Leeds Business School

Business School academic scoops sustainability award for work in Colombia

More than ever, countries across the world are looking to sustainable solutions to help solve unique problems that they face. 

Which is how Dr Pedro Pablo Cardoso-Castro, Senior Lecturer at Leeds Business School, became an award winner for helping the fight against the production of illicit crops in Colombia.

Dr Cardoso-Castro was part of the team that scooped the Smart and Sustainable Innovation Award at this year’s SEEDS Conference, after developing a system that monitors the replacement of illicit crops with sustainable ones.

The system uses satellite imagery, topographic information, hydrological data, and on-the-ground data to identify replaceable crops in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria region of the country.

Dr Cardoso-Castro is a past award winner at the conference, which is co-run by Leeds Sustainability Institute, but was still surprised when it was announced that his team had won.

Image of SEEDS Conference Award

He said: “It was a shock to win, as I knew there was a lot of competition for the award.

“We came up with something that is quite unique, and really I have to thank the Business School and the rest of the research team for their support and cooperation throughout.”

Zoe McClelland, Head of Business Strategy, Operations & Enterprise, Accounting & Finance and Leadership Governance & People Management at Leeds Business School, said: “Projects like Pedro’s are so important and highlight the global reach that Leeds Business School has.

“To win an award at the SEEDS Conference is testament to Pedro’s and the Business School’s commitment to finding and promoting sustainable solutions in the business world and beyond.”

Colombia is the world’s largest producer of coca leaf, which is the raw material used in the production of cocaine.

Although illicit crops provide farmers in often-precarious financial situations with a source of income, they leave them in the hands of middlemen.

Research projects like Dr Cardoso-Castro’s aim to provide authorities the information on how to design and implement sustainable alternatives.

The SEEDS Conference co-organised by Leeds Sustainability Institute, is in its sixth year, bringing together experts from across the world to discuss advancements in sustainability and share work. Find out more about the conference.

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