business and clean
growth research

Low-carbon, sustainable and pro-environmental business is particularly important to our region and has seen significant and steady growth over the last decade.

In 2017, the UK government launched its Clean Growth Strategy. This sets out 50 key policy proposals that aim to meet legislated carbon budgets (restrictions on the amount of greenhouse gases the UK can emit) and respond to the climate emergency.

Both small and large businesses have a central role to play in the nation’s response to our environmental challenges. Indeed, low-carbon, sustainable and pro-environmental business is particularly important to our region and has seen significant and steady growth over the last decade.

Sustainable Business Research Cluster

Our Sustainable Business Research Cluster has developed a strong track record of researching how low-carbon and pro-environmental business responds to the clean growth agenda. In addition to helping dozens of local pro-environmental firms find opportunity in the green economy through our EU funded business support programme (DE-Carbonise) and the Low Carbon Business Network, our applied research has informed regional policy and business support projects across the country.

Sustainable Futures Research Exchange    

As part of our commitment to the 'Decade of Action' to address global warming and support environmental regeneration, the Sustainable Business and Clean Growth research cluster regularly host seminars on the broad themes of Sustainable Business and Sustainable Futures.  These seminars aim to share cutting-edge and empirically sound insight into the roles that business, law, social science and policy play in accelerating the shift to a ‘Net Zero’ and an abundant future.    

Find out more about the Sustainable Futures Research Exchange seminars

Business innovation projects

Our team are actively involved in leading and contributing to a host of funded research and business development projects. Our wealth of expertise can help your organisation with a range of support, from low-carbon strategies to sustainable operations improvement.

The D2EE Low Carbon Project

Between 2017-2019, our team secured funding from the European Regional Development Fund and formed a partnership with the University's Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE), Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council. This partnership delivered business support to pro-environmental SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in the D2N2 (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire) Local Enterprise Partnership.

We provided tailored support to 33 SMEs via workshops and one-to-one tailored support on:

DE-Carbonise Project

DE-Carbonise is a follow-on to the Low Carbon Project. Eligible businesses receive a full needs analysis and emissions-reduction assessment before accessing support for energy and resource efficiency (grants), product development or business development. The Business School strand of DE-Carbonise aims to help local SMEs to develop new pro-environmental capabilities. These will improve both business and environmental performance by de-carbonising production and supply-chain activity.

Find more information on our DE-Carbonise Project page

Video: Leading the shift to a low-carbon economy

Dr Fred Paterson Low Carbon Business Network

View Low Carbon Business Network video transcript

The Low Carbon Business Network

Our team created the Low Carbon Business Network in 2017, which was originally funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund). The network now supports more than 150 local businesses that supply low-carbon and environmental goods and services. It does this by accelerating the adoption of eco-friendly, low-carbon, green products and services in key supply chains. The network connects SMEs and increases their visibility across the region among larger companies, helping them to grow their business.

Low Carbon Business Network Pitch Green event

The net-zero pathway for SMEs

We have designed this resource with smaller business in mind, to help demystify the steps needed to become a sustainable business. The pathway provides links to support, resources and funding that will help your business get on the pathway to net-zero by reducing emissions, regenerating the environment, and winning new business - as we all move towards a cleaner, greener and sustainable future.

Find out more about the net-zero pathway for SMEs

Knowledge exchange and consultancy

We are keen to partner with organisations who are interested in de-carbonising their operations, developing sustainable supply chains or realising pro-environmental value through their products and services. We can:

For more information, email

Research-informed policy

Our team has conducted a number of research projects that have influenced regional policy development:

Buildings and wind turbines

Strategies to support a greener economy

With the low-carbon economy critical to UK business growth, our researchers have pioneered effective strategies to support more firms to incorporate green practices into their operations.

Read about our research impactRead about our research impact

Change and civic leadership

We also support pro-environmental innovation across sectors with:

Our expertise

Our team of researchers work with academic colleagues across the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences, the wider University and experts from other institutions. We also collaborate with external stakeholders, such as SMEs, corporate companies, local councils, industry and professional bodies. This ensures our research reflects the increasing importance of pro-environmental business and informs new business practice and policy developments at local, regional and national levels. Our academic team has expertise in:

Dr Fred Paterson at a conference

Our sustainable business researchers

Our researchers in the field of sustainable business and clean growth have a wide range of expertise.

Meet our sustainable business researchersMeet our sustainable business researchers

Doctoral students

We welcome approaches from prospective research students in the broad areas of:

To discuss your ideas, email Dr Fred Paterson on

Contact us

Find out more about how we can help you and your business share knowledge, innovate or conduct research on low-carbon issues.

Contact Dr Fred Paterson
T: +44(0)1332 592363