Global Compact Principles – Peace – Teaching Materials

The United Nations Global Compact is an initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption.

One of the focus areas of the Global Compact is peace, exploring both how business can impact, and is impacted by, peace and conflict. Although the primary responsibility for peace and security rests with governments, the private sector can have a significant influence through its commercial activities.

The UN Global Compact has put together a range of resources to assist companies around Business for Peace, many of which can also be used by business schools, not only in CSR courses, but across all core courses. Here is a brief overview of just some of the resources available through the UN Global Compact and PRME around peace.

business_4_peaceIn 2013, the Global Compact launched Business for Peace (B4P), a leadership platform that assists companies in implementing responsible business practices and identifying and managing business risks and opportunities. Academics are invited to support B4P by integrating business and peace issues and awareness into management education, business school curricula and related research. Schools are also encouraged to connect with Local Global Compact Networks to engage in national projects in this area.

resource_preview_281Two main publications have been developed on this topic. The first, Guidance on Responsible Business in Conflict-Affected & High-Risk Areas: A Resource for Companies and Investors, aims to assist companies in implementing responsible business practices in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. It seeks to provide a common reference point for constructive dialogue between companies and investors on what constitutes responsible business practices in difficult operating enviornments. This publication is also available in Spanish and Mandarin.

resource_preview_491Responsible Business Advancing Peace: Examples from Companies, Investors & Global Compact Local Networks provides a range of case studies of how companies are aligning their policies, engaging with investee companies and advancing the implementation of responsible business practices in difficult operating environments around the world. These short case studies provide an introduction to the background and specific situation, actions taken, challenges, outcomes. Each case study also provides a very useful list of 5 major lessons learned.

resource_preview_262A few topic-specific publications are also available. Water as a Casualty of Conflict: Threats to Business and Society in High Risk Areas explores the unique nature of water challenges in conflict-affected or high-risk areas and how this can in turn affect business operations. Public Policy For Conflict-Sensitive Business identifies a range of concrete actions that Governments and international organisations can undertake to better assist private-sector efforts to promote effective conflict-sensitive business practices.

wcms_116629Other publications and initiatives that can be of interest include the Voluntary Principles on Seucirty and Human Rights, which are guidelines specifically designed for the extractive sector companies. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has a publication Business and Decent Work in Conflict Zones: A Why and How Guide, offering practical tips for companies of all sizes looking to build a more peaceful and productive environment within the company itself and in the surrounding context, and thus play an important role in peace building.

resource_preview_691A series of webinars on the topic are also available to use in the classroom. Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum: Doing Business in Conflict-Affected Countries addresses how businesses can operate responsibly in conflict-affected or fragile countries and weak governance zones to ensure that operations contribute to peacebuilding, and provides some best practice examples. Also, Business Action in Support of the Rule of Law – An Example in Mynamar explores what the rule of law means for business, as well as the rationale for private sector engagement in these issues. A short summary of the Business for Peace platform is also available through this 22 minute podcast.

idp-logoEvery year the Oslo Business for Peace Awards are given to individual corporate leaders who foster peace and stability by creating shared value between business and society. The global nomination process is conducted in partnership with B4P, and individuals are nominated through Local Global Compact Networks, with which schools can connect. This year, following the occasion of International Day of Peace on the 21st of September 2014, the Global Compact hosted its inaugural Annual Business for Peace Event, in cooperation with participating Local Networks in Istanbul, Turkey, at which academics and researchers were well-represented.  Following this event, PRME officially launched its PRME-B4P Workstream, composed of academics from five countries, supporting diverse projects with the aim to provide tools for incorporating business for peace into management education, and encourage the sustained widespread integration of contributions to peace into company operations and strategy. The next Annual B4P Event will be held in 7 May 2015 in Oslo, Norway.




Ten More Ways to Bring Anti-Corruption Discussions into the Classroom International Anti-Corruption Day – December 9

Anti-Corruption DayEarlier this year we posted Ten Ways to Bring Anti-Corruption Discussions into the Classroom, a selection of ways to bring this far-reaching and crucial topic into the classroom. According to the UN, every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion is stolen annually through corruption—a sum equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the global GDP. In recognition of International Anti-Corruption Day on the 9th of December, here are ten more ways to bring anti-corruption discussions into the classroom.

