Sustainable Business Schools | How Can Organisations Develop Effective Leaders?

Sustainable Business Schools | How Can Organisations Develop Effective Leaders?

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At the Business Graduates Association, we’re passionate about supporting  Business Schools in developing future leaders. The BGA accreditation is focused on positively impacting students, communities and the economy. Our fastest-growing network in business education is committed to encouraging growth, both personally and professionally. 

Here, we share our top tips on how organisations can work to develop effective leaders, from establishing procedures for decision-making to improving communication skills. 

If you would like to learn more about how a Business School membership can enable you to gain a competitive edge in developing future leaders, please get in touch and email the membership director below. 

Contact us here


What Makes a Good Leader? 

During a student’s time at a Business School, they’re likely to learn a lot about the importance of becoming a successful leader – but what does that really mean? 

Many professionals argue that the most important leadership qualities can be both inherited and learned. Effective leaders don’t have to hold positions of power, just as there are many different types of people, there are also numerous styles of leadership. 

At the Business Graduates Association, we believe a good leader should possess a number of qualities, including:

  • Open-mindedness
  • Flexibility
  • Dependability
  • Self-awareness
  • Respect
  • Adaptability
  • Innovation 

Recognising the responsibility held by Business Schools in developing future leaders is crucial to ensuring individuals can reach their full potential both during and after their studies.

How to Develop Effective Leaders

A professional can’t expect to advance to the top of their field without a willingness to perfect their skill set. Some people are natural-born leaders, but anyone can develop the skills needed to undertake a successful leadership role. 

The best leaders develop leaders. Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the key strategies Business Schools can adopt in order to ensure they’re doing all they can to develop efficient future leaders. This includes offering consistent mentoring and empowering individuals to reach their full potential.  

  • Encourage Individuals to Never Stop Learning 

The most effective way to become a good leader is by consistently exposing yourself to new things. 

Learning is a crucial tool, no matter what stage of life you’re in. To ensure that you’re always at the top of your game and are prepared for future challenges, never stop being inquisitive.  

  • Empower Students & Graduates

It’s impossible to be the best at everything. At the Business Graduates Association, we’re passionate about empowering students and graduates, helping them to recognise their strengths and improve on their weaknesses. 

Organisations can work to develop future leaders by empowering individuals, trusting their abilities and vocalising their successes. 

  • Offer Consistent Mentoring

Aspiring leaders should always feel as though there is someone they can turn to for guidance and support. 

Organisations should appoint mentors and work to develop a structured programme that focuses on building trusting, strong relationships. Provide constructive feedback, offering both praise and advice to help individuals reach their full potential. 

BGA Student and Graduate Membership offers students and graduates of a BGA member School, access to unmatched career development services. From CV-building services to skill assessments, individuals can assess their career path, and learn about what employers want. If you want to check if your School is a member with us, visit here, and if you would like to learn more about the benefits of Student and Graduate Membership, click here

  • Challenge Them 

Future leaders are expert problem solvers. One of the most effective teaching methods an institution can adopt is enabling students to reveal their capabilities by overcoming challenges. 

As well as developing their critical thinking skills, individuals can also enhance their knowledge when faced with unfamiliar situations. 

The most effective leaders are confident in their abilities. In order to develop confidence in your abilities, you must first overcome challenges. Problem-solving is an excellent way to boost self-esteem, enabling individuals to realise their full potential. 

  • Encourage Business Exposure

In order to enable students and graduates to recognise their potential as future leaders, it’s crucial that they are exposed to an array of business leaders. This will enable them to gain a greater understanding of the industry, while also realising the importance of networking with like-minded individuals and forming valuable connections. 

The Best Leaders Develop Leaders

As an educational institution, employer or mentor, leadership development is a crucial aspect of management. As a figurehead, it’s your duty to set a steadfast example for future leaders. At the Business Graduates Association, we strive to enhance a Business School’s readiness to meet future employer demands. 

If you would like to find out more about how Business School Membership could help to increase student recruitment numbers and ensure you’re developing the next generation of business leaders, please get in touch and email the membership director below.

Contact us here

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Read more Business Impact articles related to sustainability:

Business Impact: Changing the mindset on sustainability
sustainability

Changing the mindset on sustainability

Transforming business communities for the better can be achieved through changing society’s mindset on the impact of sustainability. Tim Banerjee Dhoul presents highlights from BGA’s online workshop on implementing sustainability practices in Africa and the Middle East

READ MORE »

Read previous editions of the Business Impact magazine:

Do you want your School to feature in the next Business Impact?

By joining the Business Graduates Association, we offer BGA Schools complimentary marketing and PR support.
As part of our institutional membership, member Business Schools have the opportunity to feature in Business Impact. 

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For questions about becoming a member, please contact:

Victor Hedenberg

Membership Director

Changing the mindset on sustainability

Business Impact: Changing the mindset on sustainability

Changing the mindset on sustainability

Business Impact: Changing the mindset on sustainability
Transforming business communities for the better can be achieved through changing society’s mindset on the impact of sustainability. Tim Banerjee Dhoul presents highlights from BGA’s online workshop on implementing sustainability practices in Africa and the Middle East

The distinction between legitimacy and legality, the UN’s SDGs as a code of ethics, knowledge transfer and walking the talk on sustainability – all of these ideas were discussed at a recent BGA workshop attended by business school practitioners where the need to change mindset was a common thread. This is true not just for those working and studying at business schools, but also for the wider society, particularly in the way business schools are perceived by others.

Teaching the SDGs in totality

Ali Awni, a professor of practice and director at The John D Gerhart Center for Philanthropy, Civic Engagement and Responsible Business at the American University in Cairo (AUC), outlined the value of positioning the UN SDGs as an all-encompassing set of principles to follow.

“A school has to stress that the SDGs are taught in totality. You have to look at the SDGs as a code of ethics – you cannot really divide it and say I’m going to do one and ignore 10. You have to have a minimum acceptability performance across them all.”

Awni also pointed to India’s new National Education Policy as an example of what needs to change in business education. The policy talks, in his words, of the need to “reorient the education system from one focused on sorting top talent and identifying top talent students to one that is focused on human development that can improve learning for all.”

“Think about it,” he went on to explain. “Education is about sorting the top talent. It’s looking for the gold medallists. We’re not trying to spread sports to every facet of society and there is never any mention of human development that can improve learning for all.

