For a better post-pandemic future, invest in green business management

Published 30/04/2021

In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, an unexpected but powerful side effect of the efforts to curb the disease was the decline in pollution levels around the world. While those levels have gradually crept up since then, it has shown us that it is possible to affect the trajectory of climate change, even if it isn’t easy.

With vaccination programs around the world finally underway, the urge to “go back to normal” is at the forefront of most minds. But considering that the pre-pandemic normal consisted of a world where rampant pollution, wide scale deforestation, and extensive water scarcity, among other climate tragedies, were all commonplace, it’s increasingly clear that our status quo must change.

Here in Canada, Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Graduate Diploma in Business Administration — Green Business Management and Sustainability imagines a brighter future—a new normal where business and the responsible caretaking of the earth do not have to be at odds.

The Green Business Management and Sustainability program is an innovative graduate diploma that provides professionals with the knowledge, skills, and tools to direct companies and organisations towards environmental and economic sustainability.

“A green approach to business really opens a student’s thinking up of what is possible,” instructor in the program Tara Immell says.

Students in the program gain functional, foundational business skills through courses like Accounting and Financial Management for Managers, Managing Innovation, and Strategic Planning. These skills are further developed and applied through hands-on experience in the Graduate Capstone Experience Practicum, where students learn to strategise and innovate for a real organisation.

As instructor Luis Villalba describes it, “This program is a graduate diploma in business administration. At the end of the day, we train people to be applied—to get jobs.”

Where it diverges from a traditional business administration program, though, is how the program skillfully merges these practical skills with an earth- and people-first approach. With courses such as Ecological Economics and Sustainable Operations, the program shifts the way we look at the world, and shifts the way business people make decisions.

“We are focusing on a wider set of stakeholders—including the earth”

“I view this as a more complete way of approaching doing business,” Immell states. “We are focusing on a wider set of stakeholders—including the earth.”

Villalba agrees, and emphasises how an essential element of the program is its active cultivation of empathy and innovation in students.

“By building empathy towards others—by building empathy towards our one source of life, the earth… we can integrate triple bottom line concepts with profitability.”

With faculty placing great importance in nurturing both vision and practical skills in students, students are prepared to be the next generation of forward-thinking business leaders in whatever capacity that calls to them—whether as policy developers, entrepreneurs, economic analysts, business management consultants, or more.

Many students also choose to further their studies by earning their MBA or MAM at the Sustainability Management School in Switzerland through a dual credential opportunity between KPU and SUMAS. “Having more people push towards one possible future—that’s a real powerful possibility to bring change,” Immell says.

International in scope and practice, the Graduate Diploma in Business Administration — Green Business Management and Sustainability program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University connects professionals from all around the world and gives them the tools and resources to collectively imagine a better post-pandemic future for the earth, and the people living upon it.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University is Canada’s only polytechnic university, focusing on hands-on skills in addition to traditional academics.

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