University of Michigan and the Association of Climate Change Officers Educate Executives on Business Impacts of Climate Change

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Partners create hybrid course featuring lectures from thought leaders at the University of Michigan, FedEx, Bayer and Applied Materials

It is vital that companies take the necessary steps to mitigate their impact on global warming

The University of Michigan Ross School of Business Executive Education (U-M) announced today that it has joined forces with the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) to bring industry experts into its executive education programs focused on climate change. U-M will hold its first executive education program on climate change, “Climate Change: What’s Your Business Strategy?,” on May 17-18, 2010.

This first of its kind partnership in the climate change sector will enhance the resources made available to course attendees and will bolster U-M’s outreach to industry. U-M will leverage the considerable thought leadership and experience amongst ACCO’s members to include in the curriculum. The May course is designed to provide business leaders with a greater understanding of the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and provide critical tools to craft a forward-looking strategy for their organizations.

“The focus in recent years has been from managing risk and protecting the bottom-line, to realizing that climate change is a market shift that every organization must address,” said Andrew Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. “This course was created to help companies identify ways that climate strategies can add value to their business. If done well, a strategy around climate change can provide an organization a compelling competitive advantage.”

“Businesses that ignore the debate over climate change do so at their peril,” said Hoffman. “Climate change policies are imminent, and they will alter key aspects of business strategy, including production economics, cost competitiveness and investment decisions.”

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the University of Michigan Ross School of Business to establish our first executive education course as part of our recently launched Climate Change Leadership Series,” said Daniel Kreeger, ACCO’s co-founder and executive director. “Climate change represents an incredibly broad range of challenges and opportunities for industry -- addressing it successfully will require, amongst other important actions, developing sophisticated education and training for industry executives. This course brings together the best and brightest in academia and industry, who will work together to educate industry executives on business impacts related to climate change.”

ACCO board members Mitch Jackson, Staff Director of Environmental Affairs at FedEx, Valerie Patrick, Sustainability Coordinator, Bayer Corporation, and ACCO advisory board member Bruce Klafter, Head of Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) and Sustainability at Applied Materials will be amongst industry leaders who will provide case studies at the course, offering insights from recognized experts from organizations that are amongst the most accredited thought and action leaders on climate change.

Climate Change: What’s Your Business Strategy?,” presented by Andrew J. Hoffman, Thomas P. Lyon, Knute Nadelhoffer and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient, Henry Pollack, will draw upon real-world examples from Fortune 500 companies including FedEx and Applied Materials to provide tomorrow’s business leaders with strategies to both minimize bottom-line risk and begin to enhance top-line opportunities. The course is designed for multinational companies facing significant challenges to conducting business in more environmentally sustainable ways. Participates of the program will walk away with:

  •     A scientific basis for taking action on climate change;
  •     An understanding of the myriad of policies that are being considered for addressing climate change, including a cap-and-trade program (versus a tax), renewable portfolio standards, feed-in tariffs and others;
  •     Practical, sector-specific tools needed to set effective strategies for managing the business of climate change;
  •     An understanding of market implications including changes in legislation, voluntary industry initiatives, and associated market drivers;
  •     Strategies to gain “a seat at the table” of policy development;
  •     A clear sense of the systemic risks and opportunities associated with climate change; and
  •     Opportunities for ongoing collaborations with fellow classmates.

The program, developed in partnership with U-M’s nationally-recognized Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise and the world’s leading global climate change experts, is designed to help companies develop adaptation strategies that focus on climate-related changes in the market and public policy.

“It is vital that companies take the necessary steps to mitigate their impact on global warming,” said Henry Pollack, program faculty member and professor of geophysics at the University of Michigan. “Reducing carbon dioxide emissions should not be seen as an economic penalty, but rather an economic opportunity that will be seized by early responders.”

For more information about the course, please visit: “Climate Change: What’s Your Business Strategy?

About Executive Education at University of Michigan Ross School of Business:
Through its unique model of thought leadership and action-based learning, Executive Education at University of Michigan Ross School of Business partners with leaders to co-create personalized learning experiences to help them realize meaningful results. Ross faculty includes some of the world’s best known and most respected thought leaders, expert at integrating knowledge with competitive insights and practical application. A unique, results-driven approach is one reason that thousands of executives from more than 70 countries around the globe have chosen Ross for Executive Education. The University of Michigan’s worldwide presence includes offices in Hong Kong, Dubai and India. Learn more about Ross Executive Education programs at http://execed.bus.umich.edu.

About the Association of Climate Change Officers:
The Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) was founded in August 2008 and incorporated in Washington, DC in January 2009 as a 501(c) (6) non-profit corporation. ACCO’s mission is to advance the knowledge and skills of those dedicated to developing and directing climate change strategies in the public and private sectors, and to establish a flexible and robust forum for collaboration between climate change officers. ACCO members work to assist in developing, promoting and implementing best practices and standards in the private and public sectors regarding climate change strategies; and educate industry and government on the importance of employing qualified professionals, developing sound organizational structures and inducing culture change at all levels. For more information about ACCO, please visit http://www.ACCOonline.org.

About ACCO’s Climate Change Leadership Series:
ACCO's Climate Change Leadership Series (CCLS) brings together thought leaders in industry, government, academia and the NGO community on a wide range of issues related to climate change. The series features executive education courses, workshops and conferences designed to advance the knowledge and skills of those dedicated to developing and directing climate change strategies in the public and private sectors. For more information about CCLS, please visit http://www.ACCOonline.org/ccls.

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