  1. Make moral decisions in the morning: A study from Harvard University and the University of Utah found that the time of day affects our ability to resist moral temptations. The study done with undergraduate students in the US showed that they were less likely to engage in unethical behaviour on the tasks performed in the morning than those performed in the afternoon.
  2. Watch, discuss, or even create short videos: McCombs School of Business in the US created Ethics Unwrapped, a series of dozens of short animated videos that explore behavioural ethics, business ethics, and basic ideas in ethics education used as part of the Giving Voice to Values (GVV) project.
  3. Look into where the money is going: Several initiatives exist internationally to empower and assist civil society groups in analysing and influencing public budgets in order to reduce poverty and improve quality of governance, including the International Budget Partnership and The Open Budget Initiative, which look at government budgets, and Publish What you Fund, which focuses on aid transparency. Others focus on the private sector including Publish What you Pay, a network of civil society organisations campaigning for transparency in the extractive industries.
  4. Look into what is happening in your country and get engaged with local organisations: The Global Corruption Barometer surveys the general public’s attitudes towards and experiences of corruption in dozens of countries. The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries by their perceived levels of corruption as determine by expert assessments, and The Bribe Payers Index looks at the likelihood of companies paying bribes to win business abroad.
  5. Use a case study to start the discussion: Vasilia Kilibarda and Adam Wayz from Northwestern University won the recent PRME/GVV award for Outstanding Case Study on Anti-Corruption for their case, “Through the Eyes of a Whistle-Blower: How Sherry Hunt Spoke Up About Citibank’s Mortgage Fraud” including a video supplement and teaching notes.
  6. Start a petition for change: allows individuals to post a public petition to one or more decision makers, asking them to do something towards a specific cause.
  7. Create a movement: The Thai Youth Anti-Corruption Network is a group of more than 4,000 Thai university students from more than 90 universities, recognised by the World Economic Forum. They aim to raise public awareness on the corrosive effects of corruption in Thai society.
  8. Offer your students a way to hone their skills: The Ethikum certificate is awarded by a state agency in Germany for students with outstanding engagement and competencies in ethics and sustainability. Forty per cent of all certificates in the state have been awarded to students of Pforzheim University, and in particular to students from the Business School.
  9. Take a deeper look at your schools. Check My School in the Philippines allows students to evaluate public schools across the country and to check the money budgeted for desks, textbooks and other supplies. The project was realised with the aim of improving service delivery in public education and promoting social accountability and transparency.
  10. Celebrate success: The Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado partnered with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs College of Business to create the GE Johnson Award for Marketplace Ethics. The award honors companies who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to create and maintain a fair marketplace through ethical business practices. Students from the university nominate companies and help companies to assess whether they meet the criteria for the award.

For more take a look at the PRME Anti-Corruption Toolkit, which provides guidance and additional resources for incorporating the topic of anti-corruption into the business school’s curriculum. Share your experiences in the comments section below.

Intensive training to prepare students to turn sustainability talk into action – Monash University

MURCIA-CSD-Clayton-140516-029Business schools are providing a range of ways for students to get engaged in sustainability and become equipped with the skills to take a holistic approach to doing business. Whether that means looking at efficiency, innovation, wellbeing or productivity, these are all things that can fall under the banner of ‘sustainability.’ Monash University in Melbourne, Australia has taken a focused approach with its programme called “Green Steps”. This innovative programme, situated within the Monash Sustainability Institute, focuses on providing a select group of students with the tools to understand sustainability and to put it into practice across the campus and with outside organisations. I recently spoke with Monash University about this exciting programme.

What is Green Steps?

Situated within the Monash Sustainability Institute, Green Steps is an award winning not-for-profit environmental consulting and training provider to the private and public sector. It aims to educate students on how to become change agents in their careers and beyond. The Green Steps @ Uni extra-curricular programme provides group-based training for students across six days, focused on developing the practical skills needed to plan and deliver effective sustainable workplace solutions. Students then have the opportunity to put their skills to the test on a live sustainability consultation project. Green Steps also offers a range of services for other organisations including workshops on sustainability and the workplace and tailored programmes, in Melbourne and Sydney.

