Climate & Sustainability

Why Climate & Sustainability Research

That the world is currently changing at an increasingly rapid pace, is a well known fact, also that it is driven by “mega trends” from deepening globalization, large scale population trends, accelerating technological progress, the “consumer,” the corporate social responsibility imperative and growing political uncertainty. These trends are creating a sense of urgency around focusing on both climate and sustainability, forcing companies to innovate and refine everything from their strategy, business models as well as their operating model.

Since 2007, the Global University Alliance members have researched, compared, analyzed and developed Best Practices, Industry Practices and LEADing Practices around climate and sustainability concepts. As can be seen in the attached post, we already in 2009, lead the engagement of covering changes that could happen when all the leaders of the world meet in the 2009 Sustainability Conference:

We in GUA have therefore been for the past decade active in researching and developing solutions that increase the sustainability of organizations. Our 2021 analysis, revealed that an astonishing 93 percent of global CEO’s surveyed believe that climate and sustainability is critical to the future success of their companies. Close to 90 percent of these organizations believe that climate and sustainability practices would be a key ingredient in helping them in the future to differentiate themselves in the market. But most of these executives added that concerns over an integrated climate and sustainability approach led them to difficulties of a longer term development and deployment. So while climate and sustainability is not a new subject anymore, but rather a mature subject, many organizations still struggle to implement the concepts across the organization.

Our analysis revealed that this is due to the complexity of the subject, and that they don’t know how they can incorporate climate and sustainability into their business model, link climate and sustainability to their strategy, develop the right performance measures and incorporate it into their operations. Many countries and organizations are struggling to identify with the “what”, “how” and “where” they can make a change.

Why combine Climate & Sustainability in a research

Climate change is a very contentious issue which is often discussed and debated by both politicians, scientists, conspiracy theorists and activists. They do this for different – and sometimes their own – reasons, and often they refer to a different meaning of the topic whenever they use the term. Science demonstrates that climate change is factual and indisputable. However, it can be difficult to prove how much of it can be attributed to human behavior specifically. As data moves outward from the scientists towards the general public, it is susceptible to being manipulated and corrupted to suit different motives.

Environmental sustainability refers directly to the effects of human actions on our environment. Human behavior can be recognized as a sustainable behavior or a non-sustainable behavior. With environmental sustainability, you can conduct impact studies and you can measure results directly. Unlike the scientific analysis of global climate change, where scientists encounter difficulties with bringing the results of their studies to the layman’s terms and level of understanding, environmental sustainability impact studies can be easily explained, verified and digested by the general public.

For many, a warming climatic system is expected to impact the availability of basic necessities like freshwater, food security, and energy, while efforts to redress climate change, both through adaptation and mitigation, will similarly inform and shape the global development agenda. The links between climate change and sustainable development are strong. Poor and developing countries, particularly least developed countries, will be among those most adversely affected and least able to cope with the anticipated shocks to their social, economic and natural systems.

The Climate & Sustainability Research Focus

Information and research is sought on topics related to the understanding and comparison of both climate and sustainability concepts, including, but not limited to:

  • What is climate control?
  • What is carbon footprint?
  • What is sustainability?
  • What does climate and sustainability include?
  • Which different climate and sustainability concepts exist?
  • Which carbon reduction concepts exist?
  • What are the most common climate and sustainability concepts, methods and approaches applied?
  • Compare various climate and sustainability concepts, methods and approaches.
  • Industry adaption of climate and sustainability concepts.
  • Ontology foundations of climate and sustainability concepts.
    • What common climate and sustainability class type objects exist?
    • Which common climate and sustainability stereotype, type and subtype objects exist?
    • What are the most common object descriptions?
    • How do these class type, stereotype, type and subtype objects relate together semantically?
    • Is there a pattern in the objects and relationships, from which a generic conceptual structure could be derived?
    • Can a climate and sustainability meta model be created?
  • Climate and sustainability Modeling and viewpoint considerations:
    • What are the typical climate and sustainability artifacts used?
    • Which challenges are being addressed by current climate and sustainability artifacts?
    • What challenges are not being addressed by current models?
    • Are there any underlying relationships between the climate and sustainability artifacts?
  • Climate & Sustainability Architecture considerations:
    • Typical climate and sustainability views in enterprise architecture, this includes:
      • Business Architecture Climate & Sustainability views.
      • Information Architecture Climate & Sustainability views.
      • Technology Architecture Climate & Sustainability views.
    • Typical Climate & Sustainability Layered Architecture views.
  • Climate & Sustainability Lifecycle considerations:
    • Could climate and sustainability be considered from a Lifecycle perspective?
    • What would the typical Climate & Sustainability Lifecycle phases be?
    • What would the Climate & Sustainability Lifecycle tasks/steps be within the phases?
    • Which roles would typically be involved in the Climate & Sustainability Lifecycle?
    • Could there be a continuous feedback loop built into the Climate & Sustainability Lifecycle?
  • Climate & Sustainability Maturity considerations:
    • Does a maturity concept fit to climate and sustainability?
    • What are the most common maturity areas that could fit to climate and sustainability?
  • Categorization considerations:
    • What are the most common categorization and classification used in climate and sustainability concepts?
    • Are there specific categorization schemes?
    • Are there specific classification schemes?
    • Are there specific climate and sustainability concept tagging types?
  • Patterns:
    • What works well around climate and sustainability (repeatable patters)?
      • What are the Climate & Sustainability Best Practices?
      • What are the various Climate & Sustainability Industry Practices?
      • What are the Climate & Sustainability Leading Practices (from the outperformers)?
    • What doesn’t work well around climate and sustainability (anti-patterns)?

