Big Questions Little Time - Webinars on Sustainable Development

We need to find solutions to the societal challenges we are faced with, and we need to find them now! Welcome to "Big Questions Little Time - Webinars on Sustainable Development"

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"Big Questions Little Time - Webinars on Sustainable Development"


The two MSC centres Centre for Business and Development Studies (CBDS) and CBS Sustainability are the driving force behind the new webinar series "Big Questions Little Time - Webinars on Sustainable Development". This webinar series brings in international thought leaders, representing a wide variety of fields and disciplines. Following the same structure for each seminar, we wish to critically explore if, how, and under which conditions any given approach can bring about change and contribute to sustainable development. 

The title of this webinar series refers not only to the inherent urgency for us to find possible solutions to the societal challenges we are facing, but also the 60 minute time frame for each session. Webinars are held six times a year at 14.00 - 15.00 (CET), usually on the last Thursday of the month in question.

On this site, you can find the audio and video podcasts of the sessions. If you wish to stay in the loop and attend the live sessions, please sign up for the monthly CBS Sustainability newsletter or contact centre manager Sarah Netter,


Next Seminar

January 27th, 15.00 - 16.00 (CET) featuring Jason W. Moore, environmental historian, historical geographer and professor of sociology, Binghamton University


“Climate Denialisms, Hard and Soft. Or, Why We Can't Avoid the History of Capitalism in the Climate Crisis”

Among the legacies of a half-century of environmental studies is a denial of the history of capitalism in the unfolding climate crisis. In this presentation, environmental historian Jason W. Moore explores -- and seeks to resolve -- two entangled problems in contemporary interpretations of climate crisis and climate justice. One tendency reduces the problem of Holocene climate history to Man and Nature. Rather than reconstruct the long history of class, climate, and civilizational change, we are delivered neo-Malthusian stories that are not only empirically flawed but politically disabling. Another tendency, common across the humanities and social science, reduces the problem of capitalism to social constructions abstracted from the modern history of climate and environmental change, beginning the invasions of the New World in 1492. Moore shows how today's climate crisis is rooted in the emergence of a capitalist world-ecology during the Little Ice Age, and how a politics of climate justice that ignores that history recapitulates a "soft" climate denialism.  

Jason W. Moore is an environmental historian, historical geographer and professor of sociology at Binghamton University. He is the author of, most recently, for example, Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism (2016), and, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (2017). His books and essays on environmental history, capitalism, and social theory have been widely recognized, including the Alice Hamilton Prize of the American Society for Environmental History (2003), the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the Section on the Political Economy of the World-System, and the Byres and Bernstein Prize in Agrarian Change (2011). Furthermore, he coordinates the World-Ecology Research Network.


Schedule for 2022

January 27th, 15.00 - 16.00 (CET) Jason W. Moore, Professor of Sociology, Binghamton University

March 31st, 14.00 - 15.00 (CET) Gail Whiteman, Professor of Sustainability, University of Exeter

April 28th, 14.00 - 15.00 (CET), featuring Melissa Leach, Director of the Institute of Development Studies

May 26th, 14.00 - 15.00 (CET), featuring Gary Gereffi, Emeritus Professor at Duke University and Founding Director of the Duke Global Value Chains Center

September 29th, 14.00 - 15.00 (CET), featuring Lucia Reisch, El Erian Professor of Behavioural Economics and Policy, University of Cambridge

October 27th, 14.00 - 15.00 (CET), featuring John B. Robinson, Professor at the University of Toronto & David Maggs, research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam


Past Seminars


November 18th, 14.00 - 15.00 (CET), featuring Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State & Director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC)

“Can we really solve the climate crisis? If so, how?” 