“Innovations do not serve the base of the pyramid, with few exceptions. We don’t celebrate frugal innovation and grassroots innovation because they tend to be more pragmatic and open source. This makes development and sustainability horizontal and not vertical, which requires a realistic and multi-disciplinary approach.

“In my view, schools of business can play a major role in changing and creating the mindsets of graduates who can go out and change their communities. Once you have enough of a critical mass, then it becomes a culture and a movement.”

Disrupting conventional thinking

How can you foster the conditions in which movements spring? For Henley Business School Africa’s dean and director, Jon Foster-Pedley, it starts with challenging schools to go further in their actions on sustainability and disrupting conventional thinking.

“I want to think about the difference between legality and legitimacy,” Foster-Pedley said. “Extinction Rebellion says that the science is clear. We’re definitely heading towards catastrophic climate change, or feeling it already, and the government and wider society is mainly ignoring this. Therefore, we have to do something about it.

“Where should business schools sit here? Of course, being seen to be the provocateurs or activists is very uncomfortable. In fact, many people would say it’s absolutely not what business schools would do, but I would question that now. 

“What sort of ethics do we need to deal with? Do you want to build a world where you know our children are, collectively, going to grow up in a boiling planet with fewer species and less opportunity?

“If we want to really engage with sustainability in business schools, we have to not just study and talk about this, we also have to integrate these thoughts like DNA into the heart of our activities and be prepared to challenge some of our most sacred thoughts.”

Ensuring students are “awake to what’s happening”

Jane Usher, head of department at Milpark Business School, also questioned whether current approaches were sufficient, arguing that business schools must “walk the talk” on sustainability in their operations and that their faculty members should do the same.

“Business schools have a very important role to play in promoting awareness and finding innovative ways to enable their students to embrace specific aspects of sustainability. It is threaded throughout the curricula of our schools in South Africa, but I wonder if we are doing enough.”

Usher then outlined Milpark’s current teaching approach in this regard. “We have a module on business ethics and corporate governance and a module specifically on social responsibility and environmental management. All of our postgraduate and MBA students do these foundational modules and they underpin all the modules that come after that.

“We want to ensure that students have a theoretical understanding and are able to analyse corporate social responsibility issues. They also need to be able to understand that current forms of economic activity are either unsustainable or, at least, will be subject to a wider raft of ethical social environmental constraints in the future. They need to be forward-looking and they need to be awake to what’s happening in their communities and localities.

“The most important element in this [social responsibility and environmental management] module is that students need to identify a charity within their community who is willing to work with them. Students learn what is happening and what is required from the charities and then find ways of assisting them to ensure that they are sustainable, that they can receive funding and that they can continue to have an impact within their local community… We’ve seen students who have graduated and still go back to the charity.”

Mutually beneficial collaborations

The importance of knowledge transfer for business schools in developing and furthering sustainability solutions was discussed by Helmi Hammami, a professor of finance and accounting at Rennes School of Business.

Hammami began by drawing on a Cambridge University definition that, “knowledge transfer is a term used to encompass a very broad range of activities to support mutually beneficial collaborations between universities, businesses and the public sector.”

“We cannot do innovation by just sitting in our offices. Innovation is about knowledge transfer,” he then explained. “There is a myriad of channels [through which we can] share knowledge. First, we have our students – we train our students, they go for internships and then they are on the job market. These are very good ways to disseminate the knowledge that we create in schools/universities, training and workshops.

“Then you have research projects and publications that serve the community, businesses and society. Following this, you have consultancy, new business creation and community engagement.  These are channels we can transfer knowledge to outside the boundaries of our organisations. This is what we call the ‘knowledge triangle’ – a model that makes the links between research, higher education and business.”

Hammami, a senior advisor to the Rennes School of Business dean on knowledge transfer, ended by saying that the process is not without its challenges. Here, he returned to the central theme of the need to shift mindsets, albeit of those outside the business school sector in this instance. “Business schools are not always seen as hubs of knowledge creation. There is a misperception about what such schools do, with narratives that they live in a bubble that is disconnected from the reality of society and business needs.”

This event forms part of a series of capacity-building workshops organised by the Business Graduates Association (BGA) across the world. The next workshop takes place on Thursday 16 February 2023 in Berlin, Germany. Learn more here.

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Business Impact: Changing the mindset on sustainability
sustainability

Changing the mindset on sustainability

Transforming business communities for the better can be achieved through changing society’s mindset on the impact of sustainability. Tim Banerjee Dhoul presents highlights from BGA’s online workshop on implementing sustainability practices in Africa and the Middle East

READ MORE »

Read previous editions of the Business Impact magazine:

Do you want your School to feature in the next Business Impact?

By joining the Business Graduates Association, we offer BGA Schools complimentary marketing and PR support.
As part of our institutional membership, member Business Schools have the opportunity to feature in Business Impact. 

You might be interested in:

Upcoming AMBA & BGA award-winning business school events

Become a BGA Member Today

Want to get in touch?

For questions about becoming a member, please contact:

Victor Hedenberg

Membership Director

How business schools can lead the way in developing responsible leaders

Business Impact: How business schools can lead the way in developing responsible leaders

How business schools can lead the way in developing responsible leaders

Business Impact: How business schools can lead the way in developing responsible leaders
Business school leaders from WU Vienna, ESADE, ISEG Lisbon and IIM Indore on the need for quick and collective action on sustainability to future-proof tomorrow’s leaders

Business schools play a vital role in preparing students for future employment by giving them the tools and skills needed to succeed in their professional lives.

While this is a key component to improving the future, and building more awareness to responsible management, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and sustainability. It ultimately lies within the business school to lead the way by trendsetting, innovating and evolving to the needs of our planet and to develop leaders of the future.

At the AMBA & BGA Global Conference 2022, Bodo Schlegelmilch, Chair of AMBA & BGA’s Board of Trustees, was joined by Josep Franch, Dean of ESADE Business School, Ramon Llull University, Clara Raposo, Dean of ISEG Lisbon School of Economics and Management, and Himanshu Rai, Director of the Indian Institute of Management Indore, to outline the main issues surrounding CSR, climate change and sustainability. They also discussed how, as a global community of business educators, we need to act collectively – and quickly – to future-proof leaders.

Schlegelmilch described the era into which business education is moving as a “vortex”. He explained: “We have so many developments going on, and they’re all connected to each other. We need to deliver different contexts.”

“We have a very different geographical footprint, but we have competitors coming in from different countries. We need to focus on the social impact we make, and how new priorities are shaping business schools, and we need to think about our purposes as business educators.”

