Business Examples from Around the World – Denmark, Iceland, and Malaysia

Karen Blixen CampAs businesses become more and 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 often hear about the same examples from the same international companies over and over again.

In an attempt to share some new best practice examples, 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. Here are some examples from Denmark, Iceland, and Malaysia.

Pernille Kallehave, Aarhus University School of Business and Social Sciences, Denmark

Karen Blixen Camp is an eco-friendly luxury camp along the Mara River in the Maasai Mara. The camp is committed to minimising their impact on the environment with the use of the latest green technologies, including solar panels to power the camp and heat water. They organise donations of material and financial support to community projects relating to water and sanitation, health, education and small-scale enterprise. Apart from incorporating CSR into daily operations, the Camp also established The Hospitality School to equip local Masai youth with various skills for mainstream tourism jobs. This includes a cooking school for youth wanting to become chefs, a forestry school, and a language school.

Grundfos Lifelink is working in Kenya to test groundbreaking technology focused on providing reliable access to water to local communities. Building on 60 years of experience in advanced pump solutions and linking to the strengths of mobile connectivity, the company has developed an automatic water dispenser with an integrated system for revenue collection, and an online water management platform for full transparency and remote management.

Hrefna Sigriour Briem, Director of the B.SC Programme at the School of Business, Reykjavik University, Iceland

Festa – Icelandic Center for Corporate Social Responsibility, is a non-profit organisation founded by six Icelandic companies in 2011. The mission of Festa is to be a knowledge centre for CSR in Iceland and to promote the discussion on CSR in Iceland. In addition it supports companies in implementing CSR strategies and provides a network of companies who want to implement CSR, as well as cooperating with universities by promoting research and teaching of CSR. Founding companies are Rio Tinto Alcan, Íslandsbanki, Landsbankinn, Landsvirkjun, Síminn and Össur. New members include, ÁTVR, Ölgerðin brewery, Capacent, Arion Bank, Innovation Center Iceland, Reykjagarður, ISS Iceland, 112 Iceland and CCP games.  The centre is hosted by Reykjavik University.

Islandabanki is one of Iceland’s commercial banks (approximately 35% market share). The bank has made “building a sustainable future” a core of its strategy. A new social responsibility strategy was formulated and approved in 2014. The emphasis was on ensuring that employees have a comprehensive knowledge of the strategy and its sub-projects. The strategy is detailed in the bank’s annual report.

Vinbudin is the state liquor store (the state holds a monopoly on selling liquor in Iceland). The company has during the past few years made a point of promoting responsible use of alcoholic beverages, made substantial efforts in minimising environmental effects of their operations, and emphasised responsible management and human resource practices. The company thoroughly reports according to GRI standards and carefully monitors its progress. Their annual report carefully details their approach to these issues (available in Icelandic on their website).

Mehran Nejati Abjibisheh, Senior Lecturer, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia

NTPM is a consumer goods and paper company that aims to enhance personal hygiene in every household. NTPM is working to reduce adverse environmental impacts through its production processes. With innovative recycling solutions, the company ensures that potential hazards to food safety are recognised, regulated, prevented, monitored and controlled. They also define objectives and targets and implement programmes to improve the environmental performance that benefit the company and community.

UMW is a leading industrial enterprise with diverse and global interests in the automotive, equipment, manufacturing and engineering, and oil and gas industries. UMW supports many worthy causes in the areas of education, environment and community. They are a Premium Member of PINTAR Foundation since 2007, which focuses on working with schools in particular from rural areas. Almost 14,000 students have benefited from the UMW-PINTAR Programme to date. The SL1M (Skim Latihan 1 Malaysia) is another CSR programme that UMW is actively involved in. SL1M provides an opportunity for young, unemployed and underemployed Malaysian university graduates to gain valuable on-the-job experience and exposure at UMW, while enhancing their soft skills and employability. From 2011 to 2013, 113 graduates have completed their trainings with UMW.


Finance and Sustainability – UN Global Compact and PRI – Resources and Ways to Engage

SSE-Model-Guidance-on-Reporting-ESG-thumbnail-150pxThe management education community often mentions finance as one of the most challenging disciplines to incorporate sustainability into teaching and research. However a significant amount of work is being done within the financial community in this respect that can be tapped into, and contributed to, by the academic community. More mainstream capital markets, including major institutional investors, now also evaluate companies’ performance on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. Several of these projects are being initiated and coordinated by the UN Global Compact.

