Boston Consulting Group: The Climate and Sustainability Stewardship Programme

Overview

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global consulting firm that partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. Their success depends on a spirit of deep collaboration and a global community of diverse individuals determined to make the world and each other better every day.

Row of bicycles for rent.

The requirement

Equip BCG teams with enhanced C&S expertise to create scaleable impact

Climate change is a pressing issue that affects every aspect of our global society. There’s an ever more urgent need to address this complex challenge. In the news, we witness daily the impacts of a warming planet, from deadly floods to melting Arctic glaciers and raging wildfires.

BCG’s CEO Christoph Schweizer identified the critical issue of climate and sustainability (C&S) as one of the company’s two moonshot projects. With more than 1,500 BCG world-class experts working on C&S across industries and geographies, our practice is the fastest-growing at BCG. With this in mind, BCG launched its Climate & Sustainability Academy to support upskilling all staff around the latest developments and insights across the full spectrum of planetary challenges.

As part of this initiative, BCG aimed to combine their leading proprietary knowledge with cutting-edge academic research to deliver the best insights, recommendations and solutions to their clients. BCG´s partnership with the Cambridge Judge Business School supports their efforts to upskill BCG´s experts and ultimately, to be the best possible advisors to their clients. The learning solution covers climate and sustainability demands and drivers for business, emerging trends and opportunities, and new technologies and scientific innovation. It also addresses issues faced by sectors in reducing their emissions footprint, such as energy, transport, and agriculture, as well as global issues including adaptation and resilience and climate justice.

The solution

A holistic and thought-provoking climate and sustainability stewardship programme

BCG´s efforts to further upskill their teams at Cambridge Judge Business School provides a unique blend of science, technology, and business management research. Cambridge has a long-standing reputation for excellence in science and innovation, ranking number one in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework for Business and Management studies as well as Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. Through this collaboration, BCG leverages Cambridge Judge’s interdisciplinary approach to education and research as a crucial foundation for tackling the complex and interconnected challenges of climate change and sustainability.

“Cambridge, Columbia and NTU universities offer us the best scientific understanding of the climate crisis, and the regulations and technologies to address it,” says Hubertus Meinecke, global leader for Climate and Sustainability at BCG. “Combining this with BCG’s ability to translate insight into action, I believe we have a real chance to help our clients—and the world—shape and advance their net-zero ambitions.”

BCG and Cambridge Judge Business School undertook a rigorous design approach to challenge and create the best-in-class Climate and Sustainability Stewardship programme. Cambridge Judge convened a unique blend of expertise in science and business management from several knowledge centres within the Cambridge ecosystem to offer a holistic and thought-provoking programme.

The Climate & Sustainability programme we offer combines the best of Cambridge and BCG. The curriculum draws on the leadership, change, and strategy expertise of Cambridge Judge Business School and world-leading Cambridge scholars in climate science and other fields. We deliver the deep interdisciplinary experience needed to meet our day’s fundamental climate and sustainability challenges.

Professor Chris Marquis, Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management

Cambridge Judge and BCG worked together to create 4 design pillars, forming the basis of the programme’s design principles that would allow participants to:

  • understand the key C&S challenges
  • deep dive into key industries and their associated key technological innovations
  • recognise cross-functional enablers within organisations
  • how to engage in change in organisations, including systems change, governance, accounting, as well as shifting mindset and culture

These principles provided a framework for immersive and innovative programme design elements, such as:

  • the Cambridge Innovation Fair, introducing the latest green tech startups and PhD projects offering cutting-edge insights
  • experiential sessions at the Scott Polar Research Institute and Cambridge Botanic Garden, showcasing the latest in biodiversity, and climate justice research.

It was important to BCG that the programme included live, nuanced discussions to inspire the attendees while igniting their curiosity. The Cambridge Judge team knew that to drive real impact, the scientific and technological knowledge-sharing must be made applicable to BCG clients. Therefore, BCG client case studies were introduced, with participants modelling solutions in scenario-based working groups.

The rigorous design process resulted in a programme that kicked off with an intensive 5-day boot camp in Cambridge, featuring diverse expert contributors from the wider University of Cambridge ecosystem. They included professors of thermodynamics, conservation science and policy, regulation and accounting, systems, culture, change, geography and urban engineering. The boot camp was followed by 7 virtual modules, allowing participants to dive deeper into the complex challenges and opportunities presented by climate and sustainability issues, meeting the goals defined by BCG at the outset.

The impact

Actionable knowledge and skills, and broadened understanding

46

Faculty and programme contributors

84

Hours of learning delivered

21

Topics covered

The Climate and Sustainability Stewardship programme has given BCG participants deep and actionable knowledge and skills that they can directly apply in their client work. Delegates gained insights for working with their clients on their approach to sustainability, as well as knowledge about emerging industry trends and new technologies.

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The programme has broadened participants’ understanding of climate and sustainability issues beyond their specialism. This has allowed participants to develop client relationships, engaging with them on emerging topics that are tangibly linked to the programme outcomes.

Participants have also benefited from networking opportunities, connecting with BCG colleagues and University of Cambridge faculty who are working in climate and sustainability in other sectors and specialisms allowing for peer-to-peer learning, knowledge transfer and sharing of best practices. To enhance this, and deeply embed the programme’s learnings, participants are continually engaged to keep the cohort abreast of the latest C&S developments and build BCG’s C&S community.

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