This month PRiMEtime is featuring examples and tools focused on the Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) reports, and in particular how schools are embedding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their reports, but also into their schools. One report that I particularly enjoyed reading through was that of PRME Champion Kemmy Business School in Ireland. Not only are the SDGs embedded throughout but there is also a special section that highlights the work that they are doing, and impact that they are having, around all 17 Goals. I spoke with Sheila Killian about how they put together their 2018 report.
What approach did you take when preparing
We aimed to be as inclusive as possible, and to try to make sure the report reflected real activity in the school. So it was important to us to use real photos of our own students and staff, for instance, rather than stock photos, and to invite as many people as possible to contribute content. We see the report as important internally as well as externally, as it enables all of us in the School to see and celebrate each other’s activities, and to connect on common ground.
How did you go about putting together the report itself?
We began with a survey of all staff, polling them on the six PRME principles and the 17 SDGs. Once we had some saturation there we were confident we had a good picture of the key areas of action in the School. In parallel, we undertook an exercise of reviewing our published research – confining it to those papers published in peer-reviewed journals – to align with themes that related to the UN Global Compact principles, the SDGs and PRME. We included this information in an appendix.
How did you approach the SDGs in your reporting?
This was really interesting. We have been discussing the SDGs as a faculty for several years now, and it was great to see how the understanding of the goals is really maturing across the disciplines of the School. We initially used the survey to gather responses under each SDG, and then followed up by email with those who indicated they had something to say, to get more details and see where their work might best fit in the report.
What parts of the report are you particularly proud of and why?
I love the design, and the fact that it was all done in-house. One of our PhD students, Myles Kingston, has a great talent for graphic design, and is now researching social media and the SDGs. He did a really good job in balancing the content and images in a way that not only looks great, but is reflective of the real activity of the school. We were delighted that we could produce this in house, and with a key contribution from Myles.
What were some of the challenges in putting the information together and how did you overcome these? Successes?
Balancing the content was a challenge. Under some of the Goals we had only one key action, but for others we had many fine stories to tell and had to choose. We needed to be cognizant of those clusters of activity that we included last time out, and to ensure that we were reflecting new innovations this time. We had no magic formula for this – it was a matter of moving things around and iterative review until it seemed fair, reflective and balanced.
How has the report been received? Have you been using it/communicating the report?
We have put it on our website, and also produced some printed copies which we distributed to attendees of a conference we hosted on social and environmental reporting, and to our International Advisory Board. It seems to do a good job of encapsulating what we are about in the field of PRME, and we are really pleased with how it has been received.
Do you have a wish list for your next SIP? What’s next for your SIP?
It would be nice to have some interactive content. I’m not sure that will be in our next one, but perhaps the one after that. We’d like to find a way to embed video without compromising the printed version. We’re also looking at developing some key performance indicators for some of the headings, but are approaching this cautiously, with our critical accounting hats on, wary of moving towards a tick-box process.
What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?
Thing big, start small, act now! And also involve as many people as possible, at least in the information gathering phase. Online surveys are a great way of doing the first cut of gathering expressions of interest to contribute, and to connect people. We discovered so much great work going on in the School about which most people were not aware, and it was a joy to raise the profile of some of those initiatives.