5 Key Resources – Management Education and the Sustainable Development Goals

In 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. This plan in laid out in 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which businesses and business schools around the world are currently engaging with.

Here are 5 key resources to help you with your journey. For more resources, visit the PRME and Global Compact websites.
PRME1.Management Education and the Sustainable Development Goals, a new publication by the PRME Secretariat, provides an overview of why signatories should engage in the SDGs and how they can do so. This short publication provides a series of ways that signatories can contribute, including:

  • Aligning curriculum and research to the SDG commitments and agenda
  • Seeking more applied research around the SDGs that can create solutions to help businesses be more effective and sustainable
  • Acting as leaders of public opinion, advisors, suppliers of knowledge and solutions and mediators among businesses, government and civil society in support of the SDGs.
  • Connecting and collaborating regionally and locally with PRME Chapters and Global Compact Local Networks

SDG Campus2. SDG Campus provides guidance for companies on how they can align their strategies as well as measure and manage their contribution to the realisation of the SDGs. It can be used within curriculum to explore business engagement in the SDGs, but can also provide a toolkit to help business schools think about their own contributions and strategies in this area. It provides a step 5-step process:

  • Understanding the SDGs, the business case and the baselines
  • Defining priorities by mapping the value chain to identify impact areas,selecting indicators and collecting data
  • Setting KPIs, defining a baseline and setting goals
  • Anchoring sustainability goals within the business and embedding them across all functions
  • Reporting and communicating on SDG performance

SDG3. The Sustainable Development Goals Website provides information beyond the 17 goals. Don’t forget to read about the specific targets (169) related to each goal as these really break down the broader issues. You are likely to find several points that you, as an individual within a business school, or you, as a business school, are interested in, or are already engaged in. The website provides a range of resources related to specific issues that are part of the SDGs, but also information on how countries are responding to the SDGs and how to track progress.

SIP4. A Basic Guide to the Sharing Information on Progress (SIP). Use your SIP as an opportunity to take stock of which SDGs you are already engaged in and which you need to be moving forward with by reporting on progress and future goals. Reporting can be an effective tool for facilitating stakeholder dialogue, building a learning community among other schools and communicating your impact. Recently submitted reports are already starting to report on the SDGs.

business5. Business-Business School Partnerships: Partnerships isn’t just Goal 17 of the SDGs, it is a crucial part of all of SDGs. Business schools and businesses can collaborate to co-create solutions for sustainability challenges, win-win partnerships that can yield fresh and innovative input to a