Melbourne Business School News Melbourne Business School is now running on renewable energy

Melbourne Business School is now running on renewable energy

We're embedding sustainability into our building, operations and curriculum as part of a commitment to addressing climate change.

Solar panels on roof of Melbourne Business School, January 2024

Melbourne Business School has celebrated a new milestone on its journey to becoming carbon positive by 2030 with the University of Melbourne.

Last month, new arrays of solar panels on two buildings were activated, complementing those installed in 2018 and delivering a combined 73kW of power to the campus.

Together with a new agreement with energy providers, it means the School is now 100% powered by renewable electricity and listed alongside 137 other Australian businesses as a GreenPower customer.

The milestone is just one example of work being done to embed sustainability across the School, says Facilities Manager and Environmental Sustainability Officer Mark Edmonds.

"We're also improving data capture and analytics to develop subsequent versions of our greenhouse gas emissions inventory," he says.

"A staff survey to better understand commuting and remote working habits is currently underway as part of this process."

A sustainable curriculum

Sustainability is also being incorporated into the Melbourne Business School curriculum, through standalone programs as well as in core business subjects.

"Pretty much every field of business is being affected by aspects of sustainability," says Professor Glenn Hoetker, Director of the Centre for Sustainability and Business.

"New reporting requirements are becoming part of accounting and new sustainability-related financial instruments are coming about."

To help executives tackle climate change, Professor Hoetker and his colleagues created the Sustainability for Strategic Advantage short course, featuring experts including Don Henry AM, former CEO the Australian Conservation Foundation and WWF Australia.

Versions of the course are also available as electives and additional sessions on our MBS MBA programs.

The Centre is also working with organisations like Bain & Company and NAB to design and deliver custom development programs to upskill their staff in sustainability.

"A company's approach to sustainability has become an important element in attracting and retaining talent," Professor Hoetker says.

"A focus on sustainability is creating new opportunities and expectations for making supply chains more efficient. You could say the same for every field we teach."

Sustainable classes

Many Melbourne Business School faculty members are also incorporating aspects of sustainability into core business subjects.

Among them is Associate Professor of Marketing Jody Evans, who has incorporated a case study on meat company Danish Crown, which has been accused by Greenpeace of greenwashing, in her marketing classes.

"By examining the case of Danish Crown and their efforts in marketing sustainability, I explore the crucial task of effectively communicating a firm's sustainability initiatives to stakeholders," she says.

"This case provides a rich foundation for understanding both the opportunities and challenges companies face in promoting their commitment to sustainable practices."

Jim Frederickson, Professor of Accounting and Associate Dean of our Online MBA, teaches sustainability reporting by companies in his online financial accounting classes.

"We address the evolution of sustainability reporting, an overview of what sustainability reporting is, and sustainability reporting today," he says.

Students are also prompted to discuss the effects of climate change on financial statements and discuss what it means for the impairment of assets, as well as what their own organisations are doing to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Through the work of the Dilin Duwa Centre for Indigenous Business Leadership and others, the School is also supporting organisations and leaders that have a purpose of nurturing, preserving or enhancing the natural environment.

"Dilin Duwa incorporates sustainability practice into our curriculum because we are in service to the Indigenous business sector and engagement is at the heart of everything we do," says Dr Ash Francisco, the Centre's Stream Lead and Lecturer.

"By designing bespoke curriculum with students, partners, alumni and the ecosystem in general, we are constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of the sector."

Professor Hoetker says that in each of these cases, sustainability adds another dimension to decision-making across disciplines and situations.

“The goal is never to tell students what to do," he says.

"Rather, it’s about helping students understand why sustainability is relevant in the context of a given class and how they can best make that knowledge part of their decision-making."

Sustainable operations

In addition to activating the new solar panels, the School has also improved sustainability in its operations by:

  • Replacing all light fittings with energy-efficient LEDs, which reduce lighting power consumption by 40 to 70 per cent
  • Eliminating single-use containers wherever possible
  • Using recycled and fully compostable packaging, cutlery and cups
  • Recycling coffee grounds and coffee pods
  • Replacing all exit lights with photoluminescence technology to do away with stand-by batteries
  • Using carpet tiles with recycled materials sourced from a carbon-neutral supplier
  • Installing lighting sensors that sense when people are nearby to ensure lighting is only in use when needed
  • Tinting the roof windows of the Hub space to increase insulation
  • Recycling demolition material from building upgrades and refits
  • Maximising natural ventilation to reduce air conditioning
  • Using Thermoshield roof coating on the Mill Building to reflect heat and reduce air conditioning power consumption
  • Installing end-of-trip facilities such as bike garages (pictured) and showers to encourage cycling to campus

MBS bike station (June 2024)

Late last year, Melbourne Business School and the Faculty of Business and Economics submitted their second joint progress report to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education initiative, which was created to help business schools and universities embed the UN's Sustainable Development Goals across their curriculum, research, activities, and engagement.

The new report outlines the ongoing work of both organisations to address issues including poverty, climate change, gender inequity and the underrepresentation of Indigenous Australians in business education, after the first won an Excellence in Reporting award in 2022. Both reports are available online here.

To find out more about studying at Melbourne Business School, visit our Degree Programs and Short Courses pages, or learn about our range of services For Organisations.

Solving sustainability challenges to benefit organisations and society.