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Stepping up for the climate


Business schools must do more to address climate change, says Harvard Business Review article by representatives of eight European business schools including Professor Jennifer Howard-Grenville of Cambridge Judge Business School.

A family observes the icebergs melting at the Jokulsarlon Lagoon in Iceland.
Jennifer Howard-Grenville.
Professor Jennifer Howard-Grenville

Business schools must step up efforts to address climate change through their various areas of expertise, representatives of eight European business schools, including Professor Jennifer Howard-Grenville of Cambridge Judge Business School, say in an article just published in Harvard Business Review.

The article appears in the form of an open letter on behalf of Business Schools for Climate Leadership, a coalition of the eight business schools formed just before the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow last November to “equip present and future leaders” to address climate change.

“Although evidence of climate change has been emerging for more than four decades, business schools have been late in acknowledging and responding to this urgent and existential issue,” says the Harvard Business Review article, entitled “Business Schools Must Do More to Address the Climate Crisis”.

“As organisations with missions to improve the practice of management, business schools must do much more to raise awareness of climate change in the business community and to show how business and management can address the challenges climate change presents.”

The article points out that business schools are experts in many areas that have potential to address climate change: business transformation; measuring performance and return; managing operations; marketing; organisational leadership; and incentives and governance.

“Coming from eight leading business schools in Europe, traditionally keen competitors, our Deans and we have united to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,” the article concludes.

“We believe that a collaborative impact will exceed the sum of our individual school’s contributions towards forging a growing community of responsible and educated business leaders. Effecting systems change typically requires cross-sectoral collaboration; the urgency of the climate crisis demands that business schools experiment with new ways to quickly and effectively collaborate.”

The Harvard Business Review article is co-authored by Concepción Galdón, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at IE Business School; Knut Haanaes of Boston Consulting Group, a Professor at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD); Daniel Halbheer, Associate Professor of Marketing and Academic Director of the Climate and Earth Center at the Society and Organizations Institute at HEC in Paris; Jennifer Howard-Grenville, Diageo Professor in Organisation Studies at Cambridge Judge Business School; Katell Le Goulven, Executive Director of the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society at INSEAD; Mike Rosenberg, Professor of the Practice of Management at IESE Business School; Peter Tufano, Peter Moores Professor of Finance and former Dean at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School; and Amelia Whitelaw, Executive Director of the Wheeler Institute for Business and Development at London Business School.

Clouds over the rainforest.

A climate in crisis

The participation by Cambridge Judge in Business Schools for Climate Leadership is part of a broader sustainability campaign by the business school that includes thought leadership in a variety of areas relating to a more sustainable planet.

Access insights from Cambridge Judge on developing a sustainable future