1. Can you tell us about yourself and your role as Senior Lecturer of International Business and Sustainability, and Head of Department in Strategy, International Business and Entrepreneurship?
My name is Sigrun – which is an old Germanic/Nordic name that means victory and secret and reflects my dual German/Norwegian heritage, though I have called the UK my home for over 18 years now! I did my PhD at Loughborough and I’ve been at Royal Holloway since 2009, initially on two one-year contracts as a teaching fellow. My teaching has evolved from International Business and Strategy to Sustainability and Responsible Management – I co-lead the largest final year module in the School of Business and Management, Responsible Business in Context. When I’m not teaching, being head of department keeps me busy – I enjoy the varied nature of the role, which allows me to work with great colleagues across many aspects of Royal Holloway within the department, in the school and at college level.
2. What are your main research interests?
My main research and scholarship interests are around environmental sustainability for business – in 2020 I published a textbook with Routledge on this topic, which I now use in my teaching on the module Business and the Natural Environment on our BSc Management with Corporate Responsibility pathway. I’m also interested in the use of games and simulations in sustainability teaching and using peer feedback for learning.
3. You are currently running a Carbon Literacy Training course for students and colleagues at our College. Can you tell us why you decided to run the course, what participants can learn, and why it’s important?
I took the course myself in 2020 and although I considered myself to be fairly carbon literate (given my teaching and research interests!), I realised there was much more I could learn and do, so I wanted to make sure I share this exciting and inspiring training with colleagues and students at Royal Holloway. I especially like that we don’t tell participants what to do – it’s all about empowering individuals to make informed choices about climate solutions in their own lives and in their own working/studying contexts. Participants learn about the problem with climate change – we look at the basic science behind it and at climate justice, and then we explore solutions – for example what are possible future scenarios and what are individual and group strategies that we can commit to that have a high impact for reducing our carbon footprint. It’s important because we can easily feel overwhelmed when looking at the climate emergency and focusing on informed and positive action can inspire us to do our part for the planet and encourage others to do likewise.
4. What or who inspires you inside and outside of work?
Working with colleagues and students from across the college on the environmental strategy over the last couple of years has been hugely inspiring – there is so much good work going on that often goes unnoticed and it’s been a real privilege to find out more about this and contribute for example to the COP26 forum in November and run the Carbon Literacy Training with some fabulous people from the drama department and beyond. Outside of work, I find inspiration in nature, music and connecting with friends and family.
5. How do you like to spend your free time?
Outside of work I like to be physically active – I’m a keen runner with 3 marathons under my belt and took up yoga during the pandemic, but I really enjoy being back on campus playing staff football on a Thursday! I like being creative in trying out new recipes (always Vegetarian and often plant-based) which helps me switch off from screen work, though I also watch the occasional Netflix (or other TV) series or play the piano when I can (though I should stress that whilst I’m musical and my surname is Wagner, there is no relationship with Richard Wagner, the composer!).