Creating an Interdisciplinary Sustainability Research Network – University of Nottingham

SRN PhotoA growing number of research projects are falling under the broad topic of sustainability. How can a university facilitate stronger connections between these different projects across departments and fields throughout the university, and empower researchers already involved and interested in these topics?

A number of PhD students at the University of Nottingham created the Sustainability Research Network, a dynamic network of early career researchers from across disciplines, working on, or with an interest in sustainability, to create these connections. I spoke with Gabriela Gutierrez at the university, who provided more information about this innovative project.

What is the Sustainability Research Network?

The Sustainability Research Network (SRN) is a dynamic network of early career researchers at the University of Nottingham working on, or interested in sustainability. Today, the network comprises over 300 postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, lecturers and other early career research staff from a broad range of disciplines across all faculties.

SRN exists to provide fora for interdisciplinary discussion and collaboration around sustainability across all disciplines, including but not limited to: Archaeology, Architecture and the Built Environment, Biology, Biomolecular Sciences, Bioscience, Business, Chemical Engineering and Mechanics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Education, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering/Technology, English, Geography, Horizon Digital Economy Research, Institute for Science and Society, Institute of Mental Health, Maths, Politics and Sociology. SRN aims to support early career researchers in their personal and professional development providing opportunities for networking, learning and enhancement of skills and employability; and to stimulate academic excellence in the field of sustainability through capacity building and knowledge exchange.

How did it come about?

SRN was established in late 2012 and launched in May 2013 by five PhD students looking to create more opportunities for early career researchers working on sustainability in different disciplines to meet each other. Prior to the launch of SRN there were few informal or formal opportunities for researchers interested in sustainability to meet one another and share ideas and expertise across disciplines. SRN is currently supported and driven by a committee of eight postgraduate and early career researchers and PhD students.

The Committee organises regular events, maintains communications channels and provides opportunities for networking and collaboration across all disciplines, schools and campuses.

What has the Network done so far?

To date, the Committee has organised various events involving many researchers within our network across disciplines. The launch event in May 2013 was attended by over forty researchers across more than twenty schools/departments. Subsequent events have included external speaker lecture sessions, early career researcher-led events in association with the graduate school, external visits, and informal networking events. SRN also provides communications channels for members to share news and opportunities, to seek information, to make connections and to discuss topics of interest.

All of these events provide opportunities for researchers to learn about other fields related to sustainability and to make connections with their own work, either by presenting their work (or an aspect of it), or through a lively and engaging discussion—developing ideas and forming relationships across the disciplines represented. Some events have specifically asked participants to reflect on the challenges and benefits of interdisciplinary research in sustainability around various topics and have resulted in lively and engaging discussions. These presentations have developed ideas and formed relationships across the disciplines represented.

We have enabled members to contribute to the University of Nottingham’s broader sustainability strategy and, in particular, to online learning initiatives. SRN members have facilitated the innovative Nottingham Open Online Course (NOOC) on sustainability, which introduces different disciplinary perspectives on sustainability to undergraduate and postgraduate students across the university. SRN members also facilitated ‘Sustainability, Society and You’, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) open to those outside of University of Nottingham, as well as the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility’s NOOC in Sustainable and Responsible Business.

What have been some of the challenges? Successes?

Members are students or postdocs at the university for on average three years. Due to the nature and timeline of the programme, we are confronted with a number of questions: Given the turnover, how can we encourage ownership of the network by members as well as the committee? Given the diversity of research on sustainability, and even the diversity of meanings of sustainability itself, what sorts of collaboration can we realistically attempt to foster within the limited time frame of potential SRN activities? How do we create a flexible structure that will enable interested individuals to collaborate on one-off events? How do we develop greater and more independent collaboration between SRN members, to take forward the network and contribute to organising future events? How do we develop links/affiliations with similar groups at other universities, as well as with our international campuses? These are some of the challenging questions that we have been trying to address.

We have had many successes so far and a lot of support from senior stakeholders at the university. There are already more than 300 researchers in the network from at least 22 departments, and more than £2900 has been awarded to date to support the 13 events we have held since May 2012. Additionally we have been developing links with our other campuses in Malaysia and China. The network has been developing its communication channels as well, with email, Twitter (@SResearchNet), Facebook and a blog.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

The significance of thinking strategically: From early on we contacted senior members of academic staff as well as other contacts across the university to let them know what we were trying to do, and to request their support. This has been helpful for overcoming bureaucratic hurdles, for raising the credibility of SRN, as well as creating opportunities to publicise the network and organise joint events.

