Oliver is interested in the environmental and social risks food systems face and drive, in individual countries and globally. His research explores this in relation to food consumption, production, and trade, using macroeconomic models and insights from across the social sciences. Oliver holds a PhD in the field of environmental economics from Cambridge University and expertise in global environmental footprinting.
Oliver began his research career at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), after completing a bachelor's degree in Environmental Economics at the University of York. His work at SEI involved development of indicators to measure the environmental burden of UK food imports and assessment of national and corporate policy convergence towards the UN SDGs. As an inaugural member of SEI’s Policy Advisory Group, Oliver led a review to understand and improve pathways to policy impact in environmental research.
After working at SEI, Oliver completed his PhD at Cambridge University on a Vice-Chancellor’s scholarship. His PhD examined sources of water, energy and land insecurity in global supply chains, for countries, sectors and food products. After completing his PhD, Oliver worked in Kyoto, Japan, as a Senior Researcher at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN). Oliver’s work at RIHN involved global environmental footprinting of household consumption, dietary change, and food trade, on biodiversity, natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions.
In the CML, Oliver teaches macroeconomic environmental footprinting methods and coordinates the Economics and Technology section of the Sustainable Development minor, an interdisciplinary elective module at Leiden University.
Oliver studies pathways for sustainable transformation of the global food system with a particular focus on food trade, diets, and farming practices. His work employs and combines Multi-Regional Input-Output Analysis (MRIOA), Material Flow Accounting (MFA), and Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) models. Oliver is currently interested in:
- The contribution of smallholder farmers to global food security
- Unequal environmental footprints of countries and consumers
- Spatial analysis of current and future risks in global food supply chains
In addition to systems modelling, Oliver’s work considers how and for whom the sustainability agenda is framed, in both the food and development space, and what solutions or future visions for humanity are privileged as a result. A practical application of this work has involved reimagining the objectives of food systems through a post-growth lens.
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