European business schools join forces to offer free climate training

Joseph B. Hash

Eight of Europe’s leading business schools are putting aside their normal fierce rivalries to create an alliance on training, research and operations to tackle climate change.

Business Schools for Climate Leadership (BS4CL) is launching at COP26 in Glasgow a toolkit of webinars and resources prepared by their professors, as the first of a series of measures targeting their collective 400,000 alumni across 80 countries.

The training, designed to better equip current and future executives and entrepreneurs, will be made available for free for all, in sharp contrast to the substantial fees the schools charge for most of their qualifications and executive education programmes.

The alliance includes the deans of institutions which normally compete aggressively for students and rarely work together: Cambridge Judge Business School, HEC Paris, IE Business School, IESE Business School, the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland, INSEAD, London Business School, and Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.

The BS4CL group aims to foster greater future joint academic research on climate change, strengthen teaching and improve outreach between staff, former and current students.

“There are lots of businesses and lots of academics but virtually no business academics at COP26,” said Peter Tufano, dean of Saïd. “We were missing in action and that’s what we’re trying to address. We are actively working together because the cause is bigger than our schools.”

He said joint work between the business schools and their parent universities would involve exploring how to support business on issues such as setting standards while avoiding antitrust concerns, and how to develop nature-based solutions.

The schools will also explore ideas including sharing ways to lower their own carbon emissions, which includes substantial air travel by students and faculty.

The group will also look to grow beyond the original eight. “After COP26, our conversation will be on how to bring more schools to COP27 and which partnerships we can create to get there,” said Katell Le Goulven, executive director of the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society at Insead.

“We are making sure everyone has the latest ideas and knowledge, and is equipped to do more. We will engage them for action. As a group we can really make a difference.”

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