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A Call for Greater Sustainability Education in the Commerce Program 

As the next generation of business leaders, a sustainable future is at the hands and minds of Dalhousie Commerce students. The Bachelor of Commerce program aims to develop the next generation of business leaders and innovators, but how can we be equipped to lead if we are not equipped to address the complex, interdisciplinary challenges of sustainability and climate change related to our field?

Sustainability education enables us to understand our relationship with the wider natural and social environment. Environmental and social concerns are at the forefront of business leadership and demand new methods of thinking in every industry. It is the responsibility of tomorrow’s business leaders to offer thought leadership on the issues of corporate sustainability and to ensure integrity in our decision-making that strives for respect for people and the natural environment.

For commerce students to make informed decisions as leaders, for now and the future, we must be equipped with knowledge of the ideals and principles that underlie sustainability. We must understand our vital role as business leaders in being part of the solution to the major challenges facing our planet. At Dalhousie, this goes beyond the current curriculum of one mandatory half-credit in “Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility”.

Teaching students to challenge the status quo empowers behavioural and systemic change.

Failing to explore the complexity of environmental challenges faced by industries today fails to equip students with the skills, perspectives and practices necessary for solving tomorrow’s business problems. It is time for the Dalhousie BComm community to think critically, not apathetically, when it comes to current environmental issues.

This calls for the establishment of a formal framework to better address the leadership issues of tomorrow, with stronger attention paid to the environmental and social components of the “triple bottom line”. It is imperative that our professors stop brushing over the environmental components of our curriculum and that we are encouraged as students to explore alternatives to the current system. The influence of the next generation of business leaders is pivotal to a cleaner, more conscious economy.

Madelaine Clerk studies accounting at Dalhousie.

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