How did it come about?

Green Steps @ Uni was created in 2000 by a group of students who wanted to equip their peers with practical skills to contribute to a more sustainable future. Every year 15 students are selected to take part in the programme from a diverse range of disciplines including law, business, engineering and health. The programme is also open to students enrolled at a range of partner universities including Macquarie University, in Sydney, Adelaide University, and the Monash University campus in Malaysia. The programme consists of six days of sustainability training, an on-campus sustainability project and/or a 15-day internship with a local business, not for profit, or government organisation. At the end of the programme students receive a Green Steps @ Uni certificate and become part of a network of over 800 other Alumni. Many Green Steps participants have achieved senior roles in sustainability, some have started businesses in the sustainability sector and many were offered ongoing roles following their internships.

What are some of the projects that Green Steps is involved in?

The student interns are involved in many diverse projects, from creating and running communication campaigns that get staff and communities to change their behaviour to be more sustainable, through to analysis of carbon footprint across national organisations that have identified large economic savings while reducing emissions. Recently four interns were place at Monash Health to look at strategies for waste reduction, and achieved a drop in clinical waste going to landfill of eight per cent, and an increase of recycling by 33 per cent. Another intern worked at Dulux on a project evaluating commercial processes and assessing how to divert sludge waste from their paint production away from the landfill.

What have been some of the challenges? Successes? 

Thirty-three students from the Monash Business School took part in the programme in 2013–2014, and 259 Monash students have been trained since 2000. Monash has worked with 16 universities globally, delivered Green Steps in three countries, educated 900 people and had live projects in more than 400 organisations. The Green Steps programme has won a number of prestigious awards including the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Award, the United Nations Association Education Award and the Banksia Environmental Award.

Often there is disconnect in understanding the value for business of sustainable practice, beyond simply meaning ‘green.’ Our challenge is to help make that connection with organisations by having graduates work with and in these organisations as the drivers of change. What we do is great, but Green Steps type programmes should be niche so we look forward to supporting more universities to make this mainstream for all graduates. Monash is now helping universities move to a model where they can license the Green Steps programme and deliver this to their students with support and updated content from the Monash team in Melbourne.

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

Do it—and contact the Monash Green Steps who can help you! Schools interested in joining the programme are invited to contact Helena Fern, Green Steps Acting Programme Manager:


The Future Corporation – The Future Business School (part 3)

LEAD SymposiumThe 2014 LEAD Symposium challenges 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 look 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. On 20 November, the PRME community is invited to watch the Live-stream and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #FutureCorporation and #GCLEAD.

To create The Future Corporation, we also need to explore The Future Business School. What kind of training is needed to ensure that future generations of employees, managers, and leaders have to create the future corporations we want and need? What, specifically, should future business schools look like, in terms of curriculum, partnerships, dialogues, campus greening, etc.?

Parts 2 and 3 of this series capture visions from PRME schools of what the Future Business School may look like. I encourage you to contribute your own. (Click here to see part 1 and part 2)

“Just as the 19th century has been described as ‘the British century’ and the 20th century as ‘the US century,’ the 21st century is ‘the Asian century’. If trends continue to 2050, Asia will regain dominance in the world as before the industrial revolution. This outcome is not guaranteed, however, because many challenges remain in institutional capacity, public and corporate governance, rising inequality, and acute competition for finite resources. If unresolved, these issues will trigger economic, social, and political complications within and across the region. The British century’ and ‘the US century’ also necessitated overcoming substantial economic, social, and political challenges including civil unrest, revolution, and war. The ‘Asian century’ will be different due to greater globalisation. The globalisation of business education with proliferating international alliances, networks, and offshore campuses–accompanied by increasingly mobile faculty and students–is producing convergence in the formerly more diverse approaches to management education. We must grasp this opportunity to unite behind and promulgate the principles of responsible management to the world’s future business and societal leaders. The leading business schools of the future will find innovative collaborations with like-minded schools, businesses, governments, and civil society in all parts of the world to do this.” - Colm Kearney, Dean Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University, Australia