This post provides a brief overview of the different projects and resources available on the topic of Finance and Sustainability by the UN Global Compact and outlines a range of ways that academic institutions can get involved in these projects.


The UN Global Compact supports a number of platforms that engage investors in understanding and incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues into their investment decisions. The UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) is an international network of investors working together to put the Six Principles of responsible investment into practice. Their goal is to understand the implications of sustainability for investors and support signatories to incorporate these issues into their investment decision-making and ownership practices. The PRI Academic Research work stream aims to engage PRI signatories and responsible investment practitioners with academic research.

On their website, PRI also has a significant number of resources specifically focused around the implementation of responsible investment by different actors across the field, including hedge funds, commodities, private equity, fixed income, etc.. A new report, Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century, is also now available and explores the debate around whether fiduciary duty is a legitimate barrier to investors integrating ESG issues into their investment processes.

PRI works alongside a number of other related initiatives including the UNEP Finance Initiative, the Equator Principles (environmental and social risk in projects) and the Principles for Sustainable Insurance.

PRI and PRME are sister initiatives of the UN Global Compact. Currently the secretariats of both initiatives are developing a common work stream to better connect both networks and to identify joint projects. Updates will be forthcoming.

Stock Exchanges

There are two initiatives focused on encouraging sustainable investment and evaluating potential financial performance through an ESG lens via Stock Exchanges. This includes:

  • The Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative (SSE) provides a platform for dialogue between the UN, stock exchanges, investors, companies, and regulators focused on creating more sustainable capital markets.
  • The Global Compact 100 is a stock index composed of a representative group of UN Global Compact companies, selected based on implementation of the Ten Principles and evidence of executive leadership commitment and consistent base line profitability. It does not look at sustainability performance in isolation of basic financial health but rather marries the two. The index showed a total investment return of 21.8 by the end of its first year surpassing the S&P global mid and large-cap benchmark over this period.

Creating Long Term Value

The report Short-Termism in Financial Markets explores short-termism in investment markets, a major obstacle to companies embedding sustainability in their strategic planning and capital investment decisions. Coping, Shifting, Changing: Strategies for Managing the Impacts of Investor Short-Termism on Corporate Sustainability also provides further guidance. Another resource, Tool for Communicating the Business Value of Sustainability, offers companies a simple and direct approach to assess and communicate the financial impact of their sustainability strategies.

For an overview of lessons learnt and recommended next steps for enhancing further integration of ESG and communication between companies and investors, the report Enhancing company-investor communication provides further guidance.

Ways for the academic community to get involved

  • Attend/participate in events relating to these initiatives. For example PRI in Person, the global conference on responsible investment, recently took place in London, UK. It included a meeting specifically aimed at academics. These provide opportunities to network and make connections for possible projects and partnerships moving forward.
  • Use the tools and resources made available for investors in your curriculum
  • Propose/create projects around the implementation of these tools: Approach signatory companies or other companies in your area to propose project work or events specifically around these tools and their implementation.
  • Calls for papers and possible research topics. PRI provides a range of opportunities through its website that are open to academics. You can also sign up to receive their newsletter, RI Quarterly. Some current topics of interest include
    • How do organisations practice ESG integration?
    • How can the bar be raised for the investment community as a whole?
    • What approach works better for engagement?
    • How is high performance achieved?
    • How do you measure and make the link between investment and its impact?

For a full list of possible research topics click here.

  • The oikos PhD Fellowship on “Finance and Sustainability” at the University of Zurich in Switzerland is looking for applicants (deadline November 10). The Fellowship supports outstanding international PhD students writing their theses on sustainability in economics or management.
  • Stay tuned for the announcement of a joint PRI-PRME workstream on responsible investment and finance.

Developing Case Studies on Sustainable Production and Consumption for the Business Community – Universiti Sains Malaysia

MalaysiaThe Universiti Sains Malaysia in Malaysia has been actively engaged over the past two decades in incorporating sustainability into their curriculum and offerings, and also their research. They currently coordinate an innovative partnership between five different leading universities in Malaysia and a number of international organisations and national associations, with the aim of raising awareness and capacity around sustainable production and consumption in Malaysia. I spoke with Associate Professor Sofri Yahya, Dean of the Graduate School of Business about this project.

