A report released by the University this week reveals that business leaders are still struggling to identify and adapt to a low-carbon economy, despite ongoing business obligations.

Out of 1,002 senior decision makers in businesses of all sizes, Aston found that 38% don’t see the transition as a concern at all, while 41% view it as a ‘minor concern’.

Y Generation

Vice-Chancellor of Aston University Professor Dame Julia King said: “Climate change is perhaps the biggest challenge facing the world today and it is clear that students and business leaders alike feel a sense of responsibility. What is also evident is that at present businesses are not necessarily prepared and equipped to respond to the challenge. 

“Through education and career opportunities, we can harness this sense of responsibility to the benefit of both young people and future employers. Almost three quarters of students questioned in our research say they aren’t receiving training or education on these themes at university.”

Despite 66% of businesses leaders recognising that they had a responsibility to alleviate climate change, only 7% have accommodated their corporate strategy to do so, according to the study.

Just under a third of the business leaders surveyed admitted that they currently have no plans to adapt business strategy, with just 16% of the leaders confirming that they have significant changes in the pipeline.

The senior decision makers – which excludes those from sole trade businesses – were surveyed by YouGov and Aston University ahead of the University’s Carbon Week, which runs from 2 to 6 November.

The University is taking steps to teach second year undergraduates of the importance of understanding the requirements of mitigating climate change and introducing a low carbon economy.


Climate studies

Separate research by student market research group YouthSight suggests that those still in education have a higher sense of moral responsibility than business leaders, with 97% agreeing that they have an obligation to combat climate change.

Students are becoming an increasingly influential factor for businesses looking to implement changes. The research showed that 43% of recruiters look for new staff with knowledge of climate change, with many believing that graduate applicants are well versed on the issue.

A recent exclusive from edie revealed that business schools could in fact be contributing to the sustainability skills gap, by not offering enough environmental and ecological education, despite over four in 10 businesses demanding it.

A Ceres report earlier this week also suggested that corporate board directors are failing to deliver tangible environmental impacts despite incorporating sustainability into a company’s ethos.

Matt Mace

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