'Sustainability is the key challenge'

Bilde av is som smelter og to damer som snakker og peiker. Foto: Pexels v. Guillaume Falco /  Unsplash v. Jason Goodman
CEMS: A new survey shows that 43 percent of CEMS alumni believe that environmental challenges will be among the biggest challenges they will face as leaders. ‘While many business professionals might agree on the relevance of environmental sustainability, corporations often lack the foresight, skills and capabilities to fundamentally transform their corporations towards a more sustainable business model,’ says Associate Professor Tina Saebi. Photo: Pexels v. Guillaume Falco / Unsplash v. Jason Goodman
NHH By Ingrid Aarseth Johannessen

9 November 2021 10:12

'Sustainability is the key challenge'

Environmental challenges overtakes technological advancement as the biggest challenge leaders will face, shows a new CEMS study. 'I am not surprised,' says Associate Professor Tina Saebi.

A CEMS survey conducted in September this year shows that 43 percent of CEMS alumni believe that environmental challenges will be among the biggest challenges they will face as a business leader in the 21st century. Technological/digital advancement is behind in second (27 percent).

Both are considered as greater challenges to global business than shifts in world economic and political power centers, political instability and global pandemics.

Global CEMS results 2021

What is the biggest challenge you think you will face as a business leader in the 21st century? Name your top three:

 

  1. 43 per cent named environmental challenges (like global warming, energy consumption, etc.)
  2. 27 per cent named rate of technological/digital advancement
  3. 14 per cent named shifts in world economic and political power centers
  4. 6 per cent named political instability
  5. 3 per cent named global pandemics
  6. 3 per cent named other
  7. 3 per cent named extremism
  8. 1 per cent named large scale population movement

corporations often lack required skills

‘I am not surprised by the results. Sustainability is the key challenge of our time. However, while many business professionals might agree on the relevance of environmental sustainability, corporations often lack the foresight, skills and capabilities to fundamentally transform their corporations towards a more sustainable business model. This is often due to lack of resources, lack of top management commitment or conflicting goals within the organisation,' says Associate Professor Tina Saebi

Saebi is an expert in business model innovation, social entrepreneurship and global strategy. She teaches the CEMS course “Global Strategy” at NHH. 

'A closer collaboration between industry and academia can propel knowledge insights to help companies design and implement truly sustainable business models that can serve as a source for competitive advantage,' she says. 

In 2018, 25 percent of the CEMS alumni rated environmental challenges among the top challenges business leaders are facing, behind technology with 28 percent.

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Prepares students for global challenges

Professor Jan I. Haaland and CEMS Academic Director at NHH, emphasises that CEMS, as a global alliance in management education, is well suited for preparing students and future leaders to tackle challenges that need global solutions. 

‘The vision of CEMS is to prepare leaders contributing to a more open, sustainable and inclusive world. To live up to this, the CEMS MIM programme includes many elements that prepare the students for key global challenges, not least the environmental and climate challenges that all businesses face,’ he says, and adds:

‘This is included in course work, in skill seminars and in mandatory global citizenship seminars, as well as in business projects for corporate and social partners.’

Tina Saebi and Jan I. Haaland.  Foto: Marit Hommedal / Helge Skodvin
Associate Professor and CEMS lecturer Tina Saebi and CEMS Academic Director at NHH Jan I. Haaland. Foto: Marit Hommedal / Helge Skodvin

Norwegian CEMS results 2021

What is the biggest challenge you think you will face as a business leader in the 21st century? Name your top three:

 

  1. 48 per cent named environmental challenges (like global warming, energy consumption, etc.)
  2. 29 per cent named rate of technological/digital advancement
  3. 9 per cent named shifts in world economic and political power centers
  4. 8 per cent named political instability
  5. 4 per cent named other
  6. 1 per cent named global pandemics
  7. 1 per cent named large scale population movement
  8. 0 per cent named extremism

The survey classifies Norwegians as those who identify themselves as Norwegians, or those who have NHH as their home school.

Norwegians are more concerned

CEMS carried out the survey among 4,206 of their alumni based in 75 countries around the world, the majority of whom are in professional roles, with many in senior management positions. 

The survey shows that the Norwegian respondents (179) are a bit more concerned than the global average. 48 per cent of the Norwegians rated that environmental challenges will be among the biggest challenges they will face in the 21st century, with technology in second (29 per cent). 

Three years ago, as same as with the global average, the Norwegian professionals rated technology to be among the biggest challenges. In 2018, 29 per cent of the Norwegians rated technology and 27 per cent rated environmental challenges.

About CEMS

CEMS is a global alliance of leading business schools, multinational companies and non-profits organisations that together offer the CEMS Master in International Management (CEMS MIM).

The CEMS MIM is a one-year, pre-experience programme that offers students the opportunity to be educated in a truly multicultural classroom. NHH is the only school in Norway that is a CEMS member.

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