Introduce the project

The Universiti Sains Malaysia was a partner in the ASEAN Plus Three Leadership Programme on Sustainable Production and Consumption, an annual event organised by the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies that took place in Malaysia and aims to enhance awareness on sustainable production and consumption (SPC) issues for government and private sector decision makers.

To support the aims of this event, Universiti Sains Malaysia started a project in mid-2012 to develop learning materials and methodological support. This project began from recognising that there was a need to present real-life cases to decision makers, which demonstrate a change process from a business-as-usual scenario to one that effectuates, or has the potential to change behaviour and systems—i.e. cases that influence, or have the potential to influence, policy making and change practices geared towards SPC.

To showcase these production and consumption related challenges (and issues related to the green economy, good practices, policy choices, and other diverse topics in different regions), we developed learning cases as resource materials, to be used for capacity development programmes for policy makers, and gathered in a publication for use in teaching and training of policy makers, equiping them with the necessary knowledge, skills and tools for integrating sustainable thinking and practice, and developing strategies for sustainable development. The SPC resources included cases on cleaner production and resource efficiency, supply chain management, stakeholder engagement, procurement practices and sustainable consumption, financing of sustainability and development projects, education and capacity development for sustainability, and sustainable regional development. 

What other partners were involved in the project and how did you facilitate working together?

The project was funded by the United Nations University, and under the coordination of Graduate School of Business at Universiti Sains Malaysia, obtained participation and contributions from five other institutions: Prince of Songkla University, TERI University, University of the Philippines, Yonsei University and Universiti Sains Malaysia. Each institution contributed at least one learning case with relevant teaching notes and slide presentations. Other partner organisations—the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines, and the Regional Centre of Expertise Greater Phnom Penh, Cambodia—also provided support to the project by contributing similar required outputs, the development of which was done using their own resources.

The Graduate School of Business coordinated the project and provided consulting services in the form of: 1) administrative coordination and 2) editorial expertise—both in content editing throughout the development of the cases, as well as copy editing at the intermediate and final stages of refinement of cases.

What kinds of cases did the project produce?

The cases showcase good SPC practices and diverse SPC issues of different regions. The specific cases taken up by the contributors reflect the priorities of countries in the region, including those under these SPC priority areas:

  • Effective collaboration among multiple stakeholders (includes topics related to sustainable cities; lifestyle in sustainable consumption; and cross-sectoral and cross-departmental collaboration for coherent SPC actions)
  • Sustainable procurement
  • SPC service delivery (includes topics related to sustainable production, product and resource management)
  • Sustainable and community entrepreneurship
  • Monitoring and disclosure (includes topics related to indicators for SPC, measuring outcomes of SPC projects and processes)
  • Financial instruments for SPC projects
  • Building SPC into educational systems
  • Innovation and development (at different, including regional, levels)

In total, 11 cases were completed.

How are the cases being used? Are they being used in the university with students? With the partner organisations?

The expected outcomes were not only to provide resource materials for the ASEAN Plus Three Leadership Programme on SPC, but also for other capacity-building initiatives of United Nations University and partners on SPC and related fields. Ultimately, the aim in the long run is to initiate a platform for sharing more useful cases in the region and beyond.

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

Pursuing any potential similar project requires committed and knowledgeable writers as well as good policy-based advisors for development of educational case-based studies on sustainability topics. Sufficient funding and full cooperation from the organisations for cases to study is also essential.

What’s next for this project?

Our future plans for this project include development of a case-based sustainability leadership publication to be used for educational leadership retreats with companies.

What are three other projects at GSB in the area of PRME/responsible management/ sustainability that you are particularly proud of and would like others to know about?

Some of other responsible management and sustainability-related projects that we have either completed or are in process of organising include community outreach programmes that are planned and implemented by our MBA students as part of the “Business Issues and Sustainable Development” course. Two of the projects our students implemented in 2015 include cleaning up the a beach and national park in Penang Island, and organising a community awareness programme on recycling and environmental preservation called “Zero Waste Penang” (#zerowastepg), which was considerably attended by members of the community.

GSB is also proud to plan organising the “International Sustainability Business Week” in October 2015, which is a five-day programme focusing on the Green economy for sustainable business, especially in the context of multiple stakeholders living together within an ecosystem that functions not only to provide for society’s basic needs and human development, but also to reduce environmental degradation.

