Engaging Students in the Reporting Process – an example from KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business

A number of Sharing Information on Progress reports were recognized at the PRME Global Forum in New York this past July. The nine reports that were highlighted show only a snapshot of all of the interesting approaches to reporting that are coming from the PRME Signatories globally. Another interesting approach comes from KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business (KU Leuven FEB) in Belgium. Their report, which was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative standards, includes a materiality matrix which was prepared by students across a number of Masters level courses. I spoke with Talia Stough, Sustainability Coordinator at KEB, about this unique approach.

What is your materiality index and why did you decide to do one?

The KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Management engages in the process of sustainability reporting in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The GRI standards provide high-level guidance to help organizations identify and prioritize sustainability-related topics for reporting and communicating. Organizations consider their main sustainability impacts and, in dialogue with their stakeholders, prioritize topics onto a materiality matrix. The results can be visualized on a materiality matrix, which displays issues of increasing materiality to the organization on one axis and to stakeholder on the other axis, where the highest priority issues are located in the upper right section of the chart.

How were students engaged in the process?

In-class stakeholder engagement activities were carried out in the courses Corporate Social Responsibility (available to students of: the Masters of Business Administration; Master of Business Engineering; Master of Environment, Health, and Safety Management; and the Master of International Business Economics and Management programs) and the course Strategic Management: Execution and Control (Master of Business Administration) to identify material topics to student stakeholders.

In the course Corporate Social Responsibility, following a lecture on sustainability reporting and the methodology of the GRI and a short overview of the faculty’s sustainability initiatives, students worked in small groups to discuss which sustainability-related topics they considered most important for the faculty (and greater university) to work on. Students were given a simplified list of GRI topics, augmented with education and research-related indicators from AASHE’s STARS criteria. As a small group, they rated each topic as low, medium, or high priority. Each group also identified its top three topics. Afterwards, there was a group discussion with the whole class on which topics were most material and why.

A group of master students have been assigned to work on stakeholder engagement in their course Sustainable Management. This group of students assisted in the in-class engagement exercise in the Corporate Social Responsibility course, were given material from the exercise to analyze, and developed their own extra-curricular engagement.

How was this input used in the materiality index?

The results of the in-class activity were analyzed by the Faculty Sustainability Coordinator as follows: individual group responses were given a score of 1, 2, or 3 to each topic depending on the response of “low materiality”, “medium materiality”, or “high materiality” respectively. Topics were then categorized as low, medium, or high materiality based the weighted average score. One new topic was proposed during the in-class engagement exercise: impact of cafeteria operations. Since we have no other input on the materiality of this topic, we will need to include this topic in future engagement exercises to collect more information on its cumulative importance to stakeholder.

The content from the activity was analyzed by the Sustainable Management students using qualitative content analysis. Although the results of this were not included in the 2016 materiality index but they have been integrated into our 2017 Sustainability Report.

How was it involving students in the reporting process?

The KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business embraces the ideology of utilizing the campus as a living laboratory in sustainability integration. While involving students in stakeholder engagement activities and the sustainability reporting process can be a labor-intensive process (students are not yet experts on the GRI or the topics included in the standard), the potential for two-way learning makes the involvement of students worthwhile, especially in the case of stakeholder engagement.

In-class stakeholder engagement exercises ensure the participation of students in sustainability engagement processes. In our experience, voluntary, extracurricular engagement activities are not well attended, so conducting engagement activities in class helps overcome that barrier. It also offers a manner to communicate about the sustainability initiatives to students who may otherwise not become aware of such activities.

In both capacities (students leading and participating in engagement activities), time is always challenging. In the course Sustainable Management, students have one semester to understand a topic (in this case stakeholder engagement), the faculty’s approach to this topic, and to develop and analyze activities. In the case of the in-class engagement activity, after the introductory lecture on sustainability reporting and materiality, there is only one hour remaining for the engagement activity and discussion. The engagement activity is then analyzed and the results are presented by the lecturer at a later class.

Where there any surprises? Anything you would have done differently?

This is our fourth year doing such activities (both the in-class engagement and the use of master students in the reporting process). Each year, we reflect on the successes and room for improvement and adapt the activity. Last year, I was not able to attend the Corporate Social Responsibility course in person, so I created an online survey for students to rank the materiality of topics on their own. This actually produced more interesting cumulative results, and we plan to re-integrate this back into the activity next year. The idea for next year will be to have students rank the materiality of topics online on their own, then in-class have group discussions on ranking these as a group.

