An Open Call to Action: How Business and Business Education Can Positively Impact Society

Press Releases
Thursday, June 23, 2022
AACSB calls for systemic change and leads the way by launching groups of accelerators focused on societal impact.

Open Letter for Action – Societal Impact

June 23, 2022

An Open Call to Action: How Business and Business Education Can Positively Impact Society

The responsibility of creating a positive societal impact isn’t owned by a single entity. There’s no isolated source of information, no one right answer. We’re all accountable for recognizing challenges and pursuing solutions that make the world a better place, especially in the context of developing our global leaders. We must come together, focused on challenging the status quo and intent on designing the next approach to business leadership.

Complex global environmental and social issues can—and will—be solved when leaders from across sectors and around the world collaborate, and AACSB is calling for systemic change through the expertise and action of global business leaders and business educators. As global organizations transition purely profit-driven business models to ones that support profit, purpose, people, and planet, the leadership skills required to succeed will need to be redefined. We must come together to develop leaders focused on creating positive societal impact in these new business models.

As the world’s largest association for business education, AACSB connects educators, businesses, nonprofits, government, and lifelong learners as a force for good in the world. Driving positive societal impact through its accreditation standards and global network of more than 1,800 members in over 100 countries and territories, AACSB, in collaboration with the world’s business leaders, changemakers, thought leaders and social entrepreneurs, can change the trajectory of business education from a focus solely on profit to one on purpose and making a positive impact on society.

This action begins with the work of the AACSB Collective, which includes groups of accelerators comprising stakeholders from diverse business schools, businesses, nonprofits, government, and learners focused on rapidly building the leadership framework that defines the knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to inspire change and make an impact.

This work will lead to a new business philosophy and intellectual framework for leadership to guide business schools in developing educated, skilled, and empathetic leaders who can succeed within business models focused on sustainability and purpose.

As a testament to the importance of this initiative, members of AACSB’s inaugural accelerator include leaders representing companies in all corners of industry including:

  • Dr. Kristin Joys, Chair, Teaching & Curriculum Innovation, B Academics
  • Olivia Scriven, Federal Disaster Recovery Officer, FEMA
  • Michiel Bakker, Vice President, Global Workplace Programs, Google
  • Steve Kappler, President, Enactus
  • Erik Thrasher, VP Strategic Partnerships and Global Lead, DE&I in Education Publishing, Wiley
  • Jan-Willem Vosmeer, Global Manager, Sustainable Development & Stakeholder Engagement, Heineken
  • Austin Okere, Founder and Vice Chairman CWG Plc
  • Katie Pedley, Director R&D Liaison, Global Higher Education, ETS
  • Heather MacCleoud, Chief Network Officer, Ashoka U, Ashoka

The work of the first AACSB accelerator will be featured and explored at the AACSB Societal Impact Conference, held October 24-25, 2022, in New York City, where influential leaders will further define the framework for societal impact leaders as well as the partner alliances needed to train and prepare future leaders that will create positive societal change.

While our challenges may be great, our potential to solve them is even greater. AACSB is calling on global business and government leaders, business educators, and all those committed to positively impacting society to join the AACSB Collective and challenge how we develop global leaders, ultimately designing a new leadership framework for lasting positive societal impact. Learn more about how AACSB is leading this effort, and how you can get involved.