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Dr Gregory Borne

Senior Lecturer

School of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

01752 636700 Ext:3175

Gregory Borne

Role Summary

Dr Gregory Borne is an interdisciplinary social scientist with an emphasis on sustainability. He has worked for international organisations such as United Nations as well as organisations in the government, education and third sectors. He is the author of numerous journal articles and four books on different components of sustainability. Greg is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors as well as the Institution of Environmental Sciences. Greg is the programme lead for the innovative BA (Hons) Social Sciences and  the MRes in Social Sciences.  Greg is also: 

Post graduate research coordinator supporting post graduate research students.  Responsibility for preparing the annual research environment statement

Member of the research degree scrutiny panel

Member of the research and knowledge exchange committee 


Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Performance  (PGCAP) (2013)


Member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS) (2011)



PhD, ‘Sustainable Development: The Reflexive Governance of Risk’, University of Plymouth (2006)



MSc Social Research, School of Law and Social Sciences, University of Plymouth (2001)


BSc (Hons) Sustainable Development (Upper Second), Open University (2000)



  1. Public Management and Business Dissertation

  2. Leadership and Governance

  3. Organisational Change

  4. Transitions in Public and Private Management

  5. Ethical Decision Making

  6. Sustainability and Commissioning

  7. Social Science Research Methods

  8. Journalism research  methods 

  9. Our Social Selves

  10. Introduction to sociology and social policy 


 Key Areas

Climate change communication, Climate change policy, Complexity, Green Criminology, Environmental economics, Ecological economics, Environmental politics, International relations. Governance, Globalisation, Leadership theory and practice, Local government, Organisational change, Public policy, Politics, Qualitative/quantitative research methods, Risk, Sociology,  Social Policy, Social psychology, Sustainable development, Sustainability, Sustainable Business, Science/policy interface, Socio-technical transitions, Transition management 


I am an interdisciplinary researcher with a core focus on discourses of sustainable development on a cross sectoral basis. My work continually aims to push the boundaries of sustainable development research synthesising innovative theoretical approaches, advancing methodological debates and applying this to appropriate empirical studies. There is an emphasis on understanding sustainable development in the context of a risk society and second/ reflexive modern interpretations of the concept. Moreover my work has expanded to engage with theoretical discussions around complexity and systems thinking as well as socio technical transitions in different contexts. 

As well as bridging the gap between theoretical discussions and empirical study my work also aims to explore the relationship between the global and local scales of analysis. Whilst not exhaustive, three substantive areas have been investigated.  These should be viewed as running in parallel and interconnected


1. The United Nations

I have explored discursive representations of sustainable development within the United Nations. The role of supranational organisations and global governance remains a consistent thread throughout my work.  For this study I worked for the United Nations Environment Programme directly following the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  This provided unique insights into both international and national discourses and how these impacted on, policy and legislation. Outcomes of this work can be viewed in the book 'A Framework for Sustainable Global Development and the Effective Governance of Risk'


2. Town and parish councils

Making connections between the supranational and the local I explored discourses of sustainable development and the impact this has on local governance structures. The focus here was on all town and parish councils throughout Devon and Cornwall. TPCs are the closest level of government to the community as well as being an integral part of the community.  They are embedded in multiple community groups as well as being the platform for the community’s connection to local government and vice versa. There are over 8,500 councils in England, that provide employment for over 25,000 staff with an annual expenditure of around £400 million.   My  research characterised parish councils as a nexus where multiple global and local issues converge.  The role of parish councils is set to become increasingly important with London seeing its first in over 50 years. Outcomes of this work will be presented in the forthcoming book 'Sustainable Development and Local Government in the UK: Engaging the Local to Achieve the Global'


3. Surfing

 This work has accessed sustainability  discourses on a multi-sectoral basis from leading  Industry figures to NGOs to local communities. Key themes include, Sustainable development, risk, science and society, governance, , climate change,  reflexive modernity, globalisation, democracy, socio-technical transitions. Outputs form this work are presented in the books, 'Sustainable Surfing' and 'Surfing and Sustainability' as a well as a number of jounral publications due in 2019/20


