University of Edinburgh Business School
Sustainability strategy, leadership and management masterclass
August 2, 2015

A very successful sustainability strategy, leadership and management masterclass was run in summer 2015 with many delegates from the UK, Europe, China and Nigeria.

Twenty-two participants took part in our three day masterclass in mid-July which was filled with inspiring and thoughtful discussion. The event followed on from a similar masterclass hosted at the Lagos Business School, Nigeria we were delighted to welcome a number of Nigerian delegates to our session. They were joined by other delegates from the UK, Europe and China, each bringing their own contextual perspectives of the sustainability agenda.

Monday started with a self-reflection session facilitated by Surefoot Effect Managing Director, Pamela Candea, on values and the role they play in the sustainability agenda. She was followed by Colin Webster from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, who discussed a relatively new and exciting addition to the sustainability debate – the circular economy. George Ferns and Gbenga Ibikunle of the Edinburgh University Business School reflected on sustainability strategy and carbon markets respectively. This first day was concluded with a tour of Edinburgh and a meal at the grand 18th century mansion house, St Leonard’s hall.

Tuesday took our delegates out to enjoy some fresh Scottish air and some sunshine at the Whitelee Wind Farm. During the personal guided tour, delegates were and staff discussed the details of the UK’s largest onshore windfarm. It was a great display of sustainability in action and the efficient use of renewable energy. In keeping with the sustainability in action theme, a panel session, facilitated by Michelle Brown from the University’s SRS department, explored the implementation of sustainability. Panelists Gavin Templeton (Green Investment Bank), Alix Chosson (Standard Life Investments) and Doug Johnston (EY) all drew from their personal roles and leadership skills experiences as they debated the theme. The session was followed by a questions from the floor and a networking drinks reception.

By the final day, delegates had got to know each other well and personal examples and experiences of sustainability were enthusiastically shared. Prof. Richard Harrison delivered an interactive and reflective session on the strategic leadership of the sustainable enterprise. To highlight Richard’s examples, an illustrative video conference case study was delivered by David Korslund from the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). These sentiments were echoed by two other leading academics, Jens Hagendorff and Caroline Marchant who considered sustainability in the financial markets and communication of sustainability respectively.

An action planning workshop summarised the course and saw delegates working closely together. SBI’s Director and Masterclass co-ordinator, Dr. Kenneth Amaeshi, facilitated the session where delegates assessed their personal goals and ambitions. Ultimately, the delegates found that the drive for sustainable development and corporate sustainability is reshaping the economic landscape, attracting regulatory attention, and creating new business opportunities. Goals were set based on how individual delegates could harness these market movements and produce positive societal change.

Delegates enjoying the Masterclass.
Delegates enjoying the Masterclass.

Masterclasses are run frequently. They run over three full days, allowing time for learning from experts, peers and importantly from yourself through self-reflection.

Find out more about our masterclasses