Management Education and the United Nations

As an initiative established by the United Nations, PRME provides a range of opportunities for signatories to engage with a range of programmes throughout the UN system. This includes the wider “UN family” made up of the UN and its many affiliated programmes (e.g. UNDP, UNEP), funds (e.g. UNICEF), and specialised agencies (e.g. ILO, IMF, World Bank) each working on a different subset of sustainability issues globally and locally.

For example, signatories are invited and encouraged to engage in cross-programme projects relating to education and sustainable development including:

SDGSustainable Development Goals (SDG)

On 26 September 2015, all 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted a plan for achieving a better future for all—laying out a path over the next 15 years to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet. At the heart of “Agenda 2030” are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 related targets that address the most important economic, social, environmental, and governance challenges of our time. These goals will help guide national government priorities, however it is the private sector that will be key to the success of each goal—through responsible business operations, new business models, investment, innovation and technology, and collaboration. For companies, successful implementation of the SDGs will strengthen the enabling environment for doing business and building markets around the world. Overall, the SDGs represent an unprecedented opportunity for business and academic institutions to align their own sustainability goals with goals for the broader society. Although the SDGs don’t officially begin until January 2016, now is the time to start exploring how to align curricula, projects, research, and partnerships and raising awareness about the goals on campus. For business updates on the SDGs, click here, for updates from PRME, click here, and stay tuned to PRiMEtime.

HESIHigher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI)

HESI was created by a consortium of UN entities (UNESCO, UNDESA, UNEP, Global Compact, PRME, and UNU) in the run up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Through HESI, higher education institutions commit to teach sustainable development concepts in their core curricula, conduct research on sustainable development issues, green their campuses and support sustainability efforts in the communities in which they are embedded. Although not specifically focused on management education, many PRME signatories are engaged.

The HESI network comes together regularly, most recently in October 2015 in Paris to discuss Higher Education for Climate Change Action. The event provided an opportunity to:

  • take stock of progress made since Rio+20 by sharing best practices and lessons learnt,
  • discuss the roles and responsibilities of higher education institutions in contributing to business and technological innovation around climate change adaptation and mitigation, and
  • encourage new or enhanced commitments, particularly around the facilitation of academic and scientific inputs into the formulation of climate policies.

The meeting resulted in the formulation of a message and a set of policy recommendations to be presented to the UNFCC Secretariat at COP21 in December 2015 in Paris.


UNESCO Global Action Plan on Education for Sustainable Development

gap-esd_logoBuilding on the momentum and increasing importance of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) beyond the International Decade for Sustainable Development (2005-2015), the Global Action Plan (GAP) seeks to generate and scale-up concrete actions arou
nd ESD in all levels and areas of education and learning
to accelerate progress towards sustainable development. In order to do this five priority action areas have been identified; mainstreaming ESD into educational and sustainable development policies, integrating sustainability principles into education and training settings, building capacities of educators and trainers, empowering and mobilising youth, and accelerating sustainable solutions at the local level. For more on the GAP, click here.

UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) coordinates a wide range of local, regional, and global projects around education for all, at all levels, and in all areas. For more, visit en.unesco.org. One of these projects is the Global Business Coalition for Education, which brings the business community together to accelerate progress in delivering quality education for all of the world’s children and youth.

For more on UN-related educational programmes and opportunities to engage, keep an eye out for notices in the PRME Newsletter.

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.

Management Education Engaging High School Students in Sustainable Business

IYD_20152 copyAugust 12th was International Youth Day, a day focused on the engagement and participation of youth in sustainable development. This year’s theme was Youth Civic Engagement, to promote young people’s effective and inclusive civic engagement at all levels.

Business schools around the world are putting in a range of programmes and initiatives to educate and prepare their students to be part of a more sustainable future. However, they are also increasingly actively engaging with local high schools students, providing them with a range of opportunities to do the same. In celebration of International Youth Day here we look at some examples from around the world.

The University of Guelph College of Business and Economics (Canada) works in partnership with a local enterprise organisation, and a group of 46 students working in teams, to co-create a design solution to support youth (ages 18-25) engagement within the community. Topic areas include mental health, skill development, entrepreneurship, education, employment, voting and volunteerism. The teams have 90 minutes to craft a solution, prepare an elevator pitch, and present their pitch to the group. In 2014 the winning team was “Smash the Stigma,” a blog used to inspire conversation, raise awareness, and ultimately change the identity of mental illness by encouraging youth to go online and share their story.

