Is business the answer to the climate crisis? Here at the Business & Environment Initiative, we believe that it is the responsibility of business to lead on confronting climate change. In many ways, business has been the engine accelerating us toward the climate crisis and there is no aspect of business that will be left untouched by the far-reaching consequences of climate change. But we also understand that business can drive solutions and that facing these challenges offers a unique set of opportunities.

Our mission at BEI is to educate, connect, and mobilize current and future business leaders to address climate change and other environmental challenges. Together, the BEI team works with faculty, students, and alumni to achieve that mission.

What does climate change mean for students? It is undeniable that the careers of MBA students will be shaped by climate change, and we work with students, faculty, and alumni to ensure that every student is prepared. We partner with the Career and professional Development office to connect students with internships and career opportunities, and we work with faculty to increase climate-related content in the curriculum.

We forge connections between students and alumni already working in the field through our alumni mentor program, which promotes networking and idea-sharing on the challenges and opportunities that climate change is currently posing to businesses. Last year we saw the establishment of the MBA Sustainability Club, which has quickly grown to be one of the largest business & environment clubs on campus. We work closely with the Sustainability Club, as well as the Energy & Environment Club and Food, Agriculture, and Water Club to develop programs that include experts in the field and innovative content. Beyond that, to encourage on-campus sustainability practices, each year HBS hires ten Student Sustainability Associates (SSAs) who promote sustainable living among their peers through engaging monthly campaigns and a capstone project. SSAs advise BEI on ways to increase business and environment opportunities for students.

BEI works with a team of over 30 faculty affiliates who are dedicated to researching every aspect of the impacts of climate change: how it will change the infrastructure of our buildings and cities; innovative solutions such as carbon capture and regenerative agriculture; the possibilities of clean tech; how to reimagine capitalism; and understanding and managing the financial risks associated with climate change. Through our Climate Rising podcast, we bring together business and policy leaders with faculty to demonstrate how business across sectors are addressing climate change. At BEI, we help to amplify the impact of faculty research by disseminating these critical insights to practitioners, students, and leaders in the field.

Alumni are a central focus of our work at the BEI and we are fortunate to have an extensive network of engaged and dedicated alumni. Our alumni are motivated to face the challenges that climate change presents and develop innovative solutions. We regularly share relevant cases and research on climate change to keep our alumni informed of the latest trends in the field. Through curated small group discussions and large conferences, we encourage deep thinking and idea sharing among our alumni. Our exhibit, ‘Confronting Climate Change; From Business as Usual to Business as Vital’ features advice from over 50 alumni working across all sectors in the fight against climate change.

The mission of Harvard Business School is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. At the BEI, we see our students and alumni fulfilling this goal by addressing climate change and all the challenges, and opportunities, it creates.