PRiMEtime Special Feature on Reporting on the SDGs – Different Approaches to Embedding the SDGs (part 1 of 2)

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Over the next two weeks, PRiMEtime will be celebrating the work that signatories around the world are doing in terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as highlighted in their Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) reports submitted throughout 2018. This is part of the information that was collected late last year exploring how the schools are exploring the SDGs. To read the full report click here.

Going through the SIPs it is striking just how many different ways schools are getting engaged in the SDGs, from embedding them into existing initiatives to creating new ones specifically focused on the SDGs. Here are 5 ways that schools are embedding the goals.

Through Case Competitions: Schulich The ‘Business for a Better World’ Case Competition has been organized by the Schulich School of Business in partnership with Corporate Knights, the magazine for clean capitalism, since 2013. The competition challenges MBA student teams from around the world to improve the sustainability performance of a corporate case subject relative to their industry peers. Challenges have now been aligned with the SDGs. For n 2017, the teams were being challenged to design a global equity portfolio that advances the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals while also maximizing returns. For 2018, the three finalist teams were challenged to develop a new business idea for the BNP Paribas’ Corporate & Institutional activity, in line with their strategy to develop financially viable products and services that direct meaningful investment towards the achievement of the SDGs.

Creating a specific course: University of Guelph College of Business and Economics in Canada offers undergraduate business students a 12 week course focused on how to incorporate the SDGs into their daily lives and their future careers. Students learn about global sustainability issues by focusing on multiple SDGs per class. Each class begins with a guest speaker who is an expert in a field related to the SDGs, followed by a group activity designed to reinforce students’ understanding of each goal. Guest speakers have included Robert Hanner, associate director of the Canadian Barcode of Life Network, who discussed sustainable use of aquatic life; and Marcel Savard, retired director of UN peacekeeping missions.

Reach a wider audience: The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town in South Africa launched a first-of-its-kind MOOC on Innovative Finance to give individuals and organisations, who are passionate about tackling social issues, the financial tols to turn their plans into reality. Innovative finance has been identified as one of the key strategies towards meeting the SDGs. The Centre was chosen by the United Nations Development Programme as one of nine universities worldwide developing a research agenda to better leverage private investment to finance the SDGs and the MOOC forms part of this work.

Developing new programmes: ALTIS Postgraduate School Business & Society in Italy launched a new Master in Finance: Financial Instruments, Markets and Sustainability. The programme is the first in Italy in response to the request of new professionals able to evaluate the investments or economic and financial management of companies and institutions to take account of the principles of sustainability while maintaining a high level of attention to profitability. A particular focus of the programme is aligning investment strategies to achieve the SDGs and directing the financial system towards an inclusive and sustainable development model.

Hosting innovation platforms: The University of St. Gallen in Switzerland hosted an idea battle organised by the Swiss think tank on foreign policy and the Swiss youth delegates to the UN. The aim of the event was to provide a platform for innovative and fresh ideas and to create a competitive environment where student initiatives, start-ups and organisations were given the opportunity to seek feedback from a high-level, interdisciplinary jury. Twelve initiatives were each given five minutes for a pitch, explaining their core mission and arguing how this contributes to the implementation of one or multiple SDGs. The winner was Ässbar, a start-ups against food waste, convinced with their presentation and the fact that their mission tackles various SDGs at the same time.

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