Faculty, students and staff at the University of Porto (Portugal) are involved in the “Universidade Junior Project” (Junior University Project), organising a series of activities related to economics, management, and sustainability for more than 400 youth. The school also promotes a yearly contest focused on management for high school students.

Fairleigh Dickinson University (USA) engages several local high schools and their teachers in two yearly conferences focused on renewable energy and social entrepreneurship. In April 2015, STEM high school students were immersed in a real-world planning experience in which mixed-school teams designed a solar PV system for their schools. During the sustainability conference, students were given the challenge of creating a business idea that is judged by a panel. Students with the most innovative ideas were awarded scholarships, certificates and cash prizes. The school has also partnered with the University’s School of Education to provide training and support to primary, middle, and secondary school teachers and administrators on how to develop and implement problem-based interdisciplinary units focused on local and global sustainability issues that benefit their communities.

Staff and students at Nottingham Business School (UK) have joined forces with three Nottingham-based companies—Capital One, Eversheds and Ikano—to deliver a financial literacy programme called “Cheese Matters!” to children at the city’s secondary schools. The collaboration with Nottingham Business School in 2013 has contributed an expanded pool of volunteers to deliver the programme, and offered students opportunities to network with local businesses that foster cultures of socially responsible business.

IEDC (Slovenia) co-founded Challenge:Future, a global student competition that has engaged nearly 15,000 students, 18 to 30 years old, from ninety countries, to address global sustainability challenges through open collaboration. With six sustainability challenges explored—communication, transportation, media, health, youth in society, and prosperity—Challenge:Future has ignited unprecedented interest across universities and continents, and created a vibrant online youth community dedicated to advancement of the vision of sustainable development.

MoneyThink is a national non-profit organisation that equips urban high school students with personal finance skills. This is accomplished through the help of college students who mentor at local high schools. A chapter was founded at the University of Notre Dame (USA) in 2014, and so far it has grown to include over forty mentors, impacting over 100 high school students in the South Bend Community.

University of Waikato (New Zealand) organised the Annual Sustainable Enterprise & Ethics (SEE) Awards, which aim to give high school students the opportunity to learn about responsible management and business ethics through analysing the impact of New Zealand businesses on the wider community. Teams of 3-5 students are required to prepare a case study on a business around their community. Students have access to an online web portal where they can acquire a broader understanding of these fundamental concepts through online seminars and materials. The winning school receives a cash prize of $500.

Wayne State University (USA) is an active partners in the Teen Entrepreneurship Program. Selected high school students from around the area are given an intensive one-week on-campus training experience in entrepreneurship. The programme, also known as “Green Teens” centres around having the students (working in small groups) develop various “green” business-based projects.

University of New South Wales’ (Australia) Indigenous Winter School Program is for Indigenous high school students from across Australia, in grades 10-12, who choose a faculty to spend three days with as part of a week-long residential programme. Out of a maximum group of fifteen students per faculty, the Australian School of Business (ASB) hosted 14 students.

Last but not least, Koc University (Turkey) provides a range of scholarships yearly which target successful students from underdeveloped cities in Turkey. So far 118 students have been supported.

2015 is the International Year of Light – Sustainable Energy (Part 1)

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Every year the UN chooses one or two themes that are celebrated throughout the year by governments, local organisations, businesses and educational institutions. This year was proclaimed the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, and focuses on the topic of light science and its applications with the aim of recognising the importance of light-based technologies, promoting sustainable development and providing solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Additionally, access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all is Goal 7 of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals. In celebration of the International Year of Light, the following week will focus on sustainable energy and feature a range of initiatives and programmes implemented on the topic at universities internationally.

Many academic institutions provide support for entrepreneurs in the field of sustainable energy. The Sustainable Renewable Energy Business Incubator Initiative at Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, in Trinidad and Tobago, aims to grow and nurture companies operating within the emerging sustainable energy sector, through the provision of business support, facilitation of access to markets, and access to finance as well as technology transfer and joint ventures. Some of the projects to be included in this initiative include a project involving photo voltaic panels for solar generated electricity, recycling and proper tyre disposal used for generation of supplemental fuel substitute and a project involving power generation using tidal power.

