Alice Owen





An engineer by training, Alice has been working in the field of sustainable development since 1991. She has first hand experience of the chemical industry, waste management operations and NGO project management on environmental education projects internationally. She was the Head of Conservation and Policy at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, from 1998-2001. In 2001, she established the sustainable development team in Yorkshire Forward, one of nine English regional development agencies. This experience led to Alice being appointed lead commissioner for local and regional issues with the UK Sustainable Development Commission from 2005 – 11, working with the politicians and executives of the UK and its devolved governments. Alice has also established and run her own freelancing consultancy business and has worked for the Environment Agency in policy development. Alice led consultancy firm Arup’s sustainability work from Leeds for five years before joining the University of Leeds.

After completing her PhD in 2013, Alice joined the Sustainability Research institute at the University of Leeds. Her research interests in micro-enterprises have developed from working with the builders and tradesmen engaged in low carbon building renovation.   She also leads the MSc Sustainability & Consultancy programme.

Work w/ CUSP

What can sole traders and microenterprises tell us about sustainable prosperity? The project Alice is working on with CUSP aims to map out how micro-enterprises (firms of nine people or less, with a turnover of less than €2M, by EU definition) relate to sustainable prosperity. Research will focus on smaller firms and sole traders. The project will operate alongside our research on social enterprise, ‘good’ work and the concept of labour productivity. In order to provide specific insights and anchoring for the ideas being explored, her fellowship will focus on mapping some of the yarn/textile micro-enterprises of the UK, the geography of their supply chains and customers and exploring how to quantify any contributions to sustainable prosperity from this sector.