(List#94) What does Biodiversity have to do with Business School?

How business schools are embedding biodiversity into their curriculum and research.

(List#94) What does Biodiversity have to do with Business School?
Photo by Timothy Dykes / Unsplash

This week’s List focuses on biodiversity and the different ways business schools are approaching this crucial subject. Biodiversity still doesn't seem to be a core topic in the curriculum of business schools, but it needs to be.


MBA Edge, an initiative of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in the US, has recently released a new primer on what every MBA needs to know about biodiversity. According to the resource, biodiversity is “the variety of species and organisms found in a given area (also known as biological diversity). Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse ranks as the fourth highest 10-year risk to the global economy in the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Global Risks Report. The primer was written by a current MBA student (Emily Purcell) and is part of a series of primers over at MBA Edge on a range of sustainability topics.


Since 2014, the Universidad del Norte has been developing various activities that seek to conserve the most threatened ecosystems in Colombia, the Tropical Dry Forest and the fauna that inhabits it. The Birds of the Colombian Caribbean course aims to strengthen the sustainability skills of students through close contact with nature. It offers general knowledge about the main components of the Colombian avifauna including evolutionary characteristics, ecological, economic and cultural importance, and conservation challenges. The course includes a field trip to ALULA bird observatory.


Biopath (Pathways for an Efficient Alignment of the Financial System with the Needs of Biodiversity), is a research programme at the University of Gothenburg, Lund University, Stockholm University, Aalborg University in Sweden, and the universities of Bristol, Exeter and Lancaster in the UK. It aims to “map, assess, co-develop, and test existing and novel approaches for integration of biodiversity considerations into financial decision making and analyse the institutional and policy implications of potential transition pathways”. The programme is designed in dialogue with an extensive partner network to ensure that short- and long-term impacts are aligned with current market needs.


Professor Angela Tregear at Edinburgh University Business School in Scotland has been researching the carbon footprint and socio-economic impacts of school catering and has created this tool designed to allow caterers in the public sector to measure and compare their carbon footprint. It shows where the carbon emissions are coming from and compares them across different types of food, transport and disposal. In the UK, public sector catering services produce an estimated 2.1 billion meals per year, therefore changes to these services in terms of food procurement, meal planning, and waste handling, have enormous potential to drive down emissions and move towards more sustainable food supply chains.


Sustainability in a Digital Age is a think tank at Concordia University in Canada that explores how digital innovation can be used in support of healthy people and planet, in line with the SDGs. It grew from a research framework, exploring digital disruptions for sustainability, created in collaboration with over 250 experts and supporters in collaboration with a range of external NGOS. The project aims to conduct research, train young leaders and influence policy in this field. Their website has a lot of interesting resources, for example, this Action Plan for a Sustainable Planet in the Digital Age.

Bonus: Behaviour Change for Conservation Course: This free online course developed by IUCN and a range of other governmental and non-governmental organisations, was desired specifically to guide behavioural change practionners and communicators to develop or implement a behavioural change intervention for conservation gain.

Learn More: The Convention on Biological Diversity is the internaitonal legal instrument for "theh conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources" that has been ratified by 196 nations. For more visit www.cbd.int.

And finally, this made me smile: This artist documenting elephant shaped slides that are disappearing from parks around Taiwan was a reminder to me that everything is important to someone (and that our local park could really use an elephant shaped slide).