Utilizing the master students in the preparation of the sustainability report is something we believe strongly we should do, but many challenges arise. In the past, we broke students into groups based on sections of the report: economic, environmental, social, education, etc. We found that this resulted in an overwhelming assignment for the students and group work that lacked new analysis. Now we focus group work on themes (based on material topics from past materiality prioritization). Before the semester, the sustainability coordinator contacts internal people responsible for data management on the topic to ensure that data will be available for students (in the past is was difficult to ensure students had timely access to the information their requested; some data required quite some time to generate from the SAP). By working on less topics, the depth of the group work has increased.

Any tips for other schools looking to get their students engaged in their reporting process?

Including students in the reporting process can foster fruitful two-way learning. Students bring energy and fresh perspective into sustainability reporting. One semester is a relatively short timeframe for students to become familiar with the reporting process, the GRI standards, the topic they are working on (e.g. stakeholder engagement, diversity in the workforce, environmental performance, sustainable purchasing, etc.), and to then make a new contribution to the reporting process. This means that there is a relatively high time input for the sustainability coordinator, but limited useable output for the sustainability report. Another option, that we will be exploring more in the future, is the use of master thesis on topics in the sustainability report. This would allow a longer timeframe for a student to go more in depth into a topic, but limits the number of students involved.

What has been the impact of the index?

Based on previous year’s in-class engagement activities, it was identified that students highly prioritize anti-discrimination because there were incidents of students feeling uncomfortable/discriminated against. However, there were very low rates of reporting such incidents. Therefore, based on the in-class engagement activities, we know there is a gap in student experience and formal procedures to report and document discrimination.

Based on the 2017 in-class engagement activity, the topic of: impact of cafeteria operations was identified as a unique topic. This is in line with a common trend we find in that students (and staff) tend to give more priority to tangible topics that they often come in contact with (e.g. paper, heating of the buildings, etc.).

What’s next?

What’s next is the preparation of the Faculty’s 2017 sustainability report (intended to be completed and published online September 2017). Next year, we will open the topic of stakeholder engagement for sustainability at the faculty up as a master thesis topic for our students (max. 2) to work on. We will continue to keep our eye on gender balance based on the high priority this topic receives from the organization (our own gender policy) and student and staff stakeholders. We will continue to use the sustainability reporting process (including stakeholder engagement activities) as a living laboratory activity and include students in this activity. Eventually, we would like to incorporate external stakeholder input in the future, but this remains a challenging task to approach in a systematic and meaningful way. We would also like to engage with other reporting higher education institutions to share experiences with reporting and using the reporting process as a living laboratory activity.

12 Visuals to get inspired by for your next SIP report (Part 1 of 2)

Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) reports, beyond being a requirement for PRME signatories, are an opportunity to bring together the work a school is doing in the area of responsible management education, reflect on that work and explore future opportunities. SIPs can provide an important communication tool to raise awareness both internally and externally about your initiatives. Using visuals in your report is one way to bring the information contained within your report to life, to make it easier for your stakeholders to navigate, understand, engage in, and to take action on. To inspire your next SIP report, here are 12 visuals (in two parts) taken from recent SIP reports. These examples are intended to be an exploration of the different approaches taken from different schools. For more examples you can browse through all of the SIP reports on the PRME website.

 

Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria in Canada has been working steadily to measure and reduce its carbon footprint. Over the past few years they have put in place new systems for data collection to ensure more accurate measurements for the various sources of emissions related to the school’s operations. They publish an annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions report for Gustavson, prepared by Synergy Enterprises, one of many sustainability-oriented companies founded by former University of Victoria students.

Gordon Institute of Business Science in South Africa has a series of illustrations created to capture the school’s ongoing commitment to the principles of PRME. The first explores GIBS’s engagement through its people, the second its impact on its community and globally and the third innovation that it is fostering.

 

The MBA office at Reykjavik University Business School in Iceland interviewed all teachers in the MBA programme in order to map the extent to which a focus on ethics was built into each course. This showed that nine courses out of twelve have CSR or business ethics elements in them. Of the nine, three put a great deal of emphasis on the subject as can be seen in the syllabus mapping.

