I’m Alexia and I’m studying European Management in Lancaster University. This is a special year for me, as not only is it my last year before entering the world of work, but, as you know, I will also participate in the COP21! I’m so excited, I still can’t believe that I am going to take part in a UN Climate Conference where 50 000 participants will try to build a durable effort to solve a Global issue. This international event represents a milestone in the series of attempts we have made so far trying to convey the concept of sustainability all over the world.
In particular I am really interested in understanding how organisations plan to embed sustainability in their business culture and how they are going to redefine their values in order to do that.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is currently the most compelling sustainable development business voice and through its Low Carbon Technology Partnerships Initiative, which is supported by the French Presidency of COP21, it seeks to accelerate low-carbon technology development and scale up deployment in order to limit the global warming to below 2°C .
On the 18th November we had the opportunity to attend a public lecture event where Dr. Rodney Irwin of the WBCSD spoke about how we can ensure growth and progress today without damaging tomorrow.
Lancaster University’s Team COP21 at the Pentland Centre Launch at the 18th of November
In particular, I agree with Dr. Irwin that “business can be a force for good”. It is true. However, what is missing, and required, at the moment is a change in the business culture, as new values of environmental and social respect need to be defined.
By combining what they are already good at with a new way of thinking, businesses can make a difference and turn an ambitious global vision into a positive concrete action. In fact, by using technology, inventions and experience business leaders can solve both social and environmental issues. They have to understand the huge responsibility and, at the same time, the extraordinary opportunity they have. Effectively, investing in sustainability would not only directly benefit the Earth, the environment and human well-being, but also human development and businesses’ profits. As Dr. Irwin said., “organisations can take advantage of plenty of opportunities, they just need the right people leading them”.
Dr. Rodney Irwin (WBCSD)
In this sense Universities have an important role in shaping the future business leaders. Students need to be educated about sustainability, taught to be open to challenges and encouraged to change things.
In light of this I want to, and I have to, thank Lancaster University for giving me this unique opportunity. By offering to its students the possibility of taking part in the UN Summit in Paris and by launching the Pentland Centre, this University shows its interest in conveying to its students the need of urgent actions and the possibility of making the right choices. We can make a difference, it’s our turn of changing the rules of the game.