Student projects class of 2019/2020
Here you can find an overview of all student projects, including the abstracts and presented posters.
In times where consumers are behaving unsustainable and are overwhelmed by advertisements, sustainable companies face not only the duty to solve wicked sustainability problems, since they can be made accountable for consumer’s unsustainable behaviour. They are involved in a fight of gaining legitimacy and marketing their green products within an unsustainable and highly competitive playing field. The effectiveness of Shock Advertisement within the context of sustainable entrepreneurship shall be tested by a quasi-experiment. The results seem to be promising and depict Shock Advertising to be a radical marketing tool in order to gain legitimacy by delegitimizing competing unsustainable and greenwashing companies.
To achieve the sustainable development Goals laid out by the United Nations, a funding gap of $ 2.5-3 trillion per year in required funding must be covered. Therefore, financial institutions such as commercial banks have a greater obligation to help bridge the funding gap. There also exists an increasing trend in the preference to invest in sustainability among millennial customers. However, there is a significant gap between the preference to the actual investments made, due to a perception of trade-off between the sustainable outcomes versus the financial outcomes. Therefore, in this regard a comparative case study investigates the strategies adopted by two Dutch commercial banks in translating sustainable investing into the financial industry. The study combines the theory of translation within the actor-network theory and theory on organisational logics. Results around the activities of translation have been contrasted and presented. The findings around the trade-off remains unclear.
Sustainable entrepreneurship distinguishes itself from conventional entrepreneurship by creating environmental and social value, in addition to economic value. To create a better understanding of what characterises individuals who become sustainable entrepreneurs, the effect of key perceptual variables is investigated in comparison to conventional entrepreneurs. Using a 2015 sample of 16.205 entrepreneurs from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, a binomial logistic regression is employed, making a distinction between sustainable entrepreneurs and conventional entrepreneurs. The results suggest that sustainable entrepreneurs have higher levels of opportunity recognition and self-efficacy. In practice, this contributes to policy that can stimulate the development of sustainable entrepreneurship.
The current context makes planning and investing in sustainable alternatives more and more of a moral, social and environmental obligation for the important firms of the Netherlands. These businesses are part of something bigger. The ecosystems in which they evolve are composed of multiple groups of stakeholders with specificities to identify and consider when making a decision as important as changing source of energy. This paper tries to think of energy transition in the Netherlands in an ecosystemic way. It wants to identify stakeholders and highlight the type of relationship that they have with the main industrial firms. Using the case of the Frisian firm Royal Koopmans, qualitative interviews and existing literature on the subject, this research attempts to come up with a clearer understanding of the current context as well as what can be expected and recommended to major industries to help them reach successfully their plans of energy transition.
Over the past years, people are becoming more concerned about social and environmental issues. Leaders in the financial services industry are promoting more energy-efficient practices and creating appropriate governance structures to appease shareholders and consumers. Banks integrate sustainability in their operations through innovative initiatives and offer specific products and services to customers and businesses to pursue environmental and social responsibility. These practices are defined by the term “Sustainable Banking”: the financial sector is moving towards sustainable operations, meaning that profit maximization is combined with social and environmental goals. This study outlines the role of the banking sector in incentivizing the private sector towards energy-efficient options, as exemplified by the construction industry. Banks are complex financial organizations but they can influence customers towards a sustainable energy transition.
Intangible Cultural Heritage And Tourism In Friesland: A Sustainable Future For Frisian Folklore Opportunities And Challenges For Sustainable Preservation Of Intangible Cultural Heritage And Tourism In Friesland.
This thesis explores opportunities and challenges faced by intangible cultural heritage communities in Friesland-Netherlands, when it comes to managing sustainable preservation and cultural tourism. The relevance of this qualitative research lies in exploring strategies to sustainably combine tourism, as a pressing sustainability issue, and heritage preservation in four distinctive Frisian intangible heritage communities. Utilising semi-structured interviewing, this research draws on developing research in the field of intangible cultural heritage protection and tourism by UNESCO and the Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage, defined as ‘sustainable safeguarding’. The biggest challenge appears finding ways to enthuse young community members and ensuring enough public and financial support to keep intangible heritage lively and interesting. Consequently, opportunities present themselves in modern technologies, experience creation and collaboration with local entrepreneurs, authorities and cultural institutions. Recommendations are founded on a basis of equity, encouraging further in-depth research into specific opportunity exploration for each individual heritage community.