Stimulating the discussion, Schlegelmilch asked the panellists whether they were optimistic about what business schools were achieving in terms of developing responsible leaders.

Raposo explained: “I think we are doing a better job than five years ago. From my experience, we are doing a lot. We are on the right path, but we need to take sustainability as an objective into the mission of our schools. The pandemic has shown how we are interrelated – but we must pass the message to all our students, so they can relate the work they do to the impact they have.

“We have to take sustainability seriously – talk about it and make it part of the culture of the school. Our students must be open-minded and understand the impact they have on others.

“Equally, faculty have to be aware of how their teaching and research contributes to sustainability, within a structure of motivation. We need to refocus our research and intellect to understand the big challenges the world is facing – and pass it on in the curricula.”

Picking up the conversation, Rai moved to suggest what business education could do better. “Five years back, we were paying lip service to terms such as sustainability,” he said. “We never practised what we preached. There is a lot of effort going in, but a lot more that can be done. We need to move beyond empathy and move to compassion, and this can only be done through experiential learning.”

Concluding the debate, and commenting on the pressure on business schools to adapt MBA programmes or to make them shorter, Franch added: “The right word here is ‘transformation’. You can be under pressure, but [schools] need to have an identity. I couldn’t care less about the threat of ‘three-month MBAs’ – that’s not my game. [My concern is that] business schools need to change attitudes.

“We have courses on sustainability and there is an urgency around including sustainability modules for rankings, but sustainability must be at the core of all courses – from marketing to finance. We must redesign our core and change attitudes at our schools. My recommendation is that students are a tremendous force for change in your organisation. Use them. You need to have a vision, change attitudes and focus on transformation.”

This article has been adapted from one which originally appeared in the July/August 2022 edition of Ambition, the magazine of the Association of MBAs (AMBA).

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Read more Business Impact articles related to sustainability:

Business Impact: Changing the mindset on sustainability
sustainability

Changing the mindset on sustainability

Transforming business communities for the better can be achieved through changing society’s mindset on the impact of sustainability. Tim Banerjee Dhoul presents highlights from BGA’s online workshop on implementing sustainability practices in Africa and the Middle East

READ MORE »

Read previous editions of the Business Impact magazine:

Do you want your School to feature in the next Business Impact?

By joining the Business Graduates Association, we offer BGA Schools complimentary marketing and PR support.
As part of our institutional membership, member Business Schools have the opportunity to feature in Business Impact. 

You might be interested in:

Upcoming AMBA & BGA award-winning business school events

Become a BGA Member Today

Want to get in touch?

For questions about becoming a member, please contact:

Victor Hedenberg

Membership Director

Can business schools shape the future of our world?

Business Impact: Can business schools shape the future of our world?

Can business schools shape the future of our world?

Business Impact: Can business schools shape the future of our world?
The former CEO of Unilever Paul Polman explains how business schools can profit from fixing the world’s problems

Runaway climate change and rampant inequality are ravaging the world. Who will lead us to a better future?

These massive challenges – and shifts, including pandemics, resource pressures, and shrinking biodiversity – threaten our existence. Megatrends, such as the push for a clean economy and the unprecedented focus on diversity and inclusion, offer exciting opportunities to heal the world and prosper. But governments cannot do this alone, and business must step up.

Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever and co-author of Net Positive explained how businesses and business schools can profit from fixing the world’s problems together, in discussion with AMBA & BGA CEO Andrew Main Wilson at the AMBA & BGA Global Conference 2022.

Given the crises in the world today, Main Wilson asked Polman about his own observations around the climate emergency. “The sense of urgency has never been higher,” said Polman. “The UK Met Office has predicted that we’ll pass 1.5 degrees of climate change in the next five years. Our current projection is a 14% increase of carbon emissions [by 2050]. Since Covid, we have seen an increase in climate action. [The pandemic gave us] a pause and a moment of reflection, and this led to a change in trajectory, which I think is here to stay.

“In 2021 alone, we added 30% more renewable power in Europe. Companies are moving and making commitments on science-based targets, which is important. We are at the point at which the cost of not acting is higher than the cost of acting. People are moving rapidly from seeing climate action as ‘risk mitigation’ to seizing an opportunity.”

But Polman added: “There are forces at play that are holding us back. Food and energy prices are holding us back. There is a part of government and even business that wants to go back to the ‘old world’ and get more fossil fuels from the ground.

We have to fight against this, because it would be a disaster. On food security, there are people who want to cut more forest to respond to the food crisis. We need to resist this and accelerate the transformation to more regenerative agriculture. We need to work together to deal with these global issues. We are growing apart – and this will be the biggest challenge, because we must work together as citizens of planet Earth.”

Polman moved to discuss the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which was designed to decouple growth of business from environmental impact, and to increase positive social impact.

“It is a philosophy through which we take responsibility for our total handprint in society,” he said. “We do not think companies can outsource their value chain and their responsibilities. Profit through purpose is very possible. Our purpose [at Unilever] was to make sustainable living commonplace, and this is important because it gave direction to the company and provided a sense of certainty. We wanted to be driven by impact, while being profitable.

“At Unilever, our engagement went up; our employer brand went up; our resilience and our value chain went up; our innovation started to increase – and all of this translates into better results. We truly behaved like billionaires – through supporting billions of people – and this is what counts. It starts with courage. Courage and commitment are vital. If science says we must cut carbon by 30%, we must make that commitment. But it takes courage to work with government to drive these commitments and the change.

“Ask yourself two very simple questions: ‘Am I solving the world’s problems or creating them?’ and ‘Is the world better off because my organisation is in it?’.”

Moving on to address the delegation of business school deans directly, Polman said: “Management education plays an incredibly important role in galvanising companies and broader society. You have to educate future leaders to do this. We are short of both leaders and trees. Business education is the most followed [academic area] in the world, and when people enter into it, they are still lofty in their goals and keen to make a difference in the world. When they leave, research shows, they want to make [more money].

“Somehow, we are turning wonderful human beings into monsters. This is a crisis of greed, selfishness, and apathy. It’s so important that we create these leaders who are systemic thinkers, driven by a sense of purpose, who embrace the power of partnership, and can think a little bit broader than the narrow definition of a business school, or maximisation of profits. They need to understand the power of humanity and taking care of our human capital. 

“Management education needs a drastic change – and not a day too soon if we want to achieve these sustainable development goals. Rankings are still too based on starting salaries; research is valued in a way that makes co-operation difficult.”

