To meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber and fuel, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively during the last 50 years than in any comparable time in history, according to a study commissioned by the United Nations.
These changes have contributed to gains in human well-being and economic development, but at a cost to future generations in the form of potential disease, abrupt alterations in water quality, the creation of “dead zones” in coastal waters, the collapse of fisheries, shifts in regional climate, and the degradation of tropical forests, coral reefs and dryland ecosystems.
The social and environmental challenges humans face in the next 50 years is daunting. But amidst the growing crisis, companies have discovered an opportunity to do business in a way that has a positive social, environmental and financial impact. Companies that have the foresight to become sustainable leaders of tomorrow will be rewarded by record business opportunities and profitability.
The Sustainable Business and Leadership concentration in the Flexible Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program at Benedictine University is training tomorrow’s sustainable leaders today. It is one of only two such concentrations available through the nearly two dozen Chicago-area colleges and universities that offer an M.B.A. degree.
The concentration focuses on the need for sustainability and profitability.
“Too often the need for profit in business is excluded during discussion of sustainability,” said Mark Kozak, M.B.A., business consultant and adjunct professor in the M.B.A. program at Benedictine. “The Sustainable Business and Leadership concentration at Benedictine emphasizes the balance between the needs of business to make a profit while demonstrating concern for the environment.
“Those are the three P’s of sustainability … people, planet and profit,” he added.
The Sustainable Business and Leadership concentration provides students with an understanding of the broad impact of sustainability, strategic opportunities to make sustainability profitable, and integrate sustainability principles, thinking and action throughout their organizations.
Among the courses from which students may choose are “Essentials of Sustainable Leadership,” “Developing Sustainable Leaders,” “Leading Sustainable Organizations,” “Understanding the New Revolution in Sustainability” and “Sustainability as a Driver for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Market Growth.”
The Sustainable Business and Leadership concentration at Benedictine differs from programs elsewhere because it is business-centric.
“The program is business-focused, as opposed to strictly talking about environmental or people issues,” Kozak said. “Those aspects are important and integral to the whole concept of sustainability, but we lead with a business focus.”
The program is most beneficial to professionals who work in the environmental, health and safety areas of business, as well as those in related regulatory and technical fields.