Copenhagen Business School in Denmark provides a snapshot of different sustainability related research projects. They also include a picture, the name and contact details for those responsible for each project, making it easy to find out where you can find out more information about their projects, whether you are a member of the community or not.

 

Material issues for KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business in Belgium are displayed in the materiality matrix. These issues are categorized based on their ascending relevance to stakeholders (based on engagement activities) and the organization (based on the school’s vision, mission, values, and strategy). The most material sustainability issues are education and research that address sustainability topics, as well as the promotion of diversity/non-discrimination with an emphasis on gender equality.

 


Hanken School of Economics
in Finland uses tables such as this one throughout their report to outline goals from previous reports, progress made on those goals and to lay out future goals. Here they also address any delays or challenges to reaching set goals.

2016 Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 1)

It is once again it’s time for PRiMEtime’s year-end review. 2016 was another exciting year with a lot of innovative new initiatives and approaches at business schools around the world embedding responsible leadership and sustainability into their programmes. PRiMEtime provides an extensive and growing database of examples from schools around the world on how to embed sustainability, ethics and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into management education as well as tips on how to move forward.

This year, 60 new articles were posted featuring over 143 examples from more than 65 schools in 38 countries. In this 2-part year-end post we review the examples featured this year, organized roughly around the SDGs, and what we have to look forward to next year. (Click on the links to read the full article).

SDG1SDG2SDG3The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has developed an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Business School and the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, call the Wellness Clinic. It provides preventive care programmes designed, promoted, administered and implemented by students. IEDC-Bled School of Management partnered with members of the UN Global Compact Local Slovenia to organize workshops around the theme of “Health promotion in the workplace as part of the corporate social responsibility and sustainable business development’.

For one week in March, EADA Business School’s campus transforms into a model refugee course where students taking the Managing Humanitarian Emergencies elective learn about the main components required to respond to humanitarian emergencies and extreme situations in general.

 

SDG4

La Trobe Business School (Australia), ISAE (Brazil), Audencia Nantes School of Management (France) and Hanken School of Economics (Finland) founded CR3+ Network, a new program that provides a supportive platform to build international collaboration and enables the four schools to work together to build capacity in responsible management education. In the USA, Western Michigan University (USA) partnered with Christ University in Bagalore in India to create an experiential experience to engage students in sustainability discussions in India. Reutlingen University in Germany shared their experiences with the Ethikum Certificate awarded to students who complete a number of special experiences and courses during their time at university. Hult International Business School shared their experiences integrating the SDGs into the core Business and Global Society course. Hult International Business School and Ashridge Business School also shared their experiences integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into their PRME Sharing Information on Progress Report. The University of St. Gallen and oikos work together to offer the PhD Fellowship Programme, a unique opportunity to support international PhD students writing their thesis on sustainability in economics or management.

PRiMEtime also explored a range of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available on sustainability topics. These courses are free online and open to anyone with an interest in the topic. A series of posts provided an overview of the MOOCs available in the Spring (Part 1 and Part 2) and summer (Part 1 and Part 2).

 

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The American University of Beirut’s University for Senior Programme aims to redefine the role of older people in society by providing them opportunities to remain intellectually challenged and socially connected through a range of lectures, study groups, educational travel programmes, campus life and intergenerational activities. The American University of Beirut also paired up with Citi to provide crucial support and mentoring for female entrepreneurs in Lebanon and the MENA region with the goal of increasing their numbers significantly. Altis Postgraduate School of Business and Society in Italy introduced us to E4Impact, a special programme aimed at training a new class of African leaders who will be able to create jobs in the sustainability sector in their country.

 

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Ryerson University (Canada) designed a unique interdisciplinary programme that brings together faculty from all of the university’s six department called the Environmental Applied Science and Management (EnSciMan) with a focus on environmental management. In Italy, the University of Bologna’s Launch Pad aims to leverage the know-how of the hundreds of PhDs and post-docs studying at the university to facilitate its transformation into valuable products and services, many focused on social and environmental topics. PRiMEtime also looked at a range of global student networks engaged in sustainability that are active within and across business schools.

