A new course at Fordham's Gabelli School of Business is making the case that sustainability is good for the environment-and business.
Leading Toward a Finer Future, a four-day intensive master class that runs from Jan. 18 to Jan. 21, aims to prepare graduate and undergraduate students for leadership in the sustainable business field. The new course is led by sustainable development pioneer L. Hunter Lovins, president and founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions.
Lovins has served as a consultant in economic development, sustainable agriculture, and policies related to climate, energy, water, and security for over 40 years. A co-author of more than a dozen books in the field of sustainable business, she has advised senior-level professionals, companies, and state and local agencies about regenerative practices that help to maximize profits-without exploiting or depleting resources.
Among the biggest challenges facing businesses and investors around the world are climate change, food injustice, environmental damages, global inequality, poverty, and international migration. Throughout her career, Lovins has emphasized that reactive leadership is not merely a proposition: It is indispensable.
'Solving today's challenges will require leaders who are equipped to design and foster innovative, lasting, and transformational change within their organizations,' wrote Lovins in a blog post on the Huffington Post.
Having advised companies, agencies, and organizations such as the United Nations, the Department of Energy, the Royal Dutch Shell, Walmart, Unilever, and Patagonia, Lovins will share how she helps clients make sustainability an integral part of their business strategies. She will also provide pointers on how to overcome crises and shocks to the system.
Michael Pirson, Ph.D., associate professor and a scholar of humanistic management at the Gabelli School who helped to launch an undergraduate sustainable-business concentration at Fordham, said while sustainable or 'green' business isn't a new phenomenon, today's leaders aren't offering many solutions in the field that create long-term impact.
'Companies have the technology to solve these problems, but they often lack the leadership,' he said.
'They have done what organizations typically do, such as lobbying. Many companies in the coal and oil industries have also kept or removed regulations, but that isn't an answer to the challenges. The problems are so big and the solutions are so few at this point.'
He said Lovins' class will take a different approach by training aspiring leaders how to implement innovative management practices.
'It's a great opportunity for Fordham students to hear from someone of this caliber,' he said.