Concluding the session, Polman said: “Two-thirds of students want to learn more about sustainability, and want it integrated into their programmes; 80% of students want to work for companies that use environmental practices. Frankly, universities are not responding at the level we need. Your own research shows that the bulk of [students] at your institutions recognise the importance of climate change, but only one third of Schools have [climate change] integrated in their curriculum – and it is not embedded in the whole learning experiences. I have to say there is still more work to be done at the academic level.”

This article has been adapted from one which originally appeared in the July/August 2022 edition of Ambition, the magazine of the Association of MBAs (AMBA).

Main image credit: Héctor J Rivas on Unsplash

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Read more Business Impact articles related to sustainability:

Business Impact: Changing the mindset on sustainability
sustainability

Changing the mindset on sustainability

Transforming business communities for the better can be achieved through changing society’s mindset on the impact of sustainability. Tim Banerjee Dhoul presents highlights from BGA’s online workshop on implementing sustainability practices in Africa and the Middle East

READ MORE »

Read previous editions of the Business Impact magazine:

Do you want your School to feature in the next Business Impact?

By joining the Business Graduates Association, we offer BGA Schools complimentary marketing and PR support.
As part of our institutional membership, member Business Schools have the opportunity to feature in Business Impact. 

You might be interested in:

Upcoming AMBA & BGA award-winning business school events

Become a BGA Member Today

Want to get in touch?

For questions about becoming a member, please contact:

Victor Hedenberg

Membership Director

Differentiation through impact part II

Business Impact: Differentiation through impact part II

Differentiation through impact part II

Business Impact: Differentiation through impact part II

How are Business Schools seeking to address their environmental impact?

The way Business Schools compete is changing. Those institutions which can demonstrate their positive influence on society are increasingly able to stand out from the crowd, in the eyes of prospective students, employers, and other stakeholders.

Business Impact set out to learn more and share examples of how Business Schools across the global BGA network are striving to make a positive impact on their graduates, communities, and the natural environment.

This article considers how Business Schools are addressing their environmental impact. Interviewee respondents represent Business Schools in France, Japan, Egypt, Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada. 

How is your Business School addressing its environmental impact? (i.e., on natural capital, such as emissions to air, land and water, and the use of natural resources?)

 

Neil Mort, President, Acsenda School of Management: Located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of people of the Tsleil-Waututh (səlil̓ w̓ətaʔɬ), Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw) and Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) Nations, Acsenda School of Management sees tremendous value in integrating sustainability education into our business and management curriculum.

With our campus only a short distance away from lush forests, sparkling rivers, and snow-covered mountains, we are constantly reminded that climate change is a serious problem that future generations will need to deal with. For the past two terms, in conjunction with Drawdown BC [a climate solutions education and engagement NGO] we have offered a joint microcredential in environmental awareness, sustainability and climate action.

This is a five-session, grassroots level programme that is delivered online and seeks to provide meaningful opportunities for students to increase awareness regarding climate change, connect with their communities and develop initiatives that help to bring positive change. We are always looking for opportunities for students from other institutions to participate.

The volatilities and risks associated with climate degradation are frightening. However, through greater understanding emerges empathetic and educated business professionals capable of navigating these problems together.

 

Nicola Jackman, Head of Academics, Geneva Business School: We have a reforestation programme, whereby for each student enrolled we plant a tree, in collaboration with Tree Nation. In addition, we have a number of institutional, but also student-driven, initiatives such as the cleaning of beaches, awareness days for garbage recycling and so on. At a business perspective, we can be considered a ‘quasi’ paperless organisation. [We also have] movement sensors for our LED lighting in all three campuses, low water-consumption washrooms, carbon air filtering, and 100% waste recycling (for organic, paper, plastic, and glass waste). 

 

Sherif Kamel, Dean, The American University in Cairo School of Business: The university is supporting academic research that addresses climate change, due to its impact on the economy and the importance of creating a sustainable environment.

The university tackles sustainability from various perspectives, including monitoring its carbon footprint by producing a series of carbon footprint reports since 2011, promoting environmental research and education, implementing recycling programmes, and raising public awareness.

The university has also taken several measures to foster a ‘clean and green’ campus environment, such as developing a sustainable trash management system and building the university’s first extensive green roof.

 

Steven De Haes, Dean, Antwerp Management School: When moving into a new building, great care was taken to design it in such a way that it is self-sufficient in the use of energy as much as possible. Solar panels, re-use of rainwater, environmentally friendly materials, installing re-used furniture, and so on, all contribute to the circular model the School wants to promote. Reducing waste, avoiding disposable materials and requiring suppliers to commit to environmentally friendly services are all central policies in order to save on natural resources.

 

Kenji Yokoyama, Dean of External Relations, NUCB Business School: NUCB operates in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) and develops programmes to drive society towards their realisation. Faculty members are asked to describe in their syllabi how their courses are related to the realisation of the SDGs. We are also a member of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).

 

Yasmina Kashouh, DBA candidate at Ascencia Business School and Faculty Member at Collège de Paris International: We are working on addressing environmental impact by appointing Guillaume Finck, Vice President of Collège de Paris International, as an advisor and ambassador of Cardashift – a community-run business accelerator that collects funds, creates and accelerates social and environmental projects. Cardashift is built on Cardano, a blockchain platform that is considered to be one of the most environmentally sustainable blockchains. The main purpose of Guillaume Finck’s appointment is to help Cardashift identify and support educational ventures.

 

This article is part of a series and has been adapted from an article which originally appeared in Business Impact’s print magazine (edition: May 2022-July 2022).

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Read more Business Impact articles related to sustainability:

Business Impact: Changing the mindset on sustainability
sustainability

Changing the mindset on sustainability

Transforming business communities for the better can be achieved through changing society’s mindset on the impact of sustainability. Tim Banerjee Dhoul presents highlights from BGA’s online workshop on implementing sustainability practices in Africa and the Middle East

READ MORE »

Read previous editions of the Business Impact magazine:

You might be interested in:

Upcoming AMBA & BGA award-winning Business School events

Become a BGA Member Today

Want to get in touch?

For questions about becoming a member, please contact:

Victor Hedenberg

Membership Director

How Business Schools should harness their power to make change

Business Impact: How Business Schools should harness their power to make change

How Business Schools should harness their power to make change

Business Impact: How Business Schools should harness their power to make change

Business Schools must be a force for good, supporting students to be more effective global citizens, writes Barbara Majoor, Vice Dean of Nyenrode Business University

We often underestimate how much power we hold in terms of being able to make a difference. As an organisation, political body, business or Business School, as an individual or as part of a group, we are all capable of contributing to bettering the world in one form or another. 

