Dr. Sarah Burch is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management, and holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Governance and Innovation.
She is the Executive Director of the Waterloo Climate Institute, a Lead Author of the United Nations’ Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and helped to lead expert input into the development of Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy. Her research uncovers transformative responses to climate change at the community scale, the political and justice dimensions of energy transitions, and the unique contributions that small businesses can make to this solving these complex challenges. She leads the international partnership-based research project TRANSFORM: Accelerating sustainability entrepreneurship experiments in local spaces, and is the Director of the Sustainability Policy Research on Urban Transformations (SPROUT) Lab.
Dr. Burch holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia, and held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute. She was named to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars in 2017, one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40TM in 2018, and one of Canada’s Clean 50 in 2021.
Her most recent book is entitled ‘Understanding Climate Change: Science, Policy and Practice,’ and she taught the first Massive Open Online Course on climate change, which reached thousands of students in over 130 countries.
- Romero-Lankao, P., N. Rosner, C. Brandtner, C. Rea, A. Mejia-Montero, F. Pilo, F. Dockshin, V. Castan-Broto, Burch and S. Schnur. In Press. A framework to center justice in energy transitions innovation. Nature Energy.
- Stubbs, W., Burch, P. Ramesh, K. Fabianke, and M. Farrelly. In Press. Sustainable business models in “lighthouse” small to medium enterprises. Journal of Management and Organization.
- Denton, F., K. Halsnæs, K. Akimoto, S. Burch, C. Diaz Morejon, F. Farias, J. Jupesta, A. Shareef, P. Schweizer-Ries, F. Teng, E. Zusman, 2022: Accelerating the transition in the context of sustainable development. In IPCC, 2022: Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [P.R. Shukla, J. Skea, R. Slade, A. Al Khourdajie, R. van Diemen, D. McCollum, M. Pathak, S. Some, P. Vyas, R. Fradera, M. Belkacemi, A. Hasija, G. Lisboa, S. Luz, J. Malley, (eds.)].
- Dubash, N.K., C. Mitchell, E.L. Boasson, M.J. Borbor-Cordova, S. Fifita, E. Haites, M. Jaccard, F. Jotzo, S. Naidoo, P. Romero-Lankao, M. Shlapak, W. Shen, L. Wu, 2022: National and sub-national policies and institutions. In IPCC, 2022: Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [P.R. Shukla, J. Skea, R. Slade, A. Al Khourdajie, R. van Diemen, D. McCollum, M. Pathak, S. Some, P. Vyas, R. Fradera, M. Belkacemi, A. Hasija, G. Lisboa, S. Luz, J. Malley, (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA. doi: 10.1017/9781009157926.015 (Role: Role – Contributing Author)
- Luederitz, C., L. Westman, A. Kundurpi, A. Mercado, Burch. 2023. Conceptualizing the potential of entrepreneurship to shape urban sustainability transformations. Urban Transformations 5:3.
- Pickering, J., J. Patterson, F. Biermann, Burch, L. Elliott, A. Gupta, C. Inoue, A. Ishii, A. Kalfagianni, J. Meadowcroft, C. Okereke, A. Persson. 2023. Pluralising Anthropocene debates requires recognising diversity within existing scholarship. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 1-6.
- DiBella, J., Burch, N. Forrest, J. Rao-Williams, S. Morton Ninomiya, K. Chisholm and V. Hermelingmeir. 2022. Exploring the potential of SMEs to build individual, organizational, and community resilience through sustainable business practices. Business Strategy and the Environment https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.3171
- Burch, S., Di Bella, A. Wiek, S. Schaltegger, W. Stubbs, M. Farrelly, B. Ness, K. McCormick. 2022. Building urban resilience through sustainability-oriented small- and medium-sized enterprises. Urban Transformations 4:1-7.
- Westman, L. C. Luederitz, A. Kundurpi, A. Mercado and Burch. 2022. Market transformations as collaborative change: Institutional co-evolution through small business entrepreneurship. Business Strategy and the Environment 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.3083
Current projects include:
TRANSFORM: Accelerating Sustainability Entrepreneurship Experiments in Local Spaces. SSHRC Partnership Grant (2018-2026). TRANSFORM is a partnership with Monash University (Australia), Leuphana University (Germany), Lund University (Sweden), Arizona State University (USA), the Dutch Research Institution for Transitions (Netherlands) and Swinburne University of Technology (Australia), along with dozens of civil society organizations, governments, and private firms. TRANSFORM is working closely with SMEs to: 1) implement an interactive capacity-building process that enables SMEs to explore transformative approaches to sustainability; 2) cultivate, observe, and evaluate sustainability experiments in the small business community; 3) develop and disseminate a tailored transformation toolkit targeting business, government and civil society actors; and 4) draw on national and international examples to inform the design and implementation of Canadian sustainability and innovation policies at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels. More information visit TransformCities @Transform_SME