How are Business Schools Engaging in the SDGs – Examples from SDG 1 -9

As the Blueprint for SDG Integration states, “Business schools need to create their own SDG pathways, based on their starting points, the prevailing context, their organizational capacity and their needs”.  Every school, not surprisingly, is engaging in the SDGs in different ways, somethings through research, other times in campus operations and often within their curriculum. In this two-part post, we look at some examples of how different Signatories are engaging in specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 
 
SDG 1 – No PovertyGabelli School of Business’s mission is to “promote research and education that assist in the alleviation of poverty, the promotion of justice, the protection of human rights, and respect for the environment”.  For example, undergraduate students worked with faculty through the Spes Nova Initiative to alleviate poverty in some of the poorest regions of the world by examining sustainable fair trade business models. They looked to design a replicable, scalable series of ventures across global campuses, in a franchise model starting at Fordham, where crafts are sold at fair value. By helping artisans reach global markets, their intention is to positively impact poverty. Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in China has a goal to increase their research focus on SDG 1 in line with China plan to eradicate poverty. 
 
SDG 2 – Zero Hunger
Researchers at the University of Huddersfield Business School are involved in several projects focused on fostering sustainable food supply chains. One example is a project on food fraud that investigates the reasons of food fraud and the challenges to reduce these instances. Fraud cases food waste which has an impact on food security and the ability to create socially relevant sourcing, not to mention its impact on human health. The project considers the stakeholders in the food supply chain and the drivers that increase food fraud and food crime. The University of Guelph Sustainable Restaurant Project aims to create change in the mindsets and behaviours of students, educators and operators in the hospitality industry towards sustainability by integrating topics of sustainability into the hospitality and tourism curriculum and the student managed fine-dining restaurant, Pj’s.  
 
SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being
The Centre for Sport and Social Impact at La Trobe Business School conducts a range of research project including using sport to assist in solving difficult social problems, the benefits of sport, recreation and leisure for communities suffering extreme disadvantage and how to build healthy communities. The Bright Side of Work Lab at Kemmy Business School comprises a group of work and organisational psychologists who focus on small daily changes that employees can make to improve their health, motivation and well-being at work, changing the psychological and behavioural habits of workers that may be reducing their well-being.
 
SDG 4 – Quality Education
Hanken School of Economics offers a Finish Business Culture course to educate asylum seekers, refugees and migrants and to provide a general overview of the factors influencing business operations in Finland. Hanken offers a free of charge study module in Corporate Responsibility (CR) to a group of thirty students each year. The aim of the module is to provide students with an opportunity to learn about CR regardless of their major subject and educational background. Aston Business School is a partner of The Prince’s Trust, a charity that supports 11 to 30-year-olds who are unemployed and those struggling at school and at risk of exclusion. They are provided a range of training programmes, providing practical and financial support to build young people’s confidence and motivation. 
 
SDG 5 – Gender Equality
Leeds School of Business’ first female dean, Dean Sharon Matusik, has focused on ending the gap found in almost every business school (and boardroom). The school offers a multitude of programmes aimed to reach women before they get to college. The school also offers a Women in Leadership course and one research project involved working with the Hubble Space Telescope Time Allocation Committee to switch the review process to a blind system to give women a better chance of receiving funding.  The For My Country project is a social responsibility initiative to create a participatory culture among Koç University Holding companies, employees, dealers and suppliers and encourage them to become involved in solving social problems. The project identifies a specific social need every two years and conducts activities around that theme. The project focused on the social and economic empowerment of women, in collaboration with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). 
 
SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation
At Brennan School of Business, sanitation as an entrepreneurial/social issue opportunity is discussed in the International Business course, focusing on innovation in developing low-cost toilets for poor communities. In the Principles for Marketing course, students developed a marketing plan for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District focused on selling bio solid compost. Kemmy Business School has been involved in an initiative spearheaded by Rhodes University in South Africa focused on digital citizens engagement around the delivery of water and sanitation services using mobile technology. Boston University is conducting research on approaches to overcoming the environmental, legal, financial and demographic barriers to sustainable water management, and to maintain affordability of water. 
 
SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy
The Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy is a university-wide centre dedicated to facilitating the transition to a sustainable, climate-safe global energy system. The University also offers an Energy and Sustainability MBA Concentration. The University of Auckland worked on a collaborative project to develop a digital 3D model of the city with its topography, trees and buildings to be used to calculate the slope and aspect of rooftops and the annual solar radiation on all the roof areas.  James Madison University students took part in a competition that challenged undergraduate students to design a wind turbine based on market research, develop a business plan to market the product, build and test the turbine against set requirements and demonstrate knowledge of siting constraints and location challenges for product installation.  The Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business at Rotterdam School of Management brings together an integrated range of research disciplines with real-world practitioners and decision-makers to provide solutions for tomorrow’s energy markets.
 
SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
Ted Rogers School of Management’s Centre for Labour Management Relations promotes contemporary, collaborative, equitable, fair and progressive approaches for labour and management to work better together, and with other stakeholders in ways that inform innovative policy and drive positive change. In 2004, the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt was the first Bavarian university to be awarded the “family-friendly university” certificate. . In 2016 they signed the Family in the University charter along with 60 other universities. Winchester Business School has a Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement, designed to satisfy the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act (2015) stating how it does not engage in, or condone, the practices of human trafficking, slavery or forced labour.  
 
SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
ESPAE-ESPOL offers a Micro Entrepreneurs School for small and micro business owners from the area surrounding the campus. Staff and alumni act as facilitators.  To celebrate Copenhagen Business School’s 100th anniversary, a special event around Responsible Banking and Finance in the next 100 years took place. The purpose of the event was to develop an engaged dialogue with stakeholders from the banking and finance industry with the hopes to ignite new ideas and develop an agenda for future research and teaching in business schools. The Gabelli School of Business is home to the American Innovation Index, a partnership between Fordham University, Norwegian School of Economics and Rockbridge Associates that gauges social innovation from the point of view of the customer. 

 

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