Educating Students and Their Future Employers to Minimise Environmental and Climate Impacts Through Cost-Effective Environmental Management Strategies
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Traditionally, internal views from UK businesses expect the maximisation of profits and delivery of value for the customer; the external view expects realistic profits and provision of employment. However, this view is changing, with customers increasingly demanding products and services that also demonstrate environmental responsibility and minimise climate impacts. Although the cause–effect relationship between business operations, negative environmental impacts and climate change is well established, there is now an enhanced appreciation that environmental challenges are systemic, interlinked and cannot be addressed in isolation. Despite the proliferation of ‘low-cost’ or ‘no-cost’ technological and behavioural opportunities, businesses struggle to realise opportunities that address these interlinked challenges, demonstrate environmental responsibility and minimise climate impacts, as they are embedded in economic systems in which improvement equals investment. Environmental improvement interventions have become synonymous with cost consumption rather than cost saving—frequently at odds with corporate financial strategies. In an attempt to change this view, support the mitigation of climate change through the reduction in environmental impacts and develop successful employment-ready graduates skilled in effective environmental improvement techniques, an innovative Environmental Strategy Module engaging postgraduate students in environmental management strategy design is taught at Coventry University. This offers students a more financially accessible approach to environmental improvement: a self-funding environmental management strategy created through the Environmental Value for Money Framework. This paper presents a conceptual study of the Environmental Value for Money Framework and its engagement of students as future employees in creating self-funded, economically viable environmental management strategies. It also offers this framework as a mechanism to encourage businesses to engage in carefully planned and economically viable strategic environmental improvements.
KeywordsEnvironmental management strategy Environmental responsibility Environmental impacts Environmental Value for Money Framework
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