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LUMS goes to WBCSD at Chennai

WBCSD logo

16 September 2016

Ten LUMS students have been given the opportunity to learn about sustainable development at the annual meeting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in Chennai.

Frederike Kress (European Management – Double Degree), Julius Kup (European Management – Double Degree), Ben Koh (BA Economics and Human Geography), Millie Doze (BSc Management, Politics and International relations), Callum Hudson (BSc Business Studies – Industry), Gareth Gartside (BA Management and Organisation), Alice Hunt (BSc Business Economics – Industry), Katie McAllister (BSc Management, Politics and International Relations), Divesh Lachhwani (BSc Finance and Economics) and Jay Mirchandani (BA Management and Entrepreneurship) will all benefit from this exciting opportunity next month.

The students will have the chance to play an active role at the meeting, working as session hosts and note takers, as well as having the opportunity to network with business leaders from firms such as Santander, Unilever and PwC. This will provide them with the opportunity, not only to enhance their own prospects, but also to act as ambassadors for the University and continue to retain the University’s prospering global status.

With rising sea levels and unprecedented global temperatures, the consequences of climate change are becoming increasingly urgent. The WBCSD is a forum where business leaders from across the globe meet regularly to find innovative solutions to combat contemporary, environmental problems. This October, the CEOs from the world’s leading companies will meet in Chennai, India to set milestones for the following year. The WBCSD Council Member meeting is exclusively for WBCSD members and invited guests.  This unique opportunity has been made possible thanks to Dr Rodney Irwin, the WBCSD Managing Director for Redefining Value and Education, together with Professor Gail Whiteman and Dr Alison Stowell. It is also possible thanks to the financial support of the University’s international project team, LUMS, the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology and LUSU. 

The conference will be held at the ITC Grand Chola Hotel – the world’s largest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum-rated hotel, giving the WBCSD participants the most optimum environment to thrive and learn. The week away in Chennai will also consist of various activities other than just conferences. For example, there are field trips planned in order to show the action taken in Chennai to create the sustainable world we desire. Chennai, being a very urban area in one of the fastest developing countries globally, is a tremendous place for the students to see first-hand the implementation of such strategies and expand their experience of different cultures in order to help them in their research.

When researching the WBCSD, student Divesh Lachhwani remarked how fascinating it was to find out that the council was set up with the aim to “ensure the business voice was heard”. It is primarily focused on the uprising and importance of business and economic governance in relation to sustainable development, which would inevitably lead to a more sustainable society. Moreover, they set up several indications of how businesses around the world should incorporate social responsibility and use corporate governance effectively.  This has played a key role in supporting many businesses around the world in their efforts to generate more research and ideas concerning climate change and corporate sustainability.

The focus of the past decade at WBCSD has been to solve complex issues and provide innovative solutions to achieve their latest project, Action2020. This project was developed to further progress on sustainable development and raise awareness to solve the environmental and social issues the world currently sees as "the need of the hour".

In order to take part in the trip, students were asked to write an essay exploring Action2020 - an agenda that encompasses several areas regarding the ability to perform sustainable business. The competition was announced among students who chose to study sustainability and management in a wider context in their second, third or fourth year. Here at LUMS, module OWT.230 (Management, Sustainability and the Natural Environment) tries to enable awareness for sustainability in enterprise.

Each student going to Chennai has their own unique interest in the topic of sustainable development. For example, Frederike Kress, who interned with GLS Bank (Europeans Sustainable Bank of the Year 2013) this summer, hopes to gain more knowledge on how innovative projects are financed and Ben Koh, who recently won £1000 in UCAS’s 2016 “Love Learning” competition by creating a short video on education, is interested in how increased environmental and political pressure stimulates innovation in the domain of sustainable business.  

Jay Mirchandani said: “As students with an interest in sustainability, we are privileged to have the opportunity to further our knowledge and passions in this field of work.”

Millie Doze added: “The work of the WBCSD has and continues to motivate many to adopt sustainable, innovative practices which can create a sustainable future for enterprise and the environment.”

In addition, Divesh Lachhwani believes that “The WBCSD creates a sense of optimism for future generations to come and we, at Lancaster, are proud to part of the road to sustainability”.

Follow the team on Twitter (Hashtag #LUMSatWBCSD), Instagram and their blogs where they will share interesting background information about themselves, their preparations for the conference, and their time in India.