Dr. Renato Lima de Oliveira, Tan Zhai Gen, Deborah Chow, Vaisnavi Mogan Rao, | Research Series

Research Center: Center of Technology, Strategy & Sustainability

The rise of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria to assess companies shows that investors are mindful that climate risk is investment risk. Hence, companies that do not have a clear sustainability plan will be left behind in competing for capital, talent, and aligning values with customers and other stakeholders.

As a leading management education provider in the region, Asia School of Business (ASB) is well-positioned to help businesses in this transition. As part of its commitment to sustainability, the school has incorporated sustainability into its curriculum, teaching methodology, and research agenda through a school-wide Sustainability Task Force started in 2021, coordinated by Prof. Renato Lima-de-Oliveira and Shee Chien Yong.

Through ASB’s Iclif Executive Education arm, ASB has close relationships with company directors, senior management and company secretaries, and based on listening to the market, has developed a series of short, open-enrolment courses focused on sustainability, ESG, and corporate governance.

In the curriculum

ASB aims to enhance its commitment to sustainability in the curriculum by incorporating sustainability angles into core courses and offering courses that are designed with sustainability in mind, where participants can explore issues in more depth and connect with leaders in the field. This includes:

  1. ASB’s Energy Markets, Policy, and Sustainability course that addresses the technical, business, and policy aspects of the energy transition. In one assignment, participants have to provide a careful analysis of the net zero by 2050 plans of leading energy companies.
  2. Exploring sustainable food production as part of the Operations Strategy course, and discussing ESG (environmental, social, and governance) as part of a Corporate Finance course.

Hands-on sustainability practicum experiences

In the current academic year, the school conducted two week long practicums focused on sustainability.

  1. The November 2021 practicum was focused on improving the sustainability of the palm oil supply chain in partnership with ASB’s P&G-sponsored Center for Sustainable Small Owners (CSS), led by ASB Prof. Asad Ata, in Batu Pahat and Pontian districts, Johor. Working in seven thematic groups, and using approaches and frameworks from management and sustainability studies, participants collected and analyzed data from farms, collection centers and palm oil mills.
  2. In March 2022, another cohort took part in a practicum at the Tengah Island Conservation Center (TIC) and Batu-Batu resort, also in Johor. This course focused on sustainable tourism in an off-grid island, with students working on topics such as renewable energy generation, waste management, pollution control, water management, community sustainability, etc., with the goal of reducing resource usage and developing restorative tourism strategies. ASB staff and students were also joined by seven graduate students in engineering and three faculty members of Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) as part of a partnership between the two institutions. This collaboration allowed the combination of engineering and business skills from both institutions towards building sustainable solutions.
Promoting dialogues and knowledge exchange about the climate-changed economy
​In 2021, following Iclif’s integration with Asia School of Business, a partnership between Malaysia’s central bank and MIT Sloan School of Management, the flagship conference was renamed to the Leadership for Enterprise Sustainability Asia (LESA) conference. ​The event was held from 15 to 18 November 2021 and attracted over 9,400 virtual participants from 43 countries. The annual LESA conference, which will be held again in November 2022, pays homage to the legacy the conference is built upon, while signaling a fresh focus and urgency around the importance of sustainable growth – for the region, and for enterprises operating in the region. ​