To learn more about the activities of the Graduate School of Business at the Universiti Sains Malaysia read their first Sharing Information on Progress report here

Technology in the Classroom – How Schools are Using it to Teach Sustainability


University of Wollongong IDLE

Technology can be a major distraction for students in the classroom. In fact Penn State and California State University have even developed an app called Pocket Points that rewards students for ignoring their iPhone during class, with discounts and deals from local businesses. Of course technology can also be an important tool to strengthen the curriculum, bring interdisciplinary groups of students together, and engage with the wider community. In this post we look at how Universities are using technology as part of their approach to embed sustainability and responsible management into the curriculum.
Using technology to increase discussions and sharing

Lomonosov Moscow State University Business School in Russia has an agreement with a Social Innovation Lab called Cloudwatcher, a non-profit Moscow based organisation dealing with the new technologies that promote social projects and social entrepreneurship in Russia. Students help find sponsors and volunteer support for different projects through an internet platform created for those who are seeking for support or offer it. Portsmouth Business School in the UK has put in place a number of Technology-Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) rooms. The layout of these rooms give access to multiple technologies that allow students to share multiple viewpoints and angles giving them a greater ‘systems’ perspective for what they are doing and learning. The eZone at University of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa was developed for students and academics to have a platform to write informative and practical articles that develop entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial thinking, and build collaboration between students, communities, and academics.
University of Curtin in Australia is committed to engaging one million active learners by 2017. One of their approaches is an innovative “Balance of the Planet” challenge, a collaboration with UNESCO Bangkok, which works to engage self-forming, collaborative, international, problem-solving teams across the Asia-Pacific region, to create solutions to addressing sustainable development goals through a digital media learning laboratory. The challenge will be open to anyone aged 18 and above. The criteria for judging solutions ideas will be open, transparent and available to all. Voting and comments on solution ideas will be open and transparent.

Using technology as a basis for research in the community
The Centre for Digital Business at the University of Salsberg in the UK, has an internationally-recognised profile of research in digital technologies. The Centre together with Tameside Council and the Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU), developed an innovative engagement strategy and digital toolkit to support home owners to return their empty properties to use as much-needed affordable housing. This Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) was awarded an outstanding rating—the highest possible—by an independent panel of assessors from Innovate UK.

Using technology to strengthen learning opportunities
Copenhagen Business School (CBS), in Denmark, uses technology as an integral part of bringing sustainability into the curriculum. In their fourth semester, students work to facilitate a sustainable and energy efficient lifestyle with the use of informa¬tion technology, including big data and the Internet of Things. The Smart City online module enables students to apply new ideas in using tech¬nology to better bridge the gap between humans and their energy consumption. This includes exploration of how citizens, governments and corporations can take ideas from research to market. CBS also offers a MOOC on Social Entrepreneurship. In excess of 26,000 people from more than 180 countries signed up for this 12-week online course on how to create societal impact through social entrpreneurship. Students were introduced to examples and guided through the process of identifying an opportunity to address social problems, in addition to how to outline their ideas in a business plan. At the end of the course business plans were submitted by 270 participants and five of those plans made it to the finals.
University of Wollongong’s (Australia) interactive and dynamic learning environment (IDLE) computer simulation, designed and developed by the Faculty of Business in 2014, received first place in local iAwards for innovation technology. IDLE is a total enterprise simulation that incorporates social responsibility and sustainability decisions. The Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden is collaborating with the Financial Times, Technische Universität München in Germany, Foreign Trade University in Vietnam, African School of Economics in Benin, and the Darden School of Business in the USA to use technology to discuss important sustainability topics on an international level. The collaboration involves using current news articles published in the Financial Times, and discussing them in real-time with students from the different schools on the SSE MBA Island in the virtual life platform Second Life.