Human-caused climate change is arguably the greatest threat we face as a civilization. Efforts to attack and deny the scientific evidence have constituted a major impediment to action over the past two decades. At a time when we appear to be moving past outright denial of the problem, we face a multi-pronged strategy by polluting interests to distract, deflect, attack, and divide the climate activist community. This involves, among other things, (a) efforts to deflect attention from systemic change and regulatory policy solutions to personal behavior, (b) doomist framing that disempowers us by exaggerating the threat in such a way as to make catastrophic changes now seem unavoidable, and (c) the promotion of false solutions that seek to enable the continued burning of fossil fuels that is at the very root of the problem. It is important to recognize while there is great urgency in acting, there is also agency. There is still time to for us to avert the worst impacts of climate change if we act now and we act boldly. I will discuss what we can do to fight back, emphasizing the importance of both urgency AND agency in efforts to save our planet.

Dr. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State. His research focuses on climate science and climate change. 


October 28th, 14.00 - 15.00 (CET), featuring Vijay Prashad, Executive Director Tricontinental Institute to Social Research

“Can we (really) achieve ’sustainable development’ under the contemporary capitalist system? If not, what are the alternatives?”

Is it possible to expand the range of human happiness - another phrase for development - and to be steward of nature - another phrase for sustainable - given that a small minority of the world own all the property of the world? What is the kind of alternative possible? Twenty-five research institutes from around the world have produced a plan called A Plan to Save the Planet. It suggests the path ahead.

Vijay Prashad is the director of Tricontinental; Institute for Social Research and Chief Correspondent for Globetrotter. His most recent book is Washington Bullets, with a foreword by Evo Morales Ayma.


September 24th, 14.00 - 15.00 (CET), featuring Mette Morsing, Global Head of PRME, UN Global Compact

“Can sustainable business really be achieved through responsible management education?  If so, How?” 

Mette Morsing (Ph.D. 1994), Global Head of PRME Principles of Responsible Management Education, UN Global Compact (New York) will lead the second seminar in our series. The UN Secretary General has called for us all to deliver on the Decade of Action. It seems that the planet and its people are calling for even more immediate action.

How may management schools and in particular leadership education offer a way to contribute to the wicked problems on the planet? There is no easy or ‘one-way quick-fix’ solution to these problems and in this Big Questions Little Times Webinar Series, Mette Morsing will focus on three issues of strategic importance - 3 x S: Society, Students and South.

Before May 2020, Mette Morsing was the Mistra Chair of Sustainable Markets and Executive Director of Misum: Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets at Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden) (since 2017). She was also Professor of Corporate Social Responsibility at Copenhagen Business School (CBS, Denmark) (since 2007). She was the Founding Director of CBS Center for Corporate Social Responsibility in 2002, and she was the Academic Director of CBS Sustainability Platform 2011-2016 with the assignment to integrate sustainability across fifteen academic departments. In 2003, she was the co-founder of Academy of Business in Society (ABIS, Bruxelles), where she served as a Member of the Board of Directors for 10 years. Morsing was in 2010 appointed as a member of the executive board of directors at LEGO Foundation and Melting Pot, and in 2016 she was elected by her colleagues to serve on CBS Board till 2020. Morsing has held a large number of advisory and honorary positions in corporate councils and policy committees on issues related to sustainability. She has been teaching sustainability-related topics at undergraduate, graduate, Phd and MBA executive programs over the past two decades.


June 24th 2021, 14.00 - 15.00 (CET), featuring Mikkel Larsen, Group Chief Sustainability Officer of DBS 

"Does ESG actually create positive impact?" 

Mikkel Larsen, Group Chief Sustainability Officer of DBS and a committee member of Global Compact Network Singapore’s Management Committee, will launch the webinar series with a session on ESG Investment. 

ESG investing boomed in popularity in recent years, with many ESG-linked stocks and indices outperformed or less impacted as compared to the wider market. Besides financial outperformance, ESG investing can also lead to a better and kinder future for humanity, and a cleaner and more balanced natural environment, depending on context, intention, and perceived outcomes. ESG investments can influence change through meaningful capital allocation to address some of our critical global challenges: climate change, public health and sanitation ( E), to employee well-being, income inequality and diversity (S), and corporate regulation (G), to name a few.

Despite all these, more evidence is still required to quantify real impact through ESG investments, as this can be shaped by the robustness of financial instruments and the maturity of ESG investing landscape.


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The page was last edited by: Department of Management, Society and Communication // 01/14/2022