Business School Launches Climate Leadership Initiative


Six leading African business schools have launched the Business Schools for Climate Leadership (BS4CL Africa) initiative to create a collaborative framework for climate action that can transform business education curricula to meet the continent’s needs and adapt to its realities.

“Our ultimate goal is to ensure that business schools are effectively addressing climate change by integrating … key disciplines into the business school’s ecosystem,” said Sherif Kamel, dean of business school at the American University in Cairo (AUC).

He was quoted as saying at a roundtable of African business school deans held at AUC in Egypt on November 7 that the initiative would apply to projects, teaching and business development activities, among others.

Dr Roze Phillips, Adjunct Professor, Center for Business Ethics, Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), University of Pretoria, South Africa, told University World News The institute welcomed the launch of BS4CL Africa as “timely” and true to the saying “without us there would be no us”.

“BS4CL Africa provides voice, advocacy and action to Africa’s unique needs as we develop a fit-for-purpose response to what is quickly being recognized as a climate catastrophe affecting Africa and the world,” said Phillips.


BS4CL Africa is based on a model inspired by the European Business Schools for Climate Leadership (BS4CL) group launched by eight leading business schools in Europe at the 2021 UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK.

The BS4CL Africa participant is the American University Business School in Cairo, Egypt; ESCA School of Management (ESCA School of Management) in Morocco; Lagos Business School, Nigeria; Strathmore University School of Tourism and Hospitality, Kenya; and the Gordon Institute of Business Science and Stellenbosch Business School in South Africa.

The Association of African Business Schools (AABS) also supports the BS4CL Africa Initiative; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC; the United Nations Global Compact and the African PRME Chapter’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).

The initiative will also invite contributions from the private sector and civil society, and will mirror the ambitions of COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

What challenges will BS4CL Africa address?

Professor Thami Ghorfi, Chair ESCA School of Management (ESCA School of Management) in Morocco, told University News: “BS4CL Africa’s agenda focuses on four important axes, including redesigning business education curricula to align with the needs and realities of the continent; contextualizing research in service of African priorities; strengthening engagement with businesses and stakeholders We will work together to build sustainable solutions for climate leadership and mobilize pan-African cooperation on joint courses and research as a transformative force leading efforts on climate change adaptation and mitigation.”

“BS4CL Africa is a unique opportunity for Africa and African business schools to actively contribute to a better future for the continent and the world,” he added, but warned that time and funding could be challenges.

“This is an urgent matter. We must collectively mobilize all of our resources, student body, faculty and administrators.

“We have to work with our stakeholders, private sector companies, NGOs and country representatives. We want to generate relevant knowledge and disseminate it massively,” Ghorfi said.

According to him, the six founding schools will initiate concrete projects, research, student competitions as well as the production of business cases, joint courses and executive programmes.

sustainable future

“Focusing our energies on developing current and future business leaders to build climate resilience and avert climate catastrophe is critical and noble, but it’s not enough,” said GIBS’ Phillips.

For her, there should be a “focus” on the skills and competencies Africa needs for a sustainable future. Phillips added: “We need to question the foundations of a business school education and what a business school stands for.”

The starting point, she says, should be to revisit core management teaching in business schools, but also with “intellectual humility, questioning the premises of what responsible management education means for business schools, and addressing some potentially troubling home truths.” ,” Phillips pointed out.

“If education and leadership are to be transformed, this could mean fundamentally rewriting existing curricula,” she noted.

For Phillips, one of the many lines on the agenda must be dealing with the social justice dilemmas that will have to be addressed as Africa transitions to a post-carbon society.

“The best solutions to truly ‘leave no one behind’ must come from collaboration, not only across BS4CL Africa Business Schools, but also within the wider academic and educational community, the public sector, the private sector and civil society,” she said. Speak, adding that “every voice must matter if the continent is to be sustainable.”

post carbon african society

Phillips said business schools must cut across academia, activism and action. “They should serve as a venue for responsible management education to facilitate a just transition to post-carbon Africa,” Phillips stressed.

A roundtable on ‘just transition’ took place at the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Implementation Summit (COP27) in Egypt on 7 November.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) describes a “just transition” as “achieving a green economy that creates decent jobs and leaves no one behind, in a manner that is as fair and inclusive as possible for all involved.”

For Phillips, it’s about business school. According to her, they should be “safe gathering spaces for the disturbing conversations that academia, government, civil society, and business individually and collectively need to have about the continued exploitation and exploitation of human capital for the ever-expanding good The Extraction of Earth’s Capital”. but unsustainable economic and financial capital”.

“In the end, the ‘Just Transition’ movement is an invitation, an opportunity and a call to business schools to free themselves from the invisible ideological hand of capitalism that still drives many management programs,” Phillips said.

“It’s time for business schools to see capitalism as a phenomenon in reality rather than a change in reality itself,” Phillips noted.

“If we don’t break down our one-size-fits-all myopic growth-dependence model, we won’t be able to imagine an alternative post-carbon future not underpinned by capitalist principles, but instead mainstreaming the development of new ways of working together, such as direct community ownership and control of energy systems energy democracies.

“Therefore, education and advocacy for post-carbon African societies should not be an ‘elective’ in business school curricula. Post-carbon futures should also consider post-capitalist futures,” Phillips noted.

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