Sustainability Management School (SUMAS) is a unique, private business university located in Gland, Switzerland. SUMAS offers innovative business programs integrated with state of the art sustainability knowledge and combines high level academic education with projects in partnership with global companies. SUMAS' aim is to educate socially responsible global decision makers of the future who will make a real difference in the world. Its purpose is to deliver an innovative academic mix of sound business knowledge and a deep understanding of sustainable development.
The Sustainability Management School (SUMAS) in Switzerland is the first ever business school to offer high-level academic education in Sustainability and Management. Giri Prasath Rajarathinam is a second year student here with SUMAS.
Prior to his completing the MBA in Sustainability Management with SUMAS in Gland, Switzerland, he worked in financial auditing. He’s also achieved a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the PSG college of Arts & Science, India.
Here, he shares his journey in sustainability management and thoughts on youth lead climate action.
Why did you choose to pursue the MBA in Sustainability Management? Was there an experience that made it clear this was what you wanted to dedicate your life's work to?
My journey with the environment began at The Laidlaw Memorial School & Junior College in Nilgiris, India, where environmental education was compulsory from the seventh grade. Living there in a valley surrounded by greenery and a pollution free environment for twelve years, is what made me take a greater and stronger stand for the environment.
I dropped mathematics in the eleventh grade to take environmental science, even though I already had environmental education as a mandatory subject. This lead to my choosing sustainability, as it had all three pillars – economic, environmental and social.
Can you share an overview of the international requirements of sustainability management?
Globally, at present, the number of businesses integrating sustainable practices and policies as part of their day to day activities and business operations has been at an all-time high since the signing of the Paris agreement.
Although the science behind climate change and sustainability is technical and more suited for a person with an engineering background, companies also need people with business and management backgrounds who understand these policies and know how to integrate them from board-room level to ground force.
Integration is where sustainability management graduates come in.
Sustainability is in high demand in these industries:
You wouldn't be in this field if you didn't have hope for a positive long-term outcome to the environmental crisis. Can you speak to what gives you motivation and belief in change?
The definition of sustainability says “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”.
What do they mean by “future generations”? In my opinion humankind thinks as far as four generations into the future. That may account for a maximum of two hundred to two hundred and fifty years.
Research already says that we have emitted enough Greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere, which will go on to have its effect for the next hundred years minimum, even if we stop using conventional fuels right now.
At the current rate of humans’ switch to renewable sources of energy, we will have the effects of climate change for the next three hundred plus years. For sustainability to reach every nook and corner of the globe, it will take at least another decade.
The so-called developed countries have been doing well with the switch to renewable energy and integrating sustainability practices in their businesses. But what about the under developed countries, where the most impact and change needs to happen?
This is where the long-term vision of sustainability comes into play. Even though the countries have signed the Paris agreement, they all have their own targets on a national level:
These in addition are even longer term visions:
The oil industry and capitalistic organisations are against the sustainability trend and therefore slow down the process.
The people who put them in power are demanding the change and that’s where my belief is vested – the people.
You're going on to do the second-year internship, correct? Can you share what your focus will be and why?
Yes, I have completed my MBA in Sustainability Management (1 year) and have continued to do the Professional Development Program (PDP) with Internship (1 year).
My focus is towards joining the finance sector.
Every organisation needs finance to run. If finance is invested in the right place impact created is two-fold.
If you cut out the inflow of money to these polluting organisations, they won’t be able to function and will switch to a more sustainable approach.
Companies are rated on the following factors (ESG):
With the sustainable finance sector gaining traction day by day, you can now choose to invest based on which ESG factors align with the beliefs and themes where you would like to make an impact.
Investors are becoming aware of the climate emergency and are turning away from organisations that are promoting environmental destruction in favour to those taking these sustainability factors into account.
What are your thoughts on the youth taking leadership on Climate Action?
It has reassured my beliefs in the younger generation, clearly defining that they are willing to go out there and do what is necessary for change to happen. They have every right to go out there, seek answers and get the best for themselves, because if leaders do not take any action today, the younger generations are the ones next in line that are going to truly bear the brunt of climate change.
With role models like Greta Thunberg headlining the protests, more youth will be motivated to join for a cause which will do greater good.
Were you involved in any of the #ClimateStrikes?
I was a participant in three climate marches in Geneva that happened between February and April.
What outcomes were you hoping for, specific immediate ones as well as ongoing ones?
I really was hoping for governments to make changes on a legislative level, considering the support they would get (But yeah, that was a little too much of me to expect).
I am looking for more changes primarily in the switch to renewable energy (Public & Private) and transport sector (electric cars and electric grid buses).
