Sarah Ivory Headshot

Senior Lecturer in Executive Education, Climate Change and Sustainability

Roles and Responsibilities

Senior Lecturer (Assoc. Prof), Executive Education, Climate Change and Business Strategy, University of Edinburgh Business School

FFellow, Higher Education Academy

*Dr Ivory is no longer supervising PhD students. 


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

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 was a recipient of a prestigious 2019 Aspen Institute Ideas Worth Teaching educational award, for the establishment of the first year UG compulsory course 'Global Challenges for Business'. It was the only European-based course to receive an award in that year, and past recipients include Havard and MIT. It was from the teachings on this course that Dr Ivory started teaching critical thinking, leading to her publish an 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 students' transition into university, and their transition to critical thinking.

In the past, Dr Ivory has taught a range of topics including strategy, leadership, sustainability, and climate change, at UG, MBA, PG levels, 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. Her research has focused on sustainability, social enterprise, and critical thinking pedagogy. She has published in Journal of Business Ethics, as well as Business Strategy and the Environment.

Dr Ivory now dedicates her time to Executive Education. She leads a number of strategic partnerships for the University, with several large UK financial institutions, working on their climate change education and response. She is a sought after speaker at practitioner conferences and climate change commentator on the BBC. 

Research Interests

Dr Ivory's research covers three broad areas: Sustainability and Climate Change, Social Enterprise and Alternative 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 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