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Prince of Wales challenges business schools to equip students for move to a more sustainable economy

27 May 2015


His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will today challenge business schools to do more to prepare MBA students to be effective business leaders in a world facing significant environmental challenges. 

dean with price charles 2

The Prince will make his remarks in a speech delivered today to an audience of Deans and leading academics from business schools from around the world.

At the event convened by The Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) and The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and hosted by London Business School, The Prince of Wales will also challenge business students themselves: 

“To all those current business school students – and to those who are deciding where to study – ask yourself, is your chosen business school really going to equip you to be the kind of leader that is so badly needed for the next 50 years? Nothing less will do.”

The event is convened by A4S and CISL to encourage business schools to incorporate accounting for sustainability in their MBA and research programmes. The audience, which also includes leading business school ranking organisations, will discuss the barriers to making changes, and what tools and methodologies would be needed to embed sustainability into mainstream accounting and finance research and teaching within business schools.

Said Jessica Fries, A4S Executive Chairman:
“Our work with the finance and accounting community highlights how important it is for business leaders to understand the relevance of significant environmental and social trends to the bottom line – and how far there is still to go to equip them with this knowledge and the techniques to respond.

“If we are to tackle the social and economic challenges ahead posed by issues such as climate change, growing inequality and resource constraints, action must be scaled up. Business schools have a vital role to play, teaching the next generation of business and finance leaders. Furthermore, by tapping into the brightest talent available, they can help businesses develop new approaches that will enable them to take action with confidence.”

Said Polly Courtice, Director of CISL:
“Over the past 25 years we have seen at first hand just how challenging it is for business leaders to grapple with complex global challenges and to respond in ways which align profitability and sustainability.

“Companies need a steady stream of business school graduates who are literate in these issues and who know how to build resilient strategies for the future. Business schools have a critical role to play in developing the far-sighted leaders that companies need. Optional Friday afternoon modules on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ will not cut it.”

Said Professor Sir Andrew Likierman, Dean, London Business School:
“I very much support the call to incorporate sustainability in business schools’ agenda – indeed the issues are already taught as part of the curriculum in many of our own programmes. This is not only because we know of their importance but in response to the keen interest of our students. It is also heartening that many of our alumni are involved in organisations promoting sustainability across the world.

“There is no doubt that there are some big challenges ahead for us all in this field. Climate change and a growing global population will present new financial, social and environmental challenges and we will need the tools and the insights to manage them. So sustainability is a priority concern as we plan for the future.”