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July 23, 2013

UMaine associate professor selected for Fulbright

A University of Maine associate professor in the Maine Business School has won a Fulbright Scholarship to research how and why businesses adopt sustainability practices.

Terry Potter, who heads the Maine Business School's Business and Sustainability Program, will pursue her research next spring at Cardiff University, the fourth most highly regarded research institute in the United Kingdom, according to a release from UMaine. Potter defines sustainability as the contributions of a business to the vitality, diversity and balance of wider life-enhancing systems where social, environmental and economic outcomes are as important as the financial bottom line.

"Sustainability in companies often is limited to reports on results and performance," Porter says in the release. "We hear about reduced carbon emissions, waste recycled and energy saved. Those are end-of-the-pipeline outcomes that are very important. But what we don't know much about is how those decisions are made in the first place."

She will conduct her research with Hugh Willmott at Cardiff and Andrea Whittle at Newcastle University. The team will examine sustainability adoption in business settings in the UK, where there is a culture of proactive corporate sustainability efforts, and compare those findings to data from a similar study of businesses in the United States.

In advance of her scholarship, Porter is working with organizations statewide that have instituted or are considering sustainability initiatives.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Scholar Program only makes 30 awards annually in the UK. Porter is the sole Fulbright selected for Cardiff University.

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