Dr Wayne Visser, accomplished writer, speaker and lecturer in the area of corporate responsibility and sustainability and innovation, has joined the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) as the Transnet Chair of Sustainable Business. The Chair was created with generous funding from Transnet SOC through the Transnet Programme in Sustainable Development (TPSD).
Dr Visser will teach sustainability on the GIBS MBA programme as well as deliver an elective focused on innovation for future fitness. As Chair of the programme, Dr Visser will be dedicated to developing the reach and impact of sustainability-related education and research within the business school.
“It is a great honour to be selected as the first Transnet Chair of Sustainable Business,” says Visser. “I look forward to contributing to the profile and authority of sustainability-related educational activities within the school and the South African business community. My focus for the next year will be on mainstreaming sustainability and encouraging learning from best practice around the world.”
Dr Visser is director of the think tank Kaleidoscope Futures and founder of CSR International, where he consults to and conducts research for organisations like the IFC, World Bank, UNEP, the Wikirate project and GeoWel Research. In addition, Dr Visser is senior associate at the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and adjunct professor of Sustainable Development at Deakin Business School in Australia. Before obtaining his PhD, he was director of Sustainability Services for KPMG where he established a new consulting and assurance department within KPMG.
Commenting on Dr Visser’s appointment, Professor Nick Binedell, dean of GIBS, said, “Dr Visser brings a dynamic agenda of business scholarship, interdisciplinary and innovative teaching experiences, and expertise in the areas of corporate responsibility and sustainability, all of which enrich and complement GIBS’ mission to significantly improve the competitive performance of individuals and organisations through business education.”
In May 2008, using funding from Transnet, GIBS established its first academic programme in sustainable development: the Transnet Programme in Sustainable Development. According to Claire Thwaits, senior programme manager for the TPSD, the purpose which is to look at collaboration and pressing sustainability issues within business. She says, “GIBS is looking to deepen thought leadership and knowledge around specific issues that are changing the way businesses operate. We are trying to instil in the people who walk through our doors, be they students or delegates, that the economy is interdependent with society and the environment and that sustainability is based on all three of these independent variables. We focus very strongly on leadership and corporate citizenship. Looking at the role business has to play in society is very much a part of our focus area in terms of creating future leaders.”
Dr Visser is the author of 19 books, including “CSR 2.0” (2013), “The Quest for Sustainable Business” (2012), “The Age of Responsibility” (2011), “The World Guide to CSR” (2010) and “The A to Z of Corporate Social Responsibility” (2010). He is a guest columnist for The Guardian newspaper and has delivered more than 250 professional speeches all around the world, with his work taking him to 68 countries in the last 20 years, giving GIBS an important international perspective into the field of sustainable development.