Sarah Ivory Headshot

Lecturer in Climate Change and Business Strategy

Roles and Responsibilities

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

Elected Non-Professorial Representative, University of Edinburgh Senatus Academicus

Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Co-Director, Centre for Business and Climate Change

Deputy Director, Sustainable Business Initiative

Past-Chair, British Academy of Management Sustainable and Responsible Business Special Interest Group


Dr Sarah Birrell Ivory is a Lecturer in Climate Change and Business Strategy at the University of Edinburgh Business School (UEBS), a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and an elected non-professorial member of the University of Edinburgh Senatus Academicus. She is a Co-Director of the Centre for Business and Climate Change (CBCC) which develops dedicated teaching and research relating to aspects of business and management impacted by, or which have an impact on, climate change issues. She is also Deputy Director of the Sustainable Business Institute (SBI) which is an external facing organisation engaging with, consulting, and speaking to the business and wider community in relation to sustainability issues.  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 widely across the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, France, Belgium and China (via Skype!). 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.

Dr Ivory also teaches Climate Change and Environmental Policy on the MSc in Carbon Finance, 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.

Research Taxonomy

Research Interests

Dr Ivory's research covers three broad areas: Sustainability, Social Enterprise, and Critical Thinking Pedagogy.


With a PhD examining the legitimising processes undertaken by Heads of Sustainability, Dr Ivory is interested in how and why sustainability is introduced, understood, adopted, adjusted and leveraged in different organisational environments. As well as utilising legitimacy as a theoretical lens, she has also employed strategic agility and strategy-as-practice in her research and publications in this area. She recently co-authored Managing Sustainability with a Paradoxical Lens: Lessons from Strategic Agility in a Special Issue of the FT-50 Journal of Business Ethics.

Social Enterprise

Dr Ivory has a research project focused on social enterprise, especially as regards networked governance systems, the ecosystems in which they operate, and social impact. She is working with local Edinburgh Social Enterprise 'Spirits for Good' researching both their approach to governance and their social impact.

Critical Thinking Pedagogy

Dr Ivory has recently established a research stream relating to critical thinking pedagogy in University Teaching and Learning. This emerged from her decade of teaching experience and especially the recent development work related to her new Global Challenges for Business course which comprises explicit teaching of critical thinking. She has teamed up with the University of Edinburgh Moray House School of Education academics to work on a research project focused on approaches to active and dialogic teaching embraced by academics.

Research Area

Publication Type Actions