Using technology to help not for profits and small businesses
Justine Rapp, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of San Diego School of Business Administration, won the 2014 Innovation in Experiential Education Award for two experiential learning projects she developed for her Digital Marketing and Social Media course. The first project, called “Google Pay-Per Click Campaigns,” involves students working with two non-profit organisations, USD Electronic Recycling Centre and Skinny Gene Project. Students need to develop an advertising campaign for these groups that are run on Google. The project is split into two parts. For part one, student groups create three different advertisements which run concurrently on Google. After 6 weeks students reconvene and look at the data and readjust the advertisements accordingly. Newly revised ads are then run on Google for another 6 weeks. On the last day of class, everyone comes together to look at the data, and compare successful and unsuccessful measures.
The second project she does in class is a website development project for small businesses in the San Diego area. Each client gets three websites, developed by the students, to choose from at the conclusion of the semester. The project helps support a number of small business owners locally each year who often struggle to build their first professional website and hire a marketing team, whether due to finances, time or logistics, and also helps to support students in launching their marketing careers with some hands-on experience.
Jonkoping International Business School in Sweden established a collaboration to engage students in the practice of crowd-funding, by means of a competition on ecological sustainability. Makers and Bankers is the first financial social platform for crowd-funding with no commission and a 0% interest rate based in Jonkoping. The company was founded by five graduates of the School. Students in the undergraduate course “New Venture Development” participate in the competition, and design social and sustainable venture projects.

5 Key Messages from Businesses to Business Schools Around Sustainability

PRME Global ForumAt the recent PRME Global Forum in New York City, business representatives from the Global Compact LEAD and PRME Champions groups met to discuss how they could work together to move the sustainability agenda forwards for their respective organisations and beyond. The discussion covered a range of different possible projects and collaborations but, in particular, focused on the need to develop employees and graduates with the relevant competencies and skills that businesses of the 21st century need.

The representatives from the Global Compact companies provided a number of interesting insights during this meeting that are relevant to PRME Signatories. Six key messages came out of the discussion, including:

  1. Business doesn’t need sustainability professionals, but rather professionals that are capable of making sustainable decisions in any role.

Many of the business representatives present suggested that a sustainability course/degree/certificate may miss the point. While basic knowledge of sustainability is of course necessary, more important is that graduates have an understanding of how to apply it in the business context in which they are working and the function that they are filling. They need all of them employees to have this knowledge and not just a few specialized individuals.

  1. Business needs better managers/leaders/team members to move sustainability forward.

Business need graduates that have the reflexes to ask the right questions and to find answers when it comes to sustainability. They should be able to ask “Will the decision I am making today stand the test of time, and if it doesn’t, what decision should I make?” Graduates need to be able to drive and influence change, build consensus, and shift the conversation.

  1. Business can see that graduates are increasingly interested in the topic of sustainability and are seeing some benefits….

Businesses in the room at the PRME-LEAD meeting stated that they receive a significantly higher number of applicants, and higher quality applicants, for all jobs because of their reputation as a sustainability leader. This is particularly true when sustainability is mentioned in the job application. Businesses are noticing the work that academic institutions are doing in this area and are encouraged by the changes they are already seeing in graduates.

  1. …but also recognise that there is more business could do to help in this regard.

As sustainability becomes core to how modern companies operate, it will increasingly be part of all jobs and therefore job descriptions and selection criteria. However, business representatives agreed that this isn’t always the case and these skills, which they admit they want/need, are often not integrated into the recruiting process. Incorporating sustainability into the recruiting process would sent a strong message to students about the importance of being knowledgeable about sustainability topics to increase their changes of being hired.

  1. Business is interested in engaging with business schools, but partnerships need to be mutually beneficial

Business schools want/need business to engage with them in order to move their sustainability agendas forward, while businesses often prefer to engage with schools that they see are already advanced in this area. For this reason business schools need to give businesses a clear reason to want to work with them. Do you have students who are knowledgeable about these topics and can use that knowledge to help a company further their efforts? Does your school have a research focus that coincides with that of a local company engaged in sustainability? There needs to be something in it for all parties involved.

  1. Business schools should become knowledgeable in what business needs are in the area of sustainability today, and prepare for what they may be in the future.

Representatives working in the field of sustainability within leading businesses are busy people with limited time and resources. They do not necessarily have the time to tell business schools what they need and want, it is up to the schools themselves to uncover these needs and tailor programmes and projects accordingly. They can do this by staying connected and up to date with sustainability issues, attending local, country, and regional Global Compact events or organising and bringing together groups of professionals working in this field from their city.


