Developing a Sustainability Disposition – La Trobe Business School

In 2008, La Trobe Business School in Melbourne, Australia was one of the first schools to become a Signatory to PRME. The Business School, which also has campuses in Sydney, China, France and Vietnam, has been actively engaged in both embedding responsible management within its school as well as contributing to the PRME network. They are starting their second term as a PRME Champion, Ten years on, they were selected to be a PRME Champion along with 38 other business schools from across the world who are taking transformative action on integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into three key areas: curriculum, research and partnerships.

In 2015 the School put in place a second year subject focused on Sustainability which is mandatory for all students enrolled in any Business Degree. Because of its focus on developing a sustainability disposition in students rather than just educating them about the issues, the course has been very well received by students and continues to be an exemplar of cross-disciplinary subject content within the School. I spoke with Dr Swati Nagpal about this innovative course. 

What is La Trobe Business School’s approach to sustainability in the classroom?

LBS understands the obligation as an institution to advocate for responsible management education throughout the school; in its four departments and its research centres, and by advocating and supporting responsible management initiatives and operations across the university.

A patchwork of subjects addressing Sustainability Education in Business degree courses at La Trobe was replaced in 2015 by a core second year subject entitled ‘BUS2SUS – Sustainability’, for all students enrolled in any Business degree. More than 2,500 students are now enrolled in this compulsory subject every year. This includes students from a range of business majors, including management, human resource management, marketing, accounting, sport management, finance, event management, tourism and hospitality, economics, international business, and agribusiness.

The subject is based on a blended learning design that allows for greater scalability across the entire portfolio of majors within Business and across all our campuses in Australia and abroad. With sustainability as the lens or context for change, students are introduced to systems thinking, tools for solving wicked problems, and the role of advocacy in managing change for sustainability.

How have you approached the design and delivery of this core course?

The process of embedding sustainability thinking into the core business curriculum presented a number of challenges, including distinguishing sustainability from related streams of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and non-financial measurement and reporting. The curriculum design was ultimately guided by the need for a future set of skills, rather than by identifying disciplinary content that business graduates might require. These skills include critical thinking, creative problem solving, ethical awareness and teamwork. For example, by working in small groups in class, and engaging with ‘wicked’ global sustainability issues such as climate change, global poverty and renewable energy, students are required to apply a systems lens to examining the true nature of the issues and potential solutions.

There is also an emphasis on creating a ‘safe space’ in classes to tackle often controversial social and environmental issues such as indigenous disadvantage in Australia, the refugee crisis and the potential for a sugar tax. This has required class teachers to be briefed and trained in pedagogical techniques that require reflexive practice and approaches to manage conflict.

The course puts a focus on developing a sustainability disposition. Why do you think this is important?

Research on education for sustainability, student surveys and teaching feedback have taught us that developing graduate skills for sustainability is not enough to create the impetus required for students to be change agents for sustainability, there also needs to be an emphasis on creating a ‘mindset’ change. This is enabled in the subject through use of a range of pedagogical design elements to create a learning environment that seeks to bring about this change. For example, through the use of case studies, examples and problem-based scenarios that require students to reflect on their underlying values base and question the status quo in management thought.

As such, this subject places a focus on both generic graduate skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, while also creating the disposition towards sustainability and ethical decision-making.

How are the SDGs embedded into this course?

Using the SDGs as a guide, students are introduced to the interplay between the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainability, and the implications for ethically complex decision-making.

Ultimately, educating students new to the SDGs places us in a unique position as the entry point in their educational experience. We believe this is critical in developing their awareness of global issues and challenges so that they can enter the workplace fully equipped to advance and implement policies and practices that will contribute to sustainable business.

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

The question of whether business schools should approach embedding sustainability into core curriculum or as an elective has not been resolved to date. Our experience at LBS in taking the ‘core subject’ approach has been positive since we have the institutional support in terms of the University’s focus on sustainability and our historical emphasis and ethos of social justice. Therefore, gaining institutional support for furthering the sustainability agenda is key, along with the resources to make it happen.

