“Connecting best minds in business with best minds in science”

Professor Gail Whiteman sends a clear message in the Pentland Centre Launch

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(Professor Gail Whiteman, Twitter)

Professor Gail Whiteman (Rubin Chair and Director of the Pentland Centre), stated in the Pentland Centre Launch that our world changed heavily since her graduation from University and therefore business, as a driver of the economy needs to deeply engage with the science sector.
In fact she named 6 main topics for research:

  • Value orientated Supply chains
  • Food, energy and water issues
  • Ecosystem risks (especially focusing on the arctic melting)
  • Sustainable soils and land use
  • Sustainable cities and lifestyles
  • Business solution and strategies

The last of these points is approached in cooperation with the WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) which has been represented by Dr. Rodney Irwin, Managing Director for Financial Capital Area at WBCSD. The WBCSD is a driving force behind the Vision 2050, which has the goal to ensure well-being of 9 billion people who will be living on our planet by 2050, within the limits of the later.

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“Every Vision is not worth anything without the Action behind it”
(Dr Rodney Irwin, 2015)

For most, this long term vision seems to be just a great, unreachable dream – therefore Irwin emphasizes that the importance is the move from Vision to Action. In this case the Action behind Vision 2050 is the Action 2020, which is a medium term action plan that sets priorities and must-have business solutions for the upcoming 5 years.
(More information: http://www.wbcsd.org/pages/edocument/edocumentdetails.aspx?id=219 )

Mr. Andy Rubin, Chair Person of the Pentland Branch, displayed with a very personal example what it means to run a sustainable business and that there are too many gaps in the academic research which need to be closed by scientific research. During the public lecture afterwards he approached the challenging question “How can companies be a force for good?” whereas he assumed that companies CAN be a force for good – but under what conditions. Rubin stressed that this is not a question about being profit orientated or not, rather about the balance between making profits and also caring about the well-being of his own employees as well as people all around the globe. Therefore the focus should be on purpose, value, leadership and culture and not only on the shareholder’s profits. According to Rubin, every business leader can be a force for good- if they choose to be it.

Further informative and interesting talks had been held by Professor Nigel Paul (Lancaster Environment Centre) who declared himself as representing the science part of the evening and by Mark Swindlehurst (Director of Facilities/ Lancaster University).

The overall consensus of the Pentland Centre Launch, which was held at the Lancaster University Management School on the 18th November, was the need of joined up thinking to find the right solutions for the enormous challenge that todays and tomorrows generations are facing.

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References:

The Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business (2015), website via http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/pentland/

WBCSD (2010) ’Vision 2050’ (February 2010)

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