ABS involved in UN climate change pledge

9 December 2009

An ABS academic has contributed to an international business schools’ climate change declaration – to be presented to the UN in Copenhagen this week.

Carole Parkes, a Senior Lecturer and Co Director of Social Responsibility & Sustainability at Aston, was invited to an international conference organised by the UN and Copenhagen Business School last month to discuss the contribution Business Schools can make to fighting climate change.

The International Conference on Responsible Management Education in Copenhagen, part of the International Climate Change Summit (COP15), brought together academics, practitioners, policy-makers and students. A partnership event with the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), the conference allowed discussions on new educational approaches, sustainable leadership, innovative business models and new forms of partnerships. As a result of discussions, an agreement between business schools across the world was developed, outlining the significant contributions they can make to meeting the UN’s ambitious climate change targets. 

The declaration by business schools - A Call to Action for Management Education – calls for:

  1. Integration of climate-related topics into management education
  2. Research into the role of business in a low carbon economy
  3. Business Schools to lead by example by proving an example of good practice on the following:
  • Estimating and disclosing the carbon impact of research and education activities
  • Taking measures to reduce their carbon footprint – with targets of a 40% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2020 and becoming carbon neutral by 2030
  • Using carbon offsetting practices where it has been difficult to reduce emissions.

Carole Parkes, Senior Lecturer and Co Director of Sustainability, Aston Business School, said:

“Business schools have a vital role in ensuring the business leaders of tomorrow understand their role in addressing the decisions, policies, practices and behaviours influencing climate change. At Aston Business School, we take the issue of climate change very seriously and have already done a lot to ensure sustainable and ethical practices are embedded in our educational and research programmes.

“We hope this joint declaration by business schools across the world will make a significant difference to the way in which the issue of climate change is incorporated into Business and Management Education across the globe”

Aston Business School is already taking significant steps to promote corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability. Examples include:

  • A core business, ethics and responsibility module became part of the School’s MBA programme in 2005
  • A social responsibility and sustainability group was established in 2007 to review all course modules for ethical and sustainability content
  • The school was an early signatory to the UN Global Compact, Principles of Responsible Management Education and took part in the first Global Forum at the UN in December 2008
  • Staff work with local and national organisations to support the integration of ethics and corporate social responsibility in business education
  • Staff are encouraged to attend conferences and publish research in this area.


For more information contact Laura Plotnek, PR Officer, Aston Business School on 0121 204 4540 or l.plotnek@aston.ac.uk.