Aerial view of icebergs

Millennials believe it's up to them to end climate crisis, CEMS survey finds

22 November 2019
Survey finds over half are confident humanity can find a solution
Members of the so-called millennial generation believe the future of the planet rests in their hands, according to a survey of recent master’s graduates in 40 countries including Australia.

The international survey conducted by CEMS, the Global Alliance in Management Education, found that 80% - most in their early twenties - believe the responsibility will lie with their generation to find the solution to climate change.

Of the 333 survey respondents, many of whom will go on to become business leaders and entrepreneurs, more than half (51%) were confident that humans will find a solution to the problem, while 49% were not confident, reflecting the global air of uncertainty.

Commenting on the survey results, Professor Greg Whitwell, Chair of the CEMS Global Alliance and Dean of the University of Sydney Business School, said graduates clearly "understand that climate change is not just an environmental concern."

"They know that businesses and governments need to work together for the survival of the planet," Professor Whitwell said. "They believe that their generation will be required to be the change-makers and do not take this responsibility lightly."

CEMS is an alliance of 32 of the world's leading business schools, including the University of Sydney Business School, which deliver the CEMS Master's in International Management program. The Alliance is supported by more than 70 corporate partners and 7 NGOs.

"Through CEMS we are dedicated to preparing future leaders who are equipped with not only the passion and knowledge needed to tackle climate change, but also the skills required to transform organisations from the inside out," Professor Whitwell said.

"Across the globe we see our graduates carrying their commitment to the environment and sustainability from the classroom into the business world, as transformative leaders and entrepreneurs."

"It is crucial that businesses and governments act on the ambition of these young people if they hope to secure the future of the planet," Professor Whitwell said. "Who better than the future generation of leaders with their energising can-do attitude to convert such enormous challenges into solutions?"

As an example of CEMS' commitment to climate action, Professor Whitwell pointed to Plan A, which was found 2016 by Lubomila Jordanova, a CEMS graduate from the London School of Economics.

Plan A is a data-driven platform that uses artificial intelligence to pinpoint areas on the planet that are most vulnerable to climate change. It then connects environmental players with sources of private funding so that action can be taken.

Commenting on the survey findings, Lubomila said that, "the climate change crisis is the result of a history of disregard to the planet and its resources."

"Now our generation face nature's response to this behaviour and can only address the crisis effectively through a collaborative approach, which gets businesses, individuals, scientists, NGOs and governments working together," Lubomila said.

Tackling climate change through global business education

The CEMS Business and the Environment faculty group, open to all member schools, was founded in the mid-90s with the aim of researching and teaching the managerial implications of the relationship between business and the natural environment.

Members are grounded in a broad variety of disciplinary fields (including management and economics, chemistry, biology, mathematics), which has allowed them to develop and implement new way to introduce environmental issues into mainstream business education.