Skip to main content

Yale University and World Business Council on Sustainable Development Announce New Partnership

Unique collaboration will concentrate on addressing businesses’ greatest social challenges

Yale University and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development announced a new “Knowledge Partners” collaboration at the WBCSD’s Council Meeting in Paris, during the COP21 climate change negotiations. 

“We often talk about a transformational change of our society when we speak about climate action. This transformation will affect business, but it needs to begin with the institutions that educate tomorrow’s leaders of business” said Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the WBCSD.

“The role of business in society is changing. Tomorrow’s business leaders need to understand the complex nature of sustainability issues, and they need to be able to integrate solutions for social and environmental challenges with good financial results. This partnership provides our members with both scientific rigor and a pool of highly talented students to help us address some of our members’ most challenging social and environmental issues, and it will provide “real world” experience for students.” 

Announcing this partnership at Paris during the climate change negotiations is symbolic of the ways in which both businesses’ role in society is changing, as well as what will be needed by business to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. 

“One of the key themes coming out of Paris is the imperative of working together for improved environmental outcomes—this means business collaborating among sectors as well as with universities, non-governmental organizations, and government,” stated Sir Peter Crane, Dean of Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, which – along with Yale School of Management – will anchor the collaboration at Yale.

“This partnership will provide WBCSD and its members with a unique opportunity to engage our faculty’s science and business knowledge, together with our students’ passion and creativity, to help address the social and environmental challenges being brought about by climate change,” he said.

This announcement comes on the heels of the results from the first global survey on the attitudes of future business leaders on climate change, conducted by Yale, the WBCSD and the Global Network for Advanced Management, a network of 28 leading business schools spanning the globe launched by Yale School of Management in 2012.  As part of the knowledge partnership, WBCSD’s member organizations will have access to this network, connecting business leadership for sustainable development with students and academic experts in their respective countries or regions. 

Yale already hosts the WBCSD Leadership Program helping member organizations develop the capability to scale up business solutions for sustainability. Similarly, the WBCSD brings together top MBA students from Global Network schools to showcase the business opportunities in the field.

“We are developing a learning system that leverages the 28 member schools in the Global Network for Advanced Management, Yale University, and the WBCSD that matches the nature of the challenge before us,” said Edward A. Snyder, Dean of Yale School of Management.

The new partnership presents an exciting opportunity for WBCSD member companies and Yale faculty and students by linking challenging projects with talent and bringing scientific rigor to scalable business solutions. The potential of this partnership is vast and both organizations have committed to sharing best practices and case studies as this partnership unfolds.   

For more information, please contact Emily Grady (

About Yale:

Since its founding in 1701, Yale has been dedicated to expanding and sharing knowledge, inspiring innovation, and preserving cultural and scientific information for future generations.

Yale’s reach is both local and international. It partners with New Haven, Connecticut to strengthen the city’s community and economy. And it engages with people and institutions across the globe in the quest to promote cultural understanding, improve the human condition, delve more deeply into the secrets of the universe, and train the next generation of world leaders.

The Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY) provides a platform for generating, incubating and launching innovative action at the intersection of business and the environment. The Center joins the strengths of two world-renowned graduate schools—the Yale School of Management and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies—together with an extensive network of internal and external thought leaders at the business-environment interface.

Driven by student interest, we develop partnerships with a wide range of actors across Yale (students, faculty, staff) and in the professional world (alums, companies, NGOs, governments). Our work covers finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, operations, and strategy on issues involving energy, water, carbon, food, natural areas and society.

About the WBCSD:

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. The Council provides a forum for its 200 member companies— representing all business sectors, all continents and combined revenue of over $US 8 trillion—to share best practices on sustainable development issues and to develop innovative tools that change the status quo.

The Council also benefits from a network of 60 national and regional business councils and partner organizations, a majority of which are based in developing countries. By thinking ahead, advocating for progress and delivering results, the WBCSD both increases the impact of our members’ individual actions and catalyzes collective action that can change the future of our society for the better.