Doctoral Supervision 



Dr Kosmos Akande - Alasoka - Communication and Governance: The case of Nigeria' (2018)

Dr Arzoo Syeddah ' The Shifting Discourse on Corporate Social Responsibility in the Context of Small Medium Enterprises in Pakistan' (2017)

Dr Erdem Erciyes 'The impact of Culture, Leadership and Power on Staff Motivation in the Context of International Organisations' (2017)

Dr Paula Holbrook ' Social Housing: Saftey Net, Ambulance Service or Just Home? Exploring the Potential Impact of Fixed Term Tenancies (2015)


Dr Emma Whiltlesea '  An Investigation into the Opportunities and Challenges for a Low -Carbon Tourism economy in the South West of England' 



European Union Structural and Investment Funds £1421935 Making Waves: A low carbon future for Cornwall’s surf industry (2019) (Under Review)


Surfers Against Sewage Global Wave Conference £5000, Marine Institute, Plymouth University (2015)


Innovation in Higher Education: Leaning the Learning, £5000, Magna Solutions LTD (2015)      


Surfing and Sail Sustainability Initiative (SASSI) Euro 333.000, (unsuccessful) (2015)

ERASMUS+,   KARTA, Euro 460,000, (unsuccessful) (2015)


Centre for Sustainability Leadership and Policy, Plymouth University, 'Sustainability and Surfing' £6000 (2012)


Lead International, Leadership for Sustainable Development Programme', £2000, 07/10-10/10


Promoting Sustainable Communities in Devon and Cornwall South West Lifelong Learning Network £73000 08/07-08/08


Promoting Sustainable Communities in Devon and Cornwall South West Lifelong Learning Network, £120000. 20-01-10


 Departmental Studentship Doctoral Studies, Plymouth University £36000, (2002)


Conference Presentations

Invited Speaker, Sustainable Metamorphosis in the Surfing World, Impact Zones and Liminal Spaces: The Culture and History of Surfing, San Diego State Univeristy (April 2019) 


Sustainability Transitions in the Coastal Zone, Southern Cross State University, USA (March/April 2017)


Key Note Speech – Gold Coast National Surfing Reserves Symposium, Griffith University, Australia (March 2017)


Selling the Seaside: Opportunities and Challenges for Marine and Coastal Tourism in South West England, Devon Marine Forum ( January 2017)


Key Note Speech – San Diego State University  (September 2015) Sustainable Stoke: Transition to Sustainability in the Surfing World


Key academic lead and invited Speaker -Surfers Against Sewage Global Wave Conference  ‘Sustainability in the Surfing World’ (October 2015)


Presentation to HRH Prince of Wales - Ocean Plastics Awareness Day (July 2015)


Unpacking the Ambiguity: Sustainable Development  Inside the United Nations’. Presented at the Governance for Sustainable Development Workshop: Steering in Contexts of Ambivalence, Uncertainty and Distributed Control’ Conference, Institute for Applied Ecology, Berlin, Germany. (2006)


Borne, G. ‘Sustainable Development: The Reflexive Governance of Risk’, Paper presented at the British Sociological Association Risk and Society Conference, Plymouth University, September. (2003)


 Borne, G.  ‘Sustainable Development in a Networked Risk Society’. Poster and Oral Presentation at the ‘Promoting Action for Sustainability through Indicators at the Local Level in Europe’ Conference, (PASTILLE), London School of Economics, September. (2002)


Knowledge Transfer and Impact

Establishment  of research group (and online platform) for research,  knowledge exchange, impact and consultancy, Plymouth Sustainability and Surfing Research Group. (2012-)

Consultation/ advisor, Identifying Sustainable Development Goals for the Seatress programme, Sustainable Surf/ United Nations Environment Programme (  (2019)

Knowledge Transfer, Publication of Book Sustainable Stoke: Transitions to Sustainability in the Surfing World. Cross sectoral contributions, exchange of best practice, open access Marjon Crest repository (2019)

Consultation,  for  Ocean Conservation All Party Parliamentary Group Surfers Against Sewage  (2019)

Consultation, Management Guidelines for Surfing Resources, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand (2019) (

Establishment of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) regulated consultancy, Sustain Surveying ( (2018)

