Humankind has made incredible progress in the past two hundred years. Advances in medicine, technology and science perpetuated through commerce has allowed our population to swell from one to over seven billion people and an increasing number of to enjoy long, fulfilling and prosperous lives.
Thanks to the advancement of capitalism, multinational corporations and small and medium enterprises everywhere offer a growing number of us convenience, affordability and opulence at home and in our communities on a daily basis.
Our houses are equipped with electricity and heat, clean water, internet access, TV’s and fridges. Corporations like IKEA, H&M, Nike, Ryanair, Microsoft, Tesco, Walmart, Apple and Amazon offer us incredible exotic foods, gadgets and fashions from across the globe twelve months of the year.
What was once a rare and expensive treat like meat, fruit or coffee has become everyday. Luxuries such as flights and sun holidays which were once only enjoyed by the very rich have become commonplace. Life enhancing gadgets, foods, clothes, services and experiences that previous generations could barely have imagined are commonplace today.
But at what cost? Why are our ice masses shrinking and our seas rising? Why are alarming numbers of animals, birds and insects disappearing and our rain forests burning? Why will the plastic waste in our oceans outweigh fish by 2050?
What price is our planet paying to facilitate our convenient and luxurious lifestyles? And what about those who put food on our tables, phones and gadgets in our hands and the clothes on our back? The farmers, fishermen, miners and producers? Why do so many people still live in daily hardship? Two billion lack access to clean water or a toilet while one one in seven people (including one in three farmers) are unable to feed themselves or their children every day?
This course will explore how we can better, how capitalism and business can evolve to become profitable solutions to solve the environmental and human problems of our time.
• Understand the Sustainable Development Goals and the environmental, social and economic challenges we face to make them a reality.
• Learn about the rise of the modern global economy since the industrial age and understand the significant impact it has had on our natural world
• Explore the emerging business models and frameworks that can lead to sustainable production and a move towards a global circular economy.
• Through case studies, examine in a real-world context the challenges and approach taken by a selection of pioneering companies pursuing the idea that business can be a profitable force for good.
• Gain a greater appreciation for our natural world and the interdependencies between humanity, ecosystems, animal species, rivers, oceans, ice sheets, forests, grasslands, and our atmosphere.
• Be able to discuss and debate the advantages, opportunities, and challenges modern businesses and specific industries face to move beyond business as usual.
• Understand the SD challenge for companies, their responsibility and their potentials for action.
Since 2003 Prague Summer Schools brought to Prague more than a thousand outstanding students from all over the World for an intensive academic week to learn and discuss various topics. In 2016, a new summer school on sustainability was founded and now in 2019, inspired by our discussions among the students and teachers on the interrelatedness of business, globalization and climate change we have decided to create a new program to address the challenges humankind faces to achieve the sustainable development goals and move beyond business as usual.
Over the past twenty years my career in technology and overseas development coupled with my passion for the outdoors has allowed me to travel around the world, to explore, dive, ski and trek incredible habitats and talk with some of the villagers, farmers and communities who live in these fragile, beautiful places.
While I have witnessed the positive impact of humanity’s progress – clean water wells in the dry mountains of Eritrea, Malaria treatment centers in rural Uganda and internet access in the Himalayas my conversations with the local people has made me increasingly aware of the hardships they endure and the alarming levels of damage that is inflicted on their environment to serve our daily convenient needs, fashions and whims in the west.
If we pay a coffee farmer living by a forest just one percent of what the supermarket charges, so little for his or her coffee beans, that they are unable to feed their family how can we be surprised when they chop down the trees to produce and sell charcoal? And how can we expect cocoa farmers not to hire child labour to harvest their cocoa pods? And what alternative do poor Thai boatmen have who earn just a few dollars a day than polluting their waters and destroying their coral reefs with the diesel as they ferry wealthy western tourists to dive sites day in day out?
But I have also met some incredible change-makers, visionaries and social entrepreneurs that give me incredible hope for the future. People who have used innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship to do good, who believe that the role of business in our societies is to find profitable solutions to the problems our planet and people face.
We must reverse climate change and protect the fragile wildernesses that remain and we must work to ensure all humans can enjoy full and meaningful lives, free from hardship, disease, hunger, and poverty.
We must and can do better and it’s my hope that this course will inspire you all to become the future business leaders and social entrepreneurs to bring about this change in our world.
Co-Founder of Moyee Coffee Ireland I Lecturer on Global Development
The classes will be held at the Prague Summer Schools venue (Marianeum, Machova 7, Vinohrady, Prague 2, website). Accommodation will be provided to students in double rooms at the accommodation facilities in the venue or Hotel Ametyst which is located within a walking distance from the venue. Each room is equipped with a shower, WC, satellite TV, Internet connection and telephone. Meals are provided by the organizer and will include breakfasts served at the hotel and dinners in restaurants located nearby the Summer School venue. As the days are demanding, there will be coffee, tea, and small snack available which is included during the breaks between lectures.