Australia’s business schools are boosting their focus on climate change by appointing a Climate Action Fellow to coordinate their actions nationally and liaise with industry, the not-for-profit sector and government.
Associate Professor Melissa Edwards’ appointment as the inaugural Climate Action Fellow is part of a recent Climate Action Declaration from the Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC), the peak body for Australia’s university business schools.
Associate Professor Edwards says: ‘The ABDC declaration on climate action is a visionary call to reset our standards for educating future business leaders to transform industries, their supply and distribution systems, and the economy within the limits of 1.5-degree warming this century.
‘Even beyond the new technical skills needed for managing new technologies, we need leadership capabilities to ensure a just transition.’
Associate Professor Edwards, currently Director Executive MBA at UTS Business School, has advanced climate action by working extensively in universities and with local and global connections.
In Australia, university business schools graduate 17% of domestic and 46% of international students so climate literate business graduates will have a wide, ongoing impact.
Associate Professor Edwards says: ‘Climate action should be business as usual for business schools and their students who want to understand and be able to use their professions to reverse, mitigate and adapt to climate change.’
‘Policy mechanisms are important, but they are only going to be effective if people have the skills and capabilities to be able to create change in workplaces,’ she says.
ABDC President, Professor Keryn Chalmers says the business deans were united in the ABDC Declaration on Climate Action and appointing the Fellow demonstrates their commitment to elevating conversations and actions.
‘The role will support the ABDC’s intent to coordinate and pursue a strategic approach to climate action. This involves identifying opportunities to collaborate on educating the next generation of business leaders about the importance of a net zero future and research that assists and informs policy and business responses to ensure sustainable development,’ Professor Chalmers says.