Centre for Sustainability and Business welcomes Dr Sarah Ivory
One of the world's leading experts in business and climate change is returning to Melbourne Business School.
Dr Sarah Birrell Ivory completed her MBA at Melbourne Business School before earning a PhD at the University of Edinburgh and becoming the inaugural director of its Centre for Business, Climate Change and Sustainability.
This month, she also began a visiting professor position at the Centre for Sustainability and Business to help Australian organisations tackle climate change and share her knowledge with students.
"I have two professional passions – business transition towards sustainability, and in particular addressing the climate crisis; and university students engaging effectively with critical thinking, such that university is a site of transformation in their cognitive abilities, not just their pool of knowledge," Dr Ivory says.
"I believe that these two are inextricably linked. We need business education which is fit for the 21st Century challenges that managers, leaders, and the whole of society are facing. That requires transformational thinking from our business students, and support for our business professionals in their daily decisions, strategies, and investments.
"I'm excited to work with the Centre for Sustainability and Business on both of these passions, and hope to use my knowledge, expertise and experience to introduce the ideas of sustainability and climate change to as many students, faculty, and industry partners as possible."
Dr Ivory says one of the most important factors for Australian organisations to tackle climate change is commitment from the top – even though the impetus for change may come from elsewhere.
"Unless the board and CEO are engaged in sustainability and climate issues and signalling commitment to change, most initiatives will fail to even get up, let alone be successful," she says.
"But leadership doesn't just have to be from the top. I have witnessed some of the most remarkable transformations coming from individuals at all levels of organisations pushing ideas, changes, opportunities and values."
Dr Ivory also says the recent shift towards purpose-driven strategy is here to stay and leaders should examine why their organisation exists in the first place.
"Hint – the answer isn't to increase the share price," she says.
"Sustainable, responsible, distributive capitalism – whatever you want to call it – is not a fad or a buzz word. It is focusing on the social license of businesses to operate – what they contribute to, and also what they take from, the world.
"Business leaders who aren't asking these questions of their business are going to be left behind in an economic and societal shift."
To learn more, visit the Centre for Business and Sustainability page.