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Top Canadian graduate programs rated on sustainability

Wednesday, July 2nd 2008 9:12:51am

Top Canadian graduate programs rated on sustainability

Study looked at environmental and social concerns


(Toronto, Canada, July 2, 2008) Today, Corporate Knights Magazine unveils the fifth-annual Knight Schools ranking. The ranking analyzes how Canadian universities fare in integrating sustainability into the school experience.  

In reviewing MBA and undergraduate Business programs, the researchers adopted a broad definition of sustainability that encompassed environmental and social concerns. Issues of social justice, human rights, professional ethics, cultural diversity, climate change, and conservation were considered.

The survey, modeled after the US-based Beyond Grey Pinstripes Survey, scored the programs in the areas of institutional support, student initiatives, and course work.

The annual survey is famous for evaluating business schools. In the past five years, there have been a number of changes in the scope and methodology of the ranking, but one thing appears to be constant: Schulich School of Business at York University’s spot at the top. Every year, Schulich has been awarded the title of best sustainable MBA program in Canada. Schulich’s consistently high ranking can be attributed to initiatives such as its Non-Profit Management and Leadership specialization, an impressive range of guest speakers, and an active student body.

Of the 38 MBA schools surveyed, 21 (55.3%) had at least one core course entirely dedicated to sustainability. Of the 47 undergraduate schools surveyed, 20 (42.6%) had at least one core course entirely dedicated to sustainability.

Skeptics of the integration of business and environment need look no further than the University of Waterloo. Their top-ranking undergraduate program bridges both worlds at the Centre for Environment and Business. Their faculty is dedicated to researching responsible business and is home to the Export Development Canada (EDC) Chair in Environmental Finance, a position that studies the triple bottom line, carbon credits, and “green” financial tools. Courses such as Environmental Reporting, Green Marketing, and Innovative Regulations connect these two seemingly incompatible subjects together.

But it isn’t just the faculty that is active in promoting sustainability. The top-scoring schools all boast student groups committed to the cause of promoting environmental and social issues. Four out of the top five undergraduate schools had a student initiative score of over 80%. The top five MBA programs fared even better with every school scoring 100% for student initiatives. Since today’s students will tomorrow’s managers and innovators, Corporate Knights talked to the students for their perspectives this year. As active participants in campus culture, they offered candid and thought-provoking opinions about the role of sustainability in their schools.

“We noticed a lot of changes in how schools are treating sustainability,” says Monika Warzecha, Chief Researcher of the Knight Schools ranking. “New programs are springing up in many different fields. Students are demanding these courses and starting their own projects outside the classroom.”

The full results and methodology of the Ranking are available at http://www.corporateknights.ca/special-reports/68-knight-school-guide.html and are summarized in the Best 50/Eduction issue (Vol. 7.1) of Corporate Knights, distributed in the Globe and Mail on June 30 in Eastern Canada and July 7 in Western Canada.

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To schedule interviews contact: Jonathan Laderoute, e|c|o, 416-972-7401, laderoutej(a)huffstrategy.com


Founded in 2002, Corporate Knights Inc. is an independent Canadian-based media company focused on promoting and reinforcing sustainable development in Canada.