Sustainable Business 2.0

“We are seeing sustainability being embedded more deeply into businesses. It is being seen as a skill that people can’t do without. If we are not addressing these issues at business schools, we won’t capture the huge opportunities that sustainability issues create.” ~Andy Cartland, co-founder of sustainability-focused recruitment company Acre

The Guardian headline caught my eye: Sustainability now key selling point for business schools attracting students. While the article focused, unsurprisingly, on the UK, it did address the issue of business sustainability from a global perspective.

For example, a previous reluctance on the part of business schools to teach sustainability was “partly because so many journals are based in the US, where sustainability is less accepted as a business issue than in Europe.”

But this is changing, according to Frederik Dahlmann, assistant professor of global energy at Warwick Business School: “Students see this as an area that they can no longer choose to ignore. Many business schools are now driving it as an area where they can have a competitive advantage.”

According to Mark Stoddard, director of operations at AMBA (Association of MBAs), “Almost 80% of business schools agreed that sustainability is an important part of the MBA curriculum, with a similar figure believing in the shift to a stakeholder approach to management and business.”

However, as I have lamented in a previous post, just who are all these green MBAs going to manage? In other words, who’s actually going to be doing all this important green work? That would be folks like the sustainability specialists we are training at Ecotech Institute’s Business Administration – Sustainability Associate of Applied Science program.

Why is critical for businesses to have employees who understand the impact of sustainability?

Ecotech Institute advisor Colin M. Coyne, LEED 2.0 Accredited Professional and Managing Principal of the Coyne Group, explains: “Resource scarcity demands original solutions. We are well past having to teach the basics of finance, accounting, operations, or marketing. We have to find accessible, pragmatic, applicable and innovating answers to old problems while understanding that a host of new ones wait. Teaching our Ecotech Institute students to respond isn’t enough. We have to teach them to anticipate.”

“If we start teaching sustainability at MBA level, we are too late. Primary school children seem to spend more time learning about the ancient Egyptians than learning about the environment. Children should have at least one hour per week at primary school on sustainability and climate change, and this should increase as they get older.” ~Jonathan Grant, Director, Sustainability & Climate Change at PwC

Kyle G. Crider (MPA, LEED AP ND) is a professional science and sustainability “story teller.” In his spare time he is pursuing his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary (Environmental Health) Engineering and traveling the highways and by-ways of home state with his wife Beverly in search of fact, fiction, and folklore for Strange Alabama.