Featured Faculty: Dr. Laurel Besco


Laurel Besco

Dr. Laurel Besco


Laurel Besco


Dr. Laurel Besco is an Assistant Professor for the Institute for Management and Innovation, and the Geography Department at the University of Toronto-Mississauga. She received her PhD from the University of Ottawa, and previously attended the University of Waterloo for her MA and BES degrees. Her research interests include Environmental/Sustainability Law and Policy, Green Economy, and Corporate Sustainability.


Current Courses Taught at the University of Toronto

MScSM Program:

SSM1070 Sustainability Law and Policy

Geography/Environment Program:

ENV205H5 Sustainable Tourism

ENV430H5 Environmental Law

Current Research

The Production of Corporate Environmental Norms Project: Corporate Environmental Norms and Legal Instrument Choice

This SSHRC and UTM funded project focuses on how environmental norms can influence corporate action.  The emphasis is on understanding how corporate environmental norms can be created and strengthened, and linking this to legal instrument design.  The main research hypotheses are that corporate environmental norms lead to more environmental actions by corporations and that legal and policy tools can encourage the production of corporate environmental norms. This has the possibility of greatly improving the ability of public policy to achieve environmental targets at a potentially reduced cost (time and money) to governments.

Aviation and Climate Change

This research agenda considers the contribution that the aviation industry is making to climate change. While aviation is a growing industry, thus far there are no concrete plans to mitigate its emissions (especially at an international level).  Dr. Besco is most interested in investigating ways that law and policy can reduce emissions from aviation, and the impact on tourism and the economy.  She has published articles on this topic as it relates to tourism and the impacts on small island developing states and am currently working on an article  on how Canada’s federal government could move forward targeting domestic emissions from aviation. 


Laurel Besco on a Beach


Besco, Laurel. (2014). Green productivity: clarifying terminology and concepts. International Journal of Sustainable Economy, 6(4), 406-425. https://econpapers.repec.org/article/idsijsuse/v_3a6_3ay_3a2014_3ai_3a4_3ap_3a406-425.htm

Pentelow Besco, Laurel. (2013). Canada Country Report: Wetlands. IUCN ejournal, online http://www.iucnael.org/en/86-journal/issue/271-issue-20131.

Pentelow, Laurel. (2012). Canada Country Report: National Parks. IUCN ejournal, online http://www.iucnael.org/en/86-journal/issue/271-issue-20131.

Pentelow, Laurel & Scott, Daniel. (2011). Aviation’s inclusion in international climate policy regimes: Implications for the Caribbean tourism industry. Journal of Air Transport Management, 17(3), 199-205. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969699710001195

Pentelow, Laurel & Scott, Daniel. (2010). The Implications of Climate Change Mitigation Policy and Oil Price Volatility for Tourism Arrivals to the Caribbean. Tourism and Hospitality Planning & Development, 7(3). 301-315. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1479053X.2010.502390

Mills, Brian, Dan Unrau, Pentelow, Laurel & Spring, Kelsey. (2009). Assessment of Lightning-Related Damage and Disruption in Canada. Natural Hazards, 52(2), 481-499. https://econpapers.repec.org/article/sprnathaz/v_3a52_3ay_3a2010_3ai_3a2_3ap_3a481-499.htm

Mills, Brian,  Dan Unrau, Carla Parkinson, Brenda Jones, Jennifer Yessis, Kelsey Spring & Laurel Pentelow. (2008). Assessment of Lightning-related Fatality and Injury Risk in Canada.  Natural Hazards, 47(2), 157-183. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11069-007-9204-4


Dr. Besco is a recipient of a $55,000 grant for her project “Engendering the Production of Corporate Environmental Norms: Implications for Achieving Energy Efficiency Targets.” This funding was awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSRC) from a recent Insight Development Grant competition.



Dr. Besco is a co-applicant for the Partnership Grant (PG) project, “Greening Growth Partnership: Connecting Research with Policy for an Innovative, Sustainable Economy.” The principal investigator for this grant is Stewart Elgie from the University of Ottawa. The funding Dr. Besco was awarded is valued at $2,500,000.00 over the course of six years.


Past and Previous Students

Current MScSM Major Research Paper Students

Clara Carriere (2018) - "Comparative Analysis of Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism"

Kelsey Koebel (2018) - "The State of Sustainability in the Canadian Travel and Tourism Industry"

Brendan McGovern (2018) - "Innovative Financing Mechanisms to Accelerate Energy Efficiency Retrofits in the City of Toronto"

Joni Su (2018) - "Evaluating destination competitiveness and sustainable tourism for Nunavut and the Canadian Arctic in China"

Past Graduate Students

Lijing Black (2017)

Andrew Oraweic (2017) – “Sustainable Cruise Tourism Development in Nunavut: Community   Perspectives on the Visit of the Crystal Serenity 2016”

Conner Tidd (2017) – “Agricultural Industry’s Efforts to Engage Stakeholders around Evidence Based Policy Making Governing Biotechnology and Chemical Inputs: Lessons from Neonicotinoids in Ontario” 

Izak Weinstein (2016) – “The Scope and Strategy of Ecolabeling in the Outdoor Apparel Industry”


For more information about Dr. Besco, click here