University of Sheffield announces sustainability education across all courses
If you needed any further proof that sustainability is becoming a business essential, take a look at the University of Sheffield. The university has announced it will now teach sustainability across all of its subjects and degree courses.
It comes as a response to the developing climate emergency and strike action by activist groups across the globe.
The university will introduce Education for Sustainable Development into its course curriculums over the next five years.
Will other universities follow suit?
The University of Sheffield is leading the charge, but it surely won’t be long until a host of others join them in making sustainability a key focus across the higher education curriculum.
In fact, it’s something students are now demanding and expecting; according to a survey published in 2018 by the National Union of Students (NUS), 70% of students want sustainable development to be included and promoted in all courses.
Governments and school boards could also consider introducing sustainability education as children become more aware of the world around them. We’ve already seen the “School Strike for the Climate” movement, started by teenage activist Greta Thunberg, receive wide backing around the world. It shows that youngsters are concerned for their planet and arguably, would relish the opportunity to learn more about how they can help.
How can businesses avoid being left behind?
Public pressure is getting harder to ignore: the recent suspension of fracking in the UK is another pointer that environmental concerns are now pushing the agenda in business.
It’s another example of how businesses will have to adopt greener practices to continue their growth in a sustainable way.
Sustainability and environmental roles are now becoming more of a necessity in the workplace, rather than a benefit. These positions enable companies to understand how they can change their processes and improve how their operations impact the environment.
Targeting educated, eager graduates - perhaps through dedicated graduate schemes - can help businesses to better understand the new world view and to improve their sustainability.
In-house training and communication can also help to upskill the existing workforce and help to drive the change internally.
There’s a way to go; 18% of greenhouse gas emissions come from businesses in the UK. But companies and corporations can start implementing change now to improve their sustainability and environmental impact. By fostering a workforce of passionate, educated individuals, the impact can be much greater and help drive the change needed globally. Although the initial outlay may impact bottom lines and profit margins, it should be noted that consumers are now actively looking to buy from businesses that are driving sustainability - a sign that for those that have the right attitude to the environment, the revenue will come anyway.
Discover more about Shirley Parsons’ specialisms in sustainability and environment, and how we can help support your business’ sustainability needs.