Dr Helen Borland


Work & Organisational Psychology Group

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
  •  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.)

  • 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. (2015) Building Theory at the Intersection of Ecological Sustainability and Strategic Management, Journal of Business Ethics, (Online First).

  • Borland, H. and Lindgreen, A. (2013) Sustainability, Epistemology, Ecocentric Business and Marketing Strategy: Ideology, Reality and Vision, Journal of Business Ethics, 117(1), 173-187.        
  • Parkes, C. and Borland, H. (2012) Strategic HRM: Transforming its Responsibilities towards Ecological Sustainability (the greatest global challenge facing organizations), Thunderbird International Business Review, 54(6), 811-824.
  • Borland, H. and Paliwoda, S. (2011) Marketing Responsibility in an Era of Economic and Climactic Challenge, Marketing Intelligence and Planning, 29(1), 49-62.        
  • Borland, H. M. (2009) Conceptualising Global Strategic Sustainability and Corporate Transformational Change, International Marketing Review, 26(4/5), 554-572. 

 Recent Book Chapters 

  • Parkes, C., Borland, H., Nadisic, T. and Crawshaw, J. (2014) HRM and the Ethical Organisation, Chapter 4, in Crawshaw, J., Davis, A. and Budhwar, P. (eds) Strategic and International Human Resource Management, London: Sage.        
  • Borland, H. (2013) Conceptualising Global Strategic Sustainability and Corporate Transformational Change, Chapter 106, p. 300-321 (Vol. 4), in Blewitt, J. D. (ed.) Sustainable Development: Critical Concepts in the Environment, London: Routledge.
  • Borland, H. (2013) Using Science in Business Sustainability Teaching and Research, Chapter 11, in Haynes, K., Murray, A. and Dillard, J. (eds.) Corporate Social Responsibility: A Research Handbook. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Borland, H. M. (2009) Modelling Strategic Sustainability: Antecedents and Drivers for Corporate Change, in International Marketing and Business in CEE Markets, edited by Professor Maja Szmura-Tyc. 

  Recent Conference Papers

  • Borland, H. and Ambrosini, V. (2014) Building Theory at the Intersection of Ecological Sustainability and Strategic Management, Sustainable Business Conference, University of Edinburgh, UK, April.

  • Borland, H. and Ambrosini, V. (2012) Business Strategies for Ecological Sustainability: Towards a New Conceptualisation, Academy of Management Conference, Boston, USA, August.

  • Borland, H. and Ambrosini, V. (2012) Global Business Strategies for Ecological Sustainability: Developing a New Strategic Typology, Revisiting Internationalisation: Dynamics, Diversity and Sustainability, Centre for International Business, Aalborg University, Denmark, May-June.

  • Borland, H. and Ambrosini, V. (2011) Business Strategies for Ecological Sustainability: A Theoretical Investigation, British Academy of Management Conference, Aston University, UK, September.

  • Borland, H. (2011) Developing Business Strategies for Ecological Sustainability: Scientific, Epistemological, Conceptual and Practical Considerations, International Association of Business in Society Conference, University of Bath, UK, June.

  • Borland, H. (2010) Towards an Integrated Strategic Sustainability Theoretical Model, Academy of Marketing Science Conference, Portland, Oregon, USA, May.

  • Borland, H. M. (2009) Definitions, Theories, Drivers and Managerial Implications: Grounding Global Strategic Sustainability, Academy of Marketing Science Conference, Baltimore, USA, May.

  • Borland, H. M. (2008) Conceptualising Corporate Strategic Sustainability: Routes to Sustainable Transformational Change, European Academy of Business in Society (EABIS) Colloquium, 10 – 12 Cranfield School of Management, UK, September.

  • Borland, H. M. (2008) Modelling Strategic Environmental Sustainability: Antecedents, International Marketing and Business Conference, University of Katowice, Poland, 16 – 18 October.

Popular Press

  • Borland, H. (29th March 2012) The Alternative Budget Birmingham Post. 

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)

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research