Knowledge Transfer, Co-constructed research and report to, Surfdome (Research published in Surfing and Sustainability, Routledge (2018)

Knowledge Transfer, co-constructed research resulting in report and parliamentary policy advice, Surfers Against Sewage (Research published in Surfing and Sustainability, Routledge) (2018)

Project Evaluation, co-constructed research and evaluation of Sustainable Surfs Deep Blue Life programme (Research published in Surfing and Sustainability, Routledge) (2018)

Sustainability and Organisational Change, Presentation to Network Rail Property Directorate, London  (2014)

Invited participation to workshop on the redevelopment of Kings Cross, London, Dutch Embassy (2014)

Invited policy brief on the role of parish councils in relation to the Localism Act, Department of Communities and Local Government (2012)

Invited presentation United Nations Environment Programme - Promoting Sustainable Communities in Devon and Cornwall -  United Nations Headquarters, New York (2010)

United Nation - Promoting Sustainable Communities in Devon and Cornwall, paper presented to the United Nations Environment Programme, (2009), New York (Invited Presentation)

Presentation at Cross Parliamentary Workshop on Climate Change and Local Communities, Global Legislators Organisation for a Better Environment. Portcullis House, Westminster   (2010)

Report and Presentation to Local Authority Research Council Initiative (LARCI) Living with Environmental Change (LWEC)/ Core Cities Workshop- Creating Sustainable Communities,  Birmingham  (2009)

Development of Accredited Prior Experiential Learning Tool, Responding to the Sustainable Development Agenda, Life Long Learning Network National Forum, Presentation (2009)

Invited contribution to the United Nations High Level ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review (QMR)   on Achieving Environmental Sustainability (2008)

United Nations - Participation in Negotiations on the Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Resolution 57/141) –Report to the United Nations Environment Programme (2002)

United Nations - Large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing, unauthorized fishing in zones of national jurisdiction and on the high seas/illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, fisheries by-catch and discards, and other developments  (Resolution 57/142)

 Sustainable Development: Relating Global Ideals to Local Action. Discussion paper prepared for South Somerset District Council  (2007)

 Enhancing Devon’s Local Strategic Partnership’s for a Sustainable Future. Report on research conducted for Devon County Council/ Devon Improvement group

Advisor – United Nation Environment Programme, United Nations Headquarters, New York, 2002/ 2003







Borne, G. (2020) (forthcoming) Local Government and Sustainable Development in the UK: Engaging the Local to Achieve the Global, London, Routledge

Borne, G. and Ponting, J. (2019) Sustainable Stoke: Umbrella Organisations in the Surfing World , Plymouth, University of Plymouth Press

Borne, G. and Ponting, J. (2019) Sustainable Stoke: Industry Dynamics, Plymouth, University of Plymouth Press

Borne, G., (2018)  Surfing and Sustainability, London , Routledge  ISBN -13:  978-1138856745 

Borne, G and Ponting, J., (2017) (Eds) Sustainable Surfing, London, Routledge ISBN -13: 978-1138930759

Borne, G. and Ponting, J. (2017) Sustainable Stoke: Introducing  Sustainability to the Surfing World, Plymouth, University of Plymouth Press

Borne, G. and Ponting, J., (Eds)   (2015) Sustainable Stoke: Transitions to Sustainability in the Surfing World, Plymouth University Press ISBN 13: 978-1841023410

Borne G. (2010)   A Framework for Global Sustainable Development and the Effective Governance of Risk.  Lampeter, Edwin Mellen Press  ISBN 13: 978-0773437425

Chapters in Books

Borne, G and Clarke, D. (2018)  Communicating the Emancipatory Catastrophism of Climate Change, In C. Heidkamp and J. Morrissey Coastal Transitions: Towards Sustainability and Resilience in the Coastal Zone, London, Routledge 

Borne, G. (2017) Sustainability and Surfing in a Risk Society  In J. Borne. and J. Ponting Sustainable Surfing, London Routledge

Borne, G. (2017) (forthcoming) Sustainable Surfing Future Directions   In J. Borne. and J. Ponting Sustainable Surfing, London Routledge

