New Sustainability Program for Business Leaders

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One Planet Leaders program by WWF & IMD

WWF and Leading Business School IMD Team Up to Offer Innovative Sustainability Program — One Planet Leaders.

IMD, a leading business school located in Switzerland, has just teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to offer an innovative training program geared at driving sustainability into the core of your business. The program, One Planet Leaders (OPL), “is designed for leaders who operate at a strategic level and can drive change, and is open to managers in business functions such as general management, R&D, procurement/supply, marketing and sales; and in sustainability functions.” In other words, the program is for company managers who can really influence the trajectory and major decisions of a company or any particular department in it.

The faculty of One Planet Leaders include academic, NGO, and private sector leaders.

Improving Sustainability through Business: the One Planet Leaders Program

Starting in August 2010, the program offers “three 3-day modules focused on strategy, change management and leadership in the sustainability context.” The program is “applied sustainability training,” so business leaders in the program work on their own real-world problems or challenges while learning about complexities and best practices in sustainability.

The program dives deeper into the heart of the matter than a normal management program, though, WWF says. It dives into the lives of participants as well.

“One Planet Leaders is more than a leadership program where you learn the best management skills. Sure, you will get this, but you will also be able to go deeper,” says Carolina Moeller, OPL program co-director at WWF International. “One Planet Leader invites you on a journey in personal development and self-realization. It helps you explore who you are and what you want to be, and from there understand your unique role in creating the future.”

The program is focused on helping you develop a real competitive advantage in your industry through an authentic sustainability focus, not just superficial greenwashing.

If you want to get a one-up on your competitors for your green credentials, it is best to have a truly green vision and plan for achieving it.

OPL was first launched by WWF in 2007 and 200 business leaders have completed the course, but this new partnership should improve the capabilities and quality of the program.

OPL includes an accredited Masters level Executive Education program – available in Europe and Asia Pacific; three Modular Workshops – accessible as customized trainings in companies and in regions; a stand-alone Sustainability Master class; an active global Alumni Community with almost 200 members; and a One Planet MBA that is under development.

I do not have the experience to say, but I would imagine that a course like this, hosted by perhaps the leading environmental organization in the world and a top business school, is as good as it gets when it comes to sustainable business training.

Why are One Planet Leaders and Sustainability in Business Important?

“Today we are consuming almost 50% more than the planet can sustain and so need 1.5 planets to meet our global demands,” WWF says. “The private sector has a key role to play in reversing the trends of environmental degradation and social inequality, and is uniquely positioned to lead global solutions through new business models and innovation.”

The environmental challenges we are facing are complicated, and the processes creating them are complicated. If a business is going to make a positive difference in the world, I think it has to have a thorough understanding of how it interacts with and creates these problems and the solutions to them.

Image Credit: JohnLeGear via flickr/CC license

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