Companies are coming under increased pressure from consumers to act responsibly for the planet. Environmental protection has therefore become an indispensable element in any management practice. To meet the growing need for such skills and knowledge in the workplace, the Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences at Hong Kong Baptist University is offering a Master of Science degree in Environmental and Public Health Management for people seeking in-depth understanding of sustainable, environmental and risk management.
"Undesirable occurrences such as food poisoning and excessive waste happen because businesses fail to devise and implement sustainable management practices," says K C Cheung, course lecturer and assistant professor of Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences and the Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University. "Our programme focuses on fundamental knowledge in green management and teaches systematic ways of applying environmentally friendly management principles."
Dr Cheung believes companies can actually benefit a great deal by implementing green policies. "Enterprises now face increased pressure from ethical consumers. But if they adopt green practices, such as using less plastic packaging, they can attract more customers. Moreover, by improving something like the indoor air quality at their office or factory, staff's health and productivity can be enhanced," he says.
The programme is diverse and its knowledge and skills components can be related to almost all sectors. "Our programme explores in detail the relationships between economics, regulation and policy, management techniques, health risk analysis, social and ethical value and environmental conservation," explains Dr Cheung. "Most importantly, students learn how to research optimal solutions answering the specific needs of their workplace. This is essential to all industries. For example, the potential for food poisoning has increased due to environmental damage, so those engaged in food production should be able to conduct proper assessment relating to food safety. Property management professionals can use the knowledge and skills learned to improve the living environment for residents. Educators will also find our programme resourceful as we provide up-to-date knowledge of environmental protection, which is valuable information for the younger generation."
Suitable for students from all disciplines, the programme teaches both technical and managerial knowledge. Students are given access to the institute's various laboratories to conduct research and scientific analysis. Since the programme is management-based, they are also exposed to best practices in green management through case studies and discussions, and learn skills they can take back to their companies.
"Employees with training in environmental and public health management are invaluable. They can help devise optimal solutions regarding environmental preservation and implement them effectively," Dr Cheung says.
The programme is recognised internationally as well as nationally by the State Environmental Protection Administration in China. Other attractive features include guest lectures by professionals from relevant fields, certificates issued by SGS Hong Kong Limited upon completion, a choice of delivery modes and scholarships. To be awarded the master's degree, students must complete six subjects and a dissertation. Those who choose not to do the dissertation can receive a postgraduate diploma.