The challenge in any modern business subject in sustainably is an emphasis on both the development of graduate skills and students’ disposition towards sustainability and ethical decision-making. This requires modern educators to span the boundary of the classroom and identify opportunities to engage with industry partners and other stakeholders to continuously produce innovative teaching materials and approaches that inspire and motivate students to pursue business ideas that align with the SDGs. 

What’s next for the class?

Next year, a major piece of assessment will focus on students (in groups) generating a business idea to be in contention for the Hult Prize. One of the challenges with a large enrolments in the subject are the limited options to create authentic assessments. An international student competition that requires students to develop an actionable and scalable business idea is both practical and allows for gamification/competitive elements to be built into the subject design.

What other initiatives at your school you are particularly proud of in this area especially in relation to the SDGs.

In 2017, LBS embarked on a series of workshops that brought together delegates from business, local government, education, not for profit and community sectors to discuss what the SDGs mean for them, and create opportunities for collaboration among the sectors towards implementation of the goals.

This outreach project on the SDGs is an international effort by our CR3+ network which includes LBS and PRME Champions Audencia Nantes School of Management (Nantes, France), ISAE/FGV (Curitiba, Brazil) and Hanken School of Economics (Helsinki, Finland). All four business schools have committed to hosting similar workshops in their countries.

Two Australian workshops were held in Wollongong and Albury-Wodonga on 15/11/17 and 29/11/17 respectively. In addition to the original aims as set out in the project proposal, the choice to focus on regional areas was two-fold; firstly, to develop our regional campus’ capacity to build and sustain cross-sector engagement and partnerships on the theme of the SDGs, and secondly, to focus on areas where UN Global Compact Network Australia presence is limited.

This post is part of a special feature throughout the month of February focused on schools in Australia and New Zealand. 

The SDGs at the University of Wollongong

Students at the University of Wollongong

In a past post I had the chance to speak with Belinda Gibbons, the coordinator of the Australia and New Zealand Chapter, about the Chapters transition from an Emerging to an Established Chapter as well as the specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are most pertinent to that region. I also had the chance to speak to Belinda about her other role, that of  coordinator of PRME activities at the University of Wollongong in Australia about what her University has planned around the SDGs.

How is the University of Wollongong approaching responsible management education?

While I am the AUSNZ PRME Chapter Coordinator, I also coordinate the responsible management education practices within the Faculty of Business at the University of Wollongong (UOW) where I am a senior lecturer for the Sydney Business School. A PRME signatory since 2009, the UOW Faculty of Business executive have always demonstrated significant support for responsible and sustainable education in curriculum and research. More recently we have modified our vision to directly focus on being a ‘ global leader in promoting the theory and practice of responsible business principles’. Backed by our mission ‘…….to promote responsible leadership and sustainable business practice, and contribute to a stronger economy and a more just society’. This change ensures that the key areas of responsible management are at the forefront of all decisions, actions and discussions.

How is the University integrating the SDGs?

While we have interdisciplinary subjects that are built upon the theoretical foundation of the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and map PRME and SDG education research across disciplines, some of the smaller initiatives at Wollongong are having a large-scale difference. Examples of these include; a PRME representative seat on the Faculty Education Committee to ensure responsible management is in all curriculum and assessment changes; PRME representation in all course reviews with the latest course reviews in 2016 ensuring responsible management in undergraduate and postgraduate course learning outcomes and assurance of learning practices; academic and professional staff hiring job descriptions now have responsible leadership and sustainable business practices in position descriptions alongside grant funding applications must show how they contribute and provide impact to the mission and particular SDGs.

What are some of your challenges moving forward?

