Dr Rory Padfield

Dr Rory Padfield


I am an interdisciplinary social scientist and a lecturer in Sustainability and Business. In my research I engage with the broad themes of supply chain and natural resource governance, sustainable consumption and production, and corporate sustainability across and between different scales of business and organisations. I’m especially interested in organisational supply chains that originate or have impacts in countries in the Global South. I draw on political ecology perspectives to pursue critical questions around ethics, social and environmental responsibility, and local-global political economy.

I have investigated the adoption of international sustainability standards amongst small and medium sized food manufactures in Malaysia and Indonesia, sustainability impacts of water commercialization on Malaysian utilities companies, and examined the sustainability and traceability of palm oil in a UK university supply chains.

My unique academic background – spanning Geography and Environmental Engineering – facilitates a commitment to inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches to the study of the sustainability of business and organisations. My knowledge and experience of development in the Global South is grounded in six years working in Southeast Asia and extensive fieldwork in sub-Saharan Africa, including ten months spent in Zambia for my doctoral research. I have developed a comprehensive network of local and international contacts, which I draw upon to develop high quality research proposals and projects. 


  • Programme Leader MSc Sustainability & Business
  • Co-Research Lead for Business and Organisations for Sustainable Societies (BOSS)

Research interests

Current Research Projects

'Empires of sustainability': Investigating the Sabah sustainable palm oil policy and its impacts for smallholder farmers  

Flex crop traceability and sustainability: A UK catering contractor supply chain in focus (FLEXIS)

Sustainability Stories: Investigating sustainability communication in the Creative Industry

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Geography (Newcastle University)
  • MSc Environmental Engineering (Newcastle University)
  • BSc Geography (Newcastle University)

Professional memberships

  • Higher Education Academy

Student education

At undergraduate level I teach on the Environment and Business BA.  

At postgraduate level I teach on the MSc Sustainability and Consultancy and MSc Sustainability and Business.

Research groups and institutes

  • Sustainability Research Institute

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>