2014 Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 2)

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

Principle 5Principle 5: Partnerships

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

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

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

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

Principle 6Principle 6: Dialogue

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

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

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

Principle “7”: Organisational Practices

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

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

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

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

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


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

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






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