The MIT Sloan School of Management has launched a new Laboratory for Sustainable Business (S-Lab) devoted to reconciling the environmental challenges posed by free-market capitalism with the need for more sustainable business practices, MIT announced earlier this month.
The lab was developed in response to the threats of changing weather patterns, stronger storms and rising sea levels brought on by the dramatic increase in global temperatures.
"As a world leader in business, engineering and science, MIT is uniquely positioned to define the risks and opportunities involved in creating sustainability-based business models for the future," says MIT Sloan Prof. Richard Locke, one of six professors at the business school who collaborated in the creation of the course.
S-Lab recognizes climate change as one of the most daunting challenges mankind faces in creating a sustainable society, says Locke. "A critical issue for global warming is the ways in which the risks are communicated, and the framing of the solutions, both for specific organizations and for communities," he says. "S-Lab will teach future CEOs and business leaders the challenges of implementation and how the science of sustainability can be best communicated to policymakers and citizens."
Key to addressing sustainability, says Locke, is in re-defining it. "Up until now we have considered aspects of sustainability — climate, energy, water, food, poverty, and social development — in isolation," he says. "S-Lab is developing an integrated framework to consider the system-wide dynamics of human society along with tools and methodologies for measuring and monitoring sustainability efforts and their applications."