Contemporary “business-as-usual” solutions are not sufficient for achieving meaningful change in a resource-constrained and inequitable world. Students taking the Business and the Environment Option (B&E) will develop an critical understanding of how businesses currently tackle the challenges of sustainability in the broadest of senses. They will use creative thinking to develop proactive businesses models that go beyond contemporary levels of sustainability performance.

The B&E Option provides students with an understanding of opportunities and risks that businesses face in the light of growing environmental constraints and social inequality and gives them the skills develop entrepreneurial solutions that maximise those opportunities. Students will be equipped with the knowledge to deal with the complex choices that business must face in order to function as responsible members of society.

The Option benefits from the input of leading companies and strategists in the fields of environment, finance, retail and emerging markets, and students are exposed to a wide variety of industry and academic perspectives. Recent contributors have included speakers from Adnams, BG Group, Café Direct, Rio Tinto, InterfaceFlor, Unilever and John Lewis. There is a strong emphasis on learning-by-doing, going beyond the norm and developing solutions to difficult problems using systemic, disruptive innovative thinking coupled with sound business and organisational management strategies.

Group outing to Adnams During the Option term, teaching is supported with practical work that serves to both reinforce learning and to give students exposure to real-world problems. A group-based 'live' consultancy project is carried out in conjunction with leading UK-based companies, whilst a business planning exercise gives students the opportunity to develop their own ideas of what a responsible company should look like by planning a business that has positive environmental and social impacts.

Key elements of the Option include:

  • understanding sustainability challenges across a company’s complete supply chain
  • innovation and sustainability
  • Quarryproblem-solving using life cycle and systems thinking
  • effective stakeholder engagement, corporate reporting and marketing
  • business ethics and responsibility
  • basic accounting for business

This course is particularly well-complemented by the Climate-KIC Added Value programme. Successful applicants onto our MSc, regardless of Option, can apply to attend the Journey summer school and work to develop innovative solutions to climate change problems with like-minded students from around Europe.