Q21 Research Group: Sustainability and Innovation

Rutherford Regional Science and Innovation Centre (RRSIC) building exterior

Q21 Research Group, directed by Associate Professors Pavel Castka and Michaela (Misha) Balzarova, aims to conduct theoretical and applied research investigating various aspects of sustainability & innovation. Mainly, we focus on:

  • the role of self-regulation (voluntary standards, eco-labels and certifications) in current business environment
  • the impact of self-regulatory instruments on firms and supply chains
  • administrative and firm practice innovations

Our research has been funded by the School of Business and Economics, University of Canterbury, BRANZ, Royal Society Mobility Fund, New Zealand Organisation for Quality and Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand. Further funding is currently being sought from governmental research funds as well as from industrial sponsors.

Eco-labels/Information policies: this study identifies framework to evaluate eco-labels along three dimensions – consumer understanding and awareness, consumer confidence, and willingness to pay. We currently investigate tourism as well as other sectors. This research is conducted in collaboration with Prof Magali Delmas and the UCLA Institute for the Environment and Sustainability.

“Certification and Biodiversity”: A collaboration with IUCN; this project aims to provide an insight for policy makers, NGOs, certification organizations, the private sector, and the general public about the impacts of voluntary certification standards on biodiversity and human livelihoods.

Enhancing the Credibility and Value of ISO9000/14000 Certification: A collaboration with Monash University and Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand, this project investigates the current auditing and certification practices in voluntary certification in Australia and New Zealand.

ISO 14064 and the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)
In 2007, NZ government has introduced the ETS that will force important sectors of NZ economy (forestry, liquid fossil fuels, stationary energy, industrial producers, agriculture and waste) to manage carbon emissions in their operations. Whereas a lot of academic and political debates were dedicated to issues related to the set-up of the ETS, so far little attention was given to organisational implications of the introduction of the ETS requirements. This project aims to investigate the structural and infrastructural implication of this process (i.e. implications on strategy, information and process technology, work planning and control systems, HR etc.) as well as to address the role of ISO 14064 in this area.

Looking into the Crystal Ball: future diffusion of ISO 26000
ISO 26000 and other ISO standards are developed for organisations to use them. As ISO 26000 is progressively reaching its final stages, our research team has started to investigate future scenarios of the diffusion of ISO 26000. In particular, the research project aims to understand which organisations will use ISO 26000, how will organisations go about it and why will organisations prefer ISO 26000 to other social responsibility standards.

Development of ISO 26000 through a multistakeholder dialogue
Development of global management standards (such as ISO) has been so far dominated by the industry representatives. This process of development is often criticised and industry has been accused of standards development that suits its needs as opposed to the pursuit of common societal and environmental benefits. For this reason a new approach has been adopted by ISO that aims to establish a wider stakeholder involvement for a development of international standards. This project investigates how rules are designed in this new regime specifically in relation to the development of the international guidance standard on social responsibility (ISO 26000).

Do external audits add value to certified organisations?
Despite the global uptake of ISO 9000 certificates and its continual growth (16% in 2006), managers repeatedly question the value-added by external auditors. Do external auditors add any value? Are they merely a necessary evil in the process hence the value of ISO certificate remains in its signalling value to the market and/or the value that the organisation creates itself? This projects aims to answer these key questions.

Postgraduate Research supervised by Q21 Academic staff:

  • Julie Donovan (PhD Candidate) Understanding the product/service innovations in HVM sector.
  • Thanarwatt Sriwipaphat (Jean)  (PhD candidate) Biodiversity & private regulation: diffusion and impact
  • Kotchaporn Pongcharoen (Kate), (PhD Candidate) Barriers to Implementation of Organic Certification in Thailand
  • Aminah Abdul Rahman (PhD Candidate) Institutionalization of CSR in higher education
  • Anna Guerello (Master Thesis) Energy for off-grid homes: Reduced cost through hybrid system and energy efficiency optimisation
  • Shannon Coghlan (Master Thesis) - An Evaluation of Voluntary Environmental Voluntary Schemes used by the Dairy Industry in Canterbury, New Zealand

Most publications are available on Research Gate – for Pavel Castka click here; for Michaela Balzarova click here.

  • Castka, P. and Corbett, C.J. (2015). Management Systems Standards: Diffusion, Impact and Governance of ISO 9000, ISO 14000 and other management systems; Foundations and Trends in Technology, Information and Operations Management. NOW Publishers; research monograph; by invitation; Vol 7 Nos3/4, 222 pages.
  • Castka, P; Prajogo, D.; Sohal, A. and Yeung, A.C. (2015). Understanding firms’ selection of their ISO 9000 third-party certifiers. International Journal of Production Economics, Vol.162, pp.125-133.
  • Bowler, K.; Castka, P. and Balzarova, M. (accepted). Understanding firms' approaches to voluntary certification - evidence from multiple case studies in FSC certification; Journal of Business Ethics. DOI 10.1007/s10551-015-2880-1
  • Castka, P. and Corbett, C.J. (accepted). Governance of Eco-labels: Expert Opinion and Media Coverage. Journal of Business Ethics.Published online; DOI 10.1007/s10551-014-2474-3. 
  • Nemec, W. and Balzarova, M. (2014) Sustainable Freshwater Fish Farming: A Comparison of the South Island of New Zealand and Carinthia in Austria,  International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies  accepted
  • Ahmed, H., Balzarova M., & Cohen, D. A. (2014) Organizational Change Stimuli and Moderators – Evidence from New Zealand, Journal of Organizational Change Management; Vol. 28 Iss: 4, pp.546 - 564http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-11-2013-0226
  • Ahmed, H., Balzarova, M. and Cohen, D. (2014). To sell or not to sell; that is the question? Stakeholders’ supremacy in the New Zealand electricity industry. Journal of Management & Organization, Vol. 20, Iss. 3, pp 410-414 doi:10.1017/jmo.2014.27
  • Castka, P and Prajogo, D. (2013) The effect of pressure from secondary stakeholders on the internalization of ISO 14001, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol 47, pp 245-252.
  • Delmas, M., Nairn-Birch, N. and Balzarova, M. (2013) Choosing the Right Eco-Label for Your Product, Sloan Management Review, Summer 2013
  • Poetz, K., Haas, R. and Balzarova, M. (2013) CSR schemes in agribusiness: Opening the black box, British Food Journal, Vol. 115, Iss.1
  • Balzarova, M.A. and Castka, P. (2012), Stakeholders’ Influence and Contribution to Social Standards Development: The Case of Multiple Stakeholder Approach to ISO 26000 Development, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol.111 (2):265-279(DOI 10.1007/s10551-012-1206-9).
  • Poetz, K., Haas, R. and Balzarova, M. (2012) Sustainability and food corporations?  Emerging strategic CSR partnership initiatives in agribusiness: The case of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI), Journal on Chain and Network Science; Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 151-165, DOI 10.3920/JCNS2012.x010
  • Balzarova, M.A. and Castka, P. (2008) "Underlying Mechanism in the Maintenance of ISO 14001 Environmental Management System", Journal of Cleaner Productiondoi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2008.01.007
  • Castka, P. and Balzarova, M.A. (2008) "The impact of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 on standardization of social responsibility - an inside perspective", International Journal of Production Economics, Vol.113 No.1, pp.74-87. doi:10.1016/j.ijpe.2007.02.048
  • Castka, P. and Balzarova, M.A. (2008) "Adoption of Social Responsibility through the Expansion of Existing Management Systems", Industrial Management + Data Systems, Vol. 108 No.3, pp 297-309.
  • Castka, P. and Balzarova, M.A. (2008) "ISO 26000 and supply chains - on the diffusion of the social responsibility standard", International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 111 No 2, pp. 274-286. doi:10.1016/j.ijpe.2006.10.017  

Feb 2017 Pavel Castka, Mesba Chowdhury and Mark Wilson (Lincoln University) will be hosting 15th ANZAM Operations, Supply Chain and Services Management Symposium – Queenstown, NZ: 13-14 June 2017.

Sep 2016 Pavel Castka has delivered a keynote address at 20th ICIT conference at University of Buirami (Oman) discussing the evolutions of ISO 26000 standard for social responsibility and linking the standard to research agendas of the conference participants.

Sep 2016 Policy Matters Issue 21 (Pavel Castka and Danna Leaman as co-editors) was launched at World Conservation Congress in Hawaii. Pavel Castka also appeared as key note speaker at the workshop on certification and biodiversity.

April 2016 A paper on Adoption and Diffusion of Eco-labels has been publish in International Journal of Operations and Production Management. A joint publication with Prof Corbett from UCLA.

Oct 2015 - Call for Papers “Certification and Biodiversity” for Policy Matters – a flagship journal of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has been announcedPavel Castka co-leads this initiative with an editorial team of globally recognised experts on biodiversity and certification. Deadline for abstracts is Nov 30, 2015.

Sep 2015 - Two new papers on governance of eco-labels and sustainable forestry practices & FSC published by researchers from Q21 Research Group. The papers feature in Journal of Business Ethics.

Aug 2015 - Pavel Castka (UC) and Charles J. Corbett (UCLA) have published a research monograph on management systems standards. The monograph critically reviews two decades of research on voluntary standards – inclusive of environmental standards such as ISO 14000 and EMAS.

April 2014 - Michaela Balzarova delivered a keynote address on Usefulness of sustainability indicators: a comparison of the South Island of New Zealand and Carinthia in Austria at 18th ICIT conference in April (2014) Sarawak, Indonesia.

Sept 2014  Along with Dr Katarina Poetz (University of Vienna) and Prof. Rainer Haas from Universität für Bodenkultur , (BOKU), Vienna have published an article that provides comparisons and sector cross-analysis of CSR schemes in agribusiness.

April 2013 Prof. Magali Delmas (UCLA), Nick Nairn-Birch (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)) and Michaela Balzarova share a number of points through Sloan Management Review managers should consider prior to an investment into an eco-labelling program.   

Jye Ying Lu and Pavel Castka awarded the best paper award (April 5, 2008)

Jye Ying Lu and Pavel Castka were awarded the Best Paper Award at the 13th International Conference on ISO 9000 and TQM, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The paper entitled "CSR in Malaysia: Experts' Views and Perspectives" is a part of Jye's PhD research.

For any enquiries please contact:

Pavel Castka

Associate Dean (Research)

Michaela Balzarova

Associate Professor
Meremere 220 and Rehua 613
Internal Phone: 93122

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