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Leading European business schools unite to accelerate business response to climate crisis

New climate leadership toolkit to help companies meet environmental goals

“There has never been a more critical moment for collaboration between our institutions,” deans of the eight institutions said in a joint statement.

November 10, 2021

Eight leading business schools have joined together to acknowledge the climate crisis and collaborate to support business leaders who will act to address the climate emergency.

Business Schools for Climate Leadership (BS4CL) is a unique alliance of business academic thought leaders, made up of founding members Oxford Saïd Business School, Cambridge Judge Business School, HEC Paris, IE Business School, IESE Business School, INSEAD, International Institute for Management Development and London Business School. Collectively, these schools train more than 55,000 students and executives per year, and are stewards of alumni bodies in excess of 400,000 people.  

As agents of change and the catalysts for thought leadership in today and tomorrow’s business leaders, the founding members of BS4CL recognize their role in driving and accelerating business activities towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Their goal is to support climate leaders and organizations by collaborating on research to identify and shape best practices, and by working across sectors and generations to accelerate the business community’s response to climate change. Collectively they will raise awareness of the urgency for climate change mitigation and adaptation, seeking to have an impact through joint outreach to all eight alumni communities.

BS4CL climate leadership toolkit

As a first step, academics from the eight founding schools worked together to produce a BS4CL climate leadership toolkit, which is being released at COP26 in Glasgow on November 10. In the run-up to this release, the group held a series of webinars to share this content, where each session has participants from multiple schools. The webinars, and ultimately the toolkit, are accessible for free at BS4CL.org. This initial collaboration focuses on eight topics:

  • Climate Change and Inequality (INSEAD)
  • Decarbonising Business (HEC Paris)
  • Global Strategy in a World Transformed: business strategy and geopolitics (IESE Business School)
  • Technology and Innovation as a Climate Change Solution (IE Business School)
  • Business Transformation and Climate Change (The International Institute for Management Development)
  • Risk management and the green energy transition (Oxford Saïd)
  • Climate change and nature, what business needs to know (Cambridge Judge)
  • Climate Standards and Enterprise Value (London Business School)

The toolkit is being launched on November 10 at the Sustainable Innovation Forum hosted by Climate Action on the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) at the UN Climate Change Conference COP 26 in Glasgow, in partnership with InTent.

Joint statement by deans

In a joint statement, the deans of the eight business schools said: “The crises presented by the global pandemic have highlighted the important role academic institutions must play in providing leadership in times of emergency. Now, as we face one of the greatest challenges of our time–global warming, there has never been a more critical moment for collaboration between our institutions.

“We recognize the need to initiate the search for answers, which will galvanize and promote meaningful action. BS4CL builds on the integrated climate leadership expressed across our individual curricula and faculty research, providing the means to cooperate on a long-term basis.

“We mean to build the foundations with which businesses can lead global action to collaborate across sectors to limit climate change and to promote meaningful and visible progress. Our Post-COP26 Agenda will bring together our collective faculties to share and develop new insights on the rapidly evolving and urgent agenda.”

Business leader Paul Polman commented: “New partnerships are essential for bringing speed and scale to our response to the climate crisis. Siloed thinking and institutional rivalry are our enemies in these urgent times, and I congratulate these academic leaders for setting a collaborative example, and for seeking to work hand-in-glove with business. I urge them to be as ambitious as possible, and to push each other to new limits of innovation and ingenuity.”