Research Approach

When involving in such a complex industry research and analysis as defined in the research focus, this is where the Global University Alliance (GUA) has developed a unique collaborative process between academia and industry. As illustrated in figure 1, they do this through defining clear research themes, with detailed research questions, where they analyze and study patterns, and describe climate and sustainability concepts with their findings. This again can lead to additional research questions/themes as well as development of artifacts which can be used as reference content by both practitioners and industries alike.

Figure 1: Overview of the Academia Industry Research (AIR) loop.
Figure 1: Overview of the Academia Industry Research (AIR) loop.

The Academia – Industry process has two types of different cycles. The one where Academia is leading the research and innovation, this is called the Academia Industry Research (AIR) process. The other is where practitioners from Industry describe concepts and develop artifacts and thereby they bring about innovation. This process is called the Academia Industry Design (AID). In order to establish both rigor as well as relevance, both of these loops are important for the Enterprise Sustainability research focus.

Examples of Research Findings

What is climate control

The climate of any particular place is influenced by a host of interacting factors. These include latitude, elevation, nearby water, ocean currents, topography, vegetation, and prevailing winds. The global climate system and any changes that occur within it also influence local climate. Consider how each factor illustrated by the thumbnail images might control climate at your location.

  • LATITUDE: Surface temperatures vary with latitude.
  • ELEVATION: Climate zones coincide roughly with elevation ranges.
  • NEARBY WATER: Sea surface temperatures affect land temperatures.
  • OCEAN CURRENTS: Water temperatures indicate transfer of heat energy by currents.
  • TOPOGRAPHY: Local variations in elevation can cause local variations in climate.
  • VEGETATION: Type of ground cover and seasonal changes affect climate.
  • PREVAILING WINDS: Winds deliver air masses with specific properties.

What is carbon footprint?

A carbon footprint is historically defined as the total emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent. Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, can be emitted through land clearance and the production and consumption of food, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, transportation and other services. In most cases, the total carbon footprint cannot be exactly calculated because of inadequate knowledge of and data about the complex interactions between contributing processes, including the influence of natural processes that store or release carbon dioxide.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is the process of maintaining change in a balanced environment, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. For many in the field, sustainability is defined through the following interconnected domains or pillars: environment, economic and social which according to Fritjof Capra is based on the principles of Systems Thinking. Sub-domains of sustainable development have been considered also: cultural, technological and political. While sustainable development may be the organizing principle for sustainability for some, for others, the two terms are paradoxical (i.e. development is inherently unsustainable). Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Which different climate and sustainability concepts already exist?

