Sustainablog

This blog will cover some news items related to Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility, Stewardship, Environmental management, etc.

22.10.05

B-Schools Focusing More on Ethics, Social Responsibility in Global Economy



B-Schools Focusing More on Ethics, Social Responsibility in Global Economy

Oct. 20, 2005 (SmartPros) -- An increasing number of business schools are offering courses in ethics, corporate social responsibility, or environmental sustainability, according to a report released by World Resources Institute and the Aspen Institute. In addition, more business schools are doing a better job preparing students for business success in a competitive global economy.


"In today's global business environment, there is tremendous opportunity to create social and environmental value while doing what is right for the business," said Scott Johnson, vice president, Global Environmental and Safety Actions, SC Johnson. "More and more corporations will demand leaders who understand these opportunities and can deliver results. So it is critical that business schools meet this demand by stressing a focus on global stakeholders, not simply shareholders."

In the survey, changes in coursework proved noticeable. Of the 91 business schools surveyed on six continents, 54 percent require a course in ethics, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, or business and society, up from 45 percent in 2003 and 34 percent in 2001. Additionally, the report finds that some leading schools are launching innovative courses on such topics as exploring private-sector approaches for addressing problems in low-income markets. The number of these courses offered has increased dramatically since 2003.

As a clear indication of the importance of these issues globally, three of the top five ranked schools, and 12 of the top 30, are located outside the United States.

Jonathan Lash, president, World Resources Institute, added, "To be competitive, corporations need to recast social and environmental problems as business growth opportunities. These schools are leading the way in providing students with the skills that are becoming increasingly valuable to the bottom line. Such skills are needed to meet the emerging challenges of climate change, water scarcity, labor issues, and poverty alleviation with innovative technologies and entrepreneurship."

Although the business schools surveyed are making important progress, the report's authors note that teaching and research on these topics often remain limited to disconnected pockets of innovation. While students at schools ranked in the top 30 were exposed to ethical, social, and environmental issues in an average of 25 percent of their required coursework, other students saw these issues only eight percent of the time. Only four percent of faculty at the surveyed schools published research on related issues in top, peer-reviewed journals during the survey period.

"MBA programs still have a silo mentality when it comes to teaching business ethics as well as social and environmental stewardship," added Judith Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute's Business and Society Program. "For MBA students to be truly prepared for the challenges they will face as executives after graduation, these topics need to be integrated across the business-school curriculum and in other required courses such as accounting, economics, finance, information technology, marketing, operations, and strategy."

The Beyond Grey Pinstripes report identified the Top 30 MBA programs by inviting nearly 600 MBA programs to report on their coursework and research; 1,842 courses and 828 journal articles from leading peer-reviewed business publications were analyzed. A full description of the report, its methodology, and MBA program rankings are available at www.BeyondGreyPinstripes.org.

 

Traffic pollution choking Shanghai




Traffic pollution choking Shanghai

South China Morning Post, 30 September 2005 - Shanghai's air pollution is costing the city at least 8.3 billion yuan a year in health-care expenses, according to a study, prompting experts to call for controls on the number of motor vehicles.

The report by Fudan University's School of Public Health said the cost of pollution was equivalent to nearly 2 per cent of Shanghai's gross domestic product in 2000, the year the study used as a basis.

"In general, Shanghai's environment has apparently improved in recent years, but pollution from traffic is increasing," said Chen Bingheng , who led the study.

The city's particulate and sulphur dioxide emissions from industrial sources dropped by about 50 per cent in the past 10 years. But nitrogen dioxide, mainly from cars, has increased by 50 per cent.

The World Health Organisation estimates that health costs from air pollution in China at 7 per cent of gross domestic product.

Air pollution can cause respiratory problems and aggravate other health conditions. Respiratory illnesses account for more than 12 per cent of deaths in Shanghai, but smoking is a key contributor.

"We hope the government can consider health-care factors in setting general environmental policies," Professor Chen said.

Although experts say Shanghai's air pollution generally has improved since the 1990s, rapid economic growth is causing greater demand for cars and for electricity, provided largely by coal-fired power plants.

Another study, by the Shanghai Environmental Science Institute, found that 16 of 18 road intersections tested in the city had "excessive" levels of nitrogen dioxide, Shanghai's Youth Daily newspaper reported.

"If Shanghai doesn't make every effort to control the number of cars, density levels of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulates will continue to increase in the city centre, bringing a rise in chronic disease," institute head Chen Changhong was quoted as saying.

Shanghai says it controls the number of cars through an auction system which keeps the cost of car registration high. But it has no control over cars with plates from other parts of the country.

Figures just released by the city's statistical bureau showed that all main air pollution indicators worsened last year. Nitrogen dioxide levels rose to 0.062 milligrams per cubic metre last year from 0.057mg in 2003.

Shanghai's number of days with "good" air quality fell to 311 last year from 325 in 2003, although experts say the figure is misleading because the city collects a limited number of samples.