Although sustainable fashion companies aiming to disrupt their industry exist, consumers still fail to make sustainable fashion choices. Yet, for these companies’ vision to succeed, they need sufficient consumer support – else, the overarching fashion industry has little incentive to implement more sustainable practices in the future. Therefore, the question arises which barriers sustainable fashion companies face when trying to influence consumers towards sustainable consumption – and how they try to overcome these barriers? To answer these questions, this study draws on the experience of six sustainable fashion companies located in Europe with semi-structured interviews. Overall, sustainable fashion companies still lack the necessary resources to influence a wide range of unconscious consumers. Nevertheless, sustainable fashion companies contribute to a behavioral change in consumers who are partially aware already. Eventually, the question remains how effective sustainable fashion companies’ actions are in making the fashion industry and consumers’ choices environmentally friendly in the long-term.
Our planet faces serious economic, social, and environmental challenges. Businesses recognize that environmental benefits can go hand in hand with achieving economic gains. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework to adapt a company's business practices to the world's most pressing challenges for sustainable development. Relationships between the SDGs can be interdependent, and reaching one SDG can contribute to another, but the relationship may not be applicable vice versa. The purpose of this qualitative research was to find out how companies deal with the co-benefits and trade-offs between SDGs in their strategic decision-making process. In this single case study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with employees from Evonik Industries, a chemical company from Germany. The results indicated that companies still struggle to implement the SDGs in their strategies. A company can counteract this problem by developing an innovative method to integrate the SDGs into their business practices, thus playing a pioneering role for other companies towards implementing the SDGs.
The hazardous impact of the fashion industry on the planet has become increasingly alarming. Mounting pressure to do something about it has led to an increasing body of traditional fashion firms to engage in greenwashing to burnish their image. In turn, this has created a need for sustainable enterprises to measure and demonstrate the environmental performance. So far, scholars have identified seven general challenges that occur during performance measurement which are only applicable to incumbents. Given that sustainable enterprises are fundamentally different to large traditional companies, the known challenges are not applicable to sustainable enterprises. To date, research has merely addressed the measurement challenges from the perspective of sustainable enterprises. Using a qualitative approach, this paper outlines the challenges from the perspective of B-Corp certified sustainable enterprises. Findings reveal that environmental performance measurement is a multi-level construct with micro-, meso- and macrolevel challenges occurring which are overarched by inertia.
We still have a long road to global sustainability before us, as nations struggle to implement sufficient measures on a large scale. Climate governance is undergoing a shift from a centralised approach towards a multi-level governance approach. This approach offers more flexibility to deal with a heterogeneous policy environment and implement policy that matches local preferences. The perception of regulatory costs with respect to raising public support is investigated in a multi-level governance setting. A qualitative research using semi-structured interviews is performed in a case study of the Regional Energy Strategy in Friesland, a multi-level climate governance arrangement currently in the making. From this research it is concluded that perceived costs of raising public support are high, leading to high uncertainty and retention of the status quo in the policymaking process.
Rapid urbanization caused important economic, social and demographic transformations. Therefore, smart cities are emerging all around Europe, claiming to be the future of urban areas strategies. Due to a lack of agreed definition, this study identifies smart city or region’s characteristics and emphasizes the importance of digitalization in waste management processes. A case study will be used to understand organizations’ main challenges and key success factors and create a guideline for waste management actors willing to shift towards smart processes. In collaboration with a Dutch waste management company, the aim is to draw recommendations for any waste organization and guide the mentioned company in its willingness to develop a Smart Region initiative. The findings depict the motivations and smart objectives of the actors and insist on the importance of collaboration along with digital tools and processes, to achieve their goals. The benefits and limits of digital transformation are also discussed.
Education is crucial to achieving sustainable development, but providing knowledge alone is not enough. Through education, individuals can be engaged with sustainability related-issues and can become sustainability change-makers. This thesis considers the approach of Spark the Movement, in a qualitative single case study. The effects on students, participating in a project of NHL Stenden, are discussed in line with the theory of planned behaviour and literature on Education for Sustainable Development. Taking into account the effects on students’ attitude, perceived behavioural control and subjective norm, the education strategy offers potential to influence students’ behaviour, but improvements can be made.