  • Solar Energy: The greatest advantages of solar energy are that it is completely free and is available in limitless supply. Both of these factors provide a huge benefit to consumers and help reduce pollution. Replacing non-renewable energy with this type of energy is both environmentally and financially effective.
  • Wind Energy: Wind energy is another readily available energy source. Harnessing the power of wind energy necessitates the use of windmills; however, due to construction cost and finding a suitable location, this kind of energy is meant to service more than just the individual. Wind energy can supplement or even replace the cost of grid power, and therefore may be a good investment and remains a great example of sustainable development.
  • Crop Rotation: Crop rotation is defined as “the successive planting of different crops on the same land to improve soil fertility and help control insects and diseases.” This farming practice is beneficial in several ways, most notably because it is chemical-free. Crop rotation has been proven to maximize the growth potential of land, while also preventing disease and insects in the soil. Not only can this form of development benefit commercial farmers, but it can also aid those who garden at home.
  • Efficient Water Fixtures: Replacing current construction practices and supporting the installation of efficient shower heads, toilets and other water appliances can conserve one of Earth’s most precious resources: water. Examples of efficient fixtures include products from the EPA’s WaterSense program, as well as dual-flush and composting toilets. According to the EPA, it takes a lot of energy to produce and transport water and to process waste water, and since less than one percent of the Earth’s available water supply is fresh water, it is important that sustainable water use is employed at the individual and societal level.
  • Green Space: Green spaces include parks and other areas where plants and wildlife are encouraged to thrive. These spaces also offer the public great opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation, especially in dense, urban areas. According to the UW-Madison Department of Urban and Regional Planning, advantages of green spaces include, “helping regulate air quality and climate … reducing energy consumption by countering the warming effects of paved surfaces … recharging groundwater supplies and protecting lakes and streams from polluted runoff.” Research conducted in the U.K. by the University of Exeter Medical School also found that moving to a greener area could lead to significant and lasting improvements to an individual’s mental health.

Which carbon reduction concepts exist?

  • Carbon credit: A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas (tCO2e).
  • Carbon offset: A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere.
  • Carbon neutrality: Carbon neutrality, or climate neutrality or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal (often through carbon offsetting) or simply eliminating carbon emissions altogether (the transition to a “post-carbon economy”). It is used in the context of carbon dioxide-releasing processes associated with transportation, energy production, and industrial processes.

Carbon Reduction Lifecycle Overview

Carbon Reduction Lifecycle Overview
Figure 2: The Carbon Reduction Lifecycle Overview (6 Phases).

Carbon Reduction Lifecycle Overview

Carbon Reduction Lifecycle
Figure 3: The Carbon Reduction Lifecycle including its 6 phases, steps and activities.

Research Team

The climate and sustainability research contacts are:

Research Coordinator:
Prof. Mark von Rosing
Head of Global University Alliance

Research Coordinator:
Mona Christin
Global University Alliance, Sustainability Research Coordinator
Elsevier Sustainability Handbook, Program Manager

The team leaders involved in this work are among others the following academics, industry researchers and climate and sustainability thought leaders:

  • Most common Climate & Sustainability Stakeholder & Concerns, Maria Hove (industry researcher) – this includes Requirement Management
  • Most common climate forces identified, Gabriella Janina (industry researcher)
  • Most common climate drivers, strategies and goals identified, Georg Etzel (industry thought leader)
  • Most common climate and sustainability skills and capabilities applied, Jamie Caine (academic researcher)
  • Climate and sustainability measures and reporting (relations and rules), Dr. Simon Polovina (academic researcher)
  • Most common climate and sustainability methods and tools, Ulrik Foldager (industry researcher) – also the Project Leader of the Climate@E+ tool development
  • Most common carbon reduction initiatives, Linda Christensen (industry researcher)
  • Climate & Sustainability Ontology (meta objects), Prof. Wim Laurier (academic researcher)
  • Typical climate and sustainability information concepts, Prof. Hans Scheruhn (academic researcher)
  • Most common Climate & Sustainability Roles, Prof. Maxim Arzumanyan (academic researcher)
  • The impact of climate and sustainability investments in developing countries, Salihu Dasuki (academic researcher)
  • The Carbon Reduction Lifecycle, Mona Christin (academic and industry researcher)

As far as partners are involved, these are the collaboration partner contacts:

Enterprise Standards Body:
Georg Etzel
LEADing Practice, Co-CEO

International Organization for Standardization:
Johan H Bendz
ISO, SC 7, WG 42 Convener

IEEE Coordinator:
Rich Hilliard
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Editor of IEEE Std 1471:2000
Project editor, ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010

Software Standards Body:
Henk DeMan
OMG VDML Chairman

NATO Coordinators:
Johan Goossens
NATO Allied Command Transformation
Branch Head, Technology & Human Factors

UNESCO Coordinator:
Dr. Selin N. Şenocak
UNESCO Chair Holder
Cultural Diplomacy, Governance and Education
Director, Occidental Studies Applied Research Center
Political Sciences and International Relations Faculty Member

CSIR Coordinator:
Rentia Barnard
Research Institute CSIR
Enterprise Architect Research Group Leader

Information Security Standards Body:
Steve Durbin
CEO of Information Security Forum

Enterprise Architecture Framework:
John A. Zachman
Inventor and Father of Enterprise Architecture
Zachman International