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 fit the needs of the continent and adapt to reality.
“Our ultimate goal is to ensure that business schools effectively address climate change by integrating … key disciplines within the business school ecosystem,” said Sherif Kamel, Dean of the School of Business at the American University in Cairo (AUC).
The initiative will apply to projects, teaching and business development activities, among others, he was quoted as saying at the African Business School Deans’ Roundtable at AUC in Egypt on November 7.
Dr Roze Phillips, Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Business Ethics at the Gordon Institute for Business Sciences (GIBS) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, told University World News The institute welcomes the establishment of BS4CL Africa as “timely” and upholds the saying “there would be no us without us”.
“BS4CL Africa provides voice, advocacy and action for Africa’s unique requirements as we develop fit-for-purpose responses to a climate catastrophe that is rapidly being perceived as affecting Africa and the world,” Phillips said.
BS4CL Africa is based on a model inspired by the European Business School for Climate Leadership (BS4CL) panel, launched by 8 of Europe’s leading business schools at the 2021 United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK.
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; School of Tourism and Hospitality, Strathmore University, Kenya; and Gordon Institute of Business Sciences and Stellenbosch Business School in South Africa.
Also supporting the BS4CL Africa initiative are the Association of African Business Schools (AABS); the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCCC; the United Nations Global Compact and the African PRME Chapter Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).
The initiative will also invite contributions from the private sector and civil society and will reflect the ambitions of COP27 to be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
What challenges will BS4CL Africa address?
Professor Tammy Golfe ESCA School of Management (ESCA School of Management) in Morocco, told college word 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 to serve Africa’s priorities; strengthening relevance to business and stakeholders to build sustainable solutions for climate leadership, and to mobilize pan-African collaboration on joint courses and research as a transformative force leading climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.”
“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 cautioned that time and funding could be challenges.
“This is an urgent matter. We must collectively mobilize all of our resources, student bodies, faculty and administrators.
“We have to work with our stakeholders, companies in the private sector, NGOs and national representatives. We want to generate relevant knowledge and disseminate it massively,” Ghorfi said.
According to him, the six founding schools will initiate specific projects, research, student competitions and business case production, joint curricula and execution plans.
GIBS’ Phillips said: “Focusing our energies on equipping current and future business leaders to build climate resilience and avoid climate catastrophe is vital and noble, but not enough.”
For her, there should be “full focus” on the skills and competencies needed for a sustainable African future. “We need to question the foundations of business school education and what business school stands for,” Phillips added.
The starting point, she said, should be to re-examine the core management teaching of business schools, but also “with humility to question the premise of what responsible management education means for business schools, and to address some potentially troubling family truths,” Phillips pointed it out.
“If education and leadership are to be transformed, this could mean a fundamental rewrite of the existing curriculum,” she noted.
For Phillips, one of the many aspects of the agenda must be dealing with the social justice dilemma that must 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 among BS4CL African Business Schools, but also within the wider academic and educational community, the public sector, the private sector and civil society,” She said, adding that “everyone’s voice must matter if sustainable development is to be achieved on the continent.”
Post-Carbon African Society
Phillips said business schools must cut across academia, activism and action. “They should serve as educational venues for responsible management, driving a just transition to a post-carbon Africa,” Phillips stressed.
On 7 November, a roundtable on a “just transition” took place at the ongoing Climate Implementation Summit (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) describes a “just transition” as “greening the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible for all involved, creating decent jobs and leaving no one behind”.
For Phillips, it’s about business school. According to her, they should serve as “safe convening spaces where academia, government, civil society and business, individually and collectively, need to continue to develop human capital and extract planetary capital for the benefit of expanding but unsustainable economic and financial capital. “.
“In the end, the ‘Just Transition’ movement is an invitation, opportunity and a call to business schools to free them from the invisible ideological hand of capitalism that still drives many management courses,” Phillips said. “
“It’s time for business schools to look at capitalism as a phenomenon in reality rather than a change in reality itself,” Phillips noted.
“If we do not break out of the one-size-fits-all model of short-sighted growth dependence, we will not be able to imagine alternative post-carbon futures without the support of capitalist principles, but instead mainstream the development of new ways of cooperation, such as direct community ownership and control of energy systems Democratic country.
“As such, educating and advocating for a post-carbon African society should not be an ‘elective’ in business school curricula. A post-carbon future should also consider a post-capitalist future,” Phillips noted.