27 Oct 2023

New Faculty Profiles: Gunther Glenk


HBS faculty comprises more than 300 scholars and practitioners who bring leading-edge research, extensive experience, and deep insights into the classroom, to organizations, and to leaders across the globe. We asked new faculty at HBS about their background, their new roles, and their interests.

Gunther Glenk, visiting fellow, Institute for the Study of Business in Global Society

What’s your area of research and what led you to it?
My research examines the cost and speed of corporate decarbonization. Specific topics include the economics and management of corporate carbon emissions, decarbonization and sustainable energy technologies, and incentives for climate action. Recent work has focused on the competitiveness of clean energy technologies, such as energy storage, renewable hydrogen, and electric mobility.

Why is your area of research important for society?
In the global effort to mitigate climate change, companies are increasingly viewed as crucial drivers for a timely transition toward a decarbonized economy. The credibility of corporate carbon disclosures and abatement efforts, however, remains a topic of intense debate. Some critics point to flaws in the common approach to accounting and reporting corporate emissions. Others highlight the difficulty of reducing emissions in hard-to-decarbonize industries, such as steel, cement, and chemicals.

Where are you from?
I am an assistant professor for business at the University of Mannheim in Germany. Prior to that, I received my BSc, MSc, and doctorate in management and technology from the Technical University of Munich in Germany. I grew up in Bavaria on beer and pretzels.

What is something you like to do outside of your academic work?
I play keys in a rock/pop band with childhood friends. We play shows across Germany, performing mostly our own songs.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
True to the old adage that variety is the spice of life, I generally read and listen to various eras and genres. However, recurring favorites include authors such as Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Hesse, and Leo Tolstoy, and musicians such as Jon Batiste, Jamie Cullum, Dirty Loops, and Sting.

What will you be doing as a BIGS Fellow?
I will work to develop decision tools for managers to navigate the decarbonization challenge. For instance, one project seeks to introduce a methodology that enables firms to faithfully account for corporate emissions and monitor decarbonization efforts. Another project seeks to develop a generic abatement cost framework for identifying cost-efficient pathways toward substantial emission reductions. In a third project, Shirley Lu and I study the quality assurance of carbon offsets currently offered and traded in voluntary carbon markets.

What sort of impact would you like to have as a BiGS Fellow?
Business schools are experiencing a rapidly increasing demand from industry and students for new insights and guidance on corporate sustainability and decarbonization. As a BiGS Climate Fellow, I would be delighted to collaborate with members of the growing research community at Harvard Business School working on climate change. In addition, I would enjoy jointly developing a case study on corporate decarbonization or contributing to a climate-related course.

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