The challenge moving forward is to instil the SDGs into the fabric of the University and not just the Business Faculty. More recently UOW signed as a member of the UNGC. This institution membership provides a path for SDG discussions beyond the Faculty of Business. Evidence of this occurred in November 2017 when UOW collaborated with Healthy Cities Illawarra and PRME Champion School LaTrobe Business School to bring together delegates from business, local government, education, not for profit and community sectors to discuss what the SDGs mean for them, and create opportunities for collaboration among the sectors towards implementation of the goals. A workshop was held as a breakfast event, with an impressive turnout of 120 attendees.

It is also important that we extend our collaborations across institutions internationally. Throughout 2016, Wollongong took part in the global WikiRate Student Engagement Trial. This trial enabled us to discuss processes and outcomes with a number of international PRME signatories and we volunteered to conduct an external review and research piece on the perspectives of different participants involved in the project. This research has generated insights that are feeding into the next phase of the project, and that help to ensure students, professors and their institutions are getting the best experience and learning.

Any tips for other schools looking to engage in the SDGs?

Senior leadership support and a culture whereby creativity and the ability to experiment is essential to deliver the change in higher education that is required to realise the SDGs.

 

Learn more about Wollongong engagement in PRME…

In their 2017 Sharing Information on Progress Report, UOW provides a chart that represents the Faculty of Business’ research grouped by Sustainable Development Goal. This was featured in a past PRiMEtime post on Reporting on the SDGs- A Visual Tour of Different Approaches. In 2016 UOW’s involvement in the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience was also featured. AIME is an Australia wide educational programme that supports indigenous students through high school and into University by pairing these students with mentor students form the Business School. Back in 2015 we spoke to Belinda about their experiences merging two approaches to responsible management education when the University of Wollongong merged with another Business School in 2013. 

A Focus on Australia/New Zealand

This past December the Australia and New Zealand Chapter, officially transitioned from an Emerging to an Established Chapter, cementing their commitment to realising the Sustainable Development Goals through responsible management education. Although they only just became an Established Chapter, the region has always had a very active PRME Signatory base, a group of schools that are not only active within the PRME network, but also actively engaged in pushing the agenda forward with a range of innovative approaches. Because of this, schools from this region are regularly featured on PRiMEtime.

The month of February will be focused on sharing examples of good practices around embedding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into management education from schools across Australia and New Zealand. To kick things off, I spoke with Belinda Gibbons, the coordinator of the Chapter as well as the coordinator of PRME activities at the University of Wollongong in Australia about both the challenges and opportunities for the region as a whole.

Tell us a bit more about the Australia/New Zealand Chapter.

Schools in this region have been active in PRME since 2008. Currently 53% of universities in Australia and 75% in NZ are PRME signatories with a growth rate of approximately 2-3 signatories per year. Amidst vast land distances between signatories (there is a five hour time difference between our Schools), PRME members communicate on bi-monthly conference calls, virtual state based gatherings and via more formal annual forums and regular emails.

The work and in particular the courses that schools in this region offer have an important impact both here and abroad because education is Australia’s largest service export and New Zealand’s second largest. Recent statistics reveal that of all Australian higher education courses completed in 2016, the field of management and commerce accounts for 19% for domestic students and 55% for our international students. New Zealand has similar high statistics with 27% of students studying management and commerce courses. Of that 1 in 5 are international students. These large numbers and percentage of diverse cultures offers us rich exploration for teaching and learning but also numerous challenges in the way to tackle all 17 SDGs in the curriculum, research and partnerships.

You officially became an Established Chapter at your most recent Regional Meeting. Tell us a bit about it.

The 5th PRME Chapter Australia & New Zealand Forum took place at Deakin University, a PRME Champion School, in Melbourne early in December 2017. The theme of the meeting was ‘Inspire, Motivate, Engage, Act’ in regards to realising the Sustainable Development Goals. Over the course of the day we went through the different elements of the theme. We started by celebrating and sharing the growth we have had as a region over the past 10 years, congratulating Latrobe Business School and Griffith Business School in Australia and University of Waikato Management School in New Zealand who were among the first to sign as PRME Signatories.  We also signed the MOU with the PRME Secretariat, officially becoming an Established Chapter. Each school had a chance to present their achievements from 2017 and hopes for 2018 and to share key resources and opportunities. We also had a number individuals join us for parts of the day including Alice Cope, the Executive Director of UN Global Compact Australia, Anne Swear who is the Head of Corporate Sustainability at ANZ, Sue Noble the CEO of Volunteering Victoria, Giselle Weybrecht who is a Special Advisor to the PRME Secretariat, Sarah Goulding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Soyuma Gupta, a current student at Deakin. The discussions were focused on how Australia is moving forward with the SDGs and how the schools that form the chapter can be part of those discussions and actions moving forward. For a full summary of the meeting click here.

