project aims to understand the social and economic value accrued through man-made marine infrastructure.
The project is stimulated by the impending decommissioning of Oil and Gas infrastructure and building on the growing interest of ‘rigs to reefs’ and a concern for the health of the marine environment.
There is a need to deliver critical information on: 1) the ecological, economic and social value of man-made structures to recreational and commercial fishers and other stakeholders; 2) the attitudes of stakeholders to man-made structures; and 3) the opportunities and risks of decommissioning strategies to fishers and other groups (e.g. tourism).
Policy regarding the removal of decommissioned structures will benefit from the increased clarity that this project will provide in regards to data requirements for socio-economic models and stakeholder consultation methods. Comparative assessments of decommissioning options rely on the existence of appropriate socio-economic data, a knowledge gap this project aims to fill.
An understanding of the impact of man-made aquatic structures on recreational and commercial fisheries is a global priority, and as such this project has strong international importance and relevance.
Vulnerable Consumer Research – Revealing the lived experience of consumers
- Dr Graham Ferguson – School of Marketing
The purpose of Your Voice Research is to reveal the priorities and needs of underserved consumers in Australia. Many consumer’s needs are stereotyped, and some suffer from being considered a burden, despite each individual having a unique set of needs that reveal possibilities for improved wellbeing, better living conditions and new contributions. Mapping those needs and understanding what drives consumers reveals what really matters to them, and helps identify how to better deliver against their needs. The Your Voice Research team works with industry, government and research partners to reveal the stories of often overlooked consumers, bring their needs to the forefront and change services based on these needs. The aim of the research is to enhance wellbeing of consumers while removing stereotypes and help underserved Australians lead better lives.
A data collection team of three and research team of three are currently undertaking four demand-driven projects in the aging consumer services and disabled consumer services space.