UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Researcher spotlight: Samuel Tang

19 May 2023

Find out more about the work of Samuel Tang, lecturer and programme lead in the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources.

Photo of Sam Tang

Samuel Tang is a Lecturer in Business and Sustainable Development and programme lead for the Business and Sustainability MSc at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources. He is also an Aspen UK Rising Leaders Fellow and Ambassador for the Education Industry Network Group.

What is the nature of your research work, and why do you do it?

The unsustainable behaviour of many private and public organisations, as well as limitations in government and global policies and practices has long been highlighted. From emitting greenhouse gases, disruptions to rigid inflexible global supply chains and working environments, to short-term and limited horizon scenario and financial planning, as well as workplace inequalities (e.g., gender pay, black and ethnic minorities in leadership roles), and overconsumption of natural resources.

While underlying business values and strategic priorities aligned with profit maximisation is widely held responsible as the catalyst for unsustainable behaviour, limitations in our ability to assess, monitor, and influence sustainability behaviour of organisations (and their stakeholders) contribute to the problem.

Considering this, I am interested in how sustainability challenges such as climate change, water use, and forced labour affect and shape organisations, and how organisations influence sustainability challenges.

This work is motivated by my passions – exploring nature, cultural immersion, and heritage learning – and a desire to ensure future generations can explore their own passions and not be overwhelmed by a responsibility to solely address environmental and social pressures. Organisations have a central role to play in the sustainability transformation – and I want to engage and help them with this.  

What are your goals for the next year of your work?

For the year ahead I am looking forward to utilising a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant to advance my research on forced labour and transparency standards. The project investigates the role of transparency in raising public awareness of forced labour issues and its potential to build trust amongst key stakeholders to generate desired positive outcomes for society and organisations.

In addition, I will continue to work on how and why organisations, and the individuals inside organisations, are mitigating emissions and building adaptive capacity and climate resilience in response to regulatory, social, and competitive pressures. In addition, I will continue working with organisations on their climate change strategy.

Finally, and not least, I am excited to welcome and lead our first cohort of students on our new Business and Sustainability MSc. The programme explores how businesses can turn sustainability challenges into new opportunities and avenues for growth. Students will participate in research-led, applied teaching on sustainability science, policy and business practice, empowering them to be sustainability leaders making informed decisions and taking responsible actions for people, planet and profit, now and in the future.