In my opinion these sectors are where a lot can be done to help curb the current rate of GHG emissions.
Do you believe youth-lead strikes are the most powerful way to motivate authorities to take notice?
Yes, I do. Take Greta Thunberg for example. With her work, she has been able to give powerful speeches in front of global leaders within Europe and at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
As Greta Thunberg said and I quote “They see us as a threat because we’re having an impact”.
What is more powerful than youth having an impact on an issue that concerns the wellbeing of all humankind?
What is your take away advice to anyone who feels the climate crisis is an insurmountable issue?
Climbing Mt Everest before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay achieved it was an insurmountable task to many.
The same steps need to be done for finding solutions for the climate crisis – we need to work together and assess our possibilities for a sustainable future from models created by scientist’ data.
That’s exactly what Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 17 says – Partnership for the Goals. The SDGs cover most of the issues that come under sustainability, partnering and working together, helps us learn to bring about peace and live in harmony.
SUMAS is the top level business Sustainable school to launch high-level academic education in Sustainability and Management for bachelors in Europe. Additionally, SUMAS provides Fashion management schools and Universities online in various master programs in Switzerland. Visit at https://sumas.ch/ for apply various courses.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres is convening a summit to commence on the 21st of September 2019 in order to hold world leaders accountable to the goals set out in the Paris agreement and to raise collective ambition by increasing climate action goals. Guterres is calling on attending leaders to demonstrate climate action leadership by only giving leaders a platform to speak if they presented plans in line with the IPCC 1.5 °C report.
Meanwhile 16-year old climate activist Greta Thurnberg, who is also attending the summit, arrived in New York on the 28th of August, after a two-week journey on a carbon-free sailing boat. Adamant that she would not make the journey via jet fuel guzzling plane, Greta used the opportunity to display a different, but perhaps far more effective take on sustainable leadership. One that shows action speaking louder than speaking platforms.
The true definition of Sustainability leadership
Mary A. Ferdig offers a widely recognised description of sustainability leadership, often cited in scholarly works.
“Anyone who takes responsibility for understanding and acting upon complex sustainability challenges qualifies as a ‘sustainability leader’ whether or not they hold a formal leadership position or acknowledged political and social-economic influence.”
Greta Thurnberg, and many other youths, who aren’t yet old enough to own cars let alone businesses, are already displaying this understanding of sustainability leadership in the actions they’re taking toward speaking up for climate change.
The youth and sustainable leadership
The latter half of Mary A. Ferdig’s definition speaks to why the youth are so effective in their actions and also speaks to what effective world leaders will incorporate should they wish to be effective sustainable leaders. Namely that; ”rather than providing all of the answers, sustainability leaders create opportunities for people to come together and generate their own answers – to explore, learn, and devise a realistic course of action to address sustainability challenges.”
Many youths are already holding our leaders accountable to their plans and actions thus far. Take the group of youths who sued the American government for failing to protect them from the onset of climate change or the Parkland School shooting survivors in Florida, who in a matter of days, mobilised millions of supporters, thanks to Twitter, to march in protest of urgent need for gun control policies. Their action saw the first real gun legislation implemented in years.
Their drawing mass attention to the unsolved problems seems to be what sets change in motion, rather than arriving on a podium, answers in hand. By showing acknowledgement of value shifts with the vulnerability of not having all the answers inspires communities to connect and manifest change, which is by all accounts far more successful than playing the fear based denial card favoured by some world leaders.
Greta Thurnberg didn’t stand up at the World Economic Forum and tell business leaders the globe over how to optimise their actions to solve the entire climate crisis. She stood up and spoke openly about the fearful reality of not attempting to solve the crisis. She shared her fears. Fears that echoed collective truth and inspired the desire to be part of alleviating that fear.
What is needed from a sustainable leader?
Successful sustainability leadership can be carried out with the following approaches:
How businesses and communities will benefit from sustainable leaders
Leaders who have faced and overcome adversity, or who, at the very least have experienced living in parts of the world where differing economic backgrounds are driving factors, are far more likely to develop socially and environmentally inclusive practices. This type of leadership paves the way for the upliftment and integration of communities. According to Global Citizen, a movement of engaged citizens who are using their collective voice to end extreme poverty, leaders with emotional ties and ethical responsibility are a high contributing factor to ending poverty by 2030.
The sustainable leadership displayed by the youths taking action, whether they hold political or social influence or not, didn’t necessarily come about because of sustainability leadership or environmental education.
Being inhabitants of this planet facing the climate threat is qualification enough to fight, what is at the heart of all things, a human rights threat.