“The world of business is changing rapidly and graduates at all levels must have the creativity and critical thinking skills to lead that change in sustainable directions. Looking forward, I think business schools must develop leaders who are well rounded and able to think and work in several dimensions, and see their inter-dependence. Business schools will move away from functional silos: students will learn how international finance affects production, how ethics impacts supply chains, and how customer service affects human resources. Students will learn in classrooms and via online resources from around the world and move fluidly between corporate and academic contexts. They will experience the global scope of business and appreciate the implications and challenges of working in diverse cultures. They will have access to a rich array of ideas, coming from their own campuses and others, and will have the skills and confidence to contribute to diverse conversations. At Gustavson, our vision is to pioneer business education that creates sustainable value. That means integrating the full spectrum of financial, human, and environmental value in decision-making.” – Saul Klein, Dean, University of Victoria, Gustavson School of Business, Canada

“The biggest challenge is our mainstream management paradigm. Our short term, linear, and causal thinking in management means businesses don’t take responsibility. Participants need to understand a paradigm of holism, based on the principles of the quantum world and of complex systems behaviour. This paradigm has profound implications for leadership and innovation. It equally has implications for the pedagogical approach: action learning, and learning by and while doing, are becoming the pedagogical paradigm that will support responsibility. But maybe most important is the focus on relevance. Business schools should pay attention to be relevant, and not just good–relevant in the sense that we train people in order to go out and make the difference in the world. We have to train people to be able to lead, entrepreneur, and innovate in emerging markets: markets with high degrees of complexity, uncertainty, and inequality.” – Walter Baets, Director of the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa

“Practice gives important and valuable lessons that the university can’t provide exclusively by itself. That is why it’s fundamental to give students the opportunity to learn from challenges and issues that may happen in a real company. For The Future Business School, it would be interesting to implement programmes that allow a space between the university and businesses where students, in a real controlled environment, put into practice the knowledge and experience gained during their academic preparation, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It would help students to apply their knowledge and thus identify the weaknesses of the company generating knowledge to face real problems that SMEs may face. Gustavo Yepes Lopez, Director of Social Management, Universidad Externado, Colombia

“Developing a business school education that emphasises social and environmental impacts of business will have to at least partially rely on new platforms for dialogue between stakeholders so that students and faculty can get to understand business-related topics from the perspectives of different stakeholders. The role of the teachers will increasingly be to act as curators, assembling different modules and perspectives into meaningful packages. Thanks to technological developments, it is easy to envision a future in which different organisations (e.g., schools and NGOs) in different places increasingly collaborate with each other in the learning process of students. For example, two schools in geographically and culturally different locations could produce their own online lectures on a similar topic but from different perspectives. They could then either combine these online elements to a common MOOC (massive open online course) or exchange singular elements into each other’s courses. One example of collaboration could be a common Wiki on a particular subject that might have different meanings in different contexts, such as corruption or living wage. These types of developments will not be sufficient on their own to create meaningful dialogues or enable the students to fully understand various stakeholders but we think they will open up a new range of possibilities in the overall portfolio of approaches to responsible management education.” - Martin Fougère and Nikodemus Solitander, Hanken School of Economics, Finland

ISAE believes that the role of the business school is to inspire globally responsible leaders. In the future, integration between market and school will be essential, so that the student can be in contact through practice with local and global needs and capabilities. This future school will allow the student to take control of their own education and career. This synergy between the school and the market is indispensable, because it puts education as the transformation vector of our society and our future.” – Norman de Paula Arruda Filho, President ISAE, Brazil


For more ideas visit the Future MBA Project, a growing database of ideas from around the world on what the future of management education might/could/will look like.

The Future Corporation – The Future Business School (part 2)

LEAD SymposiumThe 2014 LEAD Symposium challenges 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 look 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. On 20 November, the PRME community is invited to watch the Live-stream and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #FutureCorporation and #GCLEAD.

To create The Future Corporation, we also need to explore The Future Business School. What kind of training is needed to ensure that future generations of employees, managers, and leaders have to create the future corporations we want and need? What, specifically, should future business schools look like, in terms of curriculum, partnerships, dialogues, campus greening, etc.?

