COP28 BS4CL Middle East cluster - IMD Business School
News Stories · Leadership - Sustainability

Business Schools for Climate Leadership (BS4CL) launches Middle East cluster at COP28

As the need for concrete climate action intensifies, an international initiative is taking shape to address this pressing global challenge.
December 2023

Building on the momentum of Business Schools for Climate Leadership (BS4CL), initiated by eight leading European business schools including IMD and since expanded to Africa, BS4CL is now embracing a collaborative endeavor in the Middle East.  

Eight distinguished PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) business schools from the Gulf region, including the University of Dubai, Canadian University Dubai, Zayed University, Hult International Business School, American University of Beirut, American University of Kuwait, Qatar University, and Sultan Qaboos University, proudly announced their collaboration under the BS4CL Middle East cluster. This strategic alliance aims to drive climate action and sustainability in a region characterized by unique challenges.  

The launch of the BS4CL Middle East cluster aligns with the region’s distinctive environmental and socio-economic landscapes. The Middle East faces unparalleled challenges exacerbated by climate change. These challenges include extreme temperatures, water scarcity, impacts on agriculture, and potential economic vulnerabilities, emphasizing the critical need for tailored solutions. 

During a COP 28 session, each institution demonstrated its commitment to climate leadership. Contributors from diverse organizations also shared valuable insights into supporting climate initiatives, including PRME, AACSB, MEBAS, the Sim Institute, the Turkish Business Council, and leading European and African Business Schools.   

Key takeaways: 

  • Business schools bear the responsibility to inspire and guide uncertain youth, fostering safe debate and holding businesses accountable.  
  • Prioritizing ethics is crucial amid global conflicts, particularly for a just transition to climate neutrality.  
  • Collaboration with practitioners through research sharing can accelerate climate action. Universities should lead by example with sustainable operations, while experiential learning programs shape the next generation of leaders.  

A comprehensive approach to climate change, intersectoral collaboration for sustainable development goals, and implementing carbon literacy training across schools are essential for a holistic impact. 

“As signatories of PRME Middle East, we’re excited to share the legacy of BS4CL with its third edition in the Middle East,” said Yaprak Anadol, Chair, PRME Chapter Middle East, UN Global Compact initiative.   

“With substantial support from accreditation bodies, educational mentors, and forward-thinking business leaders, we’re creating an impactful change. Our goal is to collectively adopt and implement the Carbon Literacy Program and to equip our faculty, students, and the broader business community with in-depth carbon literacy training. This is not just about an inspirational dialog but rather the actions-based commitment to nurturing sustainable business practices to create a better future.” 

IMD’s Chief Sustainability Officer Natalia Olynec, a BS4CL founding team member, said, “Given the pressing nature of climate challenges, there is a need for cohesive and immediate action from both countries and corporations. The launch of the BS4CL Middle East cluster at COP28 signifies a crucial step toward fostering a sustainable future and driving impactful change across the region. We look forward to collaborating with business schools in the Middle East through thought leadership and alumni engagement.” 

Originating in Europe, BS4CL has become an inspiration for change, uniting academic institutions in a common goal to address climate change. The success in Africa further exemplified the potential of collaborative action. The Middle East cluster seeks to carry this legacy forward, as it dedicates itself to fostering climate resilience and sustainable development in the region.

INSEAD will host a BS4CL-Europe practitioners conference in the spring of 2024. The conference aims to delve into innovative ways of harnessing the power of its collective community of over 450,000 alumni, to effect meaningful change in the real world.  

For more information, visit Business Schools for Climate Leadership.