 

SDG8

Antwerp Management School’s ID@Work research programme aims to support organisations in attracting, developing and retaining employees with an intellectual disability. The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience at the University of Wollongong is an educational programme that supports Indigenous students through high school and into university, employment or further education. Also in Australia, Deakin University has been exploring how to encourage and train more Indigenous Australians to become accountants (currently of the more than 180,000 Australian professional accounting body members, only 30 identify as Indigenous). The Northwest Aboriginal Canadians Entrepreneurs Programme at the University of Victoria Gustavson School of Business is a partnership between several organisations including regional and provision government to offer first class entrepreneurial learning to the Indigenous people of Northwest British Columbia with the aim to enhance the self sufficiency and full economic participation of Indigenous people

Engaging Employees with Intellectual Disability – Antwerp Management School

idwork-pagina-18ID@Work at Antwerp Management School in Belgium is a unique research project aimed at supporting organisations in attracting, developing and retaining employees with an intellectual disability. The project identifies the levers that can help facilitate the employment of disabled people, as well as the potential challenges and obstacles related to this type of employment effort. Intellectual disabilities are part of most of the Sustainable Development Goals including Goal 8 (unemployment rate and average hour earnings of persons with disabilities) and Goal 16 (increasing the proposition of positions for persons with disabilities in different organisations including in decision making positions).

I recently spoke with Professor Bart Cambré, associate dean research from Antwerp Management School about this innovative initiative.


How did ID@Work come about?

In the margin of the 2014 Special Olympics European Summer Games, Antwerp Management School conducted a study on the employment of people with intellectual disability (ID). The research was done by an inclusive team existing of two athletes participating in the Special Olympics European Summer Games and a senior researcher without ID. Their study focused mainly on employment in sheltered workshops and social economy. A first white paper was published.
The positive experience Antwerp Management School had by working with the researchers with ID, their added value during interviews, and the obvious need of more information and data on employment of people with ID in the regular economy, motivated AMS to develop a new project: ID@Work was born.
What is ID@Work?

ID@Work is a unique scientific project on the inclusion of workers with intellectual disability in the regular economy. ID@Work, stands for intellectual disability@work and has 6 goals:

  • hire the researchers with ID who volunteered in the previous study
  • conduct a study on the employment of workers with ID in the regular economy
  • write a white paper on this study (at this moment only available in Dutch and French)
  • develop a free scan for employers
  • develop a coaching programme for employers wishing to hire workers with intellectual disability
  • organise HR Master classes to train HR personal to hire workers with intellectual disability. This will be an exclusive AMS product.

The first 4 goals have already been achieved. The most recent one was launched November, 2016 and is a scan enabling employers to check how ready a company is to hire workers with intellectual disability. After having taken the test, every participant receives instant feedback and can ask for a full report and profile including advice and links with further resources to engage employees with intellectual disability. Both the tool and the report are free of charges.

What were some of the results of the study you conducted?

For the study mentioned previously, the inclusive team visited 26 companies and interviewed over 60 people all involved in inclusive work with people with ID.
The team extracted 6 pillars on which working with people with ID is or should be based. It is obvious that if one of the pillars is lacking or not equally balanced compared to the other ones, the risk of failure or a less positive experience with working with an employee with ID rises.
Those 6 pillars are:
1. Knowledge & Expertise need to be present before starting. If the company lacks knowledge, call in the help of experts.

  1. Strategy – refers to the reason for inclusion. What are the motives of an employer to hire people with ID? Is there an economic inspired strategy or rather social responsibility?
  2. Job matching – refers to the processes to match a candidate with the tasks needed to be done. Job design is a key element.
  3. Work culture – refers to the values and norms of an organisation when it comes to diversity, performance, organisational practices and policy. Integration and respect are key.
  4. Experience & Support – how much experience does the organisation have in managing diversity and to what extend is there support to facilitate the inclusive policy?
  5. Empowerment – refers to the level of autonomy and self-reliance of the worker with ID. Both need to be stimulated and can be endangered when the employer/organisation has a (too) protective attitude towards the worker with ID.

What have been some of the challenges and successes?
Working with two researchers with ID has been eye-opening. It has become clear that they have another view on the world compared to researchers without ID and that their vision leads towards other types of questions and unexpected answers from the interviewees. It was definitely an added value to the study.

Also, by walking the talk, Antwerp Management School became its own case study. Experiencing real live that things go wrong when the job doesn’t match, that getting professional accompaniment and the right financial incentives as an employer, and other types of help is a complicated adventure in Belgium.

