Will entrepreneurs save the world? | Leeds Business School

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A Leeds researcher says the Founders could be our best hope for solving climate change.

When it comes to solving the climate crisis, Jeff York doesn’t trust government or corporations. If this crisis can be solved, he said, it will be because entrepreneurs will create new solutions through innovation, initiative and flexibility, which the establishment has failed to achieve. demonstrate.

“Climate change is potentially the greatest tragedy of our lifetimes, and the time to act is quickly overtaking us,” said York, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship and chair of the Division of Social Responsibility and Sustainability at Leeds. “Unfortunately, how to fix it has become an extremely polarizing and politicized issue.”

In a groundbreaking study to be published in Organization Science, York and her co-authors explored how entrepreneurship is a promising, yet often overlooked, method to combat climate change.

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“Creating entrepreneurial solutions to fight climate change is the greatest economic opportunity that will ever exist in my lifetime.”

Jeff York, President, Social Responsibility and Sustainability Division

They found that at a time when climate change is a political issue, entrepreneurs offering climate-friendly products can establish a middle ground between the generally conservative pro-market side, which values ​​business growth, and the environmentally friendly liberal side, which values ​​the protection of the planet.

Climate programs in Leeds

A selection of just a few of the many climate-related programs offered at the business school:
Clean Energy MBA Pathway
Climate Action for Business Certificate
Energy Financing Bootcamp
Sustainable business: ESG strategies and practices
Energy science and technology
Renewable and sustainable energy in practice

“Our research found that environmental entrepreneurs do better in markets heavily influenced by pro-market and pro-environment logics,” he said. “It levels the playing field and allows them to compete effectively with existing businesses.”

“Entrepreneurs are building for-profit businesses that can fight climate change in ways government and activists can’t,” he said.

To this end, it is worth noting the change in attitude towards climate change and business. Donor support has helped fund a key dataset used in York’s research, demonstrating the business community’s interest in playing a part in solving this problem.

Being a green business, York said, doesn’t prevent a new venture from being profitable: “Creating entrepreneurial solutions to fight climate change is the greatest economic opportunity that will exist in my lifetime.”

Jeff York on his bicycle through the area devastated by the Marshall Fire.

Professor Jeff York studies the devastation in Louisville from the 2021 Marshall Fire – a prime example of how wildfire danger has intensified due to climate change. He believes entrepreneurial thinking can help prevent such tragedies in the future.

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