What is the main aim of business? Referencing Sir Adrian Cadbury, Carole Parkes, Professor of Global Issues and Responsible Management from the University of Winchester, opened the first of seven workshops as part of our Year 12 MBA Experience in partnership with the University of Winchester.
The focus of the workshop was to introduce the notions of sustainability in a way that equips students to work and live in a way that safeguards environmental, social and economic wellbeing. The inquiry went beyond the goals of business being simply about making money and encouraged students to look at creating businesses, a product or service that is ethically, morally and socially responsible.
Likewise, last week’s session focused on Peter Thompson’s experiences as co-founder of The Eth Word where he has worked with CEOs from global organisations to learn and understand how businesses have a responsibility to their environment, employees and communities they work within, as well as their clients.
In line with the 17 United Nations targets for sustainable development, Professor Parkes helped the group appreciate the need for business employees and leaders and all stakeholders to be socially and environmentally aware. With ever-increasing concerns about the irreversible effects of CO2 emissions, the group looked at Bill McKibben’s views on climate change.
The students reflected on how they have already engaged with these development goals and how they might like to in the future. Peter Thompson, using videos of CEOs discussing their values, also asked students to reflect on what matters in business, asking questions such as ‘What defines success in business?’ ‘Are businesses responsible for caring for society and the environment?’ and even ‘Is there a place for love in business?’ The students’ views were broad ranging, stimulating and intelligent.
Off the back of visiting the University of Winchester’s annual UCAS conference, Year 12 learnt about how the university’s economic, social and environmental policy adheres to these goals by having electricity blackouts, go-green weeks and by fostering their association with Gumtec who recycle chewing gum to make trainers and other products including all the university’s reusable coffee cups.