The dominant perspective of climate change and the business community is to explore the ways in which business is responsible for aspects of the climate crisis, or attempts they are making at being 'less bad'. However, business is a key participant and often driving in innovation, mobilisation of finance, and consumer opportunities to address environmental issues caused by climate change and attain a low-carbon society.

Monday 20 April–Friday 24 April 2020
1st Floor MBA Suite
Dr Kathi Kaesehage; Lecturer in Climate Change and Business Strategy; University of Edinburgh Business School
Dr Sarah Ivory; Lecturer in Climate Change and Business Strategy; University of Edinburgh Business School


This course is no longer available. If you have any questions, please contact

Course participants will challenge the traditional interpretation of business as 'bad' by gaining an in-depth understanding of the ways in which businesses can react to, and help solve, climate change. More specifically, they will gain expertise on why and how businesses make decisions on climate change and in which way such decisions are linked to their socioeconomic surroundings. The course will be a preparation for future business leaders to engage with climate change in sustainable, profitable, and meaningful ways.

At the heart of the course are a number of case studies from private and/or public sector organisations. Participants will spend time reviewing them and coming up with solutions for one of their low carbon-related concerns. This allows them to apply their academic knowledge and industry experience to a business situation.

Aims and Outcomes

On completion of this course, the students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of past, current, and future developments related to climate change and businesses
  • Know the different aspects that businesses need to consider when confronted with a specific climate change-related challenge
  • Choose adequate mitigation and/or adaptation activities for individual businesses
  • Critically examine the opportunities and pitfalls of climate change for businesses
  • Be able to act as a business consultant and advise a business on low-carbon decisions

Course Content


During our first day we will address two topics: what the business and environment/climate change challenge is and the areas of expertise relevant for this challenge, such as environmentalism and climate change. We are going to discuss the four main drivers for businesses to create environmentally suitable futures: regulatory, market, resource, and social.

Focus: The environment, climate change, and businesses

Issues in Climate Change

Our second day will explore specific issues of climate change and how businesses have responded to them, driven change, and solutions. Issues covered will include emissions (including footprint and the range of greenhouse gases), water scarcity and extreme weather, resource scarcity and supply chain impacts, agriculture, and energy systems and transport.

Focus: Key climate issues

Business Strategy and Climate Change

During Day 3 we will learn how to build a business strategy around climate change. This can either be done from the start or through integration of climate change into an existing business (strategy). We will explore how businesses can react to changes in their business environment with particular focus on climate change.

We will also look into the potential consequences if businesses do not address the threat and opportunity of climate change and/or associated goals that they have set in regard to climate change.

Focus: Business strategy, planned and emergent strategy, impacts of poor strategy

Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Climate Change

On Day 4 we will explore the role of entrepreneurs in the climate change debate. We will explore why entrepreneurs and their small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are important for the overall fight against climate change. We will learn how such small businesses are regulated to mitigate climate change and how more could be moved towards climate change mitigation. The key will be to understand innovation, bottom-up movements, and system change.

Focus: Entrepreneurship and innovation

Group Presentation Day and Discussion of Final Individual Assignment

Focus: All discussed topics and their interrelationship

Assessment and Credits

Participants are required to attend every session throughout the week and to take part in all activities and submit all assessments. On successful completion, they will receive a certificate and 10 credits which can be used towards an MBA/EMBA programme.

The final mark is made up of two assessments: a group presentation, and an individual assignment, each worth 50%.

This is an intensive course with teaching based on a 09:00–17:00 working day however there will be group work, assignments and reading outside these hours. There will also be some pre-course reading and tasks to complete before the first session.

Course Fees

Course fees include all tuition and course materials, but excludes any textbooks that may be required. Catering and accommodation are not included.

There is a 20% discount for University of Edinburgh Alumni and Staff.

The deadline for applications is Monday 23 March 2020.


For entry requirements please see our EMBA entry requirements.

Please email us if you would like more information:

Further Information