The importance of listening to our members: The SRN has set up ways of getting members’ feedback and in response to that feedback we have organised different kinds of events across the university and with outside partners. Our events are structured to enable participants to meet lots of different people, with time available for discussion, and new perspectives and approaches introduced by external speakers.

Formal versus informal structure: We decided not to become an official university society. This would have secured us administrative support and funding opportunities, but SRN would then have had to adhere to an inflexible constitutional structure and would not have had the full independence that SRN currently enjoys. However, some level of formality is still required, for example having a named committee to ensure that responsibility is taken for driving the network, and we are currently considering the strategic advantage of having an advisory board of more senior staff members.

Set some time aside: Connecting both offline (face to face discussions) and online (email, google drive) is important—finding a good balance depends on the availability and working styles of the team. It is important to appreciate the variety of work falling under the umbrella of sustainability, and take the opportunity to learn about projects other people are working on.

Develop skills: There is a broad range of useful skills, experiences and knowledge that each committee member, and also network member, brings to the network, and it is important to realise their personal and professional development motivations for involvement. It has not just been about what we already knew how to do, but what we were willing to learn and what could be beneficial to us in the future.

Not to underestimate the time commitment required to set up an initiative like this: There are a huge number of tasks to keep up with. We do not have tightly defined roles for committee members, rather we are flexible and individuals are able to take a back seat for short periods when data collection, thesis writing or job interviews need to be put first, during which time the rest of the team takes the lead.

For more information on the Sustainability Research Network at the University of Nottingham visit





Showcasing and Inspiring Action – UK and Ireland Edition

UK/Ireland Inspirational GuideAs of June 2014, 48 business schools in the UK and Ireland, out of a total number of around 110 in the region, have signed up to PRME. These schools have joined forces in creating the regional PRME Chapter UK & Ireland. In order to bring together their common experiences, inspire more action in their schools and encourage other schools in the region to implement PRME, they recently launched the Inspirational Guide for the Implementation of PRME UK & Ireland Edition.

Seventeen business schools contributed to the guide, which is divided into three main areas: examining the values and mission for the school, developing centres and outreach initiatives embedding the values of PRME, and developing programmes in research and learning and teaching. Each case story focuses on a particular programme, project or activity that the institution has implemented, and provides an overview of the particular challenges faced, an explanation of the actions taken in relation to those challenges, what were the results, and advice and ideas for other signatories.

I spoke with Alan Murray from Winchester Business School, co-editor of the guide, about putting this collection together and their experiences and lessons learnt.

Why did the UK & Ireland Chapter decide to put together an inspirational guide?

As one of the first Established Chapters, and being conscious of our status as having one of the highest proportions regionally of PRME signatory schools, we wanted to put a regional spin on the PRME Inspirational Guides (see here editions 1 and 2). We also wanted to highlight some of the very innovative initiatives being undertaken in the UK and Ireland in the field of sustainability education and community involvement.

How did you put it together?

We have a good working relationship with the publishers, Greenleaf, having a number of individual members of the Chapter already part of editorial teams compiling edited editions on Poverty and Gender, as well as being authors with Greenleaf in their own right. Greenleaf was very supportive of the idea, and when the PRME office gave us their sanction, all that was left was to get the Chapter members in. Initially we put out a call, but followed that up with a theme at the first Chapter symposium, held at Winchester Business School in April 2014. At this meeting we hatched an ambitious plan to compile and edit the book in 4 months, to allow a launch at the British Academy of Management meeting in Belfast in September 2014. We asked for volunteers to be part of the editorial team and devised a schema to review and return chapters in double quick time. And we succeeded!

How was the response?

The response was very positive and we received more submissions than we expected given the time frame. You will see from the range of activities covered that some very exciting initiatives have been developed and schools were keen to inform the Chapter signatories and the wider UK and Ireland business school community of their endeavors.

Any advice for other Chapters that might be interested in doing the same?

Yes – allow more time! A good team of editors, all of whom are willing to commit time and effort is essential! The team at Greenleaf are brilliant and they can help sort out most issues.

What’s next now for the Chapter (related to how the guide will be used or more generally)?