Borne, G. and Ponting, J., (2015) Introduction, In Borne, G and Ponting, J., (Eds)  Sustainable Stoke: Transitions to Sustainability in the Surfing World Plymouth University Press

Borne, G. (2015) Sustainable Development and Surfing, in Sustainable Stoke: Transitions to Sustainability in the Surfing World, Borne, G and Ponting, J., (Eds) Plymouth University Press

Borne, G (2011)  Agenda 21  in  Green Politics (Volume 2) (Geoffrey, Paul and Dustin Eds.) Sage

Borne, G (2011) Uncertainty  in  Green Politics (Volume 2) (Geoffrey, Paul and Dustin Eds.) Sage

Borne, G (2011) Risk Society  in  Green Politics (Volume 2) (Geoffrey, Paul and Dustin Eds.) Sage

Borne, G (2011) Globalisation  in  Green Politics (Volume 2) (Geoffrey, Paul and Dustin Eds.) Sage

Borne, G (2011) Sustainable Development  in  Green Politics (Volume 2) (Geoffrey, Paul and Dustin Eds.) Sage

Borne, G., (2014)   Sustainable Development: A Developing a Sophisticated Theoretical Framework, Social and Public Policy Review

Borne, G., (2013) Book Review - Foresight in Action: Developing Policy -orientated Scenarios  edited by Marjolein BA van Asselt, Susan van ‘t Klooster, Phillip van Notten and Livia A. Smits (2010)  Routledge, Earthscan Risk in Society, In Health, Risk and Society

Borne, G., (2013)  Sustainable Development and the Olympics, Sociological Research Online  18(3)18

Borne, G., (2013)  Exploring Discourses of Sustainable Development: A Flexable Framework, Methodological Innovations Online   8(2) 90-106

Borne, G., (2012) Power to the Parish, Public Services Review: Local Government and the Regions 20 

Liu, Z., Scrieciu, S., Srivastava, García-Montero, L. G., Borne, G., Deng, X., et al. (2010). Should sustainable consumption and production be a policy priority for developing countries and if so, what areas should they focus on? Natural Resources Forum, 34(1), 85-88
Borne,G., (2010)  Sustainable Development Representing a Reflexive Modernity Inside the United Nations, Journa of Global Analysis 1(1): 28-50

Borne,G., (2010) Promoting Sustainable Communities: Education and Training Final Report, Promoting Sustainable Communities 2(1)

Borne,G., (2009)   Widening Participation in the British Public Sector, responding to the Sustainable Development Agenda, Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning , August 2009

Borne,G., (2009)  Sustainable Development and the Olympic Games, Environmental Scientist 18(3)

Borne,G. (2009)  Achieving Sustainable Lifestyles or encouraging a Counter Reflexivity: Exploring Motivations for Sustainability in a Mediated Risk Society   Local Environment  14(1):93-107

Borne,G. (2009) Understanding Town and Parish Needs for a Sustainable Cornwall, Promoting Sustainable Communities 1(2)

Borne, G. (2009) Promoting sustainable Communities in Devon and Cornwall: A Reflexive Review of Practice. 

Borne,G. (2008) Understanding Town and Parish Needs for a Sustainable Devon, Promoting Sustainable Communities 1(1)

Expert Membership of professional bodies

Fellow, LEAD International ( )

Society for the Environment Registered Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv)

Member, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS)

Fellow, Royal Geographical Society (FRGS)

Member, Insititute of Environmental Science (MIEnvSc)

Member application review panel, Institute of Environmental Science


Roles on external bodies

Senior Research Fellow, Earth System Governance 

Visiting Fellow, Center for Surf Research, San Diego State University  (2012-)

Editorial board member, Sociological Research Online (2012-2016)

Strategic advisor, Sustanable Surf

Reviewer, Journal of Sport and Social Issues

Reviewer, Journal of Sustainable Tourism

Reviewer, Journal of Sustainability

Reviewer,  Journal of Environmental Science and Policy

Reviewer, Journal of Sociology

Reviewer, Journal Mixed Methods Research

Reviewer, Economic and Social Research Council

Reviewer, Engineering and Physical Science Research Council

Reviewer, Natural Environment Research Council

Reviewer, Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Other Interests


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