The Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) was funded as an ESRC funded interdisciplinary research centre between October 2001 and January 2013.
It initially drew together academics from Cardiff University's Schools of Business, Law and City & Regional Planning (now Geography & Planning) and was later strengthened by contributions from colleagues, particularly from the Schools of Psychology and Social Science.
In its period of just over eleven years of ESRC funding, BRASS maintained an exceptionally high level of productivity. Its outputs included more than:
- and well over 500 conference papers, the majority presented at international conferences.
BRASS researchers also consistently sought to develop an 'engaged scholarship' approach, frequently working in partnership with research users from the worlds of business practice and public policy.
Over its 11 years BRASS generated around 90 reports to research users, and BRASS Researchers have been strongly engaged with users through secondments, training, joint events, expert advisory roles, direct involvement in areas like the drafting of legislation, and conducting evaluations of particular practical initiatives.
BRASS organised three major international conferences, the Greening of Industry Network Conference in 2006 (representing its UK debut), the first International Ecological Footprinting Conference in 2007, and the 2012 Interpretive Policy Conference.
BRASS also helped to deliver a range of practitioner workshops, conferences and events including the first international conference on CSR for the food industry, a seminar on risk and regulation for the food industry, and a major mining industry event. It also made a significant contribution to the emerging notion of 'Sustainability Science' much of which is captured in the ground-breaking 2012 book on social science methods for sustainability research entirely based on BRASS projects.
The research agenda that BRASS pursued evolved gradually over the 11 years of its existence as an ESRC Centre, and by the end it had coalesced around ten key project areas, with each of these having multiple substantive projects within them:
1. Towards Sustainable Mobility:
- Sustainable Automotive Technologies
- Sustainable Consumption of Automobility
- Micro-Factory Retailing
- The Automotive Industry, Past, Present and Future
2. Sustainable Food Systems:
- Alternative Food Systems and Local Economies
- Food Supply in the 21st Century: The New Dynamic
- Technological Transformations in Food Consumption and Production Systems
- Accounting for Taste
- Towards Sustainable School Meals
- Bioeconomy and Ecoeconomy
3. Sustainable Technologies and Responsible Innovation:
- Sustainable Technologies and Responsible Innovation
- Nanotechnology Risks
- Nanotechnology Regulation
- Energy Technologies and Energy Futures
4. Environmental Protection & Justice:
- Waste Surveys and Management
- Land Impacts
- Biosecurity and the Regulation of Animal Health
- Access to Environmental Justice
- Environmental Regulation
- Extended Producer Responsibility Regulation
5. Sustainability Indicators & Impacts:
6. Work, Wellbeing and Welfare:
- Work and Wellbeing
- Sustainable Communities
- CSR and Human Rights
- Wellbeing and Young People
- Poverty, Risk & Vulnerability
7. Behaviour Change and Social Marketing:
8. Sustainable Business Models and Practices:
- Sustainable Business Models
- Management Learning and Thinking
- CSR, Governance and Greening
- Social Enterprise
- Fair Trade
- Sustainability Marketing
- Social and Environmental Reporting and Accounting
- Socially Responsible Investment
9. CSR & Accountability in Key Contexts:
- Resource Exploitation: Corporations and Communities
- Forestry Management
- Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
- CSR and the City
- CSR and Sustainability in Supply Chains