On October 14th, the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) will be meeting in Paris. HESI is a consortium of UN entities created in the run up to Rio+20. Through HESI, higher education institution signatories commit to teach sustainable development concepts in the core curriculum, encourage research on sustainable development issues, green their campuses and support sustainability efforts in the communities in which they reside.
The theme of this year’s HESI meeting, Higher Education for Climate Change Action is an opportunity to take stock of progress made since Rio+20 by sharing best practices and lessons learned, discuss the roles and responsibilities of higher education institutions in business and technological innovations around climate change adaptation and mitigation, and encourage new or enhanced commitments, particularly around the facilitation of academic, and scientific inputs into the formulation of climate policies. The meeting will also result in the formulation of a message and a set of policy recommendations to be presented to the UNFCC Secretariat at COP21.
The Copenhagen Conference Declaration: A Call to Action for Management Education, presented in 2009, called on business schools around the world to integrate climate-related topics into management education, research the role of the low carbon economy, and to lead by example in order to inspire the way forward for future generations. Since then, business schools have actively incorporated climate change into their curriculum, research and campus greening activities.
In preparation for this meeting, here are examples of how the PRME network is engaged in climate change topics.
Through partnerships with business
Sabanci University in Turkey is the local partner and host of the Carbon Disclosure Project since 2010. CDP-Turkey has been a transformational project for Turkey’s corporate sector. As of 2014, forty-one Turkish companies reported their emissions and climate change strategies with their help. The CDP-Turkey project created a medium for disseminating knowledge around climate change and corporate responsibility, collecting valuable data for research, and facilitate mutual learning. The project, which has proven to be an excellent instrument for a multi-stakeholder dialog and debate on sustainability involving all related parties has been realised with corporate sponsorship of one of the largest banks in Turkey; Akbank, and E&Y Turkey office. In addition to Carbon Disclosure Leadership Award launched in 2011, Carbon Disclosure Performance Leadership Award was launched in 2013. Another climate change related project is implemented in partnership with Coca Cola Foundation to improve CDP activities in Russia which resulted in fourteen Russian companies reporting through CDP in 2014. For more information visit http://cdpturkey.sabanciuniv.edu/
ISAE/FGV in Brazil is actively engaged in Curitiba City Hall’s Climate Change Forum. Curitiba, the city where ISAE is based, is a member of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of cities committed to addressing climate change. This Forum is composed of city hall, universities, industry sector and others that periodically meet to discuss how the city is and will deal with climate change. The school also launched a course earlier this year on “Law and Economics of Climate Change” that looks at the science of climate change, the United Nations Framework on Climate Change and related negotiations. The school is actively engaged in reducing its own emissions and reports on specific in its Sharing Information on Progress report.
Through student work
Executive MBA candidates at University of Technology Sydney Business School in Australia have been undertaking a study which aims to ensure risks such as climate change, human rights abuses and corruption are considered in big infrastructure projects in collaboration with the world’s leading insurers. The project, “Insurers’ Role in Sustainable Growth” surveys how insurers integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks into their agreements. The results will feed into a project involving the United Nations, the World Bank and the world’s largest reinsurer, Munich Re looking at how the insurance industry can strengthen its contribution to “sustainable” development. They will also inform the development of ESG guiding principles for surety bond underwriting. The Insurance Council of Australia is also a supporting institution, alongside two Australian insurer signatories, Insurance Australia Group (IAG) and TAL.
Part 2 will be posted on October 14.