The concept of “Impact with Care” is core to the mission of Hong Kong’s Lingnan University, and its researchers are committed to supporting the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were designed as a blueprint for global peace and prosperity. With this in mind, Lingnan has launched the Concentration in Environment and Sustainability within the existing Master of Cities and Governance (MCG) programme. The new concentration focuses on solving sustainability and environmental problems with reference to the SDGs.
“The concentration gives students the tools to formulate solutions and effectively communicate them to those in business, policymaking, and the government,” says Professor Paulina Wong from Lingnan’s Science Unit, which offers the MCG in tandem with the University’s Graduate School.
“The concentration highlights communication – we teach students the fundamental ideas behind the SDGs, and then we give them the tools to communicate what they have learned to stakeholders in real-world situations,” says Prof Wong.
The core aim of the MCG is to equip students with theoretical frameworks and international and regional perspectives to examine city governance and policy-related issues. The new concentration aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to examine environmental and social issues, such as climate change, sustainable urban development, and social equality.
Most courses are new and have been tailor-made for the concentration. There will be a multi-scale perspective, so environmental issues will be investigated at local and city levels, as well as national and global levels. As exploring solutions to key sustainability and environmental issues requires inclusion of all stakeholder viewpoints, there will be talks by experts from the government, NGOs, academia, and industry.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria are a focus of the concentration. ESG criteria assess a company’s commitment to sustainability and environmental goals, taking account of factors like a company’s stewardship of nature, its treatment of employees, and its transparency. Until now, there here has been no proper training on ESG available in Hong Kong.
“The course will teach students to advise companies how to involve ESG criteria in their strategies,” says Prof Wong. Climate change is another focus. “We offer a short, intensive course about climate change. We want to give students enough knowledge to communicate the issues in a convincing way,” notes Prof Wong.
The emphasis of the Concentration in Environment and Sustainability is on providing students with a broad knowledge of environmental concerns, and this makes it suitable for students from different backgrounds, and with diverse skills and experiences. The in-depth knowledge of environmental and sustainability issues offered by the concentration could lead to employment in areas such as civil service, journalism, project management, corporations, education, and international organisations.