Students, academics and executives tackle gap in sustainability education

  • Co-founderChristopher Adkins, Director of the Undergraduate Business Program at the College of William & Mary, is one of the co-founders of CCCS.

    Co-founder

The College of William & Mary is launching the first-ever collaborative effort between undergraduate universities and corporations to address the gap in sustainability education.  The inaugural Corporate & College Collaborative for Sustainability (CCCS) will take place on October 1-2, 2010, with IBM as the lead sponsor of the event.  Other corporate partners include Citigroup, The Martin Agency, Saatchi & Saatchi as well as major universities across the country.

“Sustainability is a dynamic and cross-disciplinary concept – and its scope is rapidly growing to encompass environmental, social, economic and cultural concerns,” says Christopher Adkins, Director of the Undergraduate Business Program at the College of William & Mary and one of the co-founders of CCCS.  “To date, the focus on sustainability education has been on the graduate rather than the undergraduate level.  To be effective in educating future leaders, we must co-create a curriculum for undergraduates that incorporates business, faculty, and student perspectives on the evolving strategic role of corporations in shaping a sustainable future.” 

The two-day conference will take place on the College of William & Mary campus and facilitate a dialogue between students and businesses.  Together CCCS participants will help:

  • Identify best practices and key concepts for a sustainability curriculum,
  • Investigate critical leadership skills for students,
  • Explore collaborative project opportunities between corporations and universities,
  • Discuss ways millennials can make an impact on corporations’ sustainability practices from within.

 “Both CEOs and students have identified sustainability as a key issue for businesses, yet concern is growing that education in this area is falling behind,” said Ragna Bell, global lead for Strategy at the IBM Institute for Business Value and contributing author of IBM’s Future Leaders Student Study.  “In just four years the millennial generation will comprise half of the workforce worldwide – the time to address the gap is now.”

IBM will kickoff the conference with findings of a recent study that surveyed over 3,600 students worldwide about global issues and their impact on organizations.  One of the study’s key findings was how interested students are in sustainability, but how lacking they find current curricula.

As a continuation of the study, IBM will launch one of the conference’s collaborative projects in partnership with the Corporate Eco Forum and the Carnegie New Leaders Program at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.  The project will create an ethics-based leadership development curriculum for the future leaders of the millennial generation in profit, nonprofit and government institutions.  The program is one of several expected to launch at the CCCS conference.