Business schools teaching sustainability?

An article on CNN talks about the efforts some business schools are making to teach their students about climate change and its potential impacts on business.

Earlier this month, the highly-rated Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. launched its response to the problem, the Laboratory for Sustainable Business.

Also known, in a more catchy fashion, as the S-Lab, it aims to help future business leaders tackle the issues connected to climate change.

Interactive computer-based simulations will let students to play the role of entrepreneurs seeking to maximize their profits investing in companies that do not harm the environment.

In doing this, they will learn the challenges of using renewable resources within the framework of existing business models.

One exercise will make students examine an attempt by oil major Conoco-Phillips to win an oil development contract in Ecuador’s tropical rain forest, looking at the choices that can minimize ecological disruption and restore the environment.

Hmm, is this really teaching sustainability? Creating exercises in which oil companies continue to pump oil… a fossil fuel that is THE cause of global warming… out of a forest, one of nature’s keystones to mitigating the rise of carbon dioxide levels. How is that sustainability?

Mind you, I think it’s critically important for business schools to be teaching our future business leaders about environmental and resource sustainability, but how about not just through token ways of continuing business-as-usual?

Thankfully there are increasingly more programs like the Presidio School of Management who are really working sustainability into each and every course.


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