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Future MBA

100 seeds for a sustainable future: Part 4

In 2014, author and TEDx speaker Giselle Weybrecht posted one short idea a day for 100 days exploring how we could rethink business education to produce the leaders that our business and the planet need. The ideas were compiled in a book, "The Future MBA: 100 Ideas for Making Sustainability the Business of Business Educations." As a companion to the ideas in the book, each week for the next 10 weeks, GreenBiz will be posting 10 examples of how schools around the world are bringing some of these ideas to life, creating new opportunities for people and the planet. This is part four of the 10-week series. The series can be found here.

Day 31: A free university for all citizens

Nineteen years ago, HEM in Morocco launched Universite Citoyenne, roughly translated as the Free University for all Citizens. The program aims to provide a space where people from all walks of life can meet to attend seminars by prominent scholars. The university consists of a series of seminars, open to all, without prerequisites, which are designed as introductory courses and awareness sessions about sociopolitical, managerial and economic issues in Morocco. The series spans three months and provide courses simultaneously in six cities where HEM business school has a campus: Casablanca; Rabat; Marrakech; Tanger; Fès; and Oujda.

Day 32: Launch Pad

The University of Bologna (UNIBO) Launch Pad is an entrepreneurial acceleration program conceived by UNIBO together with the Italian Institute for Entrepreneurship. The goal of UNIBO Launch Pad is to support the creation of new ventures by doctoral students, post-docs and young researchers from the University of Bologna willing to market the outcomes of their research projects and scientific innovations. During the program, which lasts 11 weeks, participants benefit from the guidance of successful entrepreneurs who act as mentors throughout the acceleration period. The most promising teams, as judged by a panel of expert investors, academics and entrepreneurs, are chosen during a final pitch day.

Day 33: Green certification

China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) became the first business school in China to have a LEED Gold certified building, thanks to an initiative started in 2007 by a handful of MBA students. Other students continued their work over the years, and by 2010 one of their major goals was to ensure that the end result of a planned campus expansion project would be a green building. This has been completed. The building relies on innovative wastewater technology to maintain pools of water that surround the campus. An on-site treatment facility converts 180 tons of waste water per day, saving the school 54,000 tons of potable water each year. There are also 100 bicycles on campus for use by the students.

Executive MBA candidates at University of Technology Sydney Business School in Australia are undertaking a study that aims to ensure that risks such as climate change, human rights abuses and corruption are considered in big infrastructure projects.

Day 34: [email protected]

Antwerp Management School in Belgium has a research project, [email protected], which aims to support organizations in attracting, developing and retaining employees with intellectual disabilities. The project identifies the levers that can help facilitate the employment of disabled people, as well as the potential challenges and obstacles related to this type of employment effort. Researchers with ID have been involved in the project within the school as well. The school has also developed a coaching program for employers.

Day 35: Insurers take action

Executive MBA candidates at University of Technology Sydney Business School in Australia have been undertaking a study that aims to ensure that risks such as climate change, human rights abuses and corruption are considered in big infrastructure projects in collaboration with the world’s leading insurers. The project, called Insurers’ Role in Sustainable Growth, surveys how insurers integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks into their agreements. The results will feed into a project involving the U.N., the World Bank and Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, to look at how the insurance industry can strengthen its contribution to sustainable development. The results also will inform the development of ESG guiding principles for surety bond underwriting. The Insurance Council of Australia supports the institution, alongside two Australian insurer signatories, Insurance Australia Group (IAG) and TAL.

Day 36: Fair fashion

Fashion is a $2.5 trillion industry, the second-largest user of water and second-highest polluter, contributing 10 percent of carbon emissions. Globally, one in six people work in apparel, and women represent 80 percent of the fashion supply chain. Glasgow Caledonia University’s Fair Fashion Center, based in New York, explores and develops new ways to embed sustainable business practices throughout the fashion industry’s supply chains. It does this by bringing together academics, professionals and industry experts to facilitate to explore how to increase profitability with a focus on ethical, environmental and social considerations. The Center has created a guide to organizations and events working on making the fashion supply chain more sustainable.

Day 37: N-LAB

The Neo-demographic Laboratory for Analytics in Business (N-LAB) will provide a state-of- the-art teaching, data visualization and research facility based within Nottingham University Business School in collaboration with the Horizon Institute (Digital Economy Research). The N-LAB is globally focused, exploring the potential of Big Data to inform business development and welfare projects, with a key strand of activity centered upon Sub-Saharan Africa. The N-LAB builds upon the significant momentum achieved via a series of international research projects funded by a range of bodies, including the EPSRC, ESRC, DFID, Newton Funds, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Innovate UK. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the N-LAB is enabling innovations in business and citizen analytics to inform market development, transport development and public policy in collaboration with various commercial partners and the World Bank. This involves re-purposing digital commercial data for social advancement, drone mapping and community mapping.

Glasgow Caledonia University’s Fair Fashion Center, based in New York, explores and develops new ways to embed sustainable business practices throughout the fashion industry’s supply chains.

Day 38: Multi-stakeholder panels

In Brazil, ISAE has been bringing together the school's stakeholders since 2012 for a yearly Multi-Stakeholder Panel. The event seeks to identify the issues most material to the school and collect perceptions about the institution’s sustainability practices with the aim of gathering feedback for continuous improvement. Stakeholders include employees, institutional strategic partners, students, NGO representatives, suppliers, corporate clients, competitors, faculty, financial entities, government, trade unions, specialists, the Global Compact and the principles for responsible management education (PRME). During this yearly event, the participants also make a range of specific suggestions for how the school can move forward with its sustainability activities.

Day 39: Business for a better world

The Business for a Better World MBA Case Competition has been organized by Schulich School of Business in partnership with Corporate Knights, the magazine for clean capitalism, since 2013. The competition challenges MBA student teams from around the world to improve the sustainability performance of a corporate case subject relative to their industry peers. The 2016 case subject was the decarbonization of the holdings of the Norway Government Pension Fund Global, the largest sovereign fund in the world with a value of $940 billion. The three finalists were required to present their detailed business plan in from of a high‐profile judging panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In 2017, the teams are being challenged to design a global equity portfolio that advances the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals while also maximizing returns.

Day 40: Systems thinking

Tackling sustainability issues requires a new way of conceptualizing problem structures, and systems thinking provides foundational frameworks for doing so. The "Systems Thinking" course, offered to students at Palumbo Donahue School of Business in the U.S., promotes holistic thinking through examination of the linkages and interactions among all systems elements using systems dynamic methodology to recognize underlying feedback loop structures. Primary topics include exploring existing models, discovering and mapping system structures; building scenarios; developing and testing new models using simulation software; and providing policy recommendations based on the models tested. Palumbo Donahue School of Business has a range of innovative sustainability courses including a cross-disciplinary course on sustainable tools and processes.

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