We are going to send out a copy to the Dean of every school in the UK and Ireland that has not signed up to PRME, to showcase the activities of schools within our community and highlight the benefits to be gained being part of that community.


What you can expect to find in the Inspirational Guide

1. An examination of the values and mission for the school

Strathclyde Business School shares their experiences in creating their Management Development programme, intended to provide an intellectual and experiential spine to their undergraduate degrees. Newcastle University Business School discusses the PRME agenda and how it can add value to its stakeholders, as well as discussing their research agendas on gender equality and the PRME Working Group on Gender Equality.

2. Developing centres and outreach initiatives embedding the values of PRME

Lancaster University Management School shares their experiences re-launching their Leadership Centre. Winchester Business School and University of Huddersfield Business School both explore their lessons learnt around creating new centres focused on sustainability related topics, and integrating PRME into their programmes and centres.

Kemmy School of Business shares their experiences in establishing both a centre as well as a new programme on Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship. Bournemouth University Business School and Hertfordshire Business School share their approaches to engaging students in local projects through experiential learning. Finally, Glasgow Caledonian University shares their work on how to tackle the issue of widening access to higher education.

3. Developing programmes in research and learning, and teaching

Coventry University Business School, UCD School of Business, Winchester University, and Bradford University School of Management all share their diverse experiences in developing new modules in research and learning, and teaching. University of Huddersfield Business School outlines how they use group work to improve critical thinking skills, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School shares how they use field trips to bring their classroom messages across, and Durham University Business School challenges students to use their skills in real-life situations. Henley Business School presents their MA in Leadership, which uses innovative teaching technologies, and Aston’s Business School shares lessons from developing its MSc in Social Responsibility and Sustainability. Glasgow Caledonian University outlines how they reviewed their curriculum to reflect PRME values.

The Future Corporation – A Student’s Perspective (Part 2)

The 2014 LEAD Symposium held late last year by UN Global Compact and PRME, challenged participants to sketch a vision of The Future Corporation, identifying key characteristics of what the sustainable corporation could and should look like in the future. They looked to provide a beacon for the transition of the global business community that is already underway, fuelled by deeper integration of sustainability into strategies and operations.

Students at leading business schools around the world were invited to contribute their thoughts in writing, as to what the Future Corporation will look like, to be shared with UN Global Compact LEAD companies during the event. Here is a selection of their thoughts.

  • “Smart manufacturing is revolutionising drastically and plays a key role in almost every sector of the industry including information, technology, or human ingenuity.” Daryna Kosse, Audencia Nantes School of Management, France
  • “To start a collaborative relationship with governments and other organisations and creating activities, products, policies and services designed with the vision of a healthier market, being profitable while creating a much more fair business environment for everyone.” Maria Santamaria Hernandez, Audencia Nantes School of Management, France
  • “Businesses will pay serious attention to environmental impact analysis before the inception of any business operation.” – Shashank Bhat, Audencia Nantes School of Management, France
  • “Transparent, non-financial reporting will be fundamental where firms not only highlight accomplishments but also disclose negative information.” Jessie Recchia, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland
  • “Companies certainly have an influence on the world around us, but it may be current business students that have to alter the business model and include a comprehensive corporate responsibility strategy.” – Samuel Vadera, University of Guelph, Canada
  • “The Future Corporation will revolve around a co-creation platform where employees will be involved in the organisational process as well as product development and customers will be able to easily access company information in order to make informed decisions. It will be focused on developing the BOP [Base of the Pyramid] market.” – Andrea Speer & Andrew Bontempo, University of Guelph, Canada
  • “Future Corporations should open up their line of communication with each other, sharing ideas to improve the overall efficiency of the industry and allow growth in research and development.” Michael Alford, Kelly Labbett, Sharon Lee, Katerhine-Ann Mair, Emily Quinn, and Connor Trendov, University of Guelph, Canada
  • “In the future we will see more corporations overtaking the GDP of small and medium countries as well as a realisation of just how much power they have.” Andrew Via, University of Guelph, Canada
  • A future corporation will “create products that are fully recyclable throughout their life span, produce less waste, are carbon neutral and use resources more efficiently. All aspects of the supply chain will be transparent. Customers will be able to pay as their needs grow, to customise their products, and prices will reflect the true price of a product in terms of environmental impact.” Milan Mladenovic, University of Guelph, Canada
  • “The Future Corporation is dynamic. It is aware of critical changes and potential risks that might impact the business and the community and anticipates them by being creative and experimenting with new ways to do business while creating social value.” Ana Amira Castenada Abreu, Nottingham University Business School, United Kingdom
  • “By working with local SME’s worldwide The Future Corporation will be helping to empower local community. Training people within the local community to work with new skill sets and tools will help them create long-term business success on their own with relatively little external help.” – Camilla Norlem Carlsund Samsing, Nottingham University Business School, United Kingdom
  • “The Future Corporation will lend its expertise not only to refining its core business model, making it simultaneously more sustainable and more competitive, but also to development-focused partnerships where that specific expertise can be utilised.” Isla Farley, Nottingham University Business School, United Kingdom
  • “Corporate sustainability must hold a strong language and rhetoric across the board so the Future Corporation can replicate this into written documents, policy and reports, unifying companies across the globe into talking the same language.” Nicholas Andreson-Pearce, Nottingham University Business School, United Kingdom
  • “The Future Corporation will not be a follower, but a bold trendsetter. Innovation and creativity will be encouraged and supported, and highly valued in the future employees. There will be spaces designed for stimulating of creative ideas and headquarter buildings will be designed in a way that reflects transparency and cooperation.” – Liva Lejniece, Pforzheim University, Germany
  • “Human capital will become the most important capital stock, even surpassing financial stock.” Patricia Valdes and Edurne Inigo, Deusto Business School, Spain
  • “Being transparent is essential as a business. This leads to increase in profit and performance as it encourages employees to get involved in the process of making a product.” Fahad Albalooshi, University of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