What are some of the challenges that schools in this part of the world are facing and some issues that are particularly relevant in relation to the SDG?

While our research stimulates innovation and delivers solutions to economic, social and demographic challenges facing our nations we need to work closer with industry and government to support SDGs realisation. Our textbook and classroom cases can be routine in using global examples, which are informative, but the challenge is to bring an understanding of the SDGs back to illustrations from our countries, enabling our students and academics to understand just how global these goals are.

An example of this in particular pertains to human rights. In the latest Amnesty International 2016-2017 report, Australia’s commitment to human rights fails when it comes to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, especially children abuse and deaths in custody (SDG 10.2, 16.2). Asylum seeking processes and procedures (SDG 1.4, 10.7), disability rights (SDG 1.2, 10.2) and counter-terror measures (SDG 10.3), all of which put us on the Human Rights Watch List for the third successive year in 2016. New Zealand has similar Indigenous Maori challenges along with high rates of violence against women and girls (SDG 5.1, 5.2) and children poverty rates (SDG 1.2). Ensuring these issues are communicated and mapped across all disciplines in the management and commerce field requires raising awareness, conducting audit type processes alongside developing a mechanism for resource sharing.

What’s planned for the chapter moving forward?

The SDGs provide us with a framework for industry, civil society and government collaboration. In Australia, the Voluntary National Review (VNR) on SDG progress is underway with the report due mid-2018. It is essential that the higher education sector and in particular PRME AUSNZ contribute to this report and continue to build relationships for future research.

As an Established Chapter, we are forming a steering committee that will focus on the priority areas of student engagement activities and embedding SDGs in the curriculum, building communities of practices within Faculty and across university/universities, mapping SDGs across curriculum and research and research and cross sector collaboration.

A Selection of MOOCs on Sustainability and Ethics for January 2018 (Part 2 of 2)

Every year there is an increase in the number of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available on 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 three to eight hours per week to complete. Below is a selection of such courses starting in January 2018, listed by topic, from PRME as well as some non-signatory schools. Click here to view Part 1.

Human Rights and Development: This course explores the topic of development based on human rights and social justice perspectives It looks at the ideology behind international aid programmes and looks at development from both Indigenous and African perspectives. Curtin University – starts April 2 2018.

Human Rights Activism, Advocacy and Change: This course explores the role of social movements, advocacy groups and activism in bringing about social change. Curtin University – starts February 5 2018.

International Human Rights Law: This course explores how an individual’s human rights are protected from both public and private power by international laws. UCL – starts February 1 2018.

Cities The Past, Present and Future of Urban Life: This course explores what makes cities energising, amazing, challenging and perhaps humanity’s greatest invention. Harvard University – starts February 15.

Greening the Economy Sustainable Cities: This course explores sustainable cities as engines for greening the economy. It places cities in the context of sustainable urban transformation and climate change. Lund University – starts January 15 2018.

Re-Enchanting the City-Designing the Human Habitat: This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary nature of city making. It will use the example of central Park in Sydney to explore the interdependencies of the professionals at play: urban design, architecture, construction management, planning, landscape, interior design etc. UNSW – starts

Sustainable Fashion: This course explores the fashion industry which is valued at more than $4 trillion USD and employs over 60 million people. It is also the second most polluting industry in the world. Fordham Gabelli School of Business – available now.