There is an increase in courses and electives with a focus on energy. For example, fourth semester BSc students in Business Administration and Information Technology at Copenhagen Business School, in Denmark, use a case called Smart City. In this case, which covers three courses, students work to facilitate sustainable and energy efficient lifestyles through the use of information technology, including big data and the Internet of Things. The Smart City case enables students to apply new ideas using technology to better curb high energy consumption. This includes exploration of how cities, governments and corporations can take ideas from research to the market.

The University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur, in Switzerland, is part of a research consortium of four different universities investigating the future of Swiss hydropower. The research will be based on local case studies with industry partners and local stakeholders. Students at the school have also been engaged in sustainable energy projects. A group of students recently produced a short video clip called “2048” that envisions the future of energy production as a private activity. The video won the 2014 Sustainability Award of the Swiss Foundation Consumer forum. The University also has a Masters in advanced studies in energy economics. The school has also recently installed energy efficient lighting schemes and is installing a new control system for energy consumption that provides real time data.

At Boston University, in the USA, Clean Energy and Environmental Sustainability Initiative (CEESI) was established to engage university resources to help prepare for a world where increasing demand for energy resources must be balanced with environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Boston University’s approach is interdisciplinary, with CEESI involving faculty and staff from the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Engineering, and School of Management to coordinate a university-wide vision for research and academic programmes relating to this challenge. CEESI is responsible for new education and research programmes in energy-related areas, the Presidential Lecture Series and other events, coordination with campus-wide activities, general operating policy, communications, and related matters affecting Boston University’s sustainable energy objectives.

At the University of St. Gallen, in Switzerland, the Good Energies Chair for Management of Renewable Energies is an industry-sponsored chair focused on developing a competence centre for research and teaching in the fields of renewable energies and energy efficiency. The position focuses on innovative business models and committed entrepreneurship. The chair investigates how the shift towards renewable energies can be accelerated through the interaction between private investments, consumer behaviour and effective energy policies.

April 7th is World Health Day (Part 1)

large-poster300April 7th is internationally recognised as being World Health Day. This year’s theme is improving food safety, from farm to plate. According to the World Health Organisation, unsafe food is linked to the deaths of an estimated 2 million people annually. With increasingly globalisation come new threats to our food including harmful bacteria, viruses and chemicals. World Health Day is an opportunity for governments, manufactures, retailers, the public, and business schools to look at the importance of food safety.

Outside of the theme chosen for the year, April 7th is an occasion to introduce, discuss, raise awareness and take action on health issues that are material to your community, whether that be your campus, your country or on an international scale. To celebrate World Health Day, here is a small selection of what business schools around the world are doing related to health issues.

Haas Business School’s Healthcare Association (USA) is a student group that aims to be the “healthcare hub at UC Berkeley.” They host an annual Haas Business of Healthcare Conference, which attracts over 300 participants. They also organise Hacking Heath, an annual hackathon focused on developing software for health care. Professional and student coders, builders, designers, marketers, health experts and clinicians from across the University and the area meet to design, build and pitch solutions over a 2.5 day period. The students in the Haas Healthcare Association also organise a number of company treks, “lunch and learn” sessions and networking opportunities for students, as well as guidance and connections for summer internships in the area of healthcare.

Members of the Association can often be found at healthcare business-case competitions around the nations. Boston University (USA) has two healthcare case competitions. The Global Health Sector Interdisciplinary Case Competition challenges teams of students from 12 of the world’s leading MBA programmes to solve a health sector market challenge. The competition is unique due to its interdisciplinary nature—in addition to MBA students, each team includes public health, medicine, engineering or law students. The School also organises the Grand Business Challenge in Digital Health, sponsored by Merck, where teams of students from leading business schools answer the question: How will information technology influence and transform global healthcare to create value for the world? Last year’s winner was a team from Fudan University School of Management, with a project that looked at bringing the gap between rural and urban populations by providing online consulting and education for rural doctors.

