By Rusen Kumar
Sustainability is an emerging area in management education in India. Qualified Sustainability Professionals (QSP) are in need when corporations are looking at adopting triple bottom as company’s goals. To meet the increasing demand of QSPs, Universities, and Management institutes are streamlining their curriculum in management courses and establishing dedicated sustainability management programs.
Previously, Sustainability as a term was often associated and limited to environmental and social concerns. In the recent time, businesses realized that they cannot separate themselves from society and environment. An unstable social and environmental ecology can hurt the operation, profit, and performances of companies. Therefore, the key to de-risk, adverse ecological and sociological impact of business is to transform them into opportunities for value creation. Indian Corporations realize that they need passionate sustainability managers in the leadership positions.
CSR mandate in country has positively impacted Business Sustainability agenda. Sustainability issues are now being actively deliberated in the boardrooms and have caught the imagination of business leaders. The civil society is also creating forums on Sustainability, independent firms and business chambers are discussing more now on business sustenance.
Indian Institute of Management Lucknow (IIML) has established Post Graduate Programme Sustainable Management (PGPSM) in the year 2015 at its Noida Campus. The institute offers two years, full time, residential PGPSM (Equivalent to MBA Sustainability) program. Recently, the author visited Noida campus of IIML to attend a guest lecture by Abhishek Ranjan, Global Sustainability Head of Brillio Technologies, where gave an insight of business sustainability in Indian perspective to the future Sustainability Managers. He discussed how companies are going beyond regulatory compliance and mandate and becoming a tremendous force for good also talked on drivers for sustainability.
The author interacted with Professor of Sustainability Education and Sustainability Management Graduates and learned that IIML is a frontrunner amongst the IIMs to introduce such a programmer that infuses the essence of Sustainability in business education. As per the IIML Course Brochure – “PGPSM is designed to develop managers and equip them with holistic thinking and skills to handle varied challenges in a dynamic and unpredictable environment”. “PGPSM enables future managers to understand the ever-evolving and interactive nature of these sustainability challenges and come up with integrated, holistic solutions. The course also addresses emerging trends in the area of renewable energy, smart cities, resource optimization, green marketing, CSR portfolio management, etc.
The author further researched and found that more than ten universities/institutions have a full-time two years MBA equivalent programs in Sustainability/Sustainable Development, Energy, and Environment. The course content of some of the institutions impressed the author are TERI, XIMB, Symbiosis, PDPU, NITIE, SP Jain, and Amity. It would be interesting to see the growth of Sustainability Education to meet the demand of upcoming Electric Vehicle, Renewables, Smart City Projects, Sustainability Reporting, Sustainable Development and others.
The author believes that strong Corporate Governance culture in India will lead the way of doing sustainability practices. The author recommends that sustainability education should have a special emphasis on teaching the corporate governance affairs to future leaders – the learners. Sustainability education should also encourage critical thinking among the students. We don’t need just a manager for sustainability; we need real sustainability leaders who can grab the future opportunity and finally prepare themselves to provide insight and roadmap to Board and meet the aspirations of the stakeholders. Corporate Social Responsibility has become new normal in India. The author also strongly believe that Sustainability would be the next prime agenda of businesses and business leaders. In India, Sustainability should be a corporate culture not mere compliance.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the article are solely of the author in personal capacity and does not in any way represent views of any institution, entity or organisation that the author may have been associated with.
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