30 Apr 2018

Why Companies Need to Bridge the Business–Science Gap

In an increasingly competitive business landscape, companies are quickly realising that being sustainable is more than just a mere gesture. Instead, more and more companies are seeing that it makes long-term economic sense.

Major multinational companies such as DuPont, Unilever and Toyota have taken pro-active steps to invest heavily in making greener products and greening their processes. These businesses have changed products and process to help answer the problems plaguing the world today. Problems such as the exponential growth in world population, climate change and biodiversity decline.

But why does this matter to businesses?

Most Singaporeans would remember the haze situation in 2015 where the PSI shot up to 471, putting it in the ‘Very Hazardous’’ range. In response to the haze, major supermarkets like NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Shiong withdrew all paper products sourced from Asia Pulp & Paper Group, one of the 4 companies linked to the record-breaking haze that affected the country.

It is clear that environmental issues matter to businesses simply because the public is aware of them and are increasingly intolerant of wastage and bad environmental behavior.

This sentiment is growing so strong that it is altering consumer behavior.

Fast forward to 2018 where Singapore has designated it the year of climate action. A carbon tax of $5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions is announced and SGX has mandated that all listed companies will have to publish sustainability reports. These changes have long lasting implications for many companies.

It is becoming increasingly clear that businesses that are able to handle concerns about climate change, increased urbanisation and loss of ecosystems or food security and health in a rapidly changing world will be the ones ending up ahead of their competitors. This has resulted in a new demand for a workforce that is equipped to navigate this changing business landscape. The Business Times reported on 10 April 2018 that many companies preparing sustainability reports for the first time had concerns on the resources required. Sustainability task forces were set up in some companies, while another was reported to have spent most of their six-figure budget paying consultants for advice.

At James Cook University (JCU) Singapore, the Bachelor of Business and Environmental Science program straddles both business and science. Half the subjects students have to cover are focused on core business concepts while the other half focuses on scientific concepts, theory and their application. It produces students that are “bilingual” in both business and science who are able to then integrate concepts from both disciplines to solve problems in the real world.

With companies now seeking to fill up roles in this area, business students with the ability to bridge the business-science gap will gain an edge in the increasingly competitive workforce. Find out more about James Cook University’s Bachelor of Business and Environmental Science here.

View full list of higher education courses offered by JCU here.