Sustainability at Ashridge
Significant global trends including population growth, globalization, shifting centres of economic power, increasing differentials in quality of life and stresses in the natural environment all point to major change in the years ahead. Our role is to help leaders think through the implications of these changes for both commercial success and broader societal wellbeing.
To play this role, we need to be doing three things:
Engaging in research and thought leadership to fully understand the changing nature of sustainability in each of our faculty’s field of expertise
Embracing ‘sustainable development’ across our portfolio of education and consulting work with clients
Addressing these trends in the way we operate as an organization, develop our staff and work with the local community
Ashridge signs Paris Pledge following COP21
Ashridge Executive Education has signed the Paris Pledge for Action following the historic UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.
Ashridge joins organizations, businesses, investors and cities in welcoming the new, universal climate agreement adopted at the summit, promising to help implement it and play its part in ensuring that the level of ambition set by the agreement is met or exceeded.
The transition to a low carbon economy has advanced at pace in recent years, but progress has been held back by of lack of certainty among investors and businesses about the level of ambition, resolve and agreement amongst the world’s most significant governments.
The Paris agreement, while not perfect, delivers a genuine agreement among the world’s governments that signals their collective ambition to hold temperature rises to well below 2oC and effectively aim for ‘net-zero’ carbon emissions by the second half of this century.
Business schools in particular have a crucial role to play in helping the agreement to be implemented, through their research and work in helping to develop individuals and organizations’ knowledge and expertise.
Many will require a better basic literacy of the low carbon economy. What does it mean for raising money from the capital markets? What the implications for engaging with consumers? What are the implications for innovation and new product and service development? For supply chains? For an organization’s capabilities? What does it mean for an organization’s relations with different national and regional governments and partnerships with other stakeholders?
Business schools looking at what’s relevant for today’s business leaders should be focusing on these questions. As a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) we already have a focus on practical, applied research on business and sustainable development. We are committed to further integrating sustainable development into the curriculum of all our flagship management programs. The implications of the low carbon economy have long featured in the MBA curriculum.
Currently, the Ashridge MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility develops peoples’ skill to lead system change to help business be part of the solution to these problems. Two of its alumni set up the Carbon Disclosure Project, one of the world’s leading investor initiatives on climate change, which played a key role at the Paris summit.
Climate change is also at the core of the Hult Prize, the world’s biggest student initiative on social entrepreneurship. Teams of business school students from around the world are challenged each year to come up with a business idea for tackling a complex global challenge.
The Paris agreement is welcomed by us and we stand ready to work with others to ensure today’s and tomorrow’s business leaders are equipped to play a leading role in the transition to a low carbon future and achieving ‘net-zero’ emissions by the second half of this century.