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Report proposal /3542

  • 250-300 words
  • Represents 10% of final grade
  • Submit by 11.59am on 8th December 2020 [w10]) using pro forma, via Turnitin

The context for the report is that you, as an economist, are consulting to an organisation on environmental matters. The initial task is to produce a report proposal that identifies, in brief, the scope and basis of the report you will subsequently produce (as assessment 2).

You can select what type of organisation – it could be a business, a local authority or other public sector body, or a government department. It could be a small organisation or a large one (but if looking at, say, a multinational business, it would likely be wise to focus on operations in a particular country).

You must define what specific environmental issue you are addressing, and it should be one that has relevance to the organisation. For example, if you are advising a retailer like a supermarket, then you could choose to focus on food security and supply chains, in the context of climate change, or on sustainability in terms of packaging, or on energy and carbon emissions. For a local authority, you might choose to look at transport (for instance, the recent Covid-19-related changes in modal use have led to many local authorities marking out more cycle lanes but at the same time public. Transport use has fallen dramatically). For a government department, such as the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, you might look at wider energy and sustainability matters, such as electricity generation.

At this stage you should think about what economic perspectives or models are likely to be relevant and that you will seek to apply to the context of the firm. For instance, this could be the circular economy model, in relation to sustainability or a biophysical approach in relation to energy.

You will also need to be able to show your starting points in terms of research, so you will have to identify at least three relevant and appropriate sources of data. These should be up-to-date – for instance, it’s not much help using data from ten years ago, unless you have a current point of comparison. The data sources should also be of ‘good standing’ – they should be from sources that are reputable and, typically, of at least national standing (though evidently if you are looking at a local authority or local business, then you will need data that is relevant to the area). This can include government publications but also data from other agencies or organisations, as well as from academic publications.

The purpose of the report – for your client – is:

  1. to identify the relevance and scale of impact of the issue on the organisation (and recognise wider influences, where relevant)
  2. to offer potential responses to that issue – how should the organisation act; what direction does it need to go in; what policy or strategy decisions need to be made.
  3. to identify potential benefits to the organisation of such responses. These may be immediate and also longer term outcomes to the organisation.

Therefore, the proposal – as the foundation for the later report – needs to do four things, to aid in planning your report:

1. Client organisation
Identify the specific organisation chosen and provide a brief description of the organisation. Explain why you have chosen this organisation.

2. Environmental issue
Identify the specific environmental issue and provide a brief description of how you think it currently affects (or will, in the future, affect) the organisation.

3. Economic theory
Identify the economic perspective / model(s) to be applied. Another way of thinking about this is in terms of what kind of lens will you use to view the issue and the organisation.

4. Key data sources
Identify three key sources for data – these should be appropriate to the issue chosen and be of suitable quality and sufficiently recent to be of use for analysis. Sources should be presented in CiteThemRight Harvard format and have a brief explanation of why they have been selected.

Feedback on proposals will focus on the likely feasibility and relevance of the report.