Sustainability in the Business & Marketing Curriculum: : Exploratory Study
The first sentence of the call for papers for the Academy of Marketing Conference 2017 asserts that marketing is increasingly seen as a force for good, particularly in connection with building awareness of environmental issues and sustainability. In this paper we focus on the education of business students, and particularly marketing students, in issues to do with sustainability. The primary purpose of this paper is to report on an empirical investigation of the beliefs and perceptions of our own students with respect to sustainability. This investigation is planned to be a benchmark study, so that we can track changes in students’ beliefs and perceptions as sustainability issues are further embedded within the curriculum. While environmental sustainability has been a matter of widespread interest and concern for many years, the 2015 Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) can be regarded as the most significant development in recent history. In October 2016 the Paris agreement achieved entry into force, having been ratified by 109 of the 197 Parties to the Convention. The central aim of the Paris Agreement is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change; the goal is to restrict global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius this century, while making efforts to restrict global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (UN, 2015). Given the prominence received by sustainability at the political level, it is not surprising that business schools are being encouraged to include it explicitly within the curriculum. Business school accrediting bodies mandate the inclusion of sustainability in the business curriculum (see appendix for extracts from accrediting body requirements).