Business Schools for Climate Leadership initiative launched

Africa

Six leading African business schools have launched the Business Schools for Climate Leadership (BS4CL Africa) initiative to create a collaborative framework for climate action that can transform business education curricula to match the needs and adapt to the realities of the African continent.

“Our ultimate goal is to ensure that business schools effectively address climate change issues by integrating … complex topics into the business school ecosystem,” said Sherif Kamal, dean of the business school at the American University in Cairo (AUC).

At a November 7 roundtable for African business school deans held at AUC in Egypt, he said the initiative would apply to projects, education and business development activities.

Adjunct Faculty of the Center for Business Ethics at the Gordon Institute of Business Sciences (GIBS), University of Pretoria, South Africa. Rose Phillips said. University World News The organization hailed the establishment of BS4CL Africa as “timely” and adhering to the adage ‘nothing about us without us’.

“BS4CL Africa provides voice, advocacy and action for the unique needs of Africa as we craft our well-meaning responses to what is fast becoming a climate disaster on Africa and the world,” said Phillips.

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BS4CL Africa is based on a model inspired by the European Business Schools for Climate Leadership (BS4CL) group, launched by eight of Europe’s leading business schools at the 2021 United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

BS4CL Africa participants are the Business School at the American University in Cairo, Egypt; ESCA Ecole de Management (ESCA School of Management) in Morocco; Lagos Business School in Nigeria; School of Tourism and Hospitality at Strathmore University, Kenya; and Gordon Institute of Business Sciences and Stellenbosch Business School, both in South Africa.

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BS4CL also supports the Africa Initiative of the Association of African Business Schools, or (AABS); the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC; and Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) in the United Nations Global Compact and PRME Chapter in Africa.

The initiative will also invite contributions from the private sector and civil society and will reflect the ambitions of COP27 to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

What challenges will BS4CL Africa address?

Professor Thami Gorfi, President ESCA Ecole de Management (ESCA School of Management) said in Morocco University word news: “BS4CL Africa’s agenda focuses on four critical axes, including the redesign of business education curricula to align with the continent’s needs and realities; contextualizing research to serve Africa’s priorities; Strengthening relationships with corporations and stakeholders to co-create sustainable solutions for climate leadership, and mobilizing pan-African collaboration on joint courses and research as a transformative force to lead climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.”

“BS4CL Africa is a unique opportunity for Africa and African business schools to actively contribute to a better future for the continent and the world,” he added, but warned that timing and funding could be challenges.

“It is an urgent matter. We must collectively mobilize all our resources, student bodies, faculty members and administrators.

“We must work with our stakeholders, private sector corporations, NGOs and state representatives. We want to generate relevant knowledge and spread it widely,” Gorfi said.

According to him, the six founding schools will launch concrete projects, research, student competitions and production of business cases, joint courses and executive programs.

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A sustainable future

“Focusing our energies on building climate resilience and equipping current and future business leaders to avoid climate catastrophe is important and noble, but not enough,” said GIBS’ Phillips.

For that, there must be a “predisposition” with the skills and capabilities needed for a sustainable African future. Phillips added, “We will need to question the basis of business school education and what business schools are.

She said the starting point should be a recovery of the business school’s core management education, but “must have the intellectual humility to question the basis of what a responsible management education means for a business school and to address some potentially uncomfortable home truths,” Phillips pointed out. out

“If academic and leadership change is to be achieved it may mean fundamentally rewriting existing courses,” she noted.

For Phillips, one of the many aspects on the agenda will be dealing with the social justice dilemmas that will have to be addressed as Africa transitions to a post-carbon society.

“The best solutions that truly ‘leave no one behind’ will have to come from collaboration not only within BS4CL Africa’s business schools, but also across the wider academic and learning community, the public sector, the private sector and civil society,” she added, ” Everyone’s voice has to be heard if sustainability is to be achieved on the continent.”

Post-carbon African societies

Business schools should straddle academia, activism and action, Phillips said. “They must serve as sites of responsible management education that advance a just transition to a post-carbon Africa,” Phillips asserted.

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A round table on ‘Just Transition’ was organized on November 7 at the ongoing Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Implementation Summit (COP27) in Egypt.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) describes the ‘just transition’ as “greening the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible for everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind”.

For Phillips, this is relevant to business school. According to her, they should “lead as a safe meeting place for the uncomfortable conversations that academia, government, civil society and business need to have individually and collectively about the ongoing exploitation of human capital and the extraction of planetary capital for the benefit of continued expansion. But unsustainable economic and Financial Capital”.

“Ultimately, the ‘just transition’ movement is an invitation, an opportunity, a call for business schools to extricate themselves from the invisible ideological hand of capitalism that still drives most management courses,” Phillips said.

Phillips pointed out, “The time has come for business schools to examine capitalism as a phenomenon-within-a-reality as opposed to a flux of reality.”

“If we do not break away from our one-size-fits-all myopic growth dependency model, we will fail to envision alternative post-carbon futures that are not underpinned by the principles of capitalism, but rather mainstream the development of new modes of cooperation, such as through communities. Energy democracy with direct ownership and control of energy systems.

“As such, education and advocacy for a post-carbon African society should not feature as ‘optional’ courses in business school curricula. A post-carbon future must also consider a post-capitalist future,” Phillips pointed out.

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