Chocolate and Sustainability: This course provides an overview of sustainability issues across the cocoa supply chain, from the farmers to the consumer. TCHO – available now.

Climate Change: This course explores how climate change will affect us, why we should care about it and what solutions we can employ. The course requires 2-4 hours of study per week depending on the student. Macquarie University – starts January 8th 2018.

Planning for Climate Change in African Cities: This course provides the foundation for understanding a city’s exposure and sensitivity to climate change and how cities manage these impacts in the face of growing uncertainty. Multiple stakeholders – Starts now.

Making Sense of Climate Science Denial: The course explores what the controversy and debate is around climate change denial and helps individuals respond to it. University of Queensland – starts January 9 2018.

Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries: This course challenges learners to consider how one might lift societies out of poverty while also mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. It explores the inherent complexity of developing country governments wanting to grow their economics in a climate friendly way. University of Cape Town – starts January 22 2017.

Climate Justice Lessons From the Global South: This course helps learners to understand how we can balance human needs with caring for the planet with a focus on the Global South. UNESCO – starts now.

Contemporary Issues in Ocean Governance: This course considers the nature of how the world’s oceans are regulated. It will go through how ocean governance has evolved through time and how it actually works. University of Wollongong – starts January 8th 2018

 

Agriculture and the World We Live in: This course explores the world’s populations and the crucial role of agriculture in feeding the steadily increasing number of people. Massey University – starts January 8th 2018.

Discover Best Practice Farming for a Sustainable 2050: This course explores best practice farming for the future, how to start implementing these strategies now wile making sure it is still profitable. University of Western Australia – starts January 8 2018.

Ecosystem Services A Method for Sustainable Development: This course explore ecosystem services, a way of thinking about, and evaluating, the goods and services provided by nature that contribute to the well-being of humans. University of Geneva – starts January 8 2018.

Ethics and Law in Data Analytics: Analytics and AI are powerful tools that have real-world outcomes. Learn how to apply practical, ethical and legal constructs and scenarios so that you can be an effective analytics professional. Seattle University with Microsoft – starts January 1 2018.

Environmental Challenges Scarcity and Conflict in Natural Environment: This course explores war and conflict and how it can severely disrupt the governance of the environment with impacts on both people and the environment. University of Leeds – starts January 10 2018.

Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes: Superheros in movies and comics embrace truth and justice, peace rather than war and combat prejudice. This course uses superhoes as a way of interpreting key philosophical ideas – metaphysical and epistemology, social and political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of mind and much more. Smithsonian – starts January 16 2018.

The Science and Practice of Sustainable Development: This course explores the science and policies that drive sustainable development and how to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. University of Queensland – self paced.

Become a Sustainable Business Change Agent: This series of courses is for anyone who would like to improve how their company or organisation impacts the environment, people and communities. It will introduce them to some of the key concepts and tools of sustainable business and teach them how to be effective change agents. University of Colorado – starts January 1 2018.

Becoming a Changemaker Introduction to Social Innovation: This course is for anyone who is interested in making a difference. It explores the complex problems that surround us and how to start thinking about solutions. University of Cape Town – starts January 8 2018.

 

And a few extras…

 

Teaching Historical Inquiry with Objects: Through explanation, demonstration, and dynamic examples, the course offers teachers practical ideas for how to entice students to craft complex and incisive questions: think critically about primary and secondary sources, form and support their opinions with evidence and communicate their conclusions in ways that wil prepare them to be engaged citizens of the world. Although this course is aimed at high school teachers, many of the tools could be of use within some business school courses as a way of introducing sustainability concepts. Smithsonian – self paced.

Selling Ideas: How to Influence Others and Get your Message To Catch On: This course explores how you can use social media and word of mouth to spread your message. It also provides a step-by-step guide on how to get anything to catch on by looking at what makes ideas memorable and messages stick. Wharton – starts January 8 2018.