However, it is one thing to understand what we are capable of achieving, and another to put this knowledge into action. Business Schools have the capacity to educate, to inform, to put knowledge into good hands, but also to be the leaders of change themselves. Being able to harness this power holds much potential. 

I am Vice Dean at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands, where I am determined that the Business School is a force for good – not just talking the talk but demonstrating how to walk the walk too. At the forefront of all Schools’ agenda should be the need and willingness to adapt to today’s environment and support students in being more effective global citizens. Everyone has to keep learning and developing continually in order to remain relevant. 

At Nyenrode Business University, we have adapted our teaching to incorporate this idea of constant change and life-long learning – interdisciplinary learning, where students are offered multiple perspectives on the same subject. This also calls for the development of both the rational side of people and their creative, intuitive, emotional side. It’s not just about business, or having the toolkit to generate a lot of money or profit, but giving students a meaningful purpose; a way to use this toolkit to change the world for the better.

Meeting students’ needs

There are several options available to meet students’ needs at Nyenrode Business University, as these are at the basis of every course and programme. It starts with a continuing dialogue with stakeholders to understand what is going on in the outside world and what issues are at stake in practice. 

It is important to bring these issues together in the classroom, to discuss them, and to understand the impact on society. We advocate bringing research and practice closer together to get a better understanding of the impact on society and to seek solutions. For example, we bring our research output together in impact cases, which describes the impact of our research on society.

There are both long- and short-terms implications to the global shift towards sustainability-centric Business Schools. We currently find ourselves in the fourth industrial revolution, with disruptive technologies and applications such as artificial intelligence, big data, Internet of Things, virtual reality, quantum computing and Blockchain. 

This fourth industrial revolution is characterised by the blurring of the physical, digital and biological world. We also realise how physically connected we are to each other, and our social awareness is growing. Internationally, there is a growing level of awareness of sustainability, diversity, inclusion, humanisation and meaning. This all brings with it great changes for students and participants, businesses
and educational institutions.

In fact, there are five major trends which are having an impact on society. We have ensured that they are also therefore the leading principles in Nyenrode’s strategy. They are: 

• A sustainable society is everyone’s responsibility. 

• Technology is changing every organisation.

• Exponential change calls for continuous adaptation of people and organisations. 

• Ecosystems are the cornerstone of future growth. 

• Organisations are becoming more people-orientated.

Yet the future of education and learning is practical, experimental, personalised, continuous and lifelong, so it is increasingly difficult to predict what knowledge and competencies will be needed in the future. Everyone has to keep learning and developing continually in order to remain relevant. 

As I mentioned, we have also adapted our teaching to incorporate this idea of constant change – interdisciplinary learning, where students are offered multiple perspectives on the same subject. This also calls for the development of both the rational and the creative, intuitive, emotional side of people.

Transformative education

Our strategy is transformative education: the transformation of people, organisations and society. The full impact of environmental, social and governance (ESG) themes on society are unknown. Unknown risks cannot be managed; you must recognise them before you can get started with them. 

These themes show complex patterns in which hardly any structure can be applied. Facing this requires an open mind, self-knowledge, wisdom and curiosity. 

We want to contribute with research and education to understand this complicated societal challenge, and to help identify a solution. Creative thinkers and practical problem solvers are also key to finding an educational solution.

There are many different practical steps Schools can take to implement these key issues within their programmes. For example, putting green issues into the curricula or working with sustainable and ethical employers. For Nyenrode, it took the form of embracing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in its 2020 – 2024 strategy. 

Our primary focus is on the UN SDG 8: ‘Decent work and economic growth.’ Inclusive and sustainable economic growth can drive progress and generate the means to implement further sustainability goals. The pandemic has led to the loss of more than 255 million full-time jobs. 

Although economic recovery is under way, it will take several years to fully build back not only the economy, but society as a whole. In addition, this SDG has sub-goals that include labour rights, inclusion and equality at work, and access to financial services. 

Nyenrode Business University strives to be an inclusive organisation, with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. We believe it is important to be transparent around how we are incorporating this goal with our community, in the hope that it may create a snowball effect for other Schools or companies. 

One practical step we are taking is to incorporate the SDG into education and targeted impact research which allows us, simultaneously, to strengthen the societal impact we are having. Our valuable in-house knowledge is actively shared, in order to enhance results in terms of meeting all the sustainable development goals. By showing leadership and taking the initiative at an organisational, team and individual level, we are working towards a sustainable future. This goal ties in with our purpose (serving society by shaping responsible leaders), origin, and strategic focus, and is underpinned by our core values: leadership, entrepreneurship and stewardship.

In this way, studying at Nyenrode Business University encourages critical thinking that focuses on how to deal with current and future societal challenges. We even help to develop practical solutions by building knowledge centres with business partners, and solving challenges together. Further examples of the work Nyenrode Business University is doing around the sustainability agenda relates to SDG 17, which involves ‘strengthening the means of implementation and revitalising the global partnership for sustainable development’. 

These days, serving society goes beyond organisational and national boundaries. It requires co-operation with partners in ecosystems. We strive to be a hub where people and organisations make new connections and create social impact jointly. 

Sustainability in our ways of working

We simply cannot ignore sustainability in our way of working any longer. This means we are investing research, time and money in our sustainable future. This has been put into practice in our facility services and the way we maintain our estate. 

We have been voted one of the top 10 most amazing Business School campuses in the world. We are set in a serene location between the River Vecht and the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. It comprises a 13th-century castle and a lovely setting that’s rich in wildlife and woodland. Our campus is home to many animals. 

So, next on our list is to start thinking about how we incorporate the natural environment of our estate into our buildings. It goes much further than just providing tools or knowledge on how to make the world greener. We want this to be mirrored in our campus too.

Business Schools are often in a unique position in that most of their students work in, or have a close connection with, the business world. Students’ connections with business practice are key to their educational philosophy. Students bring the issues from their daily working reality into the classroom, and are offered the tools and mindset to make a difference as responsible leaders.

ESG challenges, in particular, also demand an approach based on an integrated chain of responsibility. All parties must work together to resolve these issues. The chain is production as well as consumption. It starts with understanding the knowledge and awareness of the issues by all parties in the chain. 

