A statement from the Council on Business & Society: A global alliance of six leading schools of management

ESSEC Business School, France and Singapore; FGV-EAESP, Brazil; Fudan University School of Management, China; Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, United Sates; Mannheim University, Business School, Germany

Council on Business & Society schools

The stakes of the COP 21 concern States but also the community and economic players. As Deans of schools of management in six countries which alone count for 45% of CO2 emissions and represent a major share of the stakes identified by the COP 21, we consider that we have a particular responsibility to contribute to the reaching of the objectives set at the conference. Indeed, our research and teaching, very multi-disciplinary in nature, have a very tangible impact on companies and their relationship with the environment. Our training creates both a specific mindset and skills for our students who are called upon to be players involved with tomorrow’s economy.

This is why the Council on Business & Society, an alliance of our six schools, based on three continents, commits itself to contributing together to the achievement of the objectives resulting from the COP21.

As such, we wish to develop exemplary campuses in their relation to to environmental stakes. From the design of intelligent campuses to the improvement of existing buildings, we are committed to an approach which must not only have a measurable effect on the environment of our campuses, but also make our students aware of their individual and collective role to promote responsible behaviours.

We grant priority to research concerning sustainable development and its relationship with the great social and ethical stakes of the 21st century. As an increasingly technological world can we also be a more humane world? How can we mutually reconcile or even strengthen economic development and the mastering of energy?  How can we design and implement the formidable technical and managerial redeployment that the energy transition implies? These are just some of the great challenges to which responsible business schools can and even must today dedicate their research capacities to. Social sciences and management indeed have a key role to play at the side of natural and life sciences to not only make our knowledge in climate issues in themselves progress, but also their economic and social impact. As such, we have a role to play in the identification of the processes of mobilising society and the business world in favour of the great initiatives for climate balance.

Finally, we intend to recruit our students by taking into account these stakes and train them to become the responsible leaders of tomorrow. In effect, it is today’s students who will tomorrow be the vectors of the profound change required by the emergency our climate is facing. Taking up the challenges of the COP 21 not only demands good knowledge of their size and nature, but also implies a capacity for innovation and a will to change the world that we must both detect and make grow.

Among the initiatives that we take in the field of teaching, we will create and deliver, from the beginning of the 2016 term, courses on “Energy, business and society” to transmit the strategic, organisational and managerial skills required for the success of the energy transition. The International Forum we organised together this year in Boston on this same theme provided us with a unique and precious set of teaching materials for these new courses. The political, regulatory, or accounting dimensions will also feature in the courses, as well as corporate strategy, economic assessment or innovation. On a wider level, we must also lead our students to tackle and resolve tangible issues in the field of sustainable development. Here too, the international dimension of our alliance will increase the reach of our teaching.

To conclude, we are also jointly developing an index which will enable us to evaluate how our students and young graduates shape their perception of the impact they have on society. This will enable us to assess how our teaching and research not only enables the strengthening of the understanding of complex phenomena at work in the interaction between business and society, but also contribute to choice of career, type of leadership or mode of consumption.

Some of the commitments developed at the COP21 are therefore in play within our schools. By its academic footprint at a world level, the Council on Business & Society enables its members to take up these challenges together, for the economy and for society.

The Council on Business & Society Global Alliance is an ongoing international dialogue between six of the world’s leading business schools and an organiser of Forums focusing on issues at the crossroads of business and society – The Council Community helps bring together business leaders, academics, students and journalists from around the world. #CouncilonBusinessandSociety

ESSEC Business School, France and Singapore; FGV EAESP, Brazil; Fudan University School of Management, China; Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, United Sates; Mannheim University, Business School, Germany

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