How business schools continue climate action after COP28


The need for concrete climate action has intensified during COP28, but how do business schools continuously contribute their efforts? 

Business schools are keen to get involved at COP itself. For instance, the University of Sussex Business School co-hosted a Pavilion showcasing research and insights for economic decision-making in the Arctic, a vast area hugely affected by temperature rises. King’s Business School‘s Professor David Aikman chaired a roundtable co-hosted with the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative on ‘How to mobilise capital to invest in decarbonisation technologies towards net zero?’

There’s so much going on for climate action when it comes to business schools.

What’s next?

Building on the momentum of Business Schools for Climate Leadership (BS4CL), initiated by eight leading European business schools and expanded to Africa, BS4CL is now embracing a collaborative endeavour in the Middle East.

Eight distinguished PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) Business Schools from the Middle East, including the University of Dubai, Canadian University Dubai, Zayed University, Hult International Business School, American University of Beirut, American University of Kuwait, Qatar University, and Sultan Qaboos University, announced their collaboration under BS4CL Middle East cluster. This strategic alliance aims to drive climate action and sustainability in a region characterised by unique challenges.

“As signatories of the PRME Middle East, we’re excited to share the legacy of BS4CL with its third edition in the Middle East. With substantial support from accreditation bodies, educational mentors, and forward-thinking business leaders, we’re creating an impactful change. Our goal is to collectively adopt and implement the Carbon Literacy programme and to equip our faculty, students, and the broader business community with in-depth carbon literacy training. This is not just about an inspirational dialogue but rather the actions-based commitment to nurturing sustainable business practices to create a better future,” said Dr Yaprak Anadol, Chair of PRME Chapter Middle East, UN Global Compact initiative.

The launch of the BS4CL Middle East cluster aligns with the region’s distinctive environmental and socio-economic landscapes. The Middle East faces unparalleled challenges exacerbated by climate change. These challenges include extreme temperatures, water scarcity, impacts on agriculture, and potential economic vulnerabilities, emphasising the critical need for tailored solutions.

Natalia Olynec, BS4CL Founding Team member and Chief Sustainability Officer at IMD, said, “Given the pressing nature of climate challenges, there is a need for cohesive and immediate action from both countries and corporations. The launch of the BS4CL Middle East cluster at COP28 signifies a crucial step toward fostering a sustainable future and driving impactful change across the region. We look forward to collaborating with business schools in the Middle East through thought leadership and alumni engagement.”

The history of BS4CL

Originating in Europe, BS4CL has become an inspiration for change, uniting academic institutions in a common goal to address climate change. BS4CL is an alliance of business academic thought leaders, created in November of 2021 and made up of founding members Oxford Saïd Business School, Cambridge Judge Business School, HEC Paris, IE Business School, IESE Business School, INSEAD, International Institute for Management Development (IMD) and London Business School.

The partnering schools are driven by the urgent need to identify climate solutions that are practical, effective and timely. As proponents of change inspiring thought leadership in today’s business world, their goal is to accelerate the business community’s response to the climate crisis primarily through two strategies: shaping best practices through knowledge production in research and integrating the challenges of the climate crisis into executive training programmes.

The Middle East cluster seeks to carry this legacy forward, dedicating itself to fostering climate resilience and sustainable development in the region.

Into 2024

INSEAD will host a BS4CL-Europe practitioners conference in the spring of 2024. The conference aims to delve into innovative ways of harnessing the power of its collective community of over 450,000 alumni to effect meaningful change in the real world.

For additional insights, trends, announcements and perspectives about Business Schools, visit the conversation here.