It is key to bring these parties together in the classroom to discuss these issues and to understand the impact on society. We advocate bringing research and practice closer together to gain a better understanding of the impact on society, and to seek out solutions. For example, we bring our research output together in impact cases, which describes the impact of our research on society.

The challenge for future leaders is to avoid looking at interests in isolation, and to deal with the increased complexity in a balanced and informed way. Education should be focused on bringing the various perspectives and interests of different stakeholders together in a learning environment. This requires human skills such as logic and emotional intelligence, creativity, and intuition. 

Shaping future leaders to be socially engaged

At Nyenrode Business University, we focus on the leadership, entrepreneurship and stewardship values which create future leaders who are socially engaged and undertake social and inclusive initiatives. They deal with society and the environment in the most sustainable manner possible in order to contribute to a circular economy. In my opinion, all Business Schools need to focus on helping to build a better future.

To sum up, the world today is moving at tremendous speed and it can be challenging to keep up with changing environments, new challenges and all the uncertainty that comes with unfamiliar territory. However, if we are to shift our lens slightly – to see not obstacles but opportunities – we have a chance to make a change. 

This is our perspective at Nyenrode Business University – that the current challenges of sustainability and climate change are a chance to come up with new, innovative solutions; things that haven’t been tried before, things that are ‘outside the box’. 

It’s a chance to give companies and businesses a new purpose, to instil a sense of meaning and thoughtfulness into their initiatives, and what they want their outcomes to be. 

Rapid digitisation is providing us with new tools and ways to learn and should be championed instead of shied away from. This is certainly a perspective that we support and encourage at Nyenrode Business University – and one that we advocate to all Business Schools. 

Of course, as individuals, we all have the ability to create change; however, together, Business Schools have the capacity to influence future generations of leaders – and to lead themselves.

Barbara Majoor is Vice Dean, Professor of Accountancy, and Director of the Center for Accounting, Auditing & Control at Nyenrode Business University.

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Read more Business Impact articles related to sustainability:

Business Impact: Changing the mindset on sustainability
sustainability

Changing the mindset on sustainability

Transforming business communities for the better can be achieved through changing society’s mindset on the impact of sustainability. Tim Banerjee Dhoul presents highlights from BGA’s online workshop on implementing sustainability practices in Africa and the Middle East

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Sustainability: understanding and broadening awareness in business 

Business Impact: Sustainability - understanding and broadening awareness in business 

How should future leaders and their organisations respond to the climate crisis?

Sustainability and CSR is an approach to the management of organisations which is focused on long-term economic, social and environmental value.

It is a response to the challenges of the modern world facing organisations from all sectors, and people from all walks of life.

A business can be a force for good if its purpose is not just about the bottom line, and it is willing to serve its community and satisfy societal needs sustainably. There is a growing consensus that business leaders have a responsibility not only to shareholders, but also to wider society: customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and the environment. But how does this affect business education? Understanding the impact of decisions and barriers to progress are steps in the right direction towards the development of sustainable and socially just economies.

Today’s leaders are in a privileged position, as technology and their global reach give them more power to create social and sustainable value than ever before. A movement for a green-based recovery that will deliver superior returns over traditional fiscal stimuli has gathered real momentum.

Embracing sustainability

During a panel discussion at the AMBA & BGA Business School Summit 2022, two leaders who are making real change in their technology-driven organisations discussed how they think organisations need to respond to the climate crisis. 

Chairing the session, David Woods-Hale, Director of Marketing and Communications, AMBA & BGA, set the scene in his introduction: ‘If COP26 taught us anything, it’s that the solution to the climate emergency is not going to lie solely with politicians or individuals – a big part of it has to come from businesses. Those who are in Business Schools now, doing MBAs or postgraduate qualifications, are going to be the people coming into organisations and making the difference.’ 

He went on ask the panel what they thought would be the triggering point for all business to become more sustainable. Currently, despite the bleak news surrounding the climate emergency, many organisations are still slow to develop sustainable practices. 

Rita Monteiro, Head of Net Zero Programmes at Amazon, tackled the question first: ‘I think sometimes we look at sustainability in very specific verticals, but we need to look at it more holistically,’ she said. ‘The public and private sector need to come together to accelerate the technologies that we need to decarbonise. 

‘It’s not just about new leaders that are coming into business. Of course, the new generation has much more of an awareness around sustainability and social responsibility – which is great because it will become part of the DNA of ethical business behaviour. But there also needs to be the realisation in tenured leaders that sustainability is about innovation, and it is about survival.

‘Even if someone refutes the science (which I would be very surprised about) sustainability is about survival; you have to make the change to survive. Businesses are having to make that shift. I would be happy to see more policy, as it helps to bring everyone forward together at the same level. It’s not about independent action but consolidated work,’ Monteiro concluded.

Adam Hall, Head of Sustainability at Internet Fusion Group, added his own thoughts to this. ‘You also need to see that action from customers,’ he said. ‘They need to support responsible businesses to keep that momentum going. But I strongly feel that business should take the lead here.’

Wrapping up the session, Hall gave advice to organisations on how business should connect with climate change: ‘Sustainability has to be delivered across all departments,’ he argued. ‘It is not one department that delivers it for everyone. In most situations, it’s the co-ordination of multiple departments trying to make their elements more sustainable. We need to change the perception of sustainability, it’s a practical function of a modern business. Operational efficiencies come along with sustainability, as well as cost savings. 

‘Sustainability needs to be delivered through practical and pragmatic efforts that are put across very simply, he continued. ‘I think one of the areas we are not great at is trying to make this realistic and achievable. We are guilty, as a sustainability community, of using terminology and explaining it in complex ways – it shouldn’t be, it must be recognisable in every single department. For us to really get some momentum going, sustainability has to be understandable, communicable and achievable.’

Chair
David Woods-Hale, Director of Marketing and Communications, AMBA & BGA

Panellists
Adam Hall, Head of Sustainability, Internet Fusion Group
Rita Monteiro, Head of Net Zero Programmes, Amazon

This article is adapted from one which originally appeared in Ambition – the magazine of the Association of MBAs.

It’s time to think full circle when setting sustainability goals

Business Impact: It’s time to think full circle when setting sustainability goals

We need to start thinking in a more circular and less linear way when it comes to the world’s precious resources, and take a phased approach to meeting climate targets, says Keith Charlton, COO at retail solutions firm, Mainetti

The targets set at COP26 [the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference] were ambitious and, for many, daunting. Some industries and countries were fearful of agreeing to targets they felt were too ambitious to meet, but surely the biggest failure is not to act at all. 

