The future of the corporate job market is green, according to Claude Lloyd, professor and coordinator of the Green Business Management program at Algonquin College.
“Even now, the demand for graduates who have an understanding of business greening is out there and it’s growing.”
Algonquin is the first college in Canada to launch a Green Business Management graduate certificate, supplementing its core curriculum with applied interdisciplinary projects such as designing cradle- to-cradle supply chain models. Leading and innovative environmental topics like biomimicry are incorporated outside the classroom, where students learn to turn them into applicable business ideas for the local community.
“CSR and sustainability are becoming the norm in the corporate setting,” says Lloyd, “but there are still a lot of corporations who don’t have the in-house manpower to do it. That’s where the colleges are filling in.”
Lloyd notes the concepts are hardly new. “People who do see [sustainability] as new are becoming laggards.”
But he also stresses that colleges emphasize applied experience over research and theory, which could be beneficial in other corporate areas such as research and development.
“Hands-on experience can be put on résumés— it builds networks.”
Chris Dudley, chair of the Green Business Management program at Seneca College, largely agrees with Lloyd. The future is green, he says, but Seneca is out to place “green pinstripes” on white-collar jobs, first.
“You’re not going to get the corner office from this certificate, but you will be getting that knowledge you can apply into companies and start working away towards that corner office. We’re taking a business approach [showing] how you can start moving a company towards sustainability.”
Seneca is looking to “thread the line of sustainability” into every aspect of their business programs, as well as into individual courses.
Regarding the lagging pace of universities, Dudley acknowledges their slow pace could have to do with their size and bureaucracies but notes that even a large college like Seneca—with more than 20,000 students— had enough time to deliver the right program. “We spend a lot of time on development,” he says.
“I have utmost respect for universities, but I think there’s a difference in how we move and how they move: they move slower. We will lead in this regard, but you will see down the road more and more post-secondary institutes moving this way, because it’s the right thing to do.”