What happened yesterday had been anticipated for a long time. The opening of the United Nations’ 21st Conference of the Parties (or COP21 in a nutshell) in Paris yesterday evidences how urgent the need to tackle climate change has become. A recent paper in Nature shows how horrendous the economic and human cost of climate change would be – with about a quarter of the world’s GDP wiped off by 2100 and the burden of the cost falling onto the world’s poorest countries left to pay the price for it.
While the Financial Times gave editorial prominence (subscription req’d) to its coverage of the opening of COP21, it also features an article more focused on MBA programmes that that deliver a more sustainable approach to business and management education.
When FT journalist Jonathan Moules rang me, I knew what he wanted to talk about – the One Planet MBA has been at the forefront of climate change education ever since it was created in 2010, and its aims are even more relevant today than they’ve ever been: to produce the next generation of business leaders who will be aware about themselves and the world around them, but also responsible and mindful of their legacies. While environmentalists and activists are keen to point the finger at businesses, on the One Planet MBA we believe business their leaders are a force for good. It is business, as opposed to governments, that will tackle the issue of climate change and resource scarcity through a thorough reconsideration of their (unsustainable) business models as a result of consumers, investors and insurers demands for a more sustainable approach.
The challenges that arise from climate change, resource scarcity and negative externalities are deeply embedded in the One Planet MBA curriculum – from our scene setting Preparing for Change module with WWF International and corporate partners to Integrated Accounting (how do you take account of an organisation’s negative externalities?) to Economics and Emerging Business Models in Term 2. But what differentiates our One Planet MBA graduates from any other MBA graduates is their mindset and deep-rooted understanding of the challenges and the threats business face in this complex world. You can read the FT piece here.
What differentiates Paris’s COP21 from all previous conferences is the drive and the determination to come up with some kind of an agreement to limit carbon emissions and invest in renewable energies. There is urgency. Some poorer countries will argue talks won’t go far enough. Yet, those talks provide the best (and last?) opportunity to agree a new climate treaty.