Parts 2 and 3 of this series capture visions from PRME schools of what the Future Business School may look like. I encourage you to contribute your own. (To view part 1 click here)

“Sustainability today is a fast evolving concept. If I have to summarise priorities on how PRME schools could best serve corporations committed to sustainability in the foreseeable future, I would choose thought leadership in the following areas. First, sustainability in the future will have to inspire and guide innovation and digitalization within corporations. Second, the aftermath of the 2007-2008 financial crisis presents us with growing inequalities of income and wealth, weakened middle classes, and obvious cracks in the social contract. Corporations will need to step up their responsible behaviour and effectively contribute to the resolution of this state of affairs. Third, with the advent of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), corporate sustainability will move to a new level. Corporations will have to imagine a new practice of goal-setting: sustainable companies will be evaluated not only with respect to their relations to stakeholders and their reporting excellence but by the extent to which they contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. Finally, the SDGs will have to be “grounded” in the specific situations of each country. It is my belief that in each one of these four new challenges, thought leadership from committed academics could become a powerful ally of the innovative efforts of sustainable corporations.” – Manuel Escudero, Director Global Center for Sustainable Business, Deusto Business School, Spain

“The Future Business School will create intrapreneurs who have mastery in the art of change management. Graduates will not only understand global issues but will appreciate that the recommendations they put forth will not be implemented unless people have bought into their ideas at every level of the organisation, down to the level where the actual execution of the change will occur. At the Haas School of Business, students are not just learning about the issues (for example, with our Global Megatrends course) but are also exploring, testing, and even putting into place innovative solutions to the world’s business challenges (for example, through our “Intrapreneurship for Sustainability” course).” – Christina Meinberg, Associate Director Center for Responsible Business, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, USA

“When students enter our institutions they bring a wealth of experience already gained during their young lives. More importantly, they bear open questions and are searching for answers to unresolved riddles, in particular concerning the pressing global issues of our times: waste of resources, climate change, losses of biodiversity, poverty, and humanitarian crises. Future business schools will tap into this intrinsic motivation by offering innovative formats where open debate on these issues may unfold, enabling the development of creative responses and practical ways to move forward on their solutions by prototyping innovative models. They turn into living labs, interacting with the wider societal context and relevant stakeholder groups, where teaching staff–instead of offering prefabricated answers in edited formats derived from their disciplines–take the role of co-creators of social innovation. Hence, education aims at creating inventors, enablers, as well as enactors of social change. The role of research is to derive practical theories of social change, where insights gained from applied open innovation projects are operationalised, (re-)confirmed, and tested. In these collaborative spaces, students share the attitude that improvements for our world out of business schools will only occur if they are given the chance to materialise by means of creative experimentation while making use of inherent systemic levers. We are attempting this through our Student HUB for social innovation, a collaborative initiative of University of Tübingen, Germany, and HTW Chur, Switzerland.” Lutz E. Schlange, University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur, Switzerland

“The Future Business School functions as a partner to business, continuously inspiring each other’s management and leadership needs. Besides being a support in leadership development, the business school must be able to assist in resolving issues at short notice. Functional topics will be integrated with topics and methods that promote creativity, imagination, inspiration, and the use of senses, because the red line for business will be sustainable innovation. For that reason, we have a film director and a gallery owner on the IEDC faculty list. Business leadership or corporate governance will have three major aspects: organisational effectiveness, power distribution, and ethical drive. The business school will also look different. IEDC is already also a gallery, not as a showcase, but as a place where art and leadership development can be integrated. Most of the future programmes will be executed as workshops and at outside locations, in order to have a greater impact. At IEDC, we are trying to continuously look for new answers to what leadership is and will be in the future, for example through our upcoming 2015 Academic Conference “Leadership: Today & Tomorrow”.”- Danica Purg, Dean, IEDC-Bled School of Management, Slovenia

