About 150 alumni from the Business and Sustainability Programme (BSP) joined HRH The Prince of Wales at St James's Palace in London to celebrate the programme's 20th.
The BSP, established by The Prince of Wales and the University of Cambridge, has a track record of transformative impact on delegates and their organisations.
The BSP is designed to help business and government leaders understand the changes and trends shaping their operating context and become agents of change themselves.
Since 1994, the BSP has involved more than 2,500 leaders from 1,000 companies coming from more than 75 countries. The latest Cambridge seminar included 37 senior executives representing some 19 different nationalities and 15 different sectors from around the world.
The anniversary coincides with the close of the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (2004–2014) and showcases the powerful contribution that executive education can play in helping to accelerate this agenda within the realm of business.
Speaking at the event, HRH The Prince of Wales said: “I do find it encouraging that so many of the companies which are part of my Business and Sustainability Programme are increasingly putting forward the solutions we know we all need. They are developing and perfecting the arguments for a circular economy and bringing to bear their resources and creative ingenuity to innovate, collaborate and build new business models that not only achieve profitability but also seek to protect and enhance our natural and human capital.
I know only too well that the challenge ahead is immense and that the scale of ignorance, resistance, or indifference is daunting. However I am inspired by the fact that this programme has created a rare and powerful combination of knowledge, passion and determination in a whole community of leaders. I look to you, and those who follow you, for the leadership we need.”
The programme has been instrumental in helping senior executives develop the attitudes, skills, and knowledge needed to make informed decisions for the benefit of their companies and society more widely.
The reunion event reviewed two decades of business leadership for sustainability and went on to discuss how corporate action can drive change and accelerate progress at a system level.
Speakers at the event included key figures in the evolution of the
BSP, such as its former co-director, Jonathon Porritt, Forum for the Future, and Terry A’Hearn and Philippe Joubert who have played a major role in the programme’s expansion in Australia and Brazil, respectively.
David Rice, Fellow at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), which runs the BSP, explains the influence of the programme: “Leaders in business can drive great change in how society develops. Through the BSP I have seen how leaders can bring a broader scan of the horizon into their strategic thinking and everyday operations, affecting people’s lives and the natural world.”