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War on plastic wins ethical business award for student

17th July 2019

Graduating student Joel Tate has been presented with the Best Dissertation in Business Ethics prize for his work highlighting growing consumer pressure to end plastic pollution.

The award was set up last year by the North East Initiative on Business Ethics (NIBE) to recognise the contribution students can make to promoting ethical business practice. Newcastle Business School student Joel has just graduated with a First-class BA (Hons) degree in Business with Economics. His dissertation, An investigation into consumers’ choice with regards to single-use plastic and the potential policy measures to eradicate the negative externality from consumption, found evidence of a clear public desire to tackle plastic pollution in the UK. It also indicated a strong consumer willingness to pay for plastic alternatives, which Joel believes is of great importance to both businesses and policy makers.

Joel said: “Programmes like Blue Planet and Drowning in Plastic have raised the awareness of single use plastic and the lack of government intervention to reduce plastic waste. From the evidence I was able to gather, most people really do want to avoid using single use plastic, but they are looking to government and the business community to help them make that change. Hopefully this dissertation will help create a more ethical and sustainable approach to the use of plastic.”

As well as seeing the damage caused by plastic on high profile TV documentaries, the inspiration for Joel’s dissertation also came from his family. “I was already interested in this issue, but I also had a lot of encouragement from my mum who is passionate about helping to protect the environment. Winning this award is therefore extra special,” he added.”

Richard Talbot-Jones from NIBE added: “The quality of this year’s dissertations on business ethics was extremely high, but Joel’s stood out as exceptional. As judges we were struck by the quality and clarity of Joel’s work.  The evidence gathered and the conclusions drawn make compelling reading that will challenge assumptions and help make a positive impact on ethical behaviour and consumer choice.”

Newcastle Business School has worked in partnership with NIBE for a number of years, collaborating on responsible business seminars and exploring how the North East can remain an open, tolerant and compassionate while still competing in an increasingly global economy.

NIBE was established in 2013 by working professionals operating as challengers for good business ethics. It works through face-to-face meetings and seminars advising companies how to develop ethical practices and the benefits these can offer.

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