“For some, the global financial crisis of 2008 and the worst recession since the ‘Great Depression’ was, in effect, the fault of business schools. Well, maybe not business schools per se, but certainly strong criticism has been levelled at MBAs, and a curriculum focussed primarily on corporate and personal gain, regardless. Not surprising then, we have since seen many B-schools try to soften their image, at least a little, by extolling the virtues of responsible business. But other than that, has anything really changed? The odd lecture or even course on responsible business is a step, but that’s often more symbolic–a ‘fig-leaf’ as it were, rather than real transformation. As others have suggested elsewhere, what we really need to do is change culture, where responsibility and sustainability become truly embedded as part of our corporate DNA. Great, but cultures grow, cultures evolve; they don’t ‘change on a dime’ (and universities are even slower)! As a start at least, at Guelph we’ve adapted the motto ‘Leaders for a Sustainable World’: aspirational for sure, and we’re certainly not alone in this quest. But these are just words: aspirational statements won’t get us very far, and we need to ‘walk the talk’ if we’re going to really affect change. So that’s what we’re doing. Our students are learning through experience about ‘business for good,’ for example, through ‘Micro-Tyco,’ where they become an entrepreneur to help fund an entrepreneur in the developing world by generating funds for micro-finance.”- Kerry Godfrey, Associate Dean College of Business and Economics, University of Guelph, Canada

“The Future Business School will be a place where profit is only part one. Students will know that, for each business action, there must be a part two: social benefit. Today, that concept is understood and enthusiastically embraced by some students—but not all. The business school of the future will turn the tables, changing the 10 percent exception into the 90 percent rule. Some of that change will be out of necessity. A 2010 Forbes study identified 17 social and environmental initiatives that consumers expect of “good companies.” As that number grows, students in all business fields will need to master corporate social responsibility. The International Energy Association forecasts carbon dioxide emissions to increase 20 percent more by 2035, affecting the climate in ways that will become urgent to business students, no matter what their academic track. Another piece of the change, however, will come from business schools themselves, as ethics and strong values become factors that all business schools realise they must put front and centre—not just some. That is already sewn into Fordham’s identity; we are grateful for our selection as an Ashoka Changemaker Campus.” – Donna Rapaccioli, Dean, Fordham Gabelli School of Business, USA


For more ideas visit the Future MBA Project, a growing database of ideas from around the world on what the future of management education might/could/will look like.

The Future Corporation–The Future Business School

LEAD Symposium

Every year, a number of leading companies in the field of sustainability who make up the Global Compact LEAD group meet to discuss current issues and key trends and to shape future developments in this area. The 2014 LEAD Symposium challenges 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 look 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.

On 20 November, LEAD companies want to hear from business school professors and students about their vision of The Future Corporation and invite the PRME community to engage via Twitter.ber, students are invited to watch the Live-stream and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #FutureCorporation and #GCLEAD. The live Twitter feed will be displayed in the conference, and attendees in the room will be encouraged to engage in dialogue with those watching the live-stream:

To create The Future Corporation, we also need to explore The Future Business School. What kind of training is needed to ensure that future generations of employees, managers, and leaders have to create the future corporations we want and need? What, specifically, should future business schools look like, in terms of curriculum, partnerships, dialogues, campus greening, etc.?

“The Future Business School will have to serve an increasing number of stakeholder groups and, at the same time, have to survive in an increasingly competitive environment. The successful Future Business School copes with these challenges by combining academic rigor and relevance for society. Relevance for society includes, first of all, the learning experience of students; it includes the close interaction with companies but will also include, to a larger extent, services and cooperation with other relevant groups of civil society. This prepares students for careers in The Future Corporation, which will be a more social responsible corporation. However, there is no single best answer on the main characteristic of “The” Future Business School–rather the expectation is that diversity will increase. Personally, I would like to see business school graduates as people beneficial for society–like dentists (this is what J. M. Keynes formulated for economists). Business schools, as institutions, should be independent players that provide thought leadership and are acknowledged partners of companies, which are not only striving for profits but understand their more complex role in society.” – Prof. Dr. Rudi Kurz, Pforzheim University Business School, Germany

“The Future Business School needs to position itself as part of a broader ecosystem of partners, both within and outside of the university, exploring ideas and innovation. To facilitate this, students, faculty, and staff need to learn about opportunities and solutions together as part of a larger learning community. Our Queen’s Social Impact Academy is a co-created campus-wide learning platform for students and faculty and the source of existing and new traditional and online courses in the areas of social innovation and human-centred design.” Tina Dacin, Director, QSB Centre for Social Impact, Queen’s School of Business, Canada

Parts 2 and 3 of this series capture visions from PRME schools of what The Future Business School may look like. I encourage you to contribute your own.


