From championing sustainability in the classroom to practising it on campus

Students ending our MBA Guest Lecture by rewarding each speaker with their very own tree

Planting trees on campus

Students, alumni and businesses joined us online and in-person for last Friday’s MBA Guest Lecture on the subject of ‘Championing sustainability in the workplace’. Afterwards, our three speakers – Dr Dan Wright from Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, Lisa Whalley-Smith of Klarity Marketing, and Maria Staines from NHS Pharmacy – were each thanked for their invaluable time and support by planting three young trees (chestnut and oaks) in the grounds close to Kent Business School. A fourth tree, a larger horse chestnut was planted by MBA student, Jack Buxton, who cultivated the trees at home.

During the lecture, Lisa provided information on how we can become more sustainable in our marketing with everything from our purchasing, to our packaging, and our use of materials. At Ecoegg, she was responsible for removing unnecessary plastic, bubble wrap, sellotape, plastic pellet bags, and reducing the size of the box, resulting in 56% less cardboard. Sales of Ecoegg has eliminated millions of plastic bottles since January 2021. She is a huge advocate of internal and external education, forming partnerships with other ethical brands, and supporting environmental awareness days. Her career has since taken her to qualify as a sustainable marketer and she now educates other brands on how to market more sustainably.

Next up was Dan, who in his NHS role shared bold visions for a healthier planet and community. He started by reminding us that “Climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century” (Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change). It is also according to the same source, “… the greatest opportunity to address the social and environmental inequalities that are determinants of health.” Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust looks after approximately two million people across Kent, Essex and North London, so it is no mean task to attempt to deliver a Net Zero NHS. He talked about the need to address the skills gap with training, improve deliverables in terms of market steer, and streamline innovation by introducing new approaches to support better results.

Event speakers and organisers in the MBA Suite

Last to present was Maria, who talked about how she is helping to champion sustainability in a specific area of the NHS, in Pharmacy. Maria’s passion for creating a more sustainable world was evident throughout her presentation, starting with her personal tips on how to live more sustainably through to how she has been instrumental in bringing about change in her workplace. She was also involved in setting up a community CIC called ‘The Hub’ in a shopping centre in Kent (the Library of Everything), which provides ecological solutions and training for the general public. She stressed the importance of collaboration with other professions in calling for financial divestment from fossil fuels, declaration of the climate emergency, and climate-health leadership and education.

The second part of the event involved a panel discussion with questions from those in the room and online. MBA alum, Stylianos Fontrier joined us from Greece. He agrees that individual involvement is the starting point that expands to community, business and international level – and that getting others on board is about education, togetherness, transparency, responsibility, accountability. He also believes that governments should promote this through education and incentives, whilst people in less developed countries be given a fair chance to raise their living standards to an equal level of developed countries and then be given support to follow a more sustainable way of living.

The discussion was non-stop, so much so that we have to apologise to those who didn’t get a chance to have their questions answered before we had to wrap up. But spades and forks were awaiting us along with members of the University’s Estates department, so that the trees could be placed in the ground before the light dimmed too much!

Dr Dan Wright with his planted tree

This MBA Guest Lecture led by Caroline KnottJack Buxton and Shreyan Biswas is part of a series runs across the year covering three main themes: Sustainability in November/December, Diversity/Women in Leadership in March and Entrepreneurship in May. You are welcome to join us for these!

Our MBA is underpinned by our high-quality research and informed by the global outlook of our international community. It builds on your current experience to transform you into a responsible business leader.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.