For more on the outcomes of both meetings, view the outcomes documents from the PRME Global Forum and the Global Compact +15. ‘The State of Sustainability in Management Education’ was launched at this meeting and provides a summary of some of the challenges that management education are facing in embedding these topics into their curriculum as well as some of the opportunities for business and academic institutions to work together moving forward.

A Selection of MOOCs on Sustainability/Ethics for Fall 2015

Lund University
There are a growing number of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) being offered on a range of sustainability topics. These courses are available for free online and open to anyone with an interest in the topic, lasting between three and fourteen weeks and taking between three and eight hours of time per week to complete. Here is a selection of such courses offered this Fall 2015, listed by topic, from PRME signatory and non-signatory schools.


Solar Energy: This course explores photovoltaic systems and the technology that converts solar energy into electricity, heat and solar fuel. From Delft University of Technology, TU Delft – starts September 1.

Energy Subsidy Reform: This course explores energy subsidies, their costs, and the design of a successful reform based on country case studies. International Monetary Fund – Starts January 27, 2016.

Climate Change – The Science: Master the basics of climate science so you can better understand the news, evaluate scientific evidence, and explain global warming to anyone. The University of British Columbia – starts October 14.

Climate Change: This course develops an interdisciplinary understanding of the social, political, economic, and scientific perspectives on climate change. The University of Melbourne – starts August 31.

Basics of Energy Sustainability: Explore basics of energy sustainability through techno/economic frameworks and global markets – a comprehensive foundation for strategic business decision-making. From Rice University – starts October.


Tropical Coastal Ecosystems: This course will help you to develop the skills and knowledge needed to help preserve tropical coastal ecosystems that provide goods and services to hundreds of millions of people. It will give an overview of the challenges, and provide tools to understand problems and solutions to manage tropical coastal ecosystems. University of Queensland Australia – starting September 1.

Introduction to Water and Climate explores how climate change, water availability and engineering innovation are key challenges for our planet. Delft University of Technology, TU Delft – starts September 1.

The Biology of Water and Health – Sustainable Interventions: This course explores how to promote safe water conservation and water sustainability to improve public health. Open Education Consortium – starts September 29.

Planet Earth…and You!: This course discusses how earthquakes, volcanoes, minerals and rocks, energy, and plate tectonics have interacted over deep time to produce our dynamic island in space, and its unique resources. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – starts September 14.

Forests and Humans – From the Midwest to Madagascar: This course explores the forests of the world, from the taiga to the tropical rainforest. Learn why humans depend on them, and how we can sustainably manage forests for us, and the many species with whom we share them. University of Wisconsin-Madison – starts September 30.


Foundations of Development Policy – Advanced Development Economics: This course uses economic theory and data analysis to explore the economic lives of the poor, and ways to design and implement effective development policy. MIT – starts September 21.

Quality of Life – Livability in Future Cities: This course explores how urban planning, energy, climate, ecology and mobility impact the livability and quality of life of a “future city.” ETH Zurich – starts September 23.

Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education: This course explores strategies, examples, and resources that support teaching and learning of indigenous ways of knowing in classrooms, schools, and communities. The University of British Columbia – starts September 29.

Business Ethics for the Real World: This self-paced course is designed to provide an introduction to the subject of ethical behaviour in business. Santa Clara University – starts August 10.

Geopolitics and Global Governance: This course offers a reflection – from a geostrategic and geopolitical viewpoint – on the basics of understanding today’s world. This course is in Spanish. ESADE – starts November 2.

Production and Consumption

Industrial Biotechnology explores the basics of sustainable processing for bio-based products, to further understand their impact on global sustainability. Delft University of Technology, TU Delft – starts September 30.

Circular Economy – An Introduction: Design a future that rethinks our current “take-make-waste” economy to focus on circular, innovative products and business models. Delft University of Technology, TU Delft – starts October.

Greening the Economy – Lessons from Scandinavia: This course addresses sustainability, climate change and how to combine economic development with a healthy environment. It will explore how individual choices, business strategies, sustainable cities and national policies can promote a greener economy. Lund University – starts September 14.

Change Makers

Transforming Business, Society and Self: This course puts the student in the driver’s seat of innovation and change. It helps change makers see below the surface of today’s environmental, social, and spiritual-cultural challenges, identify the root issues that cause them, and create solutions from a place of deeper awareness. MIT – starts September 10.

Social Entrepreneurship: This course will cover a select set of topics associated with social innovation and entrepreneurship whether non-profit or for-profit. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania – starts September 14.