To read the full texts submitted by these students visit here.

The Future Corporation – A Student’s Perspective (Part 1)

The 2014 LEAD Symposium held late last year by the UN Global Compact and PRME, challenged participants to sketch a vision of The Future Corporation, identifying key characteristics of what the sustainable corporation could and should look like in the future. They looked to provide a beacon for the transition of the global business community that is already underway, fuelled by deeper integration of sustainability into strategies and operations.

Students at leading business schools around the world were invited to contribute their thoughts as to what the Future Corporation will look like through a short essay. Twenty-seven videos were submitted from Turkey, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Colombia and the United Kingdom. A montage of the videos was showing during the Symposium and can be accessed here.

This year’s winner was Kamil Majeed from Sabanci University in Turkey

Kailash Ahuja and the student team from Pforzheim University in Germany (Honorable Mention)

Rahul Vincent Kachhap from Nottingham University in the UK (Honorable Mention)

Sandra Choma from ISAE/FGV in Brazil (Honorable Mention)

Leonardo Boesche from ISAE/FGV in Brazil (Honorable Mention)

Miguel Torres from Universidad Externado in Colombia (Honorable Mention)

For more on the outcomes of The Future Corporation Symposium including video recordings of the event click here.

2014 Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 2)

It is that time again for PRiMEtime’s year-end review. 2014 was another exciting year with a lot of innovative new initiatives and approaches at business schools around the world to embedding responsible leadership and sustainability into their programmes. More than 60 articles were posted featuring over 200 examples over the year on responsible management education, from more than 100 schools in 37 countries. In this 2-part year-end post we review what happened this year and what we have to look forward to next year. (Click here to view Part 1)

Principle 5Principle 5: Partnerships

Aalto University School of Business (Finland) launched their Creative Sustainability Master’s Programme, a joint programme with the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the School of Business and the School of Engineering. Several schools are collaborating with each other to create innovative learning experiences for their students. ESADE (Spain) introduced us to the “Global Integrative Module,” an innovative learning experience that invites students to work in online virtual teams to propose solutions to a challenge of current social, political and economic relevance by applying an integrated modular approach, done in partnership with a number of other signatory schools around the world. EGADE Business School (Mexico) has created a course in collaboration with the International Labour Organization, Boconni Unviersity (Italy) and Sun Yat Sen University (China) around labour and CSR.

INALDE (Colombia) is working with Exxon Mobil to develop the capabilities of NGOs and Foundations while Universidad Anahuac Facultad de Economia y Negocios (Mexico) “IDEARSE Programme” is working with small- and medium-sized enterprises in the supply chain around CSR. Kwansei Gakuin University (Japan) works with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and admits three refugees to the university each year.

