Thanks to the financial support from Santander Universities Global Division, Lancaster University’s International Projects, and the support of the WBCSD, we have been given the fantastic opportunity to send 8 LUMS students to the prestigious World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) liaison delegate meeting in Montreux, Switzerland. Around 500 Sustainability Leaders are expected to attend the meeting to discuss how to implement the ambitions post Paris (annual meeting). The students will not only be able to take an active part in the process, they will hear first-hand the views of experts from industry, thereby witnessing ideas put into action. Plus have the chance to network with business leaders from companies such as Santander, IKEA, Unilever, BT, Deliotte and KPMG, and act as an ambassador for the University and Management School. This is a life changing experience that could not only shape their future ambitions but as a result of the outcomes of the event could shape ours.
LUMS undergraduate students were invited to take part in a video competition that required them to research who the WBCSD is, how the WBCSD came into being, whether business could be force for good and convince the assessment panel that they were the ideal candidate for the team. Over 400 students were registered for the competition, where Rory Daly, Jo Hobbs and myself had the enjoyable but challenging task of assessing the entries. We were delighted to see and hear the amount of research our undergraduates had undertaken, especially as they only had one week in which to complete their response. However, with having high standards and an enthusiastic group made our lives harder to identify the winners. After much deliberation, the team was chosen based upon how knowledgeable they were on the subject matter, how well they conveyed the ideas, how professional and business-like they were in their approach to the task and a review of their CV.
Our winners from right to left: Thea Nygaard, Isabella Trapni, Lee Brennan, Dafni Papaopannou and Rachele Lanza. Our final three team members are Miriam Luft, Ferdinand Weiler and Yury Dmitryuk (see below), who were not here to be captured on camera! But I managed to track down a picture to share with you.
The origins of the WBCSD and the importance of having an industry body focused on creating a sustainable future were described by the students who entered the video competition. In recognising the historical context of the council, and on-going challenges, the students gave insights into some of the complexities and tensions industry have to face. Examples included inequality, shifting paradigms, questioning business models, government policy, creating the right growth and the right partnerships.
The next update will be written by the students, where they will share their views on why they took part in our competition and what they hope to gain from this experience.
Written by Alison Stowell