Supply chain disruptions and unforeseen risks can arise at any time due to economic tensions or environmental challenges, such as the current COVID-19 crisis. This case study aims to reveal the interaction of the COVID-19 pandemic with sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) activities and demonstrates that a SSCM approach puts businesses in a better position in times of disruptions. In this qualitative research, thirteen sustainable entrepreneurs were interviewed in order to better understand their position and explore the benefits of SSCM for dealing with COVID-19, the benefits of COVID-19 for SSCM, and the challenges sustainable entrepreneurs of start-ups and SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) experience in these times.
The Dutch Construction Industry is currently facing challenges over its massive waste produced from their manufacturing process. The Dutch Climate Agreement also fosters the industry to serve the increasing demand for sustainable building material to achieve the energy transition. Hence, the construction industry in the Netherlands is exploring alternative means to address such sustainability challenges. By learning from the automotive and manufacturing industry, implementing Industry 4.0 can be an opportunity for the Dutch construction industry to become more sustainable. This thesis aims to conduct an explorative study on the implementation of Industry 4.0 in the Dutch Construction Industry to improve sustainability performance. To successfully implement Industry 4.0, the result suggested the industry to make a holistic change across business functions to ensure the balance between humans, characteristics of an organization, and new technology.
Circular economy is an important tool in the effort to reduce the impact of humanity on the environment, which involves designing business models and products that aim to keep materials in circulation. There are many different kinds of innovative business models that try to create as much circularity in products as possible, with some opting to try and increase product life spans and others attempting to close resource loops entirely so that no materials go to waste. For circularity to further develop, circular business models need to be analysed to understand how companies can harness the potential of circularity and manage the challenges. This research project accomplishes this by using a qualitative approach to compare and contrast businesses that represent the major business models in the circular fashion industry across Europe and North America. Representatives from companies that operate within circular business models were University of Groningen Campus Fryslan interviewed and results helped to better understand the unique challenges that each type of circular business model has as well as make recommendations on how to address them. Major findings include the role of third party collaborators in outsourcing parts of the circular model, the role of pricing incentives and the emerging effects of COVID-19 on the industry as a whole.
By discussing the partnership between Plastic Energy, Sabic, and Unilever, this research analyzes how product stewardship increases the value of waste and circularity of the plastic industry. An abductive approach is followed, by using interviews as a method of qualitative data collection to link theory to practice. This research shows theoretical relevance by: firstly, arguing that the waste hierarchy is outdated and chemical recycling must be added to the scheme; secondly, it shows that, although pre-cycling is a valid addition to a circular economy, product stewardship is an even more determinant factor in allowing for circularity and its addition to circular economy theory is necessary. As for practical relevance, the results illustrate to industry professionals that there is a solution to the plastic pollution problem, and that engaging with product stewardship and sustainability increases value for the business and its stakeholders.
The following research aims to understand why a sustainable method of construction such as building biology is not as popular in the Netherlands as it is in Germany. The study conducted is a comparative study based on the Dutch construction sector, through the consultation of experts, and the German construction sector with specific regards to building biology and its popularity. Through qualitative research (semi-structured interviews), the study demonstrates relevant beliefs and attitudes existing in the Dutch system towards building biology and the implementation of the latter as a way to have a more sustainable and healthier environment in the Dutch territory.
Nowadays companies are requested to take a pledge in favour of sustainability and integrate sustainable practices inside their strategies. Doing so is influenced by the organizational culture and structure of the company. This research aims to shed light on the fit between the agile way of working’s culture and structure, and sustainability implementation. The study has been conducted with a qualitative approach, using as an intrinsic case study ING bank. Through semi-interviews and archival documents’ analysis, the research finds support for already-existing theory, which suggested a positive interaction between the two concepts. However, the question of whether agile influences sustainability on an individual level and not a company level, is individuated for further research.
This research has investigated how storytelling on the web-shop of a sustainable second-hand store functions as a legitimization strategy. It has done so by interviewing six high-positioned actors of second-hand stores that have sustainable value creation at their chore and have a webshop. This research has added to the body of literature on legitimacy and more specifically cultural entrepreneurship, which holds that entrepreneurs can actively gain and maintain legitimacy. One way to do so is through storytelling. It was found that the webshop is not used as a site for storytelling the mission of the store but is rather a stage for specific products that tell a story of trendy, adventurous shopping. This attracts a customer segment to the store that conventionally does not shop there. Thus, this research concludes that to a certain extent second-hand stores engage in storytelling through their web-shop to legitimize themselves to a particular audience.