But integrating their calls for collective social, business and political change is a complex issue. Individuals who hold a strong education in business sustainability management will be key assets in all future businesses.
Education in sustainability management is highly beneficial in preparing an individual emotionally in taking on the responsibility of navigating corporate and social change. In order to affect any meaningful change, leaders will need to view the systems of business and society as interlocking ecosystems within our environment.
The SUMAS Sustainability Management Business School of Switzerland aims at empowering students with the confidence to carry out this responsibility and make the decisions required to right the collective course. The programs focus on delivering sound business knowledge and an intrinsic understanding of sustainable development in an innovative way.
Why we need sustainable leadership
If the leadership of the world’s governments and organization thus far has shown us anything, it is that the advancement of a singular agenda without consideration of the environment that it transpires in is in and of itself an unsustainable pursuit.
We cannot be extricated from the societies we cohabit with or the environments we depend on. Therefor no achievement that comes about at the demise of any civilisation, culture or habitat can truly be considered an achievement.
The climate crisis no longer allows for leeway in this or any disregard of the acceptance of total interconnectedness.
Given this context, leaders of businesses, organisations or governments can no longer be considered leaders if they operate outside of the framework of sustainability.
Leadership without a focus on sustainability is not leadership at all.
If you are interested in using education to further your agenda of becoming a sustainability leader, take a look at the various programs that we offer.
Anyone who takes responsibility for understanding and acting upon complex sustainability challenges qualifies as a ‘sustainability leader’ whether or not they hold a formal leadership position or acknowledged political and social-economic influence. The SUMAS Sustainability Management Business School of Switzerland aims at empowering students with the confidence to carry out this responsibility and make the decisions required to right the collective course.
For more than a decade the concept of “sustainable luxury” has been afoot. Sustainable luxury can relate to all kinds of luxury brands, from fashion to hospitality. Rather than offering an “eco-friendly product seeking a premium image”, the idea of sustainable luxury is to embed sustainability values and practices into a luxury good or brand.
But can sustainability and luxury really go hand in hand?
According to an article on HuffPost, sustainable products “share the same ‘essential’ qualities of luxury goods.”
More and more luxury brands around the world are adopting the concept of sustainable luxury in the hope to attract more discernible customers, improve their brand image, drive innovation and reduce risks associated with climate and ecological breakdown.
Whilst this has given rise to greenwashing, many luxury brands do or are starting to see sustainability as a core value integral to the way in which they operate. Gucci CEO, François-Henri Pinault, said: "My deep conviction that sustainability creates value is part of my strategic vision...Sustainability can – and must – give rise to new, highly ambitious business models and become a lever of competitiveness for our brands."
What about our planetary boundaries?
Within the past year, the critical climate and ecological crisis our planet is facing has become ever more apparent and it is clear that all parties, including luxury brands have not done enough to become sustainable.
Considering the science which now states we have very limited time to prevent further ecosystem collapse and global warming, luxury brands have no choice but to deepen their commitment to sustainability on all levels - and fast. Not only to do better by people and the planet but to increase their own resilience against these issues.
According to an article written in the 2019 Sustainable Hospitality Yearbook, “The global trend is moving towards full decarburization. Hotels...who do not prioritize climate mitigation will be left behind.” The same can really be said for any brand in the luxury sector.
Should we be rethinking luxury?
Our complex world is changing quickly and if we are to survive as a species, increase long-term business resilience in the luxury sector and restore what is left of the biosphere, we may need to rethink our definition of luxury altogether and redesign the industry to one that is restorative and promotes social equity.
If done right, sustainable luxury items will create minimal harm (to people and planet) and be designed and produced to last a lifetime. The item’s full life-cycle should be taken into account when produced so that the product does not fall prey to our current linear take-make-dispose model, but rather one of circular economy. In the case of hotels, or any built environment, every element of design, refurbishment and operation needs to be done with sustainability at its core - and with the intention of ending reliance on fossil fuels and becoming carbon neutral very soon.
Luxury brands also have a responsibility, as trendsetters in our current world, to communicate sustainability and the need for customers to “buy less” and “choose well” as fashion designer Vivienne Westwood says.
Interested in being at the forefront of sustainable luxury?
At SUMAS, we offer an MBA and MAM in Sustainable Fashion and Sustainable Hospitality. These programs are designed with cutting-edge curriculums aimed at integrating responsible leadership in the luxury sectors of Fashion and Hospitality.
SUMAS currently offers four unique Graduate programs for students wishing to achieve a Master in Management degree with a major in sustainability. Stand out from the crowd and enhance your employability by reinforcing your business skills with in-depth sustainability awareness.