 

A Selection of MOOCs on Sustainability and Ethics for January 2018 (Part 1 of 2)

Every year there is an increase in the number of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available on 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 three to eight hours per week to complete. Below is a selection of such courses starting in January 2018, listed by topic, from primarily PRME signatory schools.

Foundations of Development Policy: This course uses economic theory and data analysis to explore the economic lives of the poor, and the ways to design and implement effective development policy. MIT – starts February 6 2018.

The Challenges of Global Poverty: This course uses economics to understand some of the root causes behind underdevelopment and the constraints and trade-offs the poor face when making decisions. It also looks into anti-poverty strategies and policies. MIT – Starts February 6 2018.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals – This course provides a brief introduction to the Sustainable Development goals, what they are, how they came about, the goals and targets themselves as well as next steps and our role. Gowi – starts now.

 

Social Norms, Social Change: This course is on social norms, the rules that glue societies together. It teaches hot to diagnose social norms, and how to distinguish them from other social constructs, like customs or conventions. Unicef – starts January 1 2018.

 

Children’s Human Rights – An Interdisciplinary Introduction: This course combines law, psychology, sociology, history, educational and health sciences, economy and anthropology to explore critical issues concerning children’s rights. University of Geneva – starts January 8 2018.

 

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 and take on leadership for important causes – to lead change with more conviction and confidence – and improve our workplaces and communities for all. Case Western Reserve University – starts January 8 2018.

Droi International de L’Eau Douce (course in French) – This course explores the laws that regulate and produce freshwater and the responsibilities of different stakeholders. University of Geneva – starts January 1 2018.

 

Sustainable Energy: This series of courses explores the complex nature of energy generation, distribution and supply and the challenges of transitioning to a sustainable energy future. University of Queensland – starts January 23 2018.

Energy Principles and Renewable Energy: This course provides an introduction to the language of energy, key scientific principles that underpin energy systems, future energy challenges and available renewable energy options. University of Queensland – starts January 23 2018.

Just Money: Banking as if Society Mattered: This course explores how banks can use capital as a tool to promote social and environmental wellbeing. MIT – starts March 7 2018.

Supply Chain Innovation: How Technology Can Create a Sustainable Future: This course looks at new technologies and how they can make supply chains more sustainable. It also explores global trends in global and supply chain innovation. University of Twente – starts now.

Debt Sustainability Analysis: What are the tools to access debt sustainability? How can countries effectively manage their sovereign debt? To answer these questions, this course combines theory with hands-on exercises. IMF – self paced.

From Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Social Innovation: Based on real-world experiences from business leaders, learn how to develop and lead social innovation initiatives that create both economic and social value. Babson – starts January 16 2018.

 

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.

2017 Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 2 of 2)

In this, the second part of a two part end of year review, we look at some of the examples featured (roughly) organised around SDGs 10 to 17. Simply click on the links to read the full article. To read part one click here.

The month of June was a Special Feature month focused on SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities. In Australia the University of New South Wales organises a yearly event that aims to lead the debate and shape public discourse on some of the most important issues facing humanity called Tackling the Grand Challenge of Inequality. For the past few years several Signatories have been engaged in working with refugees living within their countries following the 2015 “Call to Action-Mobilizing the Academic Community Action in Response to the Refugee Crisis” and starting to share their experiences and successes including the student initiated Consortium engaging refugees at Leeds School of Business in the US. This also includes Hanken School of Economics in Finland where several programmes are underway to that aim to help integrate educated asylum seekers into Finnish working life.

The month of May was a Special Feature month focused on SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities. During the month we saw several examples of schools engaged in making their communities more sustainable. Monash Business School is engaging their students in the SDGs through an online platform called Take One Step. In response to not only SDG 11 but also the European Union strategy “Europe 2020”, Warsaw School of Economics in Poland launched a research project called Eco-Innovations in Cities that resulted in a specialisation now offered at the school. In Italy at Universita Ca’Foscara Venezia, interdisciplinary teams of students are working together to develop innovative business ideas to make the region of Treviso more sustainable. UWE Bristol celebrated its home city being named the European Green Capital in 2015 by collaborating with not just the city but a range of other organisations to make the year as successful and impactful as possible. Interdisciplinary teams at Kemmy Business School in Ireland worked together for five weeks to see how they could make the city of Limerick stronger, coming up with not just solutions but implementation plans as well.

