Lucknow: Indian Institute of Management - Lucknow (IIM-L) is planning to launch a new programme of study with more focus on building sustainable business models. Though the course is a two year full-time programme in business sustainability and is still being given final shape by the faculty, a decision to set up the Centre of Excellence for Business Sustainability (CEBS) has been approved by the board of governors of IIM-L.
Director, IIM-L, Dr Devi Singh has said while making an announcement about the setting up of the centre at the institute's 25th convocation programme that the main objective of the centre is to identify training needs of corporate and non-corporate sectors as well as improve the performance of the business sector and ensure sustainability. The centre, the first-of-its-kind in any management school in the country, will blend the principles of profit making, social responsibility and sensitivity towards natural resources and focus on building sustainable business models.
Chairman, CEBS, Prof Sushil Kumar has said that business management programmes across the world have only focussed on increasing profitability. In effect, the levels of disparity have grown and natural resources have taken a hit. The consequence of this will be severe in the future. He said that the need to achieve a balance is what business sustainability is focussed on.
While the management schools in Europe have taken the lead in addressing these gaps, in India, management institutes have not made any concerted efforts to include the business sustainability as part of their curriculum. As part of IIM-L's pioneering effort, CEBS will focus on three main concerns i.e. to create awareness among major stakeholders, access existing business sustainability policies across the world and create benchmark models, and hold management and faculty development programmes for teachers and businesses.
Interestingly, while trained faculty in the course is identified as an area of concern, the popularity of the subject among the student community is clearly not in doubt. At IIM-L, an optional course in business sustainability is the only course to be taught across programmes and is accepted as a highly subscribed course.
Furthermore, Kumar also added that one of the key challenges in this area is finding trained human resource familiar with business, sociology as well as natural resources. He said that there are, of course, people with this skill set, but the numbers are limited. This centre is about creating a platform for such people. Moreover, Kumar said that there is a huge demand from the industry to create more viable businesses.
Varun Chawla, a student of Lucknow University, concurred that one hears about the need to protect the environment every day. Industry is also, popularly, perceived as the greatest culprit in taking a toll on the ecology. If management principles can teach us how to achieve that fine balance, it is definitely something one would want to sign up for.