MBA backs endangered orangutans through carbon offset

By offsetting its carbon footprint, the Griffith MBA is supporting an endangered Orangutan in Indonesia.
By offsetting its carbon footprint, the Griffith MBA is supporting an endangered Orangutan in Indonesia.

Indonesian orangutans, whose future existence was endangered by forest fires in 2015, are among the beneficiaries of a Griffith MBA decision to offset the effect of its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Griffith MBA was the first Australian MBA program to offset its carbon footprint, and has now completed two comprehensive assessments of its emissions over a 12-month period.

The latest report, produced by energy and carbon management consultancy Pangolin Associates, shows a total of 366 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-e) attributed to the operations of the MBA program for the 2013-14 year, a 67-tonne reduction on the previous assessment.

The 366 total has been offset through the purchase of certified carbon credits from two innovative, Asian-based projects, following consultation with Griffith MBA students and alumni.

Gansu Zhangye Heihe Longhui Small Scale Hydropower Project in regional China and the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve on Borneo Island are the beneficiaries of the Griffith Business School initiative.

Core values

“We pride ourselves on the program’s core values, which includes a commitment to sustainable business practice,” Associate Professor Chris Fleming, Griffith MBA Director, said. “This offset is also consistent with the MBA’s Asia-Pacific focus.

“Sustainable business practice is not just about environmental sustainability. It is also about being socially sustainable and both of these projects speak to this principle.

Chrisweb“The continued viability of the Indonesian project, for example, is important as it means an economic boost for the local community whether it is money earned on the reserve that improves livelihoods, employment created or new levels of food security that improve health,” Associate Professor Fleming said.

“In addition, the training and educational benefits for the community are significant, not least through the confidence it generates.”

The Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve project preserves carbon-dense tropical peat swamp by helping to prevent deforestation at a 47,000-hectare site earmarked for development into a palm oil plantation.

The site is also home to Indonesia’s largest private orangutan sanctuary. Raging fires in dense Borneo forest last October threatened one third of the world’s remaining wild orangutans, according to conservationists.


In the case of the China-based hydropower project, the water resources of the Heihe River are used to generate and supply the electricity, which would otherwise be produced by coal-fired plants.“Projects such as this one need to be supported to help level the playing field in the ongoing duel with coal production.”

Associate Professor Fleming says the offset initiative should engage current or aspiring MBA student aiming to progress their careers into business management leadership roles.

“Any MBA student looking for innovation, responsibility and progress will see the Griffith MBA is an MBA for the 21st century, not an MBA stuck in the 80s.

“There is an onus on the global business sector now to take and demonstrate responsibility. You won’t get away with activities that are less than responsible today.”