Sustainability: necessity or convenience? Both, since the commitment to the environment and the collective well-being is paying, in an ever-increasing way, the companies that have set foot on the field of social responsibility. Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer an option or a visionary business model, but becomes a strategic lever to compete more effectively on the market. The benefits of CSR in the creation of value are varied and range from the construction and communication of the reputational capital to the improvement of the business climate and the relations with the community, stakeholders and financial institutions. Not least are important the objective savings in terms of reduced waste of resources, both materials and energy.
Today’s managers find among their priorities the construction of a solid corporate reputation, the reduction of employee turnover and the improvement of customer satisfaction. These are issues to which CSR finds adequate answers through the application of ethical principles to the decision-making processes of the company itself. Companies are becoming fully aware of the fact that their actions have an impact on the environment, on society, and on how they are perceived by the latter. Browsing among the mission statements of the organizations, we soon notice that they have in a large majority of cases a common denominator: the goal of having a positive impact.
This change has nonetheless influenced the education of those who entrust an MBA with the completion of their training and their future professional growth. In addition to the gaining of general management skills, young managers are increasingly required by companies to apply them in the areas of sustainability, efficient use of natural resources and strategic planning of CSR. Social commitment and Business Ethics are now an essential pillar of business success and are fundamental to the training of those who will guide the companies of the future.
Not only are companies looking for managers capable of incorporating the ethical values of contemporary society into their business strategy, but integrity and CSR also become decisive factors in the choice of the employer by the new generation of workers. The United Nations’ PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) initiative supported a survey of 1,699 students in 2016, carried out together with the Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Australia. The result is the study The State of the CSR and EMR in the Business Schools and the Attitudes of their Students, which found out that, although 90% of the respondents rated as absolutely essential to live a happy and comfortable life and 50% considered that earning a lot was an element of great importance, the students nevertheless showed a greater interest in CSR and ethics than financial considerations. To the point that half of the respondents declared that they would have renounced to more than 20% of their initial salary to work in a company that takes care of its employees and one in five respondents would sacrifice 40% or more of their future salary to work in a company active in terms of social responsibility.
Together with this renewed interest in sustainability and ethical development, the crucial role of business schools, called to satisfy a double need, clearly emerges. On the one hand, they have the task of helping companies in their territory to understand and develop internally a sustainability and social responsibility plan, providing them with professionals capable of triggering virtuous logics of sustainable innovation. On the other hand, they must respond to the strong demand for specific and constantly updated training on the new fundamental requirements for the business: social equity, environmental quality and economic prosperity.
Bologna Business School, which has always considered the themes of Corporate Social Responsibility central to managerial education, pays particular attention to it within the Global MBA in Green Energy and Sustainable Businesses. The structure of the MBA provides a specific course on CSR and Business Ethics, during which different business cases are assessed on the basis of the criteria of responsibility towards its stakeholders and society in general, with a specific focus on sustainability. The Master also provides a solid training aimed at understanding business strategies capable of creating a competitive advantage for companies, but also the principles and practices of managing a sustainable business. During the course of Managing Sustainable Technology and Innovation, on the other hand, strategic, organizational and management issues related to the development of sustainable technologies to support the environment at international level are addressed. Another important theme of the Master is the measurement of the performance of sustainable strategies and their transformation into effective results, to provide investors and external stakeholders with a set of metrics to identify the sustainable value and competitiveness of the company in an appropriate manner.
Choosing a training dedicated to the management of sustainability means manifesting the will to make a difference by building, on what is currently presented as an environmental urgency, a collective well-being for the benefit of the company and the community.