Climate change and sustainability is on corporate agendas, as governmental, investor and consumer focus on these issues intensifies. It is crucial that businesses from all sectors increase their sustainability efforts. The best way to tackle climate change remains a source of debate, with various factors to consider, such as changing people’s behaviour and attitude, questioning current practices, and enhancing technological innovation. In the drive to address climate change and sustainability, no single entity will have all the answers and be able to develop all the appropriate solutions. Collaboration will be fundamental to combining resources and expertise to combat climate change. As such, innovation will yield practical solutions that will make a real difference in shaping a greener future. But above all, we need to start thinking in a more circular and less linear way when it comes to the world’s precious resources.

For a company to not only survive but thrive, sustainability must be at the forefront. Companies of all shapes and sizes are finding ways to reduce waste to help protect the planet. Reducing the use of virgin plastic and embracing renewable energy are just two of the big changes we have made, and we are seeing real progress.

The plastic problem

The introduction of the plastics tax across Europe, coupled with calls for more recycled packaging from today’s consumers, has led to a far greater demand for recycled plastics materials.

Plastic bags and wrappers make up a quarter of all the packaging in the UK and yet only 6% is recycled, according to climate action NGO, WRAP. In most countries, recycling facilities are woeful and the amount of plastic heading for incineration is troubling due to the emissions it produces. Collaboration between policymakers, businesses and consumers alike needs to happen to improve infrastructure, introduce smarter policies and we all need a laser focus on recycled, composted, or reused plastic. Ultimately, we need proper recycling mechanisms to reach targets and change habits to reduce waste going into landfill.

The increased demand for recycled plastic poses its own challenges as supply struggles to keep pace with demand, resulting in soaring prices and good quality recycled plastics costing almost as much as virgin plastic. One way of solving the issue of the limited supply of recycled plastic is to invest in your own facility or technology. Last year, for example, Mainetti launched a global initiative that allows retailers to implement a closed-loop clear polythene recycling system called ‘Polyloop’.

Of course, there will always be the question of responsibility and ultimately, that belongs to us all, but governments should take the lead – as has been the case in Denmark. Denmark’s approach to waste is to view it as a valuable resource and by 2019, 92% of all plastic bottles and cans were recycled.

Taking a positive, more circular approach to recycling plastic can be a catalyst for innovation that results in less plastic waste. For example, the world’s largest toy maker LEGO (who also happen to be Danish) last year unveiled a prototype of its iconic plastic brick made from recycled drinks bottles. 

Renewable energy – the time is now

When it comes to decarbonisation targets, we must keep our eyes on the prize as there has never been a better time to adopt renewable energy. With current events in Ukraine, energy prices are rocketing with increasing uncertainty about supply. These pressures are not just a huge challenge, however, they also represent a massive opportunity. 

One country that has embraced renewable energy and set ambitious net zero targets to deliver great economic success is Iceland. Iceland has already realised a full energy transition in domestic heating and electricity generation. Today, 100% of local electricity and district-heating needs in Iceland are met from renewable resources. For over a century, they have sustainably harnessed both hydro and geothermal power which proved instrumental in transforming the country into one of the most advanced societies in the world. Of course, Iceland’s natural resources have played their part, but it was a commitment from the very top that made this happen.

Iceland has been taking a phased approach to meeting its own targets and, for any business just starting a sustainability programme, it is the measurable way to build momentum. It already boasts the second-highest share of clean cars in total sales in the world after Norway and the next phase will focus on other forms of transportation including sea and air.

At Mainetti, we too have taken a phased approach to decarbonising our business by using as little energy sourced from non-renewable fossil fuels as possible. We’ve been reducing the carbon footprint associated with our operations since 2012 by increasing energy efficiency, switching to onsite or grid-sourced renewable electricity where possible, and using Energy Attribute Certificates and then offsetting the remaining balance of our carbon footprint. Currently 61% of the energy used by the group is renewable with the aim of increasing this to 80% by 2025 and 100% by 2030.

If we want to tackle climate change and reduce our environmental impact, we must place more value on the goods we produce, buy and use. We live in a world of finite materials and it’s time to protect them before it’s too late by adopting a circular way of thinking. There are many examples we can learn from that are further along in their sustainability journeys who are willing to share insights and resources. Learning from them can empower countries and businesses that are waking up to the need to lower emissions and adapt more sustainable practices across sectors. What goes around must come around.

Keith Charlton is Chief Operations Officer at retail solutions firm, Mainetti

Leading a career that puts sustainability first: six things to look for

Business Impact: Leading a career that puts sustainability first

How can you look past today’s skewed outlook on sustainability and build a career that really acknowledges our limited resources? David Ko and Richard Busellato, authors of The Unsustainable Truth, offer six things to look for when considering your path

There is a lot of misunderstanding about what sustainability is really about. However, the simple fact is that to recognise there is a sustainability problem, we must first accept that resources are limited.

A skewed outlook

Today, we have a skewed outlook on sustainability, convinced that it is about finding a way to continue to produce what we can without damaging the world and its people. This is a business perspective where the objective is to meet targets on financial returns. The approach aims to persuade people that sustainability can be achieved either by perpetually reusing what we already have, or that technology will help find new resources.

Today’s business owners, the driving force behind this pursuit, are pension and savings institutions who operate on behalf of ordinary people – the same ones who are calling for a sustainable world. The wish of business owners is to look after the prospects of our future. It is all done with good intentions, but the truth is, when too much money is involved, good intentions become harmful. That is why no matter what we do, as long as we rely on money from our investments to provide for our futures, we cannot be sustainable.

Here are some basic facts that will help explain. In 2020, the pensions and savings from ordinary people worldwide already totalled over $100 trillion USD, and required more than a 10% return on that figure. It is even higher today. The 10% number is what pensions need to achieve so its members can avoid living in poverty when they retire. In practice, this means returning over $11 trillion USD a year, more than the value of all economic activities of Germany, France, the UK, and Italy combined.

This money exists on top of what we already need each year to pay wages and taxes, to spend on business’s developments, and of course, to top up our pensions and savings.

Growing by 10% means doubling output every seven years. At this pace, we cannot recycle enough to support a circular economy. If a clothing company produces one million items today and aims to make two million items in seven years, there will not be enough recycled materials to make the extra one million items. New materials will be required. So, if we grow by more than about 1%, then our need for new materials will exceed our planet’s ability to provide.