The University of Fraser Valley offered up a great approach to embedding sustainability into existing courses, in this case their Business Research Methods course which is mandatory for all students. We featured the Breakthrough Innovation Challenge and how it offered students a chance to collaborate with Global Compact companies to build sustainable business models and solutions powered by disruptive technologies. In May we also took a look at how different schools are engaged in sustainable tourism initiatives in recognition of the 2017 United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. This included courses, research projects, publications, experiential learning opportunities, partnerships, events to name but a few examples.

A growing number of resources are being created around the Sustainable Development Goals and we have tried to share many of these with readers. Earlier in the year we looked at a list of useful resources around the Sustainable Development Goals that are good as a starting point. We looked at a range of resources developed by the Global Compact focused on business as well as a two part series on resources for SDG 1 to 9 and another from 10 to 17. Sobey School of Business also shared with us how they created an online resource collection around PRME for use by their students, faculty and beyond.

Because of the importance of the Sharing Information on Progress Report within the PRME network, several posts focused on how Signatories are reporting on their efforts, in particular relating to the SDGs. We looked at how visuals are used in SIP reports as a way of clearly organising data and engaging readers. Another couple of posts looked at how Signatories are starting to report on the SDGs, outlining a range of approaches including the approaches from the schools that received the first Recognition for Excellence in Reporting on the SDGs at the PRME Global Forum. There were also posts looking at why SIP reports should be taken seriously as well as 8 Resources to help Signatories integrate the SDGs into their SIP reports. KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business in Belgium shared their experiences engaging their students in creating a materiality index of important sustainability issues to the School which was included in their SIP. Boise State University has students working to create the whole SIP report and their report was recognised at the Global Forum with a Excellence in Reporting Recognition.

Increasingly Schools are collaborating with each other and with a range of other stakeholders around the SDGs. For example the PRME Chapter Nordic worked together to create a special Ph.D. course that engages students from the different school on sustainability and CSR. Lagos Business School in Nigeria launched a Private Sector Advisory Group that brings together leading Nigeria businesses to explore how to reach the SDGs there in collaboration with the UN and government. In March we featured a number of ways that Signatories can engage their students in sustainability projects developed with partners of PRME including through AIM2Flourish, the WikiRate Project that invites students to analyse company sustainability reports and the oikos-PRME Research Hub where students can share their sustainability related research.

2017 Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 1 of 2)

This past year was a big year for the Principles for Responsible Management. As a network of networks we celebrated our 10th anniversary including an opportunity to come together and look both back and forwards at the PRME Global Forum in July 2017 in New York City. This year was also the second year that the Sustainable Development Goals have been in effect, including a significant increase in the impact that management education is having in the realisation of these Goals. Many of this past year’s PRiMEtime posts have highlighted this collective impact.

This is the 6th year that I write PRiMEtime. I started this blog in 2011 in collaboration with the PRME Secretariat as a way of showcasing all of the exciting initiatives that Signatories were taking part in. Not only has this shown schools and the business community what is possible but in many instances this has also helped raise awareness of these initiatives within the schools and helped the individuals involved receive more support internally. Thank you to all of the individuals who are not only driving these initiatives but who took the time to share their stories here. PRiMEtime is now a database of good practices from around the world with over 1000 examples of how management education is embedding sustainability the Principles into their work.

This year 60 new articles were posted featuring over 100 examples from more 90 different Signatories in 27 countries. We have also introduced a number of Special Feature Months providing a more in-depth look at how schools are approaching a specific SDG. In this 2-part year-end post we review the examples featured this year, (roughly) organised around the SDGs. Simply click on the links to read the full article.

I look forward to another year of featuring your initiatives. Please feel free to email me your suggestions as well as any requests for 2018.

