Purpose of STAR Lab

The Sustainability Transparency Accountability Research (STAR) Lab brings together a group of scholars at Harvard University conducting research assessing new business initiatives aimed at improving accountability and sustainability and generating positive social and environmental impacts. Among these initiatives are programs addressing issues in global supply chains and the impacts of multinational businesses in developing countries, climate change and environmental sustainability, discrimination and human rights, and product certification and labelling designed to empower consumers to make better-informed decisions for themselves, their communities, and the environment.

STAR Lab is driven by the belief that new research is critical for the design and evaluation of these initiatives and for understanding their impacts on business, social, and environmental outcomes. Harvard has an extraordinary set of researchers working on these issues at the Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School, and in the Departments of Economics and Government. STAR Lab supports collaborations among these scholars and builds partnerships between the group and a diverse set of companies, with headquarters and operations in many different countries, that are demonstrating leadership and innovation in accountability and sustainability. The research is comparative, examining how these types of initiatives work in different economic, institutional, and regulatory environments.

Through these international research efforts STAR Lab fosters:

Innovation: Generating new ideas for approaches to improving accountability and sustainability while also building business value
Testing: Evaluating these innovations by conducting rigorous field experiments with companies and other partner organizations
Collaboration: Working together on research across academic disciplines and partnering with companies and other organizations in multiple countries to design and test new private-sector initiatives producing social and environmental benefits
Teaching: Creating classes and course materials to share research insights with students at Harvard and at other universities around the world
Influencing: Sharing research insights in publications oriented to academics, practitioners, and the general public in international forums.

STAR Lab is directed by Michael J. Hiscox. It has been supported by the Eric M. Mindich Research Fund for the Foundations of Human Behavior at Harvard, Harvard Business School, the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard’s Center of Mathematical Sciences and Applications, and by Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.