Should Sustainability be Taught in Business School?
I write this article as someone who has never attended business school but who has worked extensively for the past three years in the field of sustainability - at an intergovernmental level, at a political level (in federal, state and local politics), at a governmental level (in federal, state and local government), at a corporate level, at an SME level, at a not-for-profit level and at the household level.
In previous articles, I have discussed the importance of economic, social and environmental sustainability in business and the influence millennials have on corporate culture.
With almost 20,000 students globally enrolling in an undergraduate program in business school per year, there are a large number of students being exposed to the importance of moral corporate governance and the impact businesses can have on the planet.
We already know that 94% of millennials want to use their skills to benefit a cause. With these students making up the majority of those attending undergraduate causes, it seems reasonable that we should be teaching them how to do so in business courses.
Reporting on sustainability in business should be a unit in itself as reporting can be quite intricate, especially at the corporate level. Although it is not something that can be taught in a semester, a basic understanding of reporting on sustainability is beneficial to every business student.
In saying this, it is essential that sustainability in business is not just taught through a single unit; it should be carried out as the core principle of business. Businesses must earn a profit in order to be economically sustainable; businesses must promote diversity and inclusion and not cause harm to humans in order to be socially sustainable; businesses must be aware of the environment and not cause harm to our natural environment in order to be environmentally sustainable.
I meet many young people who want to be doing more to help in the creation of a sustainable future but are unsure how to do so. If we can educate students at a pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary level on the importance of sustainable development and what they can do in their personal and professional lives to contribute to a better world, we will be equipping the next generation with the tools to succeed in the achievement of the United Nations' 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
If you would like more information about teaching sustainability in business school or would like to discuss our CEO Caterina Sullivan presenting a guest lecture at your school, please contact Caterina.