Sarah Ivory Headshot

Senior Lecturer in Climate Change and Business Strategy

Roles and Responsibilities

Director, Centre for Business, Climate Change, and Sustainability (B-CCaS)

Lecturer in Climate Change and Business Strategy, University of Edinburgh Business School

Fellow, Higher Education Academy

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Dr Sarah Birrell Ivory is a Lecturer in Climate Change and Business Strategy at the University of Edinburgh Business School (UEBS), and Director of the Centre for Business, Climate Change and Sustainability (B-CCaS). She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a former elected non-professorial member of the University of Edinburgh Senatus Academicus. She is a past-Chair of the British Academy of Management Sustainable and Responsible Business Special Interest Group (SIG). Dr Ivory has been teaching at the University of Edinburgh Business School for over a decade.

Dr Ivory has a BCom (hons) from the University of Melbourne, an MBA from Melbourne Business School (including an exchange semester at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), an MSc (by research) and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. Prior to academia Dr Ivory worked for a decade in the private sector in Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. She has lectured and presented in person and virtually across the world including in  the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, France, Belgium and China. Dr Ivory has extensive experience supervising undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students from multiple countries including the UK, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Russia, Germany, Poland, China, Indonesia, Egypt, and Iran.

Dr Ivory has recently established the Global Challenges for Business compulsory first year course for all UEBS undergraduate students. This new course focuses not only on the global challenges students will face as they embark on their scholarly and then graduate life, but explicitly on the skills of critical thinking that will be essential to navigating such issues.  Designed around three foundational aspects of critical thinking - quality of argument, strength of evidence, clarity of presentation - the course acts as a foundation for a business degree focusing on teaching students how to think, rather than what to think. The course won a prestigious 2019 Aspen Institute Ideas Worth Teaching educational award. It was the only European-based course to receive an award in that year. Past recipients include Havard and MIT. It was from the teachings on this course the Dr Ivory started teaching critical thinking, leading to her recently published Oxford University Press textbook: Becoming a Critical Thinker: for your university studies and beyond. The book has been adopted by universities across the world to support their student’s transition into university, and their transition to critical thinking.

Dr Ivory is part of the team delivering the Strategic Leadership module to the flagship MBA programme, and is a regular guest lecturer in other schools around the university including the Law School, School of Geosciences, and School of Politics and Social Sciences. 

In the past, Dr Ivory has taught strategy, leadership, sustainability, as well as all aspects of the business and climate change.

In addition to a focus on teaching, Dr Ivory has an established research career in sustainability, social enterprise, and critical thinking pedagogy. She recently co-authored a Journal of Business Ethics article in a Special Issue relating to paradox and sustainability, and a Business Strategy and the Environment article relating to Scaling Sustainability within an organisation.

Research Interests

Dr Ivory's research covers three broad areas: Sustainability and Climate Change, Social Enterprise and Alternatives Forms of Governance, and Critical Thinking Pedagogy.

Sustainability and Climate Change

The impact of climate change on business and of business on climate change; exploring the role of individuals in integrating climate change considerations into strategic decisions; how and why is sustainability and climate change is introduced, understood, adopted, adjusted and leveraged in different organisational environments; the importance of strategic agility in the organisations responses to wicked problems and the VUCA world.

Social Enterprise and Alternative Forms of Governance

Exploring collegial and other forms of governance to replace more traditional forms, which is common in hybrid organisations such as social enterprise, but may hold applicability for more traditional businesses.

Critical Thinking Pedagogy

Critical thinking pedagogy in university teaching and learning, including approaches to active and dialogic teaching embraced by academics.

Research Fingerprint

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Research Area