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Green edged law

by Heather Leggett

Plant in light bulbAs the business world continues to introduce the notion of sustainability into work practices, students are realising the importance of equipping themselves with ‘green’ skills.

UniSA undergraduate Nicholas Twohig (pictured below) is one of an increasing number of students who understand that whatever career they want, having "green" credentials can make a difference.

The 20-year old who began study in 2007 with a Bachelor of Sustainable Environments, was inspired two years later to add a Bachelor of Law.

"I found it easy to understand the value of a degree in sustainability," he says.

"But as businesses move to embrace more sustainable practices, it’s clear that there will be a call for professionals with skills that transcend the boundaries between traditional and green careers."

Now in his third year of study, Twohig is finding his degree choices surprisingly complementary.

"I have really enjoyed my sustainability subjects and now I’m finding that I’m getting a lot out of my law subjects too - it’s a great combination," he says.

Program Director of UniSA’s Bachelor of Sustainable Environments, David Bruce, says the increased interest in combined eco-degrees shows students are picking up on the trend. And one of Twohig’s former Law teachers, Professor Rob Fowler says the decision to combine a white collar degree with a green collar degree shows great foresight.

"We’re quickly moving into an era when it will be necessary to have tertiary knowledge of environmental and sustainable practices," Prof Fowler says.

"The sustainability revolution has delivered a real demand for educated professionals who have the knowledge to deal with traditional professional issues in a green context."

Professor Janek Ratnatunga, Head of the School of Commerce at UniSA who recently used a public lecture to discuss the need for a suite of specialists to regulate carbon trading schemes, similarly contends that soon all professional industries will need graduates with cross-field expertise.

"It won’t be an eco-warrior who’ll save the planet, but an eco-professional," he says.

UniSA is embracing sustainability in its postgraduate business courses too. It runs a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business which covers topics from climate change to risk and uncertain analysis. Subjects included in the certificate can also be studied as part of a Masters of Business Administration (MBA).

And this is probably one aspect that has led to UniSA’s MBA program being ranked in the top 100 universities world-wide for providing a curriculum that incorporates social and environmental issues into the training of future business leaders.

The ranking comes from an international survey ‘Beyond Grey Pinstripe’ which is undertaken by the Aspen Institute Centre for Business Education every two years to find the MBA programs that are leading the way in the integration of social and environmental stewardship in their curriculum.

Caroline Rowe from the MBA program said it was a wonderful achievement to make it into the top 100 and to be acknowledged for providing an innovative program.