More than just num­bers an us num

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Post Graduate -

Among those in­sti­tu­tions is the Schulich School of Busi­ness at York Univer­sity, Canada – one of the first schools in the world to of­fer an MBA with a spe­cial­i­sa­tion in sus­tain­abil­ity – which has been recog­nised nu­mer­ous times by the busi­ness and so­ci­ety mag­a­zine Cor­po­rate Knights as the top venue for re­spon­si­ble busi­ness pro­grammes.

With a fac­ulty of world-lead­ing busi­ness and sus­tain­abil­ity re­searchers, an MBA at the univer­sity can in­clude top­ics such as sus­tain­abil­ity strat­egy, so­cial en­trepreneur­ship and so­cial-im­pact fi­nance.

In a 2015 ar­ti­cle, An­drew Crane, di­rec­tor for the Cen­ter of Ex­cel­lence in Re­spon­si­ble Busi­ness at York Univer­sity, said, “More stu­dents now see the gen­eral rel­e­vance of view­ing strat­egy through the lens of sus­tain­abil­ity.

“The at­ten­tion to sus­tain­abil­ity has grown and the chal­lenges we face are get­ting big­ger. We are not solv­ing them any time soon, so the in­ter­est is go­ing to con­tinue.”

He com­mented that the univer­sity re­ceives many mar­ket­ing, fi­nance and ac­count­ing stu­dents who want to un­der­stand the is­sues sur­round­ing sus­tain­abil­ity just as thor­oughly as those want­ing to be­come sus­tain­abil­ity spe­cial­ists or in­tend­ing to run non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The depth of sus­tain­abil­ity top­ics cov­ered in dif­fer­ent MBA pro­grammes can vary tremen­dously from one in­sti­tu­tion to the next, with some cour­ses only high­light­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal el­e­ments on top of tra­di­tional MBA cur­ric­ula while oth­ers, such as those in the United States, of­fer what are known as green MBAs.

Ex­am­ples of green MBAs are the

MBA in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­ment at Duke Univer­sity, MBA in En­vi­ron­men­tal Science at Loy­ola Univer­sity Chicago and a joint MBA pro­gramme with a Master of En­vi­ron­ment Man­age­ment or Master of Forestry at Yale Univer­sity.

Such spe­cialised MBA pro­grammes may not have found their way to our shores but the is­sue of sus­tain­abil­ity is no doubt a cur­rent and grow­ing is­sue dis­cussed in lo­cal pro­grammes.

Sup­port leader

Com­pa­nies can no longer be ig­no­rant to the way they con­duct their day-to-day oper­a­tions as they are con­stantly scru­ti­nised and pres­sured by stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing their own staff as well as the com­mu­ni­ties who may be af­fected by is­sues such as ir­re­spon­si­ble waste dis­posal, de­ple­tion of sur­round­ing nat­u­ral habi­tat and green­ery, sound or air pol­lu­tion, and the rise of mo­torised traf­fic in the vicin­ity.

Busi­nesses of the mod­ern age need to be proac­tive in all oper­a­tions and be mind­ful of the so­cial con­se­quences of pro­duc­tion and sup­ply chain pro­cesses.

The im­por­tant point ev­ery busi­ness must un­der­stand is that the is­sue of be­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally and so­cially con­scious should not be con­sid­ered a mat­ter of so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity but an im­por­tant fac­tor that can jeop­ar­dise the rep­u­ta­tion of the com­pany and, in the long run, its vi­a­bil­ity as a suc­cess­ful busi­ness.

It is also cru­cial for com­pa­nies to re­alise that stake­hold­ers can see through bla­tant ef­forts of green­wash­ing and should thus have a gen­uine in­ter­est in main­tain­ing the well-be­ing of every­one in­volved and the ecosys­tem.

Ini­tia­tor and dis­ci­plinar­ian

MBA grad­u­ates of to­day need to be sen­si­tive to the ac­tions and pro­ce­dures of their re­spec­tive or­gan­i­sa­tions and be key ini­tia­tors to in­tro­duce care­fully crafted strate­gies to en­sure daily oper­a­tions meet the nec­es­sary eco­nomic, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards.

Among the things MBA grad­u­ates are ex­pected to ac­com­plish at the eco­nomic level are stream­lin­ing daily oper­a­tions, re­duc­ing the waste of re­sources, hav­ing bet­ter sup­ply chain man­age­ment, in­tro­duc­ing cost-cut­ting mea­sures, ad­her­ing to in­dus­try reg­u­la­tions, main­tain­ing qual­ity con­trol, max­imis­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity without com­pro­mis­ing qual­ity, and en­sur­ing the avail­abil­ity of re­quired funds and tech­nol­ogy.

In re­la­tion to the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, the dan­ger many com­pa­nies face is to claim a list of eco-sen­si­tive mea­sures, only to be deemed as cor­po­rate green­wash­ing by stake­hold­ers.

It is worse when com­pa­nies are caught for dis­hon­esty, as was Ger­man au­tomaker Volk­swa­gen that is in­fa­mous for the big­gest scan­dal in re­cent years for in­stalling hard­ware in cars de­signed to cheat ni­trous ox­ide emis­sions tests and for falsely re­port­ing car­bon diox­ide emis­sions.

Not only were the cars dis­play­ing low­ered emis­sion re­sults, they were spew­ing higher amounts of pol­lu­tants than le­gally al­lowed.

The case was all the more alarm­ing as the au­tomaker has al­ways prided it­self as a cham­pion of cor­po­rate re­spon­si­bil­ity and topped the Dow Jones Sus­tain­abil­ity Index as the most sus­tain­able car­maker.

Ja­panese elec­troni s Toshiba, on the ot r so­cial con­text – th com have in­flated net o (RM4.337bil) over ever

A re­port filed to th Tokyo St claims a bro­ken cor ra cul­tur , com­pan had set un­real stic targe em­ploye were dis­cour­age f om ques­tioni the ac­tions of b s s The pres­i­dent nd chief ex­ecu eof er wer re­port­edl a are of the o state­ment.

The Guar an claims Tos ba’s share prices dropped by 0% i 201 an early 7,000 work­ers were dis­missed as part of the postscan­dal re­struc­tur­ing process.

New breed

The trans­fer­able skills taught in an MBA has al­ways been the qual­i­fi­ca­tion’s key strength and the rea­son for the de­gree’s con­tin­u­ous ex­is­tence and pop­u­lar­ity.

Now, with the triple bot­tom line ap­proach mouldi ee pro­fes­sion­als w ll e bet­ter pre­pare guide their com­pa­nies by nav­i­gat­ing through eco­nomic, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal ob­sta­cles while also avoid­ing pos­si­ble pit­falls, me­dia back­lash and le­gal com­pli­ca­tions.

Given the chang­ing dy­nam­ics of the work­ing world, uni­ver­si­ties both lo­cally and abroad are quite rightly adapt­ing to the times and, there­fore, main­tain­ing the de­gree’s rel­e­vance.

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