Sustainability education is the new need of the hour. The political and the business leaders of the world have come to realize that only a sustainable course of development can be encouraged in the current global scenario which gives rise to the popular demand of sustainable schools all over the world.
Political Impetus – It can be aid that the political impetus is received from the global environmental awareness that indicates at a fast and an unfortunate end of the human race if better care of the environment is not taken. This is where the political leaders are encouraging the growth of sustainability education in the top business schools in Switzerland and the other parts of the world.
Business Leaders Encouragement – The business houses of the current times are yet again under tremendous pressure to make their business processes as environment friendly as possible. This is why they are looking for candidates who have good knowledge into the domain of sustainability. This is why at the time of recruitment these companies are looking for candidates who have a minimum of sustainability courses online certification. This indicates at their better suitability for the job.
These online Masters Programs in Switzerland are some of the best initiatives that have been taken in the recent times to provide a better protection to the world environment as a whole.
Online MBA in Sustainability Management program will help you advance in your career and develop new skills in the field of sustainability management. Claim this opportunity for degree in Switzerland at https://sumas.ch/
These are the times when business endeavors of the current times and also of the future must amalgamate with endeavors of sustainable growth that will balance the economic growth with proper maintenance of the environment of the world. This is what is fostered by the sustainability schools.
The professional courses in Switzerland providing DBA courses ensures that the students gets an in depth knowledge in a large number of aspects such as a responsible attitude towards the environment, the best use of the available raw material, looking for fresh sources of raw material, management of greenhouse emission, management of risk from not just the company and its people but the environment, the general society and its members.
Sustainable luxury can relate to all kinds of luxury brands, from fashion to hospitality. Rather than offering an “eco-friendly product seeking a premium image”, the idea of sustainable luxury is to embed sustainability values and practices into a luxury good or brand.
You should ensure that you are looking at a wide variety of things when you are picking where you are going to go for your education. Depending on what you are looking for in terms of attending classes you might want to consider a location that has their sustainability courses online and much more. There are numerous top business schools in Switzerland that you can pick and choose from, so here are some tips to help you to make the right choice.
Tips for Picking the Best University
If you are interested in one of the sustainable schools you need to make sure that you are finding one that also has some of the best sustainability podcasts. There are a few more tips that you would want to think about before you can decide which location is going to be the best for you, including:
Classes – There are plenty of types of classes that you would need to think about, especially if you want to go for the online masters programs Switzerland. There are other ways that you can attend the classes for your education, including attending them in person. However, think about if you are interested in the online sustainability degree and find the location that meets your needs.
Reputation – You also need to make sure that you are choosing one of the locations that have the best reputation. This means that you should only be looking at the best business schools in Switzerland that can help you get your career started in fashion management.
Internet classes – You might also need to consider what type of DBA programs you are interested in, especially if you want to check out the online DBA programs. Think about what type of professional courses in Switzerland you want to take and if you want them to be internet based or not.
Degrees – There are a wide variety of degrees that you can study for at the top European schools, including fashion management education. You need to consider which of the many options you are going to choose, including the online MBA programs in Switzerland.
You would want to get ready to study in Europe and pick the European university that meets your needs. There are plenty of options when it comes to the top European universities and the courses that you can enroll in like fashion management studies and you can specialize in various areas like sustainable fashion.
You should make sure that you are choosing the right fashion universities that have a good reputation and that would give you the best degree possible. Check out all of the ones that can give you the best education in terms of fashion universities Europe and that can help you with the news luxury and everything else you need to know. Make sure that you are on top of everything luxury and fashion related so you can get your career started.
About Sustainability Management School:-
Sustainability Management School (SUMAS) is the first ever business school to launch high-level academic education in Sustainability and Management. Visit- https://sumas.ch/ and find out more information about online programs in Switzerland.
Online MBA Programs will help you advance in your career and develop new skills in the field of sustainability management. Visit- https://sumas.ch/ for online Graduate programs for students wishing to achieve a MBA programs in Switzerland with a major in sustainability.
There are numerous degrees that you can consider when you study in Europe and you need to be aware of what they are. Knowing what your options are like the sustainability courses online can help you to make the decision about which location to attend. Here are some of the top degrees that you would need to think about when it comes to your future.
Degrees to Consider
When you are looking at sustainable schools you need to consider the variety of degrees that you can pick and choose from, including:
These are just a few of the main options that you are going to have to consider and you would need to know what you can get from the best business schools in Switzerland.
