March 23rd 2021

MCI contributing to the “i-week on sustainability 2021” at the University of Antwerp

PRME Insights: Julia Waldegger

At the MCI, we are committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs form the framework for our activities in teaching, research and beyond. Sustainability is not only important for me personally, but also one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of my work at MCI. Collaborating with other universities is inspiring. In the beginning of March, the University of Antwerp organized the “international week on sustainability” with 160 students representing 24 nationalities. MCI students working on their Responsible Management Badge participated as well.

Together with my colleague Martin Dinter, I had the privilege of facilitating the World Climate Simulation on two days. In the World Climate Simulation, students take on the role of UN delegates at an emergency climate summit. Their task is to limit global warming to below 2°C by 2100. The delegates must agree on three decisions. First, the delegates must decide when their region’s greenhouse gas emissions will peak, stagnate, and finally decline. Second, they must decide how much they decrease deforestation and promote afforestation. Third, they must determine whether their region contributes to or requests payments from the Climate. The role-play is supported by the interactive computer model C-ROADS. The delegates’ pledges are entered into C-ROADS which shows the temperature increase until 2100. Thus, the delegates immediately see the effects of their negotiation. In the first round, every region decides on their own. Unsurprisingly, the first round is rarely successful. In the second round of negotiations, the regions negotiate with each other to reach the goal together. Of course, the delegates must consider the regional political and economic interests. The simulation shows how difficult it is to find a common solution.

Every group develops a distinct dynamic which makes the World Climate Simulation exciting and unique in every session. Some groups lead heated discussions and tough negotiations but nonetheless fails in coming to a successful agreement because no one is willing to back down from their position. Other groups conduct constructive, straightforward negotiations and take far-reaching measures immediately. In any case, the simulation always prompts emotions. In the final reflection, I focus on a positive future. A future, where we were able to find a common solution to tackle the climate crisis together. Seeing how enthusiastic, committed, and motivated the students are, give me hope for the future. After all, they are the future decision-makers in organizations and at the political level!