Currently consumers do not separate their waste carefully, causing a loss of valuable materials. It is unclear what causes this behaviour, despite many researchers having attempted to tackle this issue. This exploratory research tries to fill this gap by determining what can be a potential explanation of current waste separation behaviour by consumers. This qualitative study consisting of interviews with 9 experts from different fields provides a base for further research on this topic. Communication was found to be a new additional variable to current consumer behaviour models important in determining the explanation of waste separation behaviour. Therefore, nudging was recommended as a possible solution. However, further research is necessary to determine causal relationships between the variables.
The scale of plastics pollution on the island of Terschelling resulted in the ‘plastics free Terschelling project’ – hoping to cut all plastic use on the island by 2025. The covid-19 crisis may well have curtailed the plans for plastic reduction in the tourism industry, as the catering businesses have been forced to turn to a takeaway model. However, it may also be argued that a much-needed break for tourism has been enforced. As the businesses on Terschelling ask what the future of their industry and island will look like ‘post-covid-19’, this project seeks to explore how a Living Lab could address the core sustainability issues of the island. Results from expert interviews suggest that a Living Lab is ideally positioned to tackle some of the issues stakeholders may have concerning sustainability, including single-use plastic reduction. The pandemic in fact presents an opportunity for a more sustainable future of hospitality on Terschelling.
This article analyzes the relationship between firms’ environmental behavior (i.e. environmental performance and environmental disclosure) and their level of access to capital. Here, environmental behavior was specifically isolated from financial, or economic performance and access to capital was measured by the KZ-index. This article also examines the interaction effect of financial performance on the relationship between environmental behavior and access to capital. An international panel data sample of 14,536 firm-year observations for the period of 2006-2016 was analyzed. The empirical evidence suggests that the two types of environmental behavior influence access to capital, but in different ways. Environmental performance only moderates the positive effect that financial performance has on access to capital, whereas environmental disclosure positively influences access to capital on itself, and through interacting with financial performance. These findings highlight the distinction between performance and disclosure, and the importance of environmental disclosure for a firm’s financial position.
A rising sustainability awareness, increases the pressure on companies to shift towards more sustainable business practices in order to remain an attractive employer. However, many companies have to limit the employee’s agency due to a necessary level of compliance. Thus, people begin to autonomically alter the boundaries of their daily jobs to implement sustainable values. If this process remains unaligned with the company’s higher mission, it can lead to a discrepancy between the employee and the employer, hemming the overall performance. In a qualitative single case study, at a bank in the Netherlands, this study assesses how both parties can induce opportunities to co-create a shift towards sustainability. The results suggest that an impactful shift can be created if the concepts of job crafting (bottomup) and sustainable intrapreneurship (top-down) are implemented simultaneously. Based on the novel merging of the previously unrelated concepts, recommendations for practice and future research are proposed.
Climate change affects many areas of life, including the ability to accurately produce food. Therefore, more sustainable food systems are increasingly emphasized nowadays. Nonetheless, most consumers buy food in conventional food systems. This paper investigates behaviour in local food systems by combining the theory of planned behaviour with moral norms and the social practices approach to account for rigidity in behaviour. To do so, this paper applies two-step structural equation modelling. Results indicate that perceived behavioural control and moral norms influence the intention to buy local food positively. Results also provide evidence for the impeding effect of habits on attitudes. Further, a novel, detailed conceptualisation of intention is offered.
Van der Kaap
The current linear economy needs to change in order to allow future generations to meet their needs. A sustainable alternative to the linear economy is the circular economy. One way to accelerate the circular economy is by implementing circularity into the procurement activities of public organizations. However, this could cause some challenges. Therefore, this thesis aims to identify the relating challenges municipalities in Friesland face in order to let the engineering and consultancy firm Royal HaskoningDHV better advise those municipalities in the future. Results from semi-structured interviews among stakeholders working at Frisian municipalities indicate divergent challenges, ranging from challenges relating to collaboration to a lack of vision and ambition. This thesis comes with five recommendations, like the sharing of best practices in order to create enthusiasm. Future research could build on this by also including other stakeholders, like market players to get a more comprehensive overview of the challenges.
|Last modified:||14 September 2020 09.30 a.m.|