Are Canadian MBA and Engineering Students Learning to Deal with Sustainability Issues?

In its 9th annual survey of the sustainability content in Canadian university programs, Corporate Knights (“the company for clean capitalism”) has focused on MBA and Engineering programs, using the rationale that corporate responsibility is most usually the result of CEO beliefs, and since 63 % of the executives for the top 10 TSX-traded companies hold either an MBA or an engineering degree, the education of these professionals is a necessary precondition of progress toward sustainability in corporate decision-making. As in every other year that the survey has ranked MBA programs, Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto has ranked at the top. This year, the Master of Environment and Business (MEB) program at the University of Waterloo ranked second. In general, the survey calls for improvements in MBA course content and institutional support: for example, more opportunities for sustainability-oriented internships, and more sustainability-themed courses in the core curriculum.

 

Amongst engineering programs, University of Toronto ranked first, followed by University of Western Ontario, and L’Université Laval. Overall, the survey finds only 43% of engineering schools provide course specializations relevant to sustainability concerns, and only 30% offering relevant joint degrees.

 

AND FOR PRACTISING ENGINEERS…. A survey published in May 2012 measured the knowledge and awareness to climate change adaptation of Canadian professional engineers practicing in five categories of built infrastructure: water, transportation, energy, buildings, and resource extraction/processing. The survey reveals that 70% of engineers agree that a changing climate affects their engineering decisions, (with lower than average agreement in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and higher than average in Quebec, the Atlantic provinces, and the North). However, only 10% of engineers indicate that they “always consider the impacts of a changing climate in their decisions.” Only 3% of engineers have already used or intend to use the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) Protocol; 7% are somewhat familiar with it, and approximately 80% are not at all familiar. The survey was sponsored by Engineers Canada, was conducted between December 2011 and February 2012, and updates a 2007 survey.

 

LINKS:  

2012 Knights School Survey, September 2012, including complete rankings and survey methodology, is available at: http://corporateknights.com/report/2012-knight-schools-survey

 

A Higher Degree of Sustainability by Jeremy Runnalls (overview) is at:   http://corporateknights.com/report/2012-knight-schools-survey/higher-degree-sustainability

 

National Survey of Canada’s Infrastructure Engineers about Climate Change is available at the Engineers Canada website at:http://www.engineerscanada.ca/files/csa_report_2012_eng.pdf

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