Business schools must make climate change an urgent part of the curriculum, according to a survey of 169 faculty experts in the Global Network for Advanced Management, a coalition of 30 top business schools in 28 countries around the world, including the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Graduate School of Business (GSB).
The experts agreed that climate change poses a material risk to businesses, which, respondents said, must take action on climate risks regardless of government policy. Nevertheless, most were optimistic that global carbon regulation is achievable by 2030.
Key findings from the survey, conducted in December 2018, included:
Worst drought in a century
GSB director, Associate Professor Kosheek Sewchurran, said Cape Town residents are all too familiar with the impact of climate change on water, food and energy resources, having recently experienced the worst drought in a century in the region.
“It’s imperative that we equip our students with the right tools to find solutions for business and societal challenges such as these,” Sewchurran said.
“It’s imperative that we equip our students with the right tools to find solutions for business and societal challenges such as these.”
Commenting on the survey results, David Bach, deputy dean at the Yale School of Management, said top business school professors from around the world had sent two messages loud and clear: The climate crisis is here, and both businesses and business schools must adapt now; and secondly, there is no single policy solution, business approach, or MBA course that will do the trick.
“What we need instead is broad-based, real-time experimentation, and rapid learning about what works and what doesn’t. Cross-pollination is key, and the Global Network was designed precisely to support such efforts, connecting business leaders, scholars, and students worldwide,” Bach said.
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The University of Cape Town is an internationally renowned hub for climate change research and training. Our work is a strategic response to urgent knowledge and capacity needs on the African continent – climate change impacts have severe implications for economic and social development, and Africa is particularly vulnerable. Greater expertise is needed to understand the challenges and to design, evaluate and sustain solutions. Engaged research can help society innovate and support effective climate policies and strategies.
This series of articles shows how UCT researchers are working with governments, civil society and the private sector to co-produce knowledge that is impactful, moving us towards a more resilient African society.