We’ve proven the need of a project like ID@Work to facilitate the employment of workers with ID and to make employers reflect on the possibility and the benefits of hiring people with ID. The fact that not only placement agencies and care organisations, but also the associations of entrepreneurs back the project and promote the test, is a key element for making this project transcend the purely scientific level and enable the tools to actually make a real difference for people with ID in the regular economy.

What does a school – or any other employer for that matter – needs to know before hiring a person with ID?
The most important thing is to gain knowledge on intellectual disability and to know what kind of tasks you would this person like to execute and what basic skills he/she needs to have able to do this. For example, would you like to hire a person with ID to help in administration, then list the tasks involved and the required skills. Does the job include sending emails, look up things on the Internet or use spread sheets to make listings, then be aware of the fact that the worker needs to know how to use a computer, write emails in a proper way, etc. Do not expect these skills to be granted. Reflect on the question if your company/organisation is willing to invest time and money into extra IT training for the worker with ID. Also determine if the tasks you would like to be executed by a person with ID are sustainable or limited in time. If so, you might need to foresee other matching tasks for the worker with ID later on or make him/her aware of the fact that the job is only temporary.

Second is communication. Make sure that the whole company or organisation carries the initiative. Everybody needs to know why a person with ID is being hired and what the benefits are.
Third, set boundaries. In a people and socially oriented environment such as a school, the danger of ‘over’-caring is real. Being too protective is not stimulating the empowerment of the worker and will consolidate the innate helplessness the majority of people with ID are locked into. On the other hand, too much care will weigh on the co-workers of the person with ID. Because of the innate helplessness and the fact that the borders between private life and work are not always clear to the worker with ID, they keep asking for all kinds of help if co-workers do not set clear boundaries. The danger for workers to become after-hour caregivers for their colleague with ID is real.

What’s next?

With another 6 months of the project left, we’re now working on the last two goals of the project: a coaching program for employers and HR Master Classes. The first one will be developed with agencies already active in placement and job coaching for workers with a distance to the labor market. The HR Master Classes will be an exclusive program by Antwerp Management School.

Parallel to this development we will be analysing the data harvested with the ID@Work scan and use the results to consult experts and authorities in improving policies regarding inclusive work.
We secretly hope to be able to install a chair on the subject later on.

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How to Engage Students Around the SDGs – Antwerp Management School

ams-sdg-student-ambassador-tshirtOver the past three years, Antwerp Management School has stepped up its efforts to implement the PRME principles. Apart from having been a Signatory since 2012, they also hosted the Belgium Global Compact Network Chapter. Sustainability is a key focus area of their school, in particular what they refer to as societal consciousness of students in relation to sustainability.

I recently spoke with Eva Geluk, part of the team at BASF Deloitte Elia Chair on Sustainability and Manager of the Competence Centre Corporate Responsibility at Antwerp Management School about one of their newest programmes, the SDG Student Ambassador Campaign, that aims to engage students in sustainability discussions and, in particular, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

What is the SDG Student Ambassador Campaign?

At AMS, we aim to empower students with the necessary knowledge, skills and reflection on societal challenges that will not only help them to develop their own perspective on corporate responsibilities, but also help them by turning these into future business opportunities. As the SDGs are gaining increasingly visibility in the world of business and civil society at large we thought it was time to promote the Goals within our student community and empower them with the necessary knowledge to challenge their peers and faculty. Worldwide her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium is one of the official SDG Ambassadors on global level.

Every year all of our students participate in a one-day programme consisting of an introduction to sustainability in the morning and an interactive and fun experiment in the afternoon. The morning lectures are on ‘Sustainable business = business’, followed by two interactive sessions on ‘Cultures of sustainability’ and ‘The evolutionary basis of sustainable behavior’. The afternoon session is an experiment through which students experienced (un)sustainability in an interactive, integral, and original way.

This year during the programme we launched the SDG Student Ambassador Campaign initiative looking for 16 Student Ambassadors – it is a voluntary initiative on top of their day-to-day curricula work. As there is no course incentive for them it is purely involvement based upon their own intrinsic motivation illustrating that this generation is not only aware of a changing world but also wants to actively contribute to it.

What are the key features of the programme and how does it work?