Go ahead and start thinking about the online masters programs Switzerland that you can enroll in and pick the area of study that interests you. There are plenty of options like sustainable fashion, luxury and fashion and so much more that you can look at. Think about taking some of the classes on the internet to make getting your degree from one of the top European schools easier for you.
Clothes are an everyday necessity and for many a central part of self-expression and creativity. Fashion, however, is a dirty business. The current fast-paced production of clothes is incredibly resource intensive, wasteful, exploitative and pollution-heavy.
According to the United Nations “the fashion industry, including the production of all clothes which people wear, contributes to around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions due to its long supply chains and energy intensive production. The industry consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industry combined.”
Besides the emissions associated with today’s fashion industry, every item of clothing comes with a cost - both environmental and social.
According to the documentary film River Blue, one fashion brand will use over 28 trillion gallons of water every year. In addition to the actual use of precious drinking water, clothing manufacturers are dumping toxic chemicals into nearby rivers which are killing off animal life, contaminating water and sky-rocketing occurrences of death and disease in affected people.
People are also affected in the way of workers exploitation. Garment workers are forced with unsafe working conditions and being paid far below a living wage.
But there is hope. The Fashion Transparency Index reports that there’s been a “280% rise in tier-one supplier transparency from fashion brands since 2016.”
We are seeing greater pressure and demand to transform the fashion industry to be ethical and sustainable whilst incredibly innovative and exciting transformations are already afoot.
Here are just five examples of trailblazers in the sustainable fashion space.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation - Promoting a shift to circular economy
In 2010, Dame Ellen McArtur launched the foundation to promote a paradigm shift towards a circular economy, particularly in the fashion industry. The circular economy looks at moving away from the current linear model of our economy which is to take-make-dispose. Circular economy transcends our current extractive industrial model by “gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system.”
Circular economy is underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources and building rather than depleting natural and social capital. It is based on three principles:
Fashion Revolution - Ending exploitation and ecological damage caused by fashion
Fashion Revolution is a group of “designers, academics, writers, business leaders, policymakers, brands, retailers, marketers, producers, makers, workers and fashion lovers” who aim to “unite people and organisations to work together towards radically changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed, so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way.”
Fashion revolution hosts a number of online and offline events all over the world, including the annual Fashion Revolution Week which put pressure on brands to reveal #whomademyclothes.
The organisation has released a manifesto with ten principles to which the fashion industry should uphold itself and are engaging with top fashion brands through their transparency index.
Patagonia - Subscribing to activism as a modern clothing brand
As far as large clothing brands leading the way on sustainable fashion practices go, Patagoina comes out top. Patagonia proudly markets themselves as an “activist company” and attempts to transparently prove why they deserve that name. Patagonia actively practices responsible resource management whilst promoting longer-use and better care of their products in order to reduce consumerist impact.
The company transparently communicates their journey to improve their supply chain and reduce their carbon footprint whilst even taking part in direct action and activism. Their central focus is on the lives of their workers. Considering the current environmental crisis we face currently, we need more companies to take an active stand like Patagonia has.
Kye Shimizu - Using technology and tradition to decrease fashion waste
According to Sustainable living platform Twyg Mag, “Kye Shimizu is not a fashion designer, but his Algorithmic Couture project has created a new convention for fashion,” using code to eliminate waste and make fashion sustainable.”
Kye is the co-founder of Synflux, a Tokyo-based research collective that focuses on design research and fashion design. Together with is co-founders Yusuke Fujihira, Kotaro Sano, and Kazuya Kawasaki, they developed a system which has taken the concept of traditional Japanese straight-line pattern cutting and combined it with technology,
The Algorithmic Couture project:
Forum for the Future - Open source information for the future of fashion
In partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion and with support from C&A Foundation, Forum for the Future has launched Fashion Futures 2030, “an open-source learning toolkit to help fashion businesses plan for future scenarios with sustainability in mind.”
The toolkit uses four vivid scenarios which explore topics such as:
The next 10 years are going to be some of the most important in the entire human history. All individuals, governments and industry will have to make widespread unprecedented changes if we are to avoid climate catastrophe and further devastating biodiversity loss. Embracing sustainable and ethical fashion practices is one of the most important ways of doing this.
Do you want to make a difference to the fashion industry?
Sumas offers a range of sustainable fashion courses and degrees:
Contact us on email@example.com to find out more.
Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world and can provide an essential economic boost for countries pitching themselves as holiday destinations. Interested in doing your bit for sustainable tourism? Why not look at studying a sustainable tourism degree or look into sustainable tourism master programs? Here at SUMAS we offer a master of international sustainable tourism management and other courses fit to prepare you for a career in sustainable tourism anywhere in the world.