For Yale, WBCSD, sustainability is good business

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Dean Peter Crane of F&ES, Dean Edward A. Snyder of SOM, and Peter Bakker, president of World Business Council for Sustainable Development, sign the formal agreement between Yale and the global business network.

Yale scholars and global business leaders will work together to address critical sustainability issues through a new partnership between the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), the Yale School of Management (SOM), and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The partnership will enable Yale students and faculty to engage directly with business leaders from across the WBCSD network with the ultimate aim of inspiring management practices – particularly across the 25-school Global Network for Advanced Management established by SOM – that better address the business challenges of the 21st century.

The partnership’s initial focus will be the promotion of regional internships for students, research opportunities, and a pilot online course, Natural Capital: Risks and Opportunities in Global Resource Systems, which was launched in January. The course uses case studies to highlight businesses’ dependence on access to critical resources, such as materials, energy, food and water, and the risks and opportunities inherent to operating in an increasingly resource-strained environment.   

“WBCSD is leading the effort to bring actionable science about the resource systems on which we all depend to networks of global and local businesses around the world,” said Yale professor Brad Gentry, co-director of the Center for Business & the Environment at Yale, who teaches the online course.

“Helping businesses understand the systemic risks to their operations going forward, as well as the opportunities to offer business solutions for those risks, is the best path for bringing business creativity and innovation to a sustainable future,” he adds.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment.

“The world needs action on sustainability issues, and more importantly, action that can be scaled up,” said Peter Bakker, president of WBCSD. “We’re partnering with Yale University to better leverage the worlds of science and management schools to scale up ideas and create new ways of approaching how business can positively contribute to a sustainable future.”

As part of the partnership, the WBCSD will also leverage its vast network of business leaders, policymakers and subject-matter experts for a Yale-based speaker series that will offer real-world insights on sustainability issues. In addition, the partnership calls for the creation and use of new materials and curriculum for sustainability leadership and innovation, including faculty workshops and an “immersion week” for faculty and business partners. The partnership builds on previous collaborations between the Yale Center for Business and the Environment and the WBCSD’s U.S.-based Regional Network partner, the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The Global Network for Advanced Management promotes exchanges between professors, students and alumni, as well as research into global business issues. The network supports project work between students as part of a “global team”; organizes exchanges such as the Global Network Weeks, through which students can attend lectures and courses at other member universities; and offers Global Network Courses, for-credit courses taught online by a member school that are open to students throughout the network.

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