Studying sustainability

Taking a photo of used clothes with a smartphone.

School of Management faculty question theories and bring new perspectives to pressing challenges. Here are recent insights they’ve generated around eco-friendly business practices.

Researcher: Aditya Vedantam

His discovery: As fashion brands make more green claims, Vedantam’s study is the first to quantify the profitability and environmental impact of two popular resale strategies.

Why it matters: By 2023, the secondhand apparel market will exceed $50 billion in revenue, according to ThredUp.

Disaster shocks

Researcher: Feng (Jack) Jiang

His discovery: Personal experience with extreme weather affects how corporate directors perceive climate risk and, in turn, shapes the company’s sustainability policy.

Why it matters: Customers are demanding action from brands—and corporate boards play a critical role in setting those policies.

Researcher: Cristian Tiu

His discovery: When universities adopt responsible investing policies, endowment performance may be constrained, but donations go up, offsetting any negative performance.

Why it matters: Responsible investments do not inhibit endowment growth—and, in fact, increase a university’s value by fostering more research and attracting students.

Researchers: Vedantam, Nallan Suresh and Khadija Ajmal

Their discovery: The amount of U.S. plastic going to landfill is up 23.2% since China enacted its National Sword policy in 2017.

Why it matters: Plastics pollute our waterways—but with the creation of the New York State Center for Plastic Recycling Research and Innovation, UB is poised to be part of the solution.

Green accountability

Researcher: Richard Kraude

His discovery: Vertically integrated companies tend to produce less waste than other firms—with no corresponding decrease in carbon emissions, however.

Why it matters: Sustainability is a nuanced issue, and consumers must look beyond packaging and advertising to see how a company truly impacts the environment.