Sustainability, Hope and Meaningful Work Research Group

About this groupSustainability research group

Led by Professor Marjolein Lips-Wiersma this group brings together established research and researchers to build a programme of academic research, consultancy and research collaboration with community and industry. This research group investigates an array of topics using the people-and-society lense of sustainability, including topics such as:

  • Meaningful work
  • Youth and millennial engagement in sustainability
  • Sustainability, hope and despair
  • Impact of sustainability on well-being
  • Employee engagement in organisational sustainability
  • Valuing the role of the sustainability officer
  • Sustainability leadership and innovation
  • Harmonising western and indigenous approaches to sustainability
  • Education for sustainability
  • Social entrepreneurship, its success and failure
  • Social impact and it’s evaluation
  • Public attitudes towards sustainability issues
  • Community participation in environmental decision-making


Marjo Lips-Wiersma (Lead Researcher)Fiona HurdPeter Skilling
Peter McGheeSmita Singh Amber Nicholson
David WilliamsonCarol NeilPaul Woodfield
Amir Mostofi  

Current research

  • Sustainability officer research project

Together with the Oxygen Consulting, the Sustainable Business Network and the Sustainable Business Council, we run an annual survey to provide “Insights on Sustainability Professionals”. The aim is to provide in depth insights into the rapidly evolving roles of sustainability professionals within New Zealand organisations.


  • Meaningful work research and dissemination

This project focuses on meaningful work, meaningful societies and meaningful evaluation. Current research projects include: Giving Language to Meaning; Meaningful societies and Meaningful Impact evaluation. This research is disseminated globally and applied in community and corporate organisations by certified practitioners from the Map of Meaning International Trust.

Find out more (The Map of Meaning website).

  • Leadership, sustainability and hope

Collaboration with University of Auckland, Professor Brigid Carroll – ongoing research into the role of hope in sustainability leadership.

  • Sustainability, learning and teaching

  • Hope and despair in teaching and learning sustainability 

  • Engagement of business students in Core Sustainability Courses