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Sustainable business shake-up

by Jon Brooks

Liam Ridley (centre) with fellow graduates of UniSA’s Sustainable Business program.Everyone needs an example to follow, and visionary business leaders embracing the new world of sustainability have found their leader in UniSA.

The first students of UniSA’s Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business graduated in April and according to program direction Dr Geoff Wells, they will become trailblazers in their professions.

"Without doubt, the need to embrace sustainability is the biggest shake-up in the business world since the arrival of the internet, and it’s probably going to have even more far-reaching consequences than the online revolution," he said.

"For many business leaders the idea of sustainability equates with diminished profit share, markets disappearing altogether, added costs, and doom and gloom - but smart business leaders will see opportunities.

"The simple truth is there is no end to the entrepreneurial possibilities that sustainable business can provide."

Covering topics from climate change to economics, the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business is giving goal-orientated executives the edge.

"Eventually sustainable business will become part of the core business discipline throughout the University’s many business programs," Dr Wells said.

"At the moment though, we’re targeting middle to high level executives who can see that sustainability is the future – the people who will become industry leaders in sustainability.

"UniSA really is a pioneer in this field. When we began the program there just weren’t any text books, we were quite literally writing them as we went."

Liam Ridley, a service delivery executive with technology services company EDS in Melbourne, said the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business was invaluable.

"I’m originally from Adelaide, and having done my undergraduate degree at UniSA it was great to have found what was at the time, the only online business sustainability course, at my old uni," he said.

"I see sustainability as being both an obligation and an opportunity. While most of the sustainability debate we see in the papers concentrates on our obligations to behave more sustainably, building a sustainable framework within which to conduct business creates great opportunities for efficiencies and cost savings which have always been a key part of running a successful business.

"In that respect, sustainability is extremely important. Innovators still have a chance to get ahead of the game here.

"Ultimately everyone will need to treat sustainability as a critical business issue - either because of regulatory enforcement or because it simply makes good business sense," Ridley said.

They are sentiments Dr Wells shares.

"Business leaders have to understand the old rules have gone," he said.

"The era of social and environmental responsibility has arrived. Those businesses that are the first movers in sustainable practice will thrive, and UniSA is where they can get the knowledge to do so."