What should tomorrow’s leaders know about sustainability?

Theo Hacking is Programme Director for the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL), which currently deliver two part-time Master’s level sustainability programmes. They are exploring new accredited programmes that will address gaps in the sustainability-related qualifications currently available at Cambridge or elsewhere.

They are especially interested in targeting the needs of business and would welcome your suggestions regarding themes to cover, which you believe would address current learning needs.

I share my thoughts here on what might be useful in terms of course content.  My response is also on Linkedin.

Some broad brush policy stuff mixed with some practical business and ‘techy’ stuff would be a good mix from my perspective (and thinking about what my non-sustainability colleagues find useful in my company’s own internal senior leadership training courses).

  • Systems thinking and interrelationships of risks and opportunities.. This was extremely well-done and very relevant when I attended the Prince of Wales Sustainability Leadership course in Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg  (right below) in September 2006.

    Library at Schloss Leopoldskron

  •  Vision 2050 from the WBCSD is good source material and will appeal to business people as it represents their views on how to get “9 billion people living well and within the limits of the planet…
  • You could include impact of socio-political instability on progress to a more sustainable world, ie what is the balance sheet of benefits and impacts of democratization / Arab Spring. Case studies would be interesting to see, although I admit this would need a lot of work (or consolidation of other people’s work) if it is to be of use. However, business is very interested in how resilient they are from a basket of risks, including how instability or hostilities in a country, part of a country or in a larger region can affect business. Deloitte and Forbes did some good and interesting work on this, which was published in August.
  • The apparent contradiction of the ‘greening of the armed forces’, particularly UK and USA – lots of web resources on this. Some weeding and triaging of sources is needed, but when they cite turning over 16 million acres of Defense Department-owned land for renewable power generation, this looks significant. And in the field, deployed and fighting, fuel efficiency for example, makes good military sense in terms of going further on less and a shorter supply chain. The BBC had an interesting programme on this too.
  • Energy efficiency (INTEREST DECLARED as this is what my company is pushing, because 50% or so of our products have an ‘energy efficiency’ criteria). BUT, the McKinsey CO2 abatement curve shows a significant proportion of CO2 reduction will come from energy efficiency. Possibly not the most inspiring topic, but critical for the future.

You can respond to Theo on Linkedin or I will pass comments on from this site.

About adamroscoe

Brit in Switzerland - always welcome a professional challenge; it's the best way to grow and learn. Currently into fourth career: 1] Journalist, 2] Public Relations and Corporate Communications, 3] Sustainability, HSE, business ethics and crisis management [4] Consultant for 2 and 3 above. Trained as a journalist when it was normal to type reports on a typewriter before entering public relations and issues management consultancy and from there joined chemical company ICI plc as head of communications for one of its divisions. Migrated to Switzerland in 2001 for a job with the communications department of a Fortune 500 company, concluding in communications as head of corporate comms. Assigned to reinvigorate and grow the company's sustainability function, specifically focusing on improving health, safety, security, crisis management, environment and human rights around the world. This background has given me an ability to embed sustainable business practice and true, two-way engagement into the business strategy. I also try to assimilate as much complex information as fast as possible, before processing it and developing strategic recommendations, backed-up by practical proposals on implementation. Interests: photography (see flickr! link on this site), learning more about the 'post-fact era', cooking, wine and classic cars. Twitter: @tontkowalski
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