Women in Leadership – Inspiring Positive Change: This course aims to inspire and empower women and men across the world to engage in purposeful career development, take on leadership for important causes and improve our workplaces and communities for all. Case Western Reserve University – starts September 8.

Social Learning for Social Impact: In this MOOC students will collaborate with other like-minded individuals from around the globe on doing social impact work while also being exposed to concepts and models on how to effectively do so. McGill University – starts September 16.

Innovation and Problem Solving through Creativity: This course helps participants increase innovation and improve problem solving at work by fostering your creative abilities. The University of British Columbia – starts October 20.

The Science of Happiness: This course teaches positive psychology. Berkeley University of California – starts September 8.

– Are you organising a MOOC this or next term not mentioned above? Get in touch at

Lessons in Preparing your First SIP Report from Reykjavik University

SIPReykjavik University in Iceland was awarded, at a special ceremony at the 2015 PRME Global Forum in June, a recognition for their Sharing Information on Progress report (SIP). In their first SIP report they created an engaging and reader friendly communication tool that brought together the work that they are doing at the Business School, while actively promoting the voices of different stakeholders. I spoke with Hrefna Sigriour Briem, Director of the B.SC Programme at the School of Business, about their experiences and lessons learnt preparing their first SIP report.

What approach did you take when preparing your first report and how did you go about putting the report together?

The report was an excellent opportunity to take a close look at what is already in place. We started by discussing with faculty what initiatives they were already taking in their teaching and research—we were pleasantly surprised by the fact that there was more going on than we had anticipated. The reporting process was a great opportunity to shed light on various activities that were already going on and illustrate them in a coherent manner. In addition we discussed the issue of responsible leadership and sustainability at various faculty meetings and a task force brainstormed for new ideas and initiatives, particularly how to get students more involved and how collaboration could be encouraged.

Is there a part of your report or the process that you are particularly proud of? What parts were, or still are challenging?

It was delightful to experience that faculty members and students were quite interested and enthusiastic. We are particularly proud of the fact that the report illustrates the work of a large majority of our people and the ways that responsible management education (RME) is exercised in our various programmes. Getting started was the most difficult part. What to report on and how to report was a challenge, and we spent considerable time discussing these issues.

How have you been using/communicating the report?

We have mostly used the report for internal purposes—communication to students has been our number one priority. We did however distribute the report to the business community, and the dean and programme directors have made a point of discussing the importance of RME both internally as well is in external communications such as interviews and commentaries. We do see further opportunities in participating in a dialogue with industry, particularly through FESTA, a local business network for promoting sustainability. Our report was sent to the 300 biggest organisations in Iceland and was also covered by various local media.

What advice do you have for other schools putting together their first report?

Start by looking for what is already going on. Get as many of the faculty members on board as you can, but don’t waste too much time on convincing the skeptics, the advocates are the ones that will make the change happen. It is also good to keep in mind that the report should be useful for the institution, we used the report and the process as means to take stock and set goals, that way you can refer back to it as you move along.

What plans do you have for your second report?

We will proceed with the discussion at faculty meetings and continue our task force meetings. By the time we deliver our second report we would like to have reached some of our goals set forward in the first report, particularly with regards to leading by example as an institution, increased student involvement, and measuring progress by surveying faculty and students on their knowledge and attitude towards responsible management and sustainability. We won’t change the format much, but will embark upon attaining more depth. There will be more emphasis on research concerning responsible management education. We will also create more discussion among faculty members, students, business and society.

What are some initiatives mentioned in the report that you are particularly proud of that you are working on at RU?

After we signed up to the PRME principles we came up with the idea of rewarding students for responsible and sustainable business ideas in our Entrepreneurship and
Starting New Ventures course. Reporting on this student involvement was particularly enjoyable. Taking count of students views and attitudes towards sustainability through a research initiative of two faculty members is a very important part of monitoring this constant improvement process, and we will continue this effort and report on it in our next SIP. Last but not least, we thought it was very important to demonstrate, in our SIP, the variety of research projects that our faculty are conducting related to responsible management and sustainability.

To read Reykjavik University Business School’s SIP report click here. A Basic Guide to Sharing Information on Progress was also launched at the Global Forum and is available here. For more posts on SIPs click here.


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