Several Universities offer MBAs or other management programmes with a focus on Health Care. Boston University has a Health Sector Management Programme that has been running since 1972 that prepares students for leadership roles throughout the health industry including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, health information technology, health systems management, consulting and public policy. Many students also take advantage of the dual degrees offered, including an MBA/JD in Law and Heath Care Management and an MBA/MPH in Global Heath Management. ESPAE (Ecuador) has a Hospitals Management Programme that aims to create competent professionals in the management of health-care organisations, who are socially and ethically responsible. Several other schools such as University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (USA) are also looking at developing Heath Care Management Programmes.

Related to health topics as well, the International University of Monaco (Monaco) has a Master in Sustainable Peace through Sports. As part of the programme, students attend the International Peace and Sports Forum in Monaco, which allows them the opportunity to interact with more than 700 influential decision makers and high profile opinion leaders from world sport governance, politics, international organisations, NGOs and the private sector, plus academics and top-level athletes from over 100 countries on topics related to sustainable peace.

Several business schools hold public dialogues around health and sustainability topics. The Global Security Research Institute, Keio University (Japan) has held a lecture series called “Dedication to Health,” its first lecture series for PRME, which was made into a fully credited course at Keio University. Its aim was to provide opportunities to reconsider CSR activities from the keyword health. Starting from the physical and mental health of individuals, the concept expanded to include healthy organisations, communities and even healthy global economies. IEDC (Slovenia) partnered with members of the UN Global Compact Local Network Slovenia to organise workshops around the theme of “Health promotion in the workplace as part of the corporate social responsibility and sustainable business development.” Participants (managers) of the morning workshops jointly developed their baselines and expectations in this area, which were later presented as challenging questions to the speakers of a high level round table on the topic.

The Future Corporation–The Future Business School

LEAD Symposium

Every year, a number of leading companies in the field of sustainability who make up the Global Compact LEAD group meet to discuss current issues and key trends and to shape future developments in this area. The 2014 LEAD Symposium challenges participants to sketch a vision of The Future Corporation, identifying key characteristics of what the sustainable corporation could and should look like in the future. They look to provide a beacon for the transition of the global business community that is already underway, fuelled by deeper integration of sustainability into strategies and operations.

On 20 November, LEAD companies want to hear from business school professors and students about their vision of The Future Corporation and invite the PRME community to engage via Twitter.ber, students are invited to watch the Live-stream and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #FutureCorporation and #GCLEAD. The live Twitter feed will be displayed in the conference, and attendees in the room will be encouraged to engage in dialogue with those watching the live-stream: www.unglobalcompact.org/LEADSymposiumOnline.

To create The Future Corporation, we also need to explore The Future Business School. What kind of training is needed to ensure that future generations of employees, managers, and leaders have to create the future corporations we want and need? What, specifically, should future business schools look like, in terms of curriculum, partnerships, dialogues, campus greening, etc.?

“The Future Business School will have to serve an increasing number of stakeholder groups and, at the same time, have to survive in an increasingly competitive environment. The successful Future Business School copes with these challenges by combining academic rigor and relevance for society. Relevance for society includes, first of all, the learning experience of students; it includes the close interaction with companies but will also include, to a larger extent, services and cooperation with other relevant groups of civil society. This prepares students for careers in The Future Corporation, which will be a more social responsible corporation. However, there is no single best answer on the main characteristic of “The” Future Business School–rather the expectation is that diversity will increase. Personally, I would like to see business school graduates as people beneficial for society–like dentists (this is what J. M. Keynes formulated for economists). Business schools, as institutions, should be independent players that provide thought leadership and are acknowledged partners of companies, which are not only striving for profits but understand their more complex role in society.” – Prof. Dr. Rudi Kurz, Pforzheim University Business School, Germany

“The Future Business School needs to position itself as part of a broader ecosystem of partners, both within and outside of the university, exploring ideas and innovation. To facilitate this, students, faculty, and staff need to learn about opportunities and solutions together as part of a larger learning community. Our Queen’s Social Impact Academy is a co-created campus-wide learning platform for students and faculty and the source of existing and new traditional and online courses in the areas of social innovation and human-centred design.” Tina Dacin, Director, QSB Centre for Social Impact, Queen’s School of Business, Canada

Parts 2 and 3 of this series capture visions from PRME schools of what The Future Business School may look like. I encourage you to contribute your own.

 

For more ideas visit the Future MBA Project, a growing database of ideas from around the world on what the future of management education might/could/will look like.

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