LUMS Business School Faculty Appointed Member 2021 Sustainability Centres Community Advisory Board
Dr. Zehra Waheed, Director, Centre for Business and Society (CBS) and Assistant Professor, Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB), has been appointed as one of the 11 members of the 2021 Sustainability Centres Community (SCC) Advisory Board, an engaged community of more than 170 business sustainability centres from around the world managed by the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS). Through the SCC, centre leaders share best practices and support one another through virtual collaboration and in-person events.
The appointment marks a major achievement for Paksitan, LUMS, and CBS, by being in the driving seat vis-à-vis collaborating with organisations across the world working in sustainability and the issues and research related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG). Dr. Waheed will serve on the board for a term of three years starting from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023.
“This membership enables us to more effectively collaborate with colleagues engaged in sustainability and UN SDG-related research globally, while also allowing us to become part of impactful conversations taking place in other parts of the world, especially in the Global South,” explains Dr. Waheed.
A rather young Centre at LUMS, CBS became the first in Pakistan last year to become part of the prestigious Network for Business Sustainability, a network dedicated to making business more sustainable. At present, its membership includes centres from Kellogg School of Management, Harvard Business School, Rotterdam School of Management, Edinburgh University Business School, Ivey Business School and Copenhagen Business School among others. The centres are housed at universities and are teaching, conducting research, and working with industry to make social and environmental change.
“CBS is probably the youngest Centre to be represented on the Advisory Board and this brings forth a wonderful opportunity for it to learn from and grow to the scale of more mature Centres,” adds Dr. Waheed. Currently, over 33,000 business leaders, researchers and students from around the world contribute to and follow NBS’s work.
Lauding the milestone achievement, Dr. Alnoor Bhimani, Honorary Dean, School of Business, LUMS said, “This is a very significant achievement. Another ‘first’ for LUMS. Sustainability issues are of course a global concern and it’s good to see CBS providing this leadership for Pakistan.”
As of now, Pakistan will be formally revisiting its commitments to the UN SDGs in 2021. Dr. Waheed states that “Centres like CBS and leading universities such as LUMS need to be correctly positioned to make a contribution towards not only the wider debate around UN SDG achievement within our context, but also collection and analysis of pertinent data/evidence around issues of poverty, hunger, health, education, reducing inequalities, climate action and gender equality.”
Several of these themes have remained visible within the CBS portfolio since its inception last year. A plus for being a member of SCC is that the Centre gets the benefit of collaborating and learning from other leading centres around the world and as part of the Advisory Board. “It becomes privy to the inner workings and thought processes behind the various sustainability initiatives that other centres and business schools are taking around the world,” added Dr. Waheed.
Dr. Waheed, whose research and practice is interdisciplinary and sees her greatest forte to be her passion for teaching, is personally keen to pursue Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME). “PRME remains the most credible and important platform to raise the profile of sustainability in business and management schools around the world. It provides mechanisms to link academic courses and programmes to practice and back, while engendering sensitivities and developing skills within the students to be able to contribute towards the prosperity of the wider society through responsible business practices. The leading centres and universities within SCC are either PRME champions or its members. I would very much like SDSB, with the support of CBS, to gain PRME membership and plan a trajectory for adopting its six principles during my tenure as Director CBS. The network and access provided by the Advisory Board is an exceptional opportunity to learn from these leading universities so that not only do we become PRME members but also make the greatest possible impact towards responsible management education in Pakistan.”
SCC will be hosting its bi-yearly conference next year. This gives LUMS and CBS an excellent opportunity to network and develop collaborations with other centres across the globe.
Dr. Waheed credits LUMS for this, and recalls a conversation with LUMS Founding Pro Chancellor, Syed Babar Ali, “The LUMS environment is everything. The support one receives as a faculty member is unprecedented. LUMS gives you wings! I remember Babar Sahib once rhetorically asking the faculty during a committee meeting, “What is stopping you? Who is stopping you?” The answer was as simple then as it is now: no one! The institution is built around the ethos of excellence, equality, support and together we provide each other with a large number of opportunities that come our way because of our high level of engagement with the public private and non-profit sectors within Pakistan. I have always felt that I could, as faculty, always create my own ‘portfolio’ of contributions (read: work!) depending on my interests and found that no matter what I wanted to explore and develop, there was always, always support.”
Dr. Waheed has an impressive record. She is Faculty Member of the Responsible and Sustainable Business Lab, Nottingham Business School and is an Advanced Specialist for Alliance for Water Stewardship. She is also a board member of the Punjab Power Development Company and Punjab Economic Research Institute and remains engaged with public-sector institutions as well as industry partners in renewable energy, infrastructure, solid waste and water resource management sectors. She has taught undergraduate, EMBA and MBA modules and several executive programmes at the Rausing Executive Development Centre, LUMS.