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Environment gets down to business

NOTRE Dame University has linked the environment with business studies under two WA heavyweights from the corporate sphere and government, former CALM chief Syd Shea and fishing industry executive George Kailis.

Mr Kailis’ MBA students at the Fremantle university can now major in natural resource management, through units offered by Professor Shea’s environmental management courses.

After 16 years at the head of the State’s forestry and conservation bureaucracy, Prof. Shea believes the system does not equip management to deal with environmental issues – and the only way to solve environmental problems is to find profitable solutions.

He said the lack of managers with knowledge in this area could be ignored in the past but the corporate world was beginning to recognise that environmental impact was yet another “bottom line” that had to be recognised.

WA corporations like Wesfarmers already release separate annual reports on their environmental performance.

Prof. Shea said that too often company’s environmental management was conducted by managers without an environmental background or scientists without a management background.

“We want to give people environmental management skills as well as basic business skills,” he said.

“Eventually get to a management position and you have to have life skills.”

“We want to develop courses to link the two.

“We are very keen on the idea that graduates we produce are useful to industry.”

Other than the MBA course, there are also diploma and certificate courses.

The university is also developing an Institute of Natural Resource Management.

Prof. Shea said the Institute would help co-ordinate course development, be a forum for public debate and commission research for government.

“Government is important but we can’t solve things without a significant contribution from the private sector,” he said.

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