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Providing a Sustainable Future for Business and Management of Tomorrow
Prof Howard Thomas, Chair of the Association of Business Schools, Vice-President of European Foundation for Management Development (Efmd) and President of AACSB says:
“There is hardly a day goes by without some major national or international announcement on sustainable development and at the same time devastating natural disasters which are increasingly linked to climate change. There are also very significant behavioural changes in the global corporate world. Some companies are for example now achieving carbon neutrality, launching green products and services and taking advantage of the warmer world in terms of improved supply chain management, innovation and logistics. “
Jonathan Slack, Chief Executive of the Association of Business Schools, (and Chair of EQUAL, the group of nineteen European Associations which acts as the think tank for EQUIS, the international accreditation scheme for international business schools) is currently involved in writing new Sustainability Guidelines.
“The Stern Review in 2006 highlighted the risks of global warming and climate change on the world economy and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has produced extensive evidence of widespread natural resource depletion including: oil, water, food and forests combined with a general decline in biodiversity. There is also rapid degradation in the marine environment, combined with melting ice-caps and glaciers linked to sea-level rises. All of which have significant economic and social consequences.
Many governments are signing up to demanding targets on climate change and increasing their own legal/regulatory/compliance requirements in moving towards low carbon economies. This has huge significance for individuals, managers and organisations of all kinds in terms of measuring and reducing carbon footprints and improving energy efficiency all along the supply chain, including: purchasing, transport, logistics, manufacture and retailing.
Given all of the above factors, it is essential that business schools contribute and are seen to be contributing to improved sustainability in three main ways. These are: firstly, in the area of student learning, teaching and assessment; secondly, in the field of research and consultancy and thirdly, as organisations in their own right with regard to improving their own sustainability practice and performance”.
Minister for Energy & Climate Change Mike O’Brien said:
“Business has a vital role play in the fight against climate change. It is businesses who will be developing products to enable individuals to live low carbon lifestyles. It will be business who will make real reductions in carbon emissions through their manufacturing process and through their supply chains. And it will be businesses that will reap the rewards and create job opportunities, through more efficient, sustainable products and through taking advantage of this emerging market.”
Pillars depicts, for example, how Warwick Business School (WBS) recently announced the Warwick MBA for the global energy industry. Managers in this industry require a global perspective, combining technical and commercial challenges with an understanding of the politics in which they operate. Companies also realise how complex the industry has become and recognise their need to develop tomorrow's leaders while managing today's challenges. The Global Energy MBA will bring together people from a wide range of sectors focused on the industry, combining their experience with WBS's world class teaching and research.
At the University of Bath, The School’s Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice (CARPP), has teamed up with engineers at Bristol University, economists at the University of Manchester and industrial partners to launch Lowcarbonworks, a research consortium which aims to try and overcome the barriers to low carbon technologies.
The Lowcarbonworks group will seek to find out why the tools available to meet the carbon reduction challenge are often left unused and focuses on other factors such as: individual motivations, institutional structures,
cultural preferences, and habits of mind and practice – all of which interact in complex ways and affect how technologies change.
Dr. Denise Baden and colleagues from the University of Southampton School of Management have just completed research into how small and medium-sized businesses regard Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
“It is no longer the business of business simply to make profits,” said Dr. Baden. “Nowadays companies, large and small, are coming under pressure to demonstrate social and environmental responsibility in their day-to-day activities. Large buyers such as multi-national corporations and the public sector, are increasingly asking their suppliers to demonstrate their
credentials with questions regarding their social and environmental policies.”
The full report can be downloaded here.