Many signatories provide opportunities for their students to work on projects to better their local communities. One example featured was the I’m the Change Initiative from the Institute of Management Technology in India which is a mandatory programme for all students. Many Signatories organise awareness raising events and conferences during the school year focused on PRME and sustainability. At the University of Greenwich Business School their full day conference focused on “Shaping Business Opportunities in a World of Uncertainty” not just organised by students but is organised as part of the requirements for one of their courses.

Students have always been, and will continue to be an important driver of PRME and sustainability on campus. At FEA-RP/USP in Brazil the Sustainable Student Organisation Awards promote and recognise projects that benefit the school and the local community. Students at Universidad EAFIT in Colombia are exploring solutions to local SDG challenges through a range of projects on campus. Copenhagen Business School is looking at a range of ways to really embed sustainability into their campus with the support of a new Sustainable Infrastructure Taskforce.

On PRiMEtime we regularly post blogs summarizing the lists of MOOCs on sustainability topics offered by Signatories. Many of these MOOCs are either available on an on-going basis or have regular start dates so even past posts provide a good resources. If you are planning a MOOC for 2018 please email so this can be included in the next post in January. For 2017 this included a selection of the MOOCs available in Winter 2017 focused around economic, social and environmental issues as well as in September 2017 focused around strategy, cities, social impact, funding and ethics. An update of a very popular post on Primetime from several years ago focused on how to use online games to engage in sustainability was also shared. It provides links to a number of online games that can be used in the classroom organised by SDG.

A post in March also looked at What Students Think About Responsible Management Education outlining a number of insights pulled from a recent survey on students views on sustainability in business education. Another post that came out just before the PRME Global Forum looked at why Management’s Education’s Role in the SDGs isn’t limited to providing quality education and how there are many different ways that Schools can and should engage.

Several posts included projects that tackle SDG 5 around Gender Equality but two focused in on the topic. Students at Slippery Rock University in the United States were the catalyst to creating a new Centre on campus that focuses on development female business leaders. Through their Diversity Institute, Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Canada has been focused on ensuring that management education is accessible and every student is empowered to achieve his or her full potential.

Once again this year faculty from Signatory schools shared examples of companies within their countries that are considered sustainability leaders, companies engaged in a range of activities across all SDGs. Featured sustainable business examples for 2017 included:

Australia: Kindling, Crepes for Change, eWater Systems

Brazil: Votorantim Cimentos, CPFL

Canada: Net Zero Waste, EcoDairy, Nature’s Path Foods, Magnet, Sharbucks Canada, Scadding Court Community Centre, Telus, Stantec, Nova Scotia designer Tabitha Osler

Colombia: EPM, Grupo Sura, ISA

India: Jayaashree Industries, Goonj

Nigeria: Wecyclers, Adcem Healthcare, Doreo Partner’s Babban Gona

Poland: Izodom 2000, Solaris Bus & Coach, Seedia

South Africa: Zoona, AllLife Insurance, GreenCape

Sweden: Filippa K, Max Hamburgers, Axel Johnson AB

UK: Triodas Bank, Bordeaux Quay, Resource Futures, Low Carbon SW, Eunomia

The month of October was a Special Feature month focused on Impact Investing and how schools are engaging in this topic in particular within the Finance curriculum. A range of resources on Impact Investing were presented as well as a summary of ten ways schools are bringing Impact Investing to campus featuring specific examples from ten different signatories including Tsinghua University in China and ESADE Business School in Spain to name but two. Smith School of Business in Canada shared their experiences training the next generation of impact investing professionals through their Social Finance Academy. Sauder School of Business presented their approach to promoting impact investing not just within the business school but externally as well. Impact Investing Competitions organised by different business schools around the world including a more in-depth feature on not just the competition at IESE but also their newly launched student managed impact investment fund. We finished off the month with a special look at the University of Cape Town’s work on promoting impact investing in the African Context and training a new generation of leaders in South Africa and beyond.

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