Sustainability for Business

ArenMost economists these days work in business schools, and most share the ethos and values of corporate business. It is therefore difficult to communicate messages about sustainability and the importance of feeling oneself to be a part of nature to young people who think the complex global economy is a fixed point of reference and that income maximisation by them, and profit maximisation by the system they will serve during their working lives, are unquestionable assumptions.

I am involved in teaching a course that tries to introduce these issues to third-year business students with a colleague. We frame the teaching in terms of 'the debate' and we encourage students to be critical while supporting their learning about the concepts in which this debate takes place.

I take the more critical side of the discussion. In the A micro-hydro schemepresentation called Globalization and its Discontents (ppt, 2563 K) I cover Stiglitz's critique of globalisation, and then extend it with a position that is considerably more critical of corporate power and the impact of globalisation on the environment. I also give A critical account of CSR (pptx, 2560 K), based around a paper called CSR in Your Own Backyard (pdf, 131 K)I published with colleagues in the Social Responsibility Journal. Finally, I critique the textbook that is used on this course and other business studies courses in a presentation called Deconstructing Friedman (pptx, 3574 K).

I spend two weeks on the issue of climate change: the first week introduces the Science and Economics of Climate Change (ppt, 2249 K) and the second on Climate Change and Business (pptx, 1168 K). Some of these slides are taken from other presentations I have found on the web, and I have credited them appropriately. I also present a sceptical account of corporate social responsibility.

The course also includes guest sessions on particularly sectors. I present the one on the Global Food Issues (ppt, 5657 K).

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