For more ideas visit the Future MBA Project, a growing database of ideas from around the world on what the future of management education might/could/will look like.

Universities Divesting in Fossil Fuels (part 2)

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 11.38.51Over the past year a growing number of student groups at schools from around the world have started up campaigns asking that their university divest from fossil fuels. Students, staff, faculty and alumni are coming together into groups that use a mix of open letters, petitions, debates, speaker series and events, film screenings, article writing, presentations, club meetings and online campaigns to mobilise their university around this topic. In part 1 we reviewed some of the background to this growing movement. Here in part 2 we will look at a selection of examples of what schools are doing in the US, Canada, UK and Australia.


The divesting movement began in the US with several hundred small- and medium-sized schools that have either already made commitments, or currently have strong student and staff movements pressuring them to do so. San Francisco State University committed to divest from coal and tar sands and set up a committee to explore full divestment. The University of Dayton committed to divestment in stages earlier this year of its USD$670 million investments pool. A number of larger universities in the US also have active campaigns including Stanford University, who announced earlier this year that it would make no direct investments in coal companies, and Harvard University, where faculty members have signed a letter to the dean urging the university to divest. The University of California Faculty Association recently urged the university’s Board of Regents to divest funds from fossil fuel companies (about USD$3 billion worth). The committee decided not to sell off stock holdings, but to have environmental and social issues more deeply influence investment decisions. A USD$1 billion plan was proposed to invest in direct solutions to climate change. In the US a growing number of cities have also decided to divest including Seattle, San Francisco and Portland.


At Dalhousie University, students and staff started a campaign called, “100 Days of Action,” aimed to pressure the university to divest its endowments from fossil fuel companies. They have delivered an extensive proposal to the university’s Investment Committee and are calling for a decision by the Board of Governors during their upcoming meeting at the end of November in relation to their CDN$470 million endowment fund. At Simon Fraser University the Faculty Association voted to develop a fossil-free pension fund option on the 7th of November, and faculty are currently preparing a letter to pension trustees expressing the will of the meeting. Faculty at the University of Victoria recently voted 66% in favour of divestment from fossil fuels in pension funds and endowment. Faculty, students and alumni were urged to sign an open letter calling for divestments, and are calling for a freeze on all new investments in fossil fuels in the university’s endowment fund. Concordia University, University of Guelph and Saint Mary’s University also have active campaigns underway.

United Kingdom

Over 50 campaigns have been launched across the UK to push institutions to divest from fossil fuels in the over GBP£5billion held in UK university endowment funds. After a year of campaigning by over 1,300 students and staff, the University of Glasgow became the first university in Europe to divest its entire GBP£129 million endowment of fossil fuels. Oxford University is currently conducting a staff consultation on divestment after 2,000 students and academics joined a divestment campaign. University of Surrey shifted funds from two unnamed fossil fuel companies into a renewable-energy-focused company. Additional campaigns are currently underway at the University of Exeter, the University of Portsmouth, the University of Reading and the University of Leeds.


The Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra agreed to begin divesting AUS$16 million in seven fossil fuel companies. The decision was made based on a review of their Socially Responsible Investment, commissioned by the university to an outside research company, which was followed by a referendum showing 82% of ANU students supported the idea. The university’s decision was strongly condemned by the Prime Minister and other members of parliament, yet strongly supported by 50 prominent Australians, who put their names in an open letter published as a full-page newspaper advertisement in support of ANU’s decision. Inspired in part by the success of ANU, campaigns have started at other universities across Australia including La Trobe University. Monash University’s Fossil Free campaign has pressured the university to establish an investment advisory committee that could direct the university to divest from coal and gas. The University of New South Wales Student Representative Council recently voted in favour of fossil fuel divestment however the University Council voted overwhelmingly to hold on to fossil fuel assets because they believe that working closely with industry and government will have a greater impact in addressing climate change.


Is your school organising a divestment campaign? Should universities divest? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.



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