Many schools shared with us their experiences working with local government. University College Dublin (Ireland) created a partnership with the Irish Food Board to promote and strengthen the national sustainability initiative aimed at the food industry. IESA (Venezuela) is working with the Mayor’s office in Caracas on bottom of the pyramid research and workshops. Faculty of Economics and Administration at the King Abdulaziz University (Saudi Arabia) are working with the local anti-corruption authority in the government to fight corruption and unethical behaviour in all sectors of the Saudi Arabian economy. National Service of Industrial Apprenticeship (Brazil) is part of the Curitiba International Schools for Urban Sustainability project, in partnership with the City of Curitiba and a range of universities, aimed at producing and sharing knowledge and ideas around sustainable cities.

Schools also continue to work extensively with local communities, including Clark University Graduate School of Management (USA) and Pforzheim University (Germany). Lund University (Sweden) runs an initiative where students work with local organisations to review their corporate responsibility and sustainability strategies. Oxford Brookes Business School (UK) Accountants in Mentoring scheme offers students the opportunity to work with a mentor from industry or practice. The Paul Merage School of Business (USA) pairs students with local non-profit organisations for no-fee consulting projects. Widener University (USA) provides assistance to low-income taxpayers to help them file their federal income tax returns. 

Principle 6Principle 6: Dialogue

Most of the examples presented through the year have also involved dialogue around responsible management topics, across the campus and beyond. The University of Leicester (UK) blog, “Management is too important not to debate,” focuses on encouraging debate about sustainability issues with students and staff. McCoy College of Business Administration gets involved in an annual, year long Common Experience programme at Texas State University which aims to cultivate a common intellectual conversation across the campus focused on a particular issue.

The dialogues are also often focused on very specific topics of interest to the region they are operating in. ESCA Ecole de Management provided an overview of some of the opportunities and challenges of doing business in Morocco and the approach they are taking on campus to train a new generation of more ethical and responsible leaders. Novi Sad Business School (Serbia) is focused on creating a new generation of sustainable tourism managers and leaders by working on real tourism issues across Serbia with government, business and international organisations. The University of Lima (Peru) “Proyecto Biohuerto” aims to raise awareness of sustainable agriculture for inhabitants of the local community. American University of Cairo (Egypt) Corporate Governance Club is dedicated to the dissemination of corporate governance. Deusto’s (Spain) Global Centre for Sustainable Business has been hosting a series of dialogues with local sustainability leaders focused on new practices and developments in sustainability.

DePaul University (USA) “Big Questions” TV show aims to raise awareness about systemic poverty and encourage lively conversation and debate around questions that most people are afraid to ask. Universidad EAFIT (Columbia) created the Trade, Investment and Development Observatory with the support of the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), where students regularly write short articles focused on UNCTAD’s work and policies to promote inclusive and sustainable development in international trade.

Principle “7”: Organisational Practices

A major focus of a lot of schools’ activities is on creating more sustainable campuses. Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (Philippines) featured their “No Impact Experiment,” a one-week carbon cleanse programme where students and staff are encouraged to reduce their impact. The British Columbia Institute of Technology (Canada) Revolving Fund for Sustainability provides no interest loans for internal projects that save energy, conserve water, reduce waste and/or lower operating costs. University of Western Australia Green Office Guide provides suggestions for office greening and the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) engages students and staff in integrating sustainability across campus.

Most schools do not try to do it alone. At George Washington School of Business (USA), a Corporate Collaborative Council made up of representatives from business and government helps drive the direction of the business education curriculum. Babson College’s (USA) Sustainability Office Intern Programme selects a group of students each year to help the school move forward with its sustainability goals on campus and in the curriculum. The award winning “Green Steps” programme at Monash University (Australia) provides intensive training to prepare students to turn sustainability talk into action.

Schools are also taking a deeper look at how they can put talk into action in their own operations. La Rochelle Business Schools (France) shared their experiences using ISO 26000 within the business school to assist in its efforts to operate as a socially responsible institution. Frankfurt School of Finance and Management (Germany) is developing a new campus focused on sustainable design, scheduled to be completed in 2017. A series of posts looked at a movement growing in business schools, led by students and staff, for schools to divest from endowment funds invested in fossil fuels, with a particular focus on examples in Canada, USA, Australia and the UK.

Montpellier Business School (France) has been granted the diversity designation by the French government for fighting against discrimination and educating all students regardless of their origins or social situation. IESE (Spain) has obtained the Family Responsible Company certificate which recognises companies with policies that allow their employees to balance work and family life.

