Dr. Hamish van der Ven, Principal Investigator
Hamish van der Ven is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Business Management of Natural Resources in the Department of Wood Science in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on the impacts of online activism on business behaviour and the physical, social and political consequences of humanity’s growing reliance on the internet as they relate to the natural environment. He is the author of Beyond Greenwash: Explaining Credibility in Transnational Eco-Labeling (Oxford University Press, 2019). Prior to joining UBC, he held positions at McGill University and Yale University.
Diego Corry, MSc Student
Diego’s research interests lie at the crossroads of sustainability, business performance, and social movements. His thesis focuses on the relationship between online public sentiment, risk agency ratings, and stock prices within the Canadian energy sector. By scraping Twitter data related to Canadian energy companies, he intends to evaluate each tweet based on sentiment and compare these scores to the company’s risk ratings and stock prices over the last two years.
Rawie Elnur, MSc Student
I am eager to combine my interests in climate policy and statistical analysis to tackle sustainable energy and development challenges we collectively face. My research project focuses on the convergence and divergence of science communication across different mediums. The comparison is between Twitter, chatbots, and the academic literature – what sustainability themes regarding bioenergy get foregrounded in some mediums and marginalized in others. By investigating the arbiters of discourse, I hope to uncover what informs societal perceptions on carbon neutrality, sustainability, and renewable energy transitions. I previously completed my undergraduate degree at UBC, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Economics.
Viola Provost, PhD Student
My research focus lies on science communication and social media, specifically how environmental issues are discussed and disseminated online. It fascinates me how social media platforms, like TikTok, have become important venues for public discourse, potentially shaping our attitudes, values, and beliefs toward the environment. In understanding this digital culture, I employ a mixed-methods approach with qualitative and quantitative components. My overarching goal is to include public values and needs in decision-making and science production. Prior to starting the PhD program, I received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and a Master of Science in Freshwater and Marine Biology from the University of Amsterdam, along with a Major in Science Communication from Vrije University.
Muh Syukron, PhD Student
My interests lie in the intersection of humans and the environment. The research project that I am currently conducting is titled “A Tale of Social Media Influence on Environmental Governance: Evidence from Palm Oil Industry.” One central focus of my study is situated on the online narratives of sustainability of palm oil production and consumption through the lens of global value chains by employing a textual analysis. Specifically, I am interested in studying different narratives that social media users in Indonesia, North America, and European countries apply to palm oil through digital campaigns. Through a comparative study, I also analyze how social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) might affect users’ engagement in the online environmental movement about the palm oil industry. Finally, using a qualitative approach, my research explores how state and non-state agencies might play critical roles in responding to public concerns about the sustainability of the palm oil industry and promoting environmental stewardship.