Welcome Matthew!

SustainableBusinessModel.org has new active member: Dr. Matthew J. Hannon, Research Associate at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, joined the team of active writers for this blog. Welcome!

Read Matthew’s introduction to himself:

“I have over the past few years become increasingly interested in the development and application of novel business models and how these might contribute towards sustainable development. This interest emerged during my undergraduate dissertation research which examined the factors responsible for determining whether or not householders adopt sustainable waste management behaviours. During this period I became increasingly interested in the role that businesses play in shaping our consumption behaviours and in turn, whether business models can be structured in such a way that supports economically and environmentally sustainable consumption behaviours. My focus shifted away from waste and towards energy following my time at AECOM, an international environmental consultancy, and the feasibility studies I undertook into ‘Energy from Waste’ projects.

My interest in sustainable business models became a full-time occupation during my time at the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI), within the University of Leeds. Here I undertook my PhD thesis titled the ‘Co-evolution of innovative business models and sustainability transitions: The case of the Energy Service Company (ESCo) model and the UK energy system’ (Hannon, 2012), which explored the role sustainable energy business models could play in the transition to a sustainable energy system. Specifically the research examined the co-evolutionary relationship between organisations adopting the innovative Energy Service Company (ESCo) business model and the wider UK energy system to ascertain how the UK ESCo population has not only been shaped by the wider UK energy system but has in turn shaped change within the UK energy system. The key findings of this research are outlined in a forthcoming paper in Energy Policy (Hannon et al., 2013).

During my time at Leeds I also worked on the EPSRC funded project ‘Future Energy Decision-Making for Cities—Can Complexity Science Rise to the Challenge?’, which examined the types of intervention Local Authorities could undertake to promote sustainable energy practices in their local area, including the implantation of innovative business models such as ESCos and Strategic Energy Bodies (SEBs) (Bale et al., 2012). This project raised some interesting questions around how government bodies could potentially adopt innovative business models via arm’s length organisations as a means of not only raising additional income to support public services but also as a powerful tool to help govern aspects of the energy system. This constitutes the focus of an forthcoming conference paper with my colleague Ronan Bolton at the University of Edinburgh (Bolton & Hannon, 2013). 

I am currently working as a Research Associate for the RCUK Energy Strategy Fellowship, based at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College. The project is split into two key phases, with the first involving the synthesis of a prospectus for research, skills and training needs across the energy landscape to inform the development of the Research Councils Energy Programme. This phase has uncovered a real appetite within the UK energy research community to examine the design and application of alternative energy business models. The second phase will focus on the effectiveness of systems of energy innovation for a range of countries/regions (e.g. US, EU, South East Asia etc.) and energy technologies. Whilst the details of the second phase are still being finalised, it is likely to incorporate some focus on the role that businesses play in energy innovation systems and also, the process from which energy business model innovations emerge from energy innovation systems.”

Read Matthew’s first blog post on “Business Model Innovation and Sustainability Transitions”.


Bale, C.; Foxon, T.; Hannon, M. & Gale, W. (2012): Strategic energy planning within local authorities in the UK: A study of the city of Leeds, Energy Policy, Vol. 48, pp. 242-251.

Bolton, R. & Hannon, M. (2013): More than just business? Local Authority engagement with the Energy Service Company (ESCo) business model and implications for UK energy system change, in: Rutherford, J. (Ed.): Urban energy governances, North and South: International roundtable seminar. Gif-sur-Yvette, Paris.

Hannon, M. (2012): Co-evolution of innovative business models and sustainability transitions: The case of the Energy Service Company (ESCo) model and the UK energy system. PhD thesis. Leeds: University of Leeds.

Hannon, M.; Foxon, T. & Gale, W. (2013): The co-evolutionary relationship between Energy Service Companies and the UK energy system: Implications for a low-carbon transition, Energy Policy, Vol. 61, pp. 1031-1045.

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