Last but not least, as businesses become more engaged in sustainability around the world, we are presented with an increasing range of examples of active companies to highlight in the classroom. Featured sustainable business examples collected from faculty in 2014 included:


Thank you for a fantastic 2014 and for contributing all of your good practice examples and stories.

2015 will be another exciting year including the much-anticipated PRME Global Forum in June. If there are any topics in particular you would like to see covered, or you would like your initiatives to be featured, please do not hesitate to contact me at






2014 Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 1)

It is that time again for PRiMEtime’s year-end review. 2014 was another exciting year with a lot of innovative new initiatives and approaches at business schools around the world embedding responsible leadership and sustainability into their programmes. More than 60 articles were posted over the year on responsible management education, featuring over 200 examples from more than 100 schools in 37 countries. In this 2-part year-end post we review what happened this year and what we have to look forward to next year.

Principle 1Principle 1: Purpose

As the international community is preparing the post-2015 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, a growing focus of PRiMEtime and the wider PRME community has been how business schools can get engaged in the process and be a part of reaching the goals once they are put in place. The Post-2015 process provided an overview of how the goals are being put together through international consultations, and in particular about the business sector contributions to the process through the UN Global Compact (part 1 and part 2). In July we looked at the thoughts of a panel of distinguished guests at the PRME Champions meeting in NYC around what role business schools have in the Sustainable Development Goals. More recently, an overview of resources available for business schools was presented related to the UN Climate Summit and Private Sector Forum—the largest climate meeting yet—bringing together more than 125 heads of state as well as business leaders. We also looked at the discussions happening around Carbon Pricing, one of the main themes of the Private Sector Forum, as well as the growing number of resources available through the Global Compact for faculty and students in particular around Human Rights and Business for Peace.

2014 celebrated a number of International Days (Jan-May) organised by the United Nations, aimed at raising awareness about different sustainability topics, that provide numerous ways to engage students and staff. On World Food Day we took a look at what business schools are doing to raise awareness about food issues at a local level (Part 1 and Part 2). The 2014 International Year of Small Island Developing States gave us a chance to celebrate the approaches taken by Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business (Trinidad and Tobago), Lee Kong Chian School of Business (Singapore) and Barna Business School (Dominican Republic). In recognition of International Anti-Corruption Day on the 9th of December, two posts focused on engaging students in this topic, the first, Ten ways to bring anti-corruption discussions into the classroom and then a second, ten more ways to bring anti-corruption discussions into the classroom.

Principle 2Principle 2: Values

KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business shared their experiences aligning sustainability efforts across numerous campuses after a merger, and described how they created their joint Sharing Information on Progress Reports (SIP) report. We also had the chance to learn about how Hanken School of Economics put together their Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) report and what tips they have for others.

Soegljapranata Catholic University, in Indonesia, and Management College of South Africa, are both developing their own “Green” and “Ethics” strategies for their students while UASM-Universidad de los Andes, in Colombia, is currently exploring the impact of internalising PRME and exploring the extent to which academic programmes and research in this area influence students. EMFD shared information about their Business School Impact Survey launched this past year.

Schools continue to organise several special events for students and staff to engage in sustainability related topics. Louvain School of Management (Belgium) organised the “LSM Cup: Ethics in Business,” an inter-faculty, multidisciplinary business game focused on CSR. San Francisco State University College of Business (USA) reported on their Business Ethics Week with ethics related modules and speakers. Universidad del Cono Sur de las Americas (Paraguay) has an annual event called “Contest of Crazy Ideas,” which invites students to develop creative ideas focused around social responsibility. Lviv Business School (Ukraine) five-day interdisciplinary retreat brings together faculty, entrepreneurs, religious leaders, artists and other individuals to discuss and explore leadership, ethics, values and trust. Cameron School of Business (USA) and ESIC (Spain) have both created microcredit lending programmes. IE Business School (Spain) Venture Lab incubates the development and consolidation of social and responsible startups.

Principle 3Principle 3: Method

Several schools engage their students in thinking about business in different ways, right from the first day on campus. The University of Guelph College of Business and Economics (Canada) runs a student competition where students are given 1$ of seed capital and challenged to take their ideas, develop and operate a business, and generate as much real wealth as possible within a month. At Gustavson School of Business (Canada), “MIIISsion Impossible” is an innovative one-day programme that engages students to build a social responsible business idea in teams.

