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Department of Management

Dr Alison Ashby

Dr Alison Ashby

Senior Lecturer In Sustainable Operations, Programme Director BA International Business & Modern Languages


 SERSF B038-016


Science and Engineering Research Support Facility (SERSF):, University of Exeter,  Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK


Alison Ashby gained her PhD from the University of Plymouth in 2014, with a doctoral thesis entitled ‘From Principles to Practice: Sustainable Supply Chain Management in SMEs’. It focused on how clothing SMEs in the south west of the UK embed sustainability commitments in their supply chain practices and relationships. Her strong and continued interest in sustainability evolves from 20 years’ direct experience within the UK textile industry and identifying mechanisms for addressing both environmental and social issues within the supply chain.

Prior to joining the University of Exeter, she taught and led a range of modules on the University of Plymouth’s suite of business programmes. She was also Programme Lead for the International Business programme and Associate Dean International (ADI) for Plymouth Business School; both roles required extensive interaction with overseas partners and ensuring a range of study opportunities for both home and international students.

She joined Penryn Business School in 2019 and is a programme director and senior lecturer in Sustainable Futures.

Nationality: British

Administrative responsibilities 

  • Programme Director BA International Business & Modern Langauges
  • Module convenor BEM1027 The international Business Context
  • Module convenor BEP1030 Operations Management: A Sustainable Perspective
  • Module convenor BEP2070 Social Enterprise Management



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Research interests

  • SMEs and sustainability  
  • Sustainable supply chains   
  • Reshoring for sustainability
  • Social entrepreneurship and the circular economy
  • Textile and clothing industry

My research focuses on how sustainability can be embedded in global supply chains and the decision-making processes and strategies that enable this. 

Research projects

I am currently working with researchers based in the UK and Brazil to investigate:

  • how social entrepreneurship and social innovation contribute to the Circular Economy
  • the role of social capital and informal networks in developing sustainable supply chains
  • how sustainable SMEs can successfully scale their size and impact
  • the transition to regenerative farming in Cornwall

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External Engagement and Impact

External positions

  • External Examiner Business, Systems & Operations Management, University of Portsmouth 

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I am currently teaching across a number of modules in the business school including workplace wellbeing and research methods and I also supervise a number of final year dissertation students. 

I am convenor for modules on international business, sustainable operations, strategic concepts for business, social enterprise management and crisis change management. These modules make valuable and effective use of my extensive international and supply chain expertise, and I harness my established industry links and knowledge to provide real world context for my students. My teaching is also informed by my own sustainability interests and research, and I employ interactive, case and scenario-based teaching techniques to enable students to explore their understanding of key concepts and translate them into business practice.



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