We see the creation of SDG Student Ambassadors not only as a means to promote the Goals within our own schools, both with fellow students and with faculty that teaches on their programs, but also as a means to further empower our students to critically assess the role of the Goals in management education. After all it is them who will be going out into business once they finish their degree and become the leaders of tomorrow. The original idea was to create 16 SDG Student Ambassadors that would facilitate a workshop with companies committed to the SDGs for their fellow students. To our delight the interest was that great that we ended up with 54 SDG Student Ambassadors. This represents almost a third of our total student population in the Full Time Masters division.

This group of SDG Student Ambassadors will be provided with extra information and get the opportunity to participate in conferences and events organized around the different sustainability themes. The best project will also get a prize for their work and we will create visibility for them where we can during their academic year. They have all received a SDG training session provided by CIFAL Flanders – part of UNITAR training centers, based in Antwerp and focusing all its training activities on the SDGs.

What are some of the projects that the students will be involved in?

Because of the success of the programme, we adapted our approach by suggesting a few more projects and letting room for the creation of own initiatives by the students. The result is a multiple of diverse projects:

  • A project where students will conduct a workshop with different companies active on the SDGs for their fellow students
  • a project where students will conduct a workshop on the SDGs in local schools
  • a project that will look at the own footprint of the student community
  • a project that will work guerilla style drawing attention in creative ways to the goals by for example organizing flash mobs in different cities in Belgium
  • a project that will organize a debating night on the SDGs and invite relevant and inspiring speakers
  • a project that will identify documentaries on the different goals and organize a movie night with teaching questions attached to it so that they can be used in class too
  • and a project with Aim2Flourish where students will interview business leaders that started a company with the aim of doing good
  • and finally a project that will look at SDGs in reporting and a project that creates our own SDG You Tube channel

What have been some of the challenges? 

Managing the additional workload that the great interest by students to become a SDG Student Ambassador had created. But this is only a pleasure! It would help to have a fixed budget for this project hence the leverage internally that this project creates is so important!

Successes?

The fact that we got 54 SDG Student Ambassadors instead of the 16 that we were hoping for was a massive success and gives us internal leverage to further promote not only the SDGs but PRME initiatives as a whole.

The fact that there is so much interest from the students is obviously very exciting. It gives not only hope about the next generation of young leaders understanding the importance of sustainable development in a business context but also fulfills our aim of empowering the students with knowledge and critical thinking that they can use with their peers, faculty and future employers. Also the fact that they are actively involved in finding own projects is exciting as it underlines the empowerment approach and shows that it is working. Thirdly, it has the potential to become an important internal leverage for putting even more focus and effort in implementing the PRME principles in all of our teaching, research and activities as almost a third of our students illustrated this much interest in the theme.

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

Do not think too much about it but just do it. We launched it as an experiment, with only the only objective being having 16 student ambassadors and one project so being flexible in what comes at you and have internal support from above is also essential.

What’s next for the initiative?

Now all focus is on executing the different projects and raising awareness on them and the AMS SDG Student Ambassador campaign at large. Early spring we will evaluate and see how we can further build not only the student empowerment programme itself with the overall aim of getting ECTS points attached to it, but also the SDG Student Ambassador campaign and create continuity. Furthermore we would love to share our experiences and the outcome of the projects with other schools as much as possible.

Our approach to responsible management education is supported by the BASF Deloitte Elia Chair on Sustainability – a joint academic partnership by the faculty of applied economic science at the University of Antwerp and Antwerp Management School. For more read AMS’s SIP report.

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2015 Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 2)

It is once again time for PRiMEtime’s year-end review. 2015 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. Sixty articles were posted featuring over 182 examples from more than 114 schools in 38 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

A growing number of schools are partnering with local businesses to advance sustainability on campus and beyond. In fact, through a new project between Global Compact LEAD and PRME Champions many of these partnerships were highlighted this year including The American University in Cairo’s Women on Boards programme, the development of local sustainability networks by ESPAE, University of Guelph partnership around food, Novo School of Business and Economics’ partnership around children consumer behaviour and the University of Technology Sydney partnership around insurers role in sustainable growth. Additional resources were providing to assist schools in developing new partnerships including 5 Key Messages from Business to Business Schools Around Sustainability and 10 Tips.

