As world leaders prepare for the COP26 climate conference, research from the CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education (the international consortium of 34 leading business schools, 70 companies and 8 social partners of which is Graduate School of Management, St Petersburg University, reveals that global professionals consider the environmental crisis, including climate change, to be the most overwhelming challenge facing business leaders in the 21st century.
The survey of 4,206 professionals from 75 countries reveals that in 3 years, environmental challenges have significantly overtaken rapid technological advancement as the biggest global business threat.
In 2018, 23% of professionals rated environmental concerns among the top challenges facing business leaders in the 21st century, behind technology (28%).
However, a survey conducted in September 2021 shows that a massive 43% of professionals now believe that the environment will be among the greatest challenges, with technology falling far behind in second (27%). Both are still considered far greater challenges to global business than shifts in world economic and political power centres (14%), political instability (6%) and even global pandemics (3%).
Professor Lars Strannegard, Deputy Chair of the CEMS Global Alliance President of the Stockholm School of Economics, said: “Our new figures reveal a staggering shift in the numbers of professionals around the world who see the unfolding environmental emergency, including the impending climate disaster, as the biggest challenge international business leaders will need to tackle in the 21st century. Three years ago the rapid rate of technological advancement was the key concern for respondents, however the new findings indicate that people are no longer as frightened of technological progress as they once were. This may reflect the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated and mainstreamed digitisation within just a few months. Professionals have fully embraced digital ways of working because there has been no other way.”
The CEMS Business and the Environment faculty group, open to all CEMS member schools, was founded in the mid-90s with the aim of researching and teaching the managerial implications of the relationship between business and the natural environment. Members are grounded in a broad variety of disciplinary fields (including management and economics, chemistry, biology, mathematics), which has allowed them to develop and implement new ways to introduce environmental issues into mainstream business education.
“It is not by chance that we at GSOM SPbU consider “responsible leadership” as one of our core values. Only responsible actors can come to an agreement, unite and jointly solve environmental problems that today come to the fore all over the world. All this is reflected in our activities: the work of the Center for CSR at GSOM SPbU, the implementation of the principles of the “green campus”, where the use of all resources is based on responsible consumption. Responsible management, including environmental, social and governance criteria (ESG) are included in the GSOM SPbU program, spreading in all educational disciplines, and the result of practical training is environmental and social initiatives — including CEMS MiM students — which are already being implemented by our partner companies today,” said Yulia Aray, Associate Professor at the Department of Strategic and International management, GSOM SPbU, Academic Director of the Master in Management program.
CEMS is a Global Alliance of leading business schools, multinational companies and non-profits that together offer the CEMS Master in International Management (CEMS MIM). The CEMS MIM is a one-year, pre-experience programme that offers students the opportunity to be educated in a truly multicultural classroom.
Students enrolled in the programme study for one semester at their home university, with a term abroad in a different CEMS member school. In addition to completing a home degree, students complete a consulting project and an international internship. CEMS alumni careers take a truly international path:
- 98% are employed or continuing their studies
- 93% have worked outside of their home country
- 65% work for multinational companies