Schools continue to develop a range of different ways to teach students about responsible management topics. Several MOOCs were run quite successfully between September and December (part 1 and part 2). Otto Beisheim School of Management (Germany) shared their approach to using online tools to engage students in sustainability through their Sustainability Lab. HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management (Germany) is using co-teaching as a better way to communicate responsibility and ethics to students. Stephanie Bertels from Beedie School of Business (Canada) shared with us an example of an assignment she uses in the classroom focused on sustainability.

Several schools continue to provide more structured options for students to get hands on experience. “Humacite Service Learning Mission,” at La Rochelle Business School (France), is a mandatory three-month service learning mission for students. University of Victoria Gustavson School of Business (Canada) has 3 four-month work terms through its Co-op Programme, giving students the opportunity to try out different jobs, build competencies and earn income. Auckland University of Technology Business School (New Zealand) requires students to reflect on ethical decision-making during their nine-week work placement.

Principle 4Principle 4: Research

Schools continue to conduct a number of important research projects around the topic of sustainability, ethics and responsible management focused on their particular regions, including Nova School of Business and Economics’ (Portugal) research on business and economic development in Africa. Management Center Innsbruck (Austria) focuses on social responsibility in eastern Austria and the University of New England (Australia) focuses research around carbon taxes. ESCI (Spain) has been exploring how to improve the recycling of clothing and fabric in collaboration with Spanish company Mango. Universidad del Norte (Colombia) is creating a database of case studies focused on sustainability in collaboration with the Global Compact Local Network. Gordon Institute of Business Sciences (South Africa) launched the GIBS Dynamic Market Index, and is the new host of the Network for Business South Africa in partnership with the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town.

Milgard School of Business (USA) shared their experiences in creating the effective Centre for Leadership & Social Responsibility and the impact it has had on the University and beyond. European College of Economics and Management (Bulgaria) created a new peer-reviewed journal for students called Science and Business. The Benedictine University’s College (USA) has created new innovative PhD programme focused on ethics. Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg students work with the German Development Agency (GIZ) to analyse projects carried out by the organisation.

Copenhagen Business School (Denmark) has launched a collection of cases around responsible management available for free through their website.

Part 2 will be posted on January 1st, 2015.

Sustainable Business Examples from Around the World – Kenya, Australia and Belgium

KCICAs businesses become more engaged in sustainability around the world, we are presented with an increasing range of examples of active companies. However, when I speak with students and faculty, they say that they repeatedly hear the same examples from the same international companies.

In an attempt to share some new examples of good practise, I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite classroom examples of local companies that are actively involved in sustainability. Below are some examples from Kenya, Australia and Belgium.

Izael Da Silva, Director of Centre of Excellence in Renewable Energy, Strathmore University, Kenya

The Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) is an incubator supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) dealing with climate change adaptation and mitigation. The SMEs have to be in the fields of Renewable Energy, Water Management and Agribusiness in order to qualify. The Centre is supported by the World Bank, UKaid and the Danish government. The website provides interesting profiles of the 90 plus companies it has been working with who are all doing fantastic work in this field here in Kenya.

The Green Steps Team, Monash University, Australia

Interface Flor, a global carpet company, took the bold move to make sure their carpet was made from recycled material, is completely recyclable and interchangeable, and creates new markets in third world countries by purchasing old fishing nets to use in their carpets.

Monash Oakleigh Legal Service is a partnership between Monash Law School and Victoria Legal Aid. Through the service, members of the community obtain free legal advice on a variety of legal matters. Monash business students have the opportunity to undertake Industry Based Learning at Monash-Oakleigh Legal Service and work in multidisciplinary teams under the supervision of a qualified financial practitioner. 

Talia Stough, Sustainability Coordinator, KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business, Belgium

Colruyt Group is a Belgian company with 25,000 employees, active in all segments of the retail chain, Colruyt Group aims to conduct its business in a sustainable manner. The company values education for corporate social responsibility, and sponsors a KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business one-week student study trip to London to learn about CSR, as well as a prize for master theses on the topic of CSR.

Ecover is an environmentally friendly cleaning product company founded in Belgium. Some interesting initiatives of the company include: cradle-to-cradle certification, the ocean bottle (made from 10% recycled Ocean Plastic), ISO 14001 certification, a green factory.


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