Will entrepreneurs save the world? | Leeds Business School

Business from Leeds 2022 | Full Question

Founders may be our best hope for tackling climate change, says Leeds researchers.

Jeff York on a bike. The remains of the burned-out sub-development can be seen in the background. Jeff York doesn’t believe in government or business when it comes to addressing the climate crisis. If the crisis can be resolved, he said, it will be because entrepreneurs have created novel solutions through innovation, initiative and flexibility — something the institutions have failed to demonstrate.

“Climate change may be the greatest tragedy of our lifetimes, and the time for action has quickly passed,” said York, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Chair of Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Leeds. “Unfortunately, how to solve it has become an extremely polarized, politicized issue.”

In a seminal study to be published in Organizational Science, York and his co-authors explore how entrepreneurship is a promising but often overlooked approach to combating climate change.

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“Creating entrepreneurial solutions to climate change is the greatest economic opportunity of my life.”

Jeff York, Chair of Social Responsibility and Sustainability

They found that at a time when climate change is a political topic, entrepreneurs with climate-conscious products can create common ground between a pro-market, generally conservative side (which values ​​growing businesses) and a liberal-leaning pro-environment side that values ​​conservation Earth.

Leeds’ climate plan

A selection of some of the many climate-related courses offered by the business school:
Clean Energy MBA Pathway
Corporate Climate Action Certificate
Energy Finance Bootcamp
Sustainable companies: ESG strategies and practices
Energy Technology
Renewable and sustainable energy in practice

“Our research found that environmental entrepreneurs do better in markets that are heavily influenced by pro-market and pro-environmental logic,” he said. “This levels the playing field and allows them to compete effectively with incumbents.”

“Entrepreneurs create for-profit businesses that can tackle climate change in ways that governments and activists can’t,” he said.

To that end, it’s worth noting that attitudes around climate change and business are changing. Donor support helped fund key datasets used in the York study, demonstrating an interest in the business community to play a role in addressing this challenge.

York says being a green business doesn’t prevent new businesses from making a profit: “Creating entrepreneurial solutions to climate change is the greatest economic opportunity of my life.”

Jeff York rides his bike through the area devastated by the Marshall Fire.

Professor Jeff York investigates the damage caused by the 2021 Marshall Fire in Louisville – a prime example of how climate change can escalate the danger of wildfires. He believes that entrepreneurial thinking can help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

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