Keywords: SSD, strategic sustainable development, backcasting, sustainability principles, TNS, The Natural Step, ESD, education for sustainable development, strategic planning, sustainability strategy, strategic leadership, higher education, Sweden
Strategic leadership towards sustainability: a master's programme on sustainability
Society within the biosphere is inherently a highly complex system. Achieving 'success' – i.e. a sustainable society – within such a complex system (i.e. society within the biosphere), success must be understood at a basic level. Achieving success requires a systematic and structured approach to planning and decision making. In particular, there must be a focus on an imagined principle outcome of success as a 'sustainable society in the biosphere'. From this understanding, one can 'backcast' to the present and begin to take action as part of a clearly focused strategy. Within such an endeavour, many diverse viewpoints and perspectives will emerge. Therefore, an adventurous and dialogue-based learning environment becomes important for incubating leadership. The entire new Master's Programme, Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability, at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden, revolves around just such an approach to sustainability and leadership. This paper provides a description of the programme and some of the lessons learned by the programme managers after the first four years with over 200 students having graduated from the programme.