The University of Birmingham has become the first higher education institution to introduce climate change into its accounting and finance degree course.
Led by Professor Ian Thomson, Director of the Lloyds Banking Group Center for Responsible Business, with Dr Mayya Konovalova and Dr Madlen Sobkowiak from Birmingham Business School, Climate Change, which is integrated into the BSC Accounting and Finance course, is considered the first of its kind in the world.
Greta Thunberg was right in what she said in Glasgow. It is an indisputable fact that business cannot go on as usual if we are to effectively tackle climate change and achieve the government’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This means that every accounting student and in finance must know how to take climate change into account.
Professor Ian Thomson, Director, Lloyds Banking Group Center for Responsible Business
Dr Konovalova and Dr Sobkowiak are the two academics responsible for building the new vertically integrated curriculum for the course, and in 2021 won the Birmingham Business School Responsible Business Award for the project.
Dr Mayya Konovalova who, along with Dr Madlen Sobkowiak, who are responsible for creating this new vertically integrated curriculum for the course, said: “Students embarking on their journey to become accountants can help future-proof their own careers. and the organizations they will work for, thanks to the changes we have made to the accounting course.
“The integration of climate change into the program just makes sense. Climate change is a real threat to business resilience, as well as to the world at large, and nothing will change unless we give our students the tools they need. »
Current first-year undergraduate accounting students are the first cohort to complete the entire new course, with second- and third-year students also seeing the introduction of updated compulsory modules for the remainder of their degree. Integrating climate change into the course has become a major selling point for the curriculum, with prospective students hearing about updates at this year’s Offer Holder Days, the first of which was held this week.
Sophie Yates, currently a third-year undergraduate accounting and finance student, said: “Learning about carbon accounting has shown me how organizations can impact the behavioral change of societies and the complexity of carbon accounting. implementation of carbon accounting in organizations. It exposed my naivety towards carbon accounting and made me realize that some elements of sustainability are just too delicate and complicated to assess.
“My view of climate change has completely shifted from opinions about how we could be sustainable, to thinking about the morals of society and the responsibility to change our future on a global scale.”
Dr Sobkowiak said: “The ambition is to continue rolling out and sharing our practice with other universities around the world. We have already presented our work to universities in Canada, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Italy, to name a few, in international digital workshops.
“We hope other universities will replicate what we are doing at the University of Birmingham, so that our next generation of accountants around the world are prepared with the vital knowledge and skills they need to embrace change. climate when it starts. their careers. »
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- Ranked among the top universities in the world, the University of Birmingham works with partners around the world to produce groundbreaking research, deliver innovative teaching and create opportunities for students and staff to gain international experience.
- The Lloyds Banking Group Center for Responsible Business is a strategic initiative of Birmingham Business School in partnership and funded by Lloyds Banking Group, working towards a more responsible future in business.