Another feature focused on examples of schools engaging with local governments in Turkey, Brazil, Australia, US, UK and Latvia.

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. As always, many posts featured Sharing Information on Progress Reports including an overview of the newly released Basic Guide to Sharing Information on Progress, as well as a two part series on visuals to get inspired by for your next SIP report.

A number of Sharing Information on Progress Reports were featured and celebrated this year including Reykjavik University’s first report, Ivey Business School’s experiences communicating the big picture through their SIP, the recipients of the Recognition of Sharing Information on Progress Reports were highlighted including KEDGE Business School.

Principle “7”: Organisational Practices

PRME signatories globally are increasingly active in creating more sustainable campuses. Coventry University shared their experiences in gaining sustainability accreditation in the UK. A two-part feature on sustainable buildings on campus highlighted a range of approaches being taken by schools around the world.

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 2015 included:

Thank you for a fantastic 2015 and for contributing all of your good practice examples and stories. We encourage you to engage with the discussion and promotion of PRME and the Sustainable Development Agenda on all levels, including our Chapters and working Groups, as well as through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

2016 will be another exciting year in the field of management education and sustainability in particular through the Sustainable Development Goals and business-business school partnerships. 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.

2015 Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 1)

It is once again time for PRiMEtime’s year-end review. 2015 was another exciting year with a lot of innovative new initiatives and approaches at business schools around the world embedding responsible leadership and sustainability into their programmes. Sixty articles were posted over the year on responsible management education, featuring over 182 examples from more than 114 schools in 38 countries. In this 2-part year-end post we review what happened this year and what we have to look forward to next year.

Principle 1Principle 1: Purpose

2015 of course was the year of the PRME Global Forum. A post of student views on business as a force for good as well as what the future corporation will look like, highlighted the power of students in being innovative thought leaders. Several key documents were launched during the Forum and featured on PRiMEtime including The State of Sustainability and Management Education.

In September a call to action was made to higher education institutions to join in making a commitment to support refugees in crisis. The PRME community stepped up with a number of initiatives featured in this post. Two posts on Higher Education for Climate Change Action coincided with the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative meeting in October and featured a number of examples of business schools taking action around this important issue.

As the international community is preparing to launch the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals in 2016, a growing focus of PRiMEtime and the wider PRME community has been understanding how business schools can engage in the process and contribute to achieving the goals once they are put in place. Several updates were posted including this overview and update.

Principle 2Principle 2: Values

As the sister initiative to the Global Compact, several Global Compact resources were featured including Finance and Sustainability Resources and Ways to Engage and a look at the building blocks for transforming business and changing the world. We also looked at a number of other resources available to the PRME community including ways that schools are using technology in the classroom to teach sustainability, a selection of MOOCs on Sustainability/Ethics for Fall 2015 as well as for Spring 2015.

Several posts featured International Days focused on highlighting and celebrating specific sustainability related topics. This included a look at how management education is engaging high school students in sustainable business for International Youth Day, schools engaged in sustainable energy projects for the International Year of Light, a two part feature on schools engaged in sustainable food for World Health Day, and women and management education for International Women’s Day

Principle 3Principle 3: Method

PRME schools shared their experiences in re-designing their programmes to embed sustainability more fully including Stockholm School of Economics, University of New South Wales, Jonkoping International Business School, and the University of Wollongong. This included new courses such as Peter J. Tobin College of Business introducing all students to not-for-profit management, students engaging in their communities including innovative projects at Great Lakes Institute of Management, and Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management’s MBA for Life programme. ISAE/FGV shared their experiences in engaging stakeholders in prioritising their sustainability strategy moving forward.

Principle 4Principle 4: Research

Schools continue to conduct a number of important research projects around the topic of sustainability, ethics and responsible management focused on their particular regions, including the development of case studies on sustainable production and consumption for the business community at the Universiti Sains Malaysia.

A growing focus is being put on interdisciplinary collaboration and projects including at Stockholm School of Economics, Aarhus University and the Maasai Mara in Kenya, and the development of an interdisciplinary sustainability research network at University of Nottingham.

Several new publications were introduced which highlight research and the key role that faculty play in embedding sustainability and responsible management into the curriculum including Faculty Development for responsible management education and an Inspirational Guide for the Implementation of PRME featuring examples from UK and Ireland.

 Part 2 will be posted on January 4th, 2016.

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