Future MBA

100 seeds for a sustainable future: Part 9

ShutterstockYurvel Patel
Tolouse, France

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, 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 nine of the 10-week series. The series can be found here. 

Day 81: Training the media

The Media Initiative Africa supports great business and finance journalism on the continent and aims to bring more transparency to African markets by helping improve the way governments and businesses gather and use financial data. Organized by Lagos Business School in Nigeria, in partnership with Bloomberg, this executive training program is offered to practicing journalists as well as business and government professionals and covers the range of topics shaping the global economy and media landscape with a focus on Africa.

Day 82: The Corp

The Corp at Georgetown University is the largest entirely student-run non-profit organization in the world. It is made up of several services and storefronts that offer products ranging from coffee to groceries. It also makes numerous philanthropic efforts to empower the Georgetown community, including more than $85,000 in scholarships. Students can get involved as employees (it employs over 400 students), members of the board of directors or by using the products and services offered. The Corp also has an internal sustainability committee.

Day 83: Eating local

Washington University in St. Louis has committed to purchase and support local and seasonal products in all food categories. About 17 percent of its dining services food is locally grown, locally processed or third-party certified according to standards such as Fair Trade and Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. The university aims to support local farmers by sourcing 22 percent locally grown or processed food from within 200 miles of campus by dollars spent. Students also have shown leadership by establishing an organic farm on campus, a magazine called Simple Syrup that investigates the relationship between food and culture, and a range of food-related events on campus.

Day 84: New business models

In 2014, Toulouse Business School in France put in place a new faculty position faculty responsible for "New Business Models" with a focus on sustainable development. The position was financed by the regional government. The school organized a range of global events exploring the circular economy and changing views on value creation. Different cases in the region were studied and compared with those of other European countries. Students also were involved in bringing together information about 191 projects around the city of Toulouse that explore new business models and sustainable development.

Day 85: Financing for development

Universidad del Pacifico in Peru is one of a number of business schools around the world collaborating with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in an initiative called Business Schools for Impact. By creating awareness and delivering educational resources to drive business schools to action, the initiative aims to equip future business leaders with the necessary skills to iaffect the Sustainable Development Goals, unlock finance for development and shift corporate strategies. The project involves a set of teaching tools focused on the development of business models that incorporate positive social impact including an online network to facility the exchange of knowledge, an open-source content platform and modules.

Day 86: Impact and immersion

Kaospilot is a hybrid business and design school based in Aarhus, Denmark. The school has created a program focused on fostering enterprising leaders, change makers, creators and responsible entrepreneurs. Part of the program that involves "outposts," a four-month placement to a city outside of Scandinavia. This challenge students to address new ideas and task by applying their skills in entirely different ways by working with new projects and local partners. Each year the outpost has a different theme and students have 10 projects to complete that are set up by local partners in and around the chosen city. The students are also immersed in the culture of the country on all fronts and integrate with the people to enhance the learning.

Day 87: Multidisciplinary solutions

Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden has a number of multidisciplinary researchers working together to generate concrete solutions and processes that will contribute directly to sustainable economic development. The school has partnered with the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research for this initiative, which focuses on projects relating to sustainable systems, circular economies in the fashion industry, microfinance and poverty alleviation, global supply chains and human rights, the creation of sustainable food consumption, sustainable capital budgeting and integrated reporting.  It involves over 50 researchers in Sweden and abroad from natural science, engineering, economics, management, sociology, political science and philosophy.

Day 88: Glocal

The University of Stellenbosch in South Africa introduced "Glocal" Classrooms (relating to global and local issues) in order to lower opportunity costs for students and enable broader access to university and in particular post-graduate education. Rather than travel long distances from remote provinces to the universities in larger cities, students can use their phones and laptops to join virtual classrooms. Students interact with others over live online platforms to simulate real classroom settings, including taking exams and doing presentations.

Day 89: Renewable energy incubator

The Sustainable and Renewable Energy Project Incubator at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in Trinidad & Tobago is the first of its kind in the region. It is designed to foster projects that would contribute to the diversification of the economy as a whole as well as diversifying the energy sector.  It provides training along with business support, technology transfer, facilitation of access to markets, finance and partnerships to small- and medium-sized enterprises operating in the emerging renewable energy sector. Not only does the incubator aim to produce a caliber of individuals who can assist in the production of energy-efficient homes and businesses, but it also fosters an outlet for projects of a practical nature to be implemented throughout the country.

Day 90: Students swap stuff

The Students Swap Stuff project at KU Leuven, supported by the Brussels environmental agency, aims to counteract overconsumption and waste from students who often buy cheap essentials when they arrive. The aim is to provide a practical solution to this problem and ensure that as many of these items as possible do not end up in the waste cycle. Existing students, staff and the public can drop off gently used appliances, kitchen essentials, bedding and other needed goods. In September, students can "buy" the fairly priced Student Swap Stuff card and use it to rent a number of second-hand items which can be chosen from the Swap Stuff Pop Up store set up in a shipping container parked outside the campus. The store also hosts a number of events to help students learn more about recycling, reusing and repairing. 

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