MSc Management Insights Speaker Series: Is corporate sustainability sustainable?

20 January 2023

Together with their usual lectures and seminars, our MSc students are invited to attend a wide range of speaker and insight events. These events are designed to put the learnings from their course into a business context.

Our recent Management Insights speaker series featured a session from Dr Assheton Carter, titled ‘Is corporate sustainability sustainable?’ Dr Carter is CEO of TDi Sustainability, a global consultancy that helps businesses across the globe to be more sustainable.

MSc Business & Finance student Hima Ashar shares her experience, key findings and interpretation of the discussion.

A critical conversation

In today’s world it has now become critical for corporations and individuals to talk about the effects that macro-economic factors would have on business operations and strategies.

However, in order to understand what effects deglobalisation can have, we need to first understand what deglobalisation means. Deglobalisation is a movement towards a less-connected world, characterised by powerful nations, local solutions and border controls, rather than global institutions, treaties and free movements.

Causes for concern

Events such as the Russia/Ukraine conflict, COVID-19 and climate change have triggered micro-economic factors like inflation and commodity shortages, but what’s important is how corporates are taking responsibility for these global-economic problems.

Dr Carter here remarkably made us realise that the entire global economy didn’t even manage to reach its peak globalisation, before which it has realised the need to strategise about deglobalisation. Companies have now started to shine more light on ESG reports and are trying work more towards ‘sustainable practices’.

Predicting the unpredictable

This session gave us insight on how we as future managers need to start pressing on topics that are now unpredictable.

We have been discussing the effects climate change would have on the business world for so many years, and now we are slowly seeing these discussed effects take place. The problem is, they are now becoming more and more unpredictable.

In times like these, where we don’t know what will happen tomorrow, it becomes important to anticipate and create plans even for the worst-case scenarios. Here, companies can take advantages from their supply-chain practices - for instance, China currently dominates in the solar industry.

It has what is almost a monopoly in solar manufacturing, as approximately 95% of solar panels are made in China. This kind of domination can lead to higher reliance on the country, making it easier for the entity to survive the deglobalisation hit. Others will surely take note.

Concluding thoughts

The conversations, discussions and debates sparked in the Management Insights series should be enjoyed, explored and encouraged. This, and the other sessions so far have given me a stronger perspective on crucial, pressing matters.

Even though in some areas the forecast might look bleak, it is so important for us, as future leaders, to understand, dissect and anticipate them.

As for the fight against climate change? Wish us luck, we’re going to need it.


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