What to look for from companies

1. Double-check a company’s growth targets

If you are a graduate looking to make a genuine step towards sustainability, look at the policies of the companies you are interested in and ask, ‘is it targeting annual growth of more than 1%’? Beyond that, you can be pretty sure its policies are free-riding off someone behaving badly.

2. Be wary of ‘recycled materials’

Take for example, a company we like, Patagonia. They have a very sensible policy to move to using only recycled materials. However, if it is only able to recycle the extra million items because another company has produced them from new materials first, then what have we actually achieved? Sustainability needs us to look at the whole planet, what everyone else is doing. It is easy for us to claim that what we do is good. But in a world with limited resources, we have to ask, are we simply becoming free-riders?

Worse still, one person’s recycling can become the justification for others to use up new resources. When we build our business based on not wasting other people’s wastes, we actually end up encouraging more waste to be produced.

3. Try to challenge traditional takes on productivity

In the late 1920s, Henry Ford improved production to the extent that, at his more advanced plants, a new Model-T car rolled off the assembly line once every 10 seconds. Today, we are producing three cars every second, 24 hours a day, every day, including holidays. We are also burning more than a thousand barrels of oil per second to facilitate all of this. All of this is promoted by an efficiency focused on how many units can be produced per unit of input, and a marketing philosophy of ‘build it and they will come’.

This constant cycle of production is fed by outdated ideas of productivity and efficiency. In a truly sustainable world, we need to rethink all these choices.

4. Understand that real sustainability work adapts to people, not vice versa

Sustainability is ultimately about protecting people’s dignity and purpose for living even when life is hard and difficult. So, how can we keep working in a purposeful and rewarding way into old age without relying on money from investments? To do this, people should not adapt to work, instead we need a diversity of work to fit our different abilities. It is about experimenting with rewilding our human economy just as we are learning to ‘re-wild’ our natural environments.

5. Be prepared to challenge norms

Graduates today that are seriously interested in sustainability will have to address some real challenges. How can businesses collaborate so that we can have a natural means of preventing too many activities from happening? How can we move from a responsibility of looking good, to one of accepting that it is hard for ourselves and others to do things. This is so alien to what our schools and education teach us, emphasising that we must treat resources as precious, not a means for greater output.

6. Look for a business’s purpose before profit

For a young person entering into a company and hoping to influence it for the better, the biggest challenge is to be practical. Sustainability is about the survival of a company. How can it thrive when there is no volume growth? This requires a focus on the company’s real work – what is its natural niche so that it can rein back the financial, operational and climate leverages, and the implicit reliance on others doing more? It is about thinking beyond the gimmicks of doing good to focus on what is necessary, so that in the face of rising costs and hardship, the business will still have a niche and something to make it stand out.

David Ko (left) and Richard Busellato are Co-Founders of Rethinking Choices and authors of The Unsustainable Truth (2021). They are experienced investment managers turned sustainability advocates, having left the finance industry in recognition of the damage that expecting constant returns on investment causes to people and the planet. 

Zambian farmers fighting climate change

A business model that allows a product to be given away free of charge while harnessing hemp’s potential to enable polluting industries to offset their emissions. Peter Miles, CEO of eHempHouse, presents a case study of its work in Zambia

To fight climate change, Zambian farmers will soon be growing a crop that most of the world has long demonised. The crop removes 66 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per annum. That’s far more than trees or any other crop. Only mango swamps absorb more, so it has huge potential for the environment. Yet to grow the crop, they have to get a license from the government due to a misunderstanding that almost everyone has. The crop is hemp, which is not the same as cannabis or marijuana. Scientifically they belong to the same family; the legal difference is that hemp contains just 0.03% or less of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). 

One of the many advantages of hemp is that it grows very quickly. It also has multiple uses, from clothing to food and fuel. It consequently gives Zambian famers a sustainable, profitable business. At eHempHouse, we’re helping these famers help themselves by offering them the SB™ system (a hemp-processing Smartbox) free so that they can successfully process organic hemp. The units are self-sustaining in off-grid communities as they use hemp oil for power. The power generated can then be used for other things to the benefit of the local community. 

An unusual business plan to help curb pollution levels

The business plan we’re using – which allows us to give the system away for free – is a slightly unusual one, but one that I hope will become increasingly common. In partnership with the farmers, we’re selling the carbon-offsetting that hemp provides, on the carbon markets. This off-setting allows polluting industries to mitigate some of that pollution. It means that next time you fly, you might be helping to finance the growing of hemp in Zambia.

There are voluntary carbon markets and some that deliver regulatory compliance. Most industries are now having to consider getting involved, whether or not they’re compelled to, as consumer pressure is increasing every year. It is, therefore, an important issue for all businesses to understand.

There is a danger that some polluting industries will believe that off-setting their emissions absolves them of all environmental responsibility. But of course, things are not that simple.  Pollution levels are currently nearly 420 parts CO2 per million in the atmosphere. Pre-industrialisation, it was 280 parts CO2 per million. And pollution levels will continue to rise for some time as emissions from countries, such as China, are still increasing.  

To fight the climate crisis, industries have to take a threefold approach:

  • Remove CO2 
  • Replace polluting products 
  • Develop mitigations for being able to live with the changed climate 

Our business model addresses all three action points: hemp removes carbon at higher levels than almost anything else, the products are far more environmentally friendly than the more commonly used competitor products and eHempHouse is making it possible for polluting industries to offset their emissions.

Promoting hemp’s potential and working to repair an undeserved reputation

The battle we have is to persuade the world of the huge potential of the crop. I’m very proud to say that we already have a lot of support from influential people, and we’ll be featured at COP26 (the UN climate change conference) at the end of October.

Why is it a battle? Why was such a fantastic crop demonised? The most obvious answer is because of its association with recreational drugs. However, you also have to look at who gains from that misunderstanding. We now know that the cotton industry is bad for the environment, yet how many hemp clothes do you have in your wardrobe compared to cotton ones? We know that much of the food industry is destroying the environment and that this is true even for vegan food products. Yet, how often have you eaten hemp products? Do you even know how you can eat hemp? 

There are numerous industries who gained from the destruction of the reputation of such a fast growing and cheap crop. And in business reputation is everything. Contrary to the popular rhyme, words can harm people, industries and even the planet. We’re working hard to put right that wrong.

Peter Miles is the CEO of eHempHouse.

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