Dr Helen Borland


Work & Organisational Psychology Department

Dr Helen Borland

Dr Helen Borland is senior lecturer in business sustainability at Aston Business School, Aston University, UK, where she is responsible for teaching strategic business sustainability to MBA, MSc, and PhD students. Helen’s research and teaching stem from her knowledge of the ecological sciences and philosophy behind sustainability and how these can be taught and researched in a business context. Her development of a unique strategic typology for business sustainability is gaining attention in a number of academic and commercial circles. 

Helen has published in a variety of academic journals, including Journal of Business Ethics, International Marketing Review, Thunderbird International Business Review and European Journal of Marketing. She also speaks about business sustainability at public events, writes articles and book chapters for the popular press, and works on a number of consultancy and grant-awarded projects, including an EU Climate Change Leadership project.

Position: Senior Lecturer in Business Sustainability
Phone: +44(0)121 204 3266
Email: h.m.borland@aston.ac.uk
Room: SW722

Popular Press

  • Borland, H. (29th March 2012) The Alternative Budget Birmingham Post. 
  •  Ph D, Cranfield University, 1992. Subject: Marketing (Distinction) 
  •  BSc, University of Plymouth, 1986. Subject: Environmental Sciences (2i)


  • Senior Lecturer (Business Sustainability), Aston Business School. (January 2011 - Present)
  • Lecturer (Marketing), Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. (2003 - 2011)
  • Lecturer (Marketing), Cranfield University. (1999 - 2003)                                                 

Other professional appointments
  • Programme Director - MSc Marketing (2004 - 2009) Birmingham Business School
  • Programme Director - MSc Marketing (1999 - 2003) Cranfield University.

(As programme director I have a combined 9 years directorship experience at both Birmingham and Cranfield, where I led the programmes through major organisational restructuring, QAA, ESRC and EQUIS exercises. I have also been responsible for major growth and expansion of the programmes.)

  • Part of the 2016 and 2017 research and writing team contributing to DEFRA’s Resource Efficiency Roundtable meetings and reports for the UK Policy Unit for EU Exit, Strategy and Planning for Resource Efficiency and Waste Team | Environmental Quality (EQ).
  • Organised a Research Conference at Aston Business School (1st June 2016) – Business Strategies for Sustainability.
  • Goldman Sachs Small Businesses Executive Education Teaching (May and December 2012).
  • Invited Expert Speaker for Birmingham Friends of the Earth & Sustainability West Midlands, debate on the city of the future (March 2012).
  • Invited Speaker, Moseley Girl Scouts – part of their Global Conservation Badge (November, 2012).
  • PhD External Examiner, Judge Business School, Cambridge University (March 28, 2012).
  • Session Chair, British Academy of Management (BAM), Aston Business School, Birmingham, UK. (September 13-15, 2011).
  • University of Bath (May, 2011), Research Seminar, title: Theory Building Research in Sustainability and Strategic Management.
  • Aston Business School (2010), PRiME Responsible Management Education Conference, invited speaker.
  • Aston Business School (2010), International HRM Conference, plenary speaker.
  • External Examiner - Warwick Business School and Kingston Business School (2004–2010).
  • Track Co-Chair for Sustainability and Session Chair, 2009, Academy of Marketing Science Conference, Baltimore, USA.
  • Session Chair, Academy of Marketing Science (USA), Baltimore, USA, (May, 2009).

Previous Professional Experience

Prior to my academic career, I worked in both the fresh foods and hi-tech retail and distribution sectors in both the UK and the Far East, where I held international marketing management posts involving significant amounts of travel and large budgetary/income responsibilities.

I also have a wide range of consultancy, facilitation and corporate research experience for clients such as Unigate plc., Unipart plc., Barclays Bank, IBM-UK, Wincanton Distribution Services, Euromonitor plc., the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the FAO.

I teach Strategic Business Sustainability on the MBA Business, Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability module, and on the new MSc in Social Responsibility and Sustainability. I also teach Strategic Business Sustainability on some of the other MSc programmes in the Business School.

  • BHM328 Strategic Business Sustainability (MSc)
  • BHM359 Strategic Business Sustainability (Distance Learning)
  • BHM305 Business Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability (MBA)
  • BHM375 Business Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability (MBA Distance Learning)

My main research interests centre around my research into Strategic Business Sustainability which focuses on how firms can adopt an ecologically sustainable approach to their strategic decision-making, senior management and leadership activities. The approach is interdisciplinary and in particular integrates scientific, psychological, philosophical and strategic aspects of sustainability and works towards positive solutions and visions for a more ecologically sustainable human future. 

Current Research Interests

  • Corporate, competitive, business and marketing strategies for ecological sustainability        
  • Theoretical, philosophical, psychological and policy developments for business sustainability       
  • Educational and practical implementation of ecological sustainability        
  • A systems/scientific approach to sustainability        
  • Sustainability issues in leadership, strategy, management and marketing   

As part of a region-wide initiative, I won a research grant called ‘Climate Change Leadership’ (£47,000), which is part of a wider project called ‘Skills for Climate Change’ (£1.5 million), in conjunction with the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham City Council and part sponsored by the Environment Agency and European Social Fund (EU). This project is for three years duration (2009 – 2012) and aims to help improve the Midlands region’s corporate response to Climate Change and Sustainability, and particularly to embed it as a top management and leadership issue.

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • Member of the British Academy of Management.
  • Member of the Academy of Management.
  • Member of the International Association of Business in Society.
  • Member of the Aston Business School Social Responsibility and Sustainability Group.
  • Member of the Sustainable Aston Working Group.

Recent Journal Articles

Borland, H., Ambrosini, V., Lindgreen, A. and Vanhamme,J. (2016). Building theory at the intersection of ecological sustainability and strategic management. Journal of Business Ethics, 135(2), 293-307.

Borland, H., & Lindgreen, A. (2013).Sustainability, epistemology, ecocentric business and marketing strategy: ideology, reality and vision.Journal of Business Ethics,117(1), 173-187. DOI:10.1007/s10551-012-1519-8

Parkes, C., & Borland, H. (2012).Strategic HRM: transforming its responsibilities toward ecological sustainability - the greatest global challenge facing organizations.Thunderbird International Business Review,54(6), 811-824. DOI:10.1002/tie.21505

Borland, H., & Paliwoda, S. (2011).Marketing responsibility in an era of economic and climatic challenge.Marketing Intelligence and Planning,29(1), 49-62. DOI:10.1108/02634501111102742

Borland, H. (2009).Conceptualising global strategic sustainability and corporate transformational change.International Marketing Review,26(4-5), 554-572. DOI:10.1108/02651330910972039

  • Parkes, C., Borland, H., Nadisic, T. and Crawshaw, J. 2017. HRM and the Ethical Organisation, in Human Resource Management: Strategic and International Perspectives, Crawshaw, J., Budhwar, P. and Davis, A. (Eds.) 2nd Edition, Sage, p. 82-107. 
  • Borland, H. and Whyle, A. 2017. Ricoh UK: Combining a Business Growth Strategy with Environmental Sustainability. The Case Centre: Case Study no. 317-0398-1, Teaching Note no. 317-0398-8.

Administrative Roles and Responsibilities

  • Research Cluster Leader for Social Responsibility and Sustainability              
  • Member of the School Ethics Committee.        
  • Member, ABS Social Responsibility and Sustainability Group, School.
  • Member, Sustainable Aston Working Group, University.

 Development Activities Attended

  • Workshop, "Distance Learning Teaching Session," Aston University. (June 2011)
  • Workshop, "Authenticity in Executive Development Teaching." (April 2011)