CAIRO, Egypt, 8 November 2022 – African business schools have established Business Schools for Climate Leadership Africa (BS4CL Africa) as the United Nations Climate Conference, COP 27 (27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change https://unfccc.int/cop27), is being held in the country this week.
BS4CL Africa follows the successful launch of the African Chapter of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) a year ago https://www.unprme.org/chapter/prme-chapter-africa#:~:text=The%20Chapter%20Steering%20Committee%20of,%2C%20Morocco%2C%20and%20South%20Africa..
The establishment of BS4CL Africa was inspired by the formation of the original BS4CL initiative by eight leading European business schools in Glasgow at COP26 last year.
The PRME is an initiative of the UN Global Compact https://www.unglobalcompact.org/ to support the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by getting business schools to ensure that future business leaders are best equipped to deal with climate change issues through developing syllabi, research projects and case studies that reflect the climate change crisis and create tools to address it.
Henley Africa dean and director Professor Jon Foster-Pedley is the chair of the Association of African Business Schools (AABS) https://www.aabschools.com/. He attended the Deans’ Roundtable which launched the initiative.
“This is a very important moment in the fight against climate denialism and the war to save our planet. Africa will bear the brunt of climate change, ironically through no fault of it own. Its people will be displaced by desertification, water and food insecurity, the only bulwark against this is development – and development will be led and sustained not by foreign aid, but through business, indigenous business,” he says.
“At Henley Africa, we have always said we build the leaders who build the businesses that build Africa. Both the PRME and the BS4CL are totally aligned with that mission and will help us further calibrate our already progressive syllabus, across our range of executive education programmes and our flagship MBA, towards this.”
Other deans at the roundtable included Sherif Kamel, dean of the American University of Cairo’s School of Business, which hosted the roundtable https://www.aucegypt.edu/;
Thami Ghorfi, President of ESCA Ecole de Management in Morocco https://gbsn.org/profile/thami-ghorfi/#:~:text=Thami%20GHORFI%20is%20President%20of,communication%20strategy%20and%20change%20management.; Morris Mthombeni, Dean of South Africa’s Gordon Institute of Business (GIBS) https://www.gibs.co.za/about-us/faculty/pages/morris_mthombeni.aspx ; Yinka David-West, deputy dean of Nigeria’s Lagos Business School https://www.lbs.edu.ng/faculty_profiles/%E2%80%8Bdavid-west-olayinka/ ;
David Chiawo, dean of the school of tourism and hospitality at Kenya’s Strathmore University https://sth.strathmore.edu/our-team/dr-david-chiawo/#:~:text=David%20is%20an%20Ecologist%2C%20a,public%20policy%20and%20sustainable%20development.; and,
Mark Smith, director of Stellenbosch University’s business school https://www.usb.ac.za/people/prof-mark-smith/ .
They were joined by Sarah el-Battouty, the UNFCC global ambassador https://climatechampions.unfccc.int/global-ambassadors/; Mette Morsing, the UN Global Compact head of PRME https://www.linkedin.com/in/mette-morsing-583b6a1a/;
Peter Tufano, Oxford University’s Said Business School emeritus professor https://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/about-us/people/peter-tufano ; Financial Times global education editor Andrew Jack https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-jack-0a0ab96/?originalSubdomain=uk; PRME Africa chair Sherwat Elwan Ibrahim and PRME vice chair Mumbi Wachira https://www.linkedin.com/posts/mumbi-wachira-phd-593a434a_sustainabledevelopment-responsiblebusiness-activity-6950025781171363841-LGbH/?trk=public_profile_like_view&originalSubdomain=ke .
Tuffano, who attended as a founding team member of the BS4CL, is excited at the launch of an Afro-centred edition of the initiative on the side-lines of COP27 at Sharm el Sheikh: “Business schools and business have much to contribute to battling climate change and its impacts, and BS4CL Africa will bring an authentic and important African perspective to this global and local issue.”
For Foster-Pedley, COP27 is an inflection point for business schools the world over, but especially in Africa.
“Business schools have a choice; they can be thermostats, regulating and maintaining the status quo – and the temperature, which is going to cook us in any case. Or they can be change accelerants, evolving rules and policies.
“They – we – can be and develop business leaders who are activists, who understand the context of the world they live in, to ensure they conduct themselves in a way in their behaviour creates a world we can all live in.
“As UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez pointed out in his opening address at the start of COP27 on Monday, we are on the highway to climate hell. The time has dawned for us to make the MBA stand for Master of Business Activism.”