Author. Technical Writer. Editor. Researcher.

Victoria Hurth has published an extensive library of works, both for academic and executive audiences. Her writing exists to summarise what it really means to lead for long-term wellbeing for all (sustainability) in an accessible, practical and highly robust way. In this way, Victoria helps bring the best of academic thinking to bear on the challenges we face and the vital insights practitioners need to academic research.

Papers: The past, present and future of business – and the central role of purpose in this

Victoria was lead author of two foundational publications for the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), ‘Unleashing the Sustainable Business: Parts 1 and 2’, followed by a third paper, ‘Unleashing Governance’, and a fourth, ‘Unleashing Culture’. The papers detail the three logics that guide all types of organisations and outline, in clear non-academic language, why business-as-usual (short-term self-interest) logic is extinct, why a tweak to business-as-usual (long term self-interest) logic is vital but insufficient, and why a purpose logic is the future. These can be used to diagnose where a firm currently is and where it really wants to move.

  • Paper 1: The three economic logics and why the purpose logic fully aligns the economy and organisations with a sustainable future.
  • Paper 2: What it looks and feels like to be a purpose-driven organisation and why it is such a powerful business logic.
  • Paper 3: Unleashing Governance – why governance is core to achieving a sustainable future and how it is under massive transition.
  • Paper 4: Unleashing Culture – establishing a clear and academically rigorous base so we can ensure firm culture drives a sustainable future and doesn’t get in the way.

Paper: University of Cambridge Working paper on Organisational Purpose: The Construct and its Antecedents and Consequences

Here Victoria and colleagues set out the academically grounded, empirically supported theoretical base for purpose. This paper unpicks what drives purpose and the impacts this is likely to have on an organisation.

Paper: Chartered Management Institute and Blueprint for Better Business publication: The What, the Why and the How of Purpose

In this executive-focused summary report, Victoria and colleagues provide a shortcut view of the academically grounded, empirically supported theoretical base for purpose and unpick what drives purpose and the impacts this is likely to have on an organisation.

Paper: Organisations as Open Systems that Need Purpose and Integrated Thinking

The world is changing more rapidly than ever. Victoria discusses how purpose and systems thinking are not just nice-to-haves but critical to organisational success.

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Paper: Re-purposing Universities: The Path to Purpose

Victoria co-edited ‘Re-purposing Universities: The Path to Purpose’, a foundational paper that was part of the Special Issue of the Frontiers in Sustainability journal, ‘Re-Purposing Universities for Sustainable Human Progress.’ Written with Professor Iain Stewart, this paper applies the three organisational logics set out in the 'Unleashing' papers to universities and outlines how universities tend to act with a business-as-usual, short-term self-interest logic and what can be done about it by the governing body and executive managers of universities.

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Framework: The Business Transformation Framework (BTF)

Following the success of the Unleashing the Sustainable Business paper series, the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) has developed a transformation framework that brings the three decision-making logics to life within a detailed diagnosis framework.

Book: Victoria’s personal story of how she came to commit her life to ‘Standing Up for the Planet’

‘Standing up for the Planet’ is a rare collection of the stories of 45 ‘Extraordinary Women Who are Changing the World’. Victoria was invited to contribute a chapter – 2000 words in length – which plots her path from her early years to the present in the hope this will provide some small inspiration for other people trying to do their best for the long-term wellbeing of all.

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Reports: The Future of Boards, Setting out the global trends in governance that support or hold back a sustainable future

Victoria was a lead contributor in the design, delivery and write-up of a major multi-year research collaboration between DLA Piper (one of the world’s largest law firms) and The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) on the Future of Boards. These publications plot the trends in core aspects of governance areas including legislation, purpose, materiality and stakeholder engagement. They provide cutting-edge insight into the trends that are contributing to, or holding back, governance that is aligned with a sustainable future.

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Article: International standards for climate-friendly cities

In this article, published in Nature Climate Change, a pre-eminent academic journal, Victoria and Professor Patricia McCarney, President and CEO at World Council on City Data, set out why more effort should be put into standardization as a route to achieving international consensus and action on climate change and why cities are a good example of what can be achieved.

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Article: Organizational Governance for the 21st Century: Arriving at a Global View

ISO 37000 is a groundbreaking standard setting out for the first time what the world thinks governance of organisations is and what it needs to look like. In this paper, Victoria and her co-convenor for leading the development of ISO37000, Dr Axel Kravatzky, set out why the time was right for this standard to be produced.

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Framework: Evolved Marketing Framework – marketing that drives purpose

The Evolved Value Framework (EVF), places purpose at the heart of the marketing process and marketing at the heart of organisational innovation and strategy. This business success tool summarises six core principles that ensure marketing is aligned with purpose and sustainability. Initiated as a result of original research by Victoria and colleagues, the framework was progressed and refined over the course of four years through exposure to marketers and businesses alongside a growing group of co-creators.

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Keep scrolling to learn about the related underlying papers, 'Characterising marketing paradigms for sustainable marketing management' and 'Reforming marketing for sustainability: towards a framework for evolved marketing'.

Paper: Characterising marketing paradigms for sustainable marketing management

Victoria explores three key marketing paradigms which draw from three economic theories — two of which are likely to hinder sustainable marketing and an emerging paradigm which is judged as compatible. This paper provides the basis for future empirical testing, highlights the tendencies that might exist and where these are unhelpful to driving sustainable marketing and provides the foundation for system-wide understanding of these tendencies and what paradigmatic shifts are required to advance genuinely sustainable marketing.

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Executive Report: Reforming marketing for sustainability: towards a framework for evolved marketing

Victoria teamed up with Jules Peck, David Jackman, and Dr Enrico Wensing to write this report for Friends of the Earth. The report makes six recommendations for changes in marketing practices which add up to the need for the next big shift in marketing to be from 'sense and provide’ to 'co-create and guide for sustainability'. It also notes that the shift needs to be faster and more widespread if wellbeing is to be achieved for both people and planet.

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Blog: Purpose and marketing – bedfellows or in battle?

Writing for the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), Victoria discusses the relationship and conflict between marketing and purpose. The post explores how the development of purpose-led marking practices can help lead organisations and society to a positive future, instead of driving it in the other direction. It also argues that the transformation to a sustainable future will require marketers and creatives to recognise their position of influence in the economy and society and use this and all their tools to drive system, organisation and behaviour change.

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Paper: Creating Sustainable Identities: The significance of the Financially Affluent Self

Marketing decision-makers in companies wield huge brainprints and footprints in the world – through the messages and meaningful connections made, marketers shape our identities, society and culture and how the material world is used and abused. One of the most powerful identities is that of being financially affluent. This paper sets out how marketing shapes identities and how the decisions made about use of the affluent identity, and also the environmentalist identity tend to lock-in unsustainable behaviour at a very deep level, and what can be done about this.

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Paper: Averting Catastrophic Climate Change: Confronting Wealth

In this academic paper, Victoria highlights that the links between wealth and carbon dioxide must be addressed and that although highly debated, the links are not well considered, especially at the detailed level of what drives consumption preferences of the global wealthy. In the context of increasing wealth concentration and poverty gaps, this subject is central to issues of social justice as well as environmental integrity.

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Publication: Wealth Destruction

A letter in the NewScientist that argues that we need to focus on changing the behaviour of the global wealthy if we want to achieve a sustainable future.

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Paper: Reconciling Scientific Reality with Realpolitik: Moving Beyond Carbon Pricing to TEQs – an Integrated, Economy-wide Emissions Cap

Co-written by Victoria along with Shaun Chamberlin and Larch Maxey, this article considers why price-based frameworks may be inherently unsuitable for delivering unprecedented global emissions reductions while retaining the necessary public and political support, and argues that it is time to instead draw on quantity-based mechanisms such as TEQs (tradable energy quotas). Finally, there are reflections on the role that the carbon management community can play in further developing TEQs and reducing the rift between what climate science calls for and what politics is delivering.

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Paper: Intermediaries’ perspectives on the public’s role in the energy transitions needed to deliver UK climate change policy goals

Funded by an Oxford University grant and co-written by Victoria and her colleagues Christopher Shaw, Stuart Capstick and Emily Cox, this paper summarises research on how the role of the public is viewed by policy leaders in the space of achieving net-zero. It concludes that command-and-control policies are the preference and that the public is largely assumed to be not useful or able to drive the solutions needed – something the authors conclude is a mistake.

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Other Highlights

Shedding light on the role that being rich has on a sustainable future and how to address it

One of Victoria’s key areas of expertise lies in luxury and affluent consumption, the influence on a sustainable future and the behavioural, governance and organisational changes needed to make this impact positive. Her PhD (Exeter 2007-2012) was on this topic and a range of publications address this topic.

Setting out the policies to ensure society stays within its carbon budget and makes the most of human ingenuity to make this happen

Victoria has undertaken empirical and theoretical work to question how to turn net-zero from a hope to an assured reality.

Blogs: Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI)

John North, the CEO of GRLI, invited Victoria to set out the basis for her focus on the pillars of Purpose, Governance, Marketing, Leadership and Culture in this series of 5 blogs:

Magazine: Make The World Better Magazine – the WellBeing Economy Issue (Forthcoming 2024)

Victoria is lending her expertise to the upcoming Wellbeing Economy edition of Sparx Publishing Group’s purpose-driven publication, Make The World Better Magazine. Victoria will be acting as a consultant and guest writer for this issue.