Empowered is how I feel after completing the Leading Sustainable Corporations Programme at Saïd Business School in January this year.
My sustainability learning journey started in October 2022 when we agreed that my assignment as CEO of Heinenoord Holding, a financial advisory firm in the Netherlands, would end in March. I decided to seize the opportunity and take ample time for reflection on my next step and invest in my personal development. I wanted to study an important, relevant, and impactful topic.
Every business needs to change to become more sustainable. Consumers and employees want this change so it is already impacting today’s business. We should not wait for others to make the required changes and so today’s leaders need to include environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors in organisational strategy and shift their methods of long-term value creation for shareholders and society. Hence, I chose Oxford Leading Sustainable Corporations as the course for my personal development.
Browsing several alternatives, I quickly came across the six-week online programme at Saïd Business School. I chose this course because of the content of the programme, the speakers, the reputation of Oxford and the fact that I could start the course within two weeks.
During the six-week course we were engaged to make the transition towards sustainability with topics ranging from net zero carbon emissions, workforce diversity and inclusion, and supply chain impact such as deforestation and human rights violations, but also governance, risk and reporting to ensure sustainability. We learned from more than 20 guest experts such as Professor Richard Barker, Dr Mary Johnstone-Louis, Paul Polman, Marcelo Behar, Dominic Emery, Shriti Vadera and Al Gore.
The programme more than met my expectations. Great written and video content, a super easy-to-use online learning platform and a very useful online discussion platform with my fellow business leaders from around the globe. Here we shared and discussed our own challenges, expertise, and insights.
The part I liked the most, which also was the most challenging, was the weekly assignments where we had to work on our own sustainability case, answering questions about our own corporation:
- How far are we in creating a sustainable corporation ourselves?
- Where and how can we accelerate?
- Where can I make a difference?
The weekly assignments were reviewed by an experienced assessor who provided great feedback. After six weeks, the homework resulted in a practical sustainability roadmap for the corporation. This is very useful, both for my current corporation but also at my next stint.
If you are considering following the programme, I would highly recommend it. This is a great course on a topic that everyone, but certainly aspiring leaders, should have an above average knowledge of. Make sure that you have sufficient time available to capture the full benefits of the course (at least six hours per week).
With more and more leaders having this programme under their belt we will transform businesses and impact the world. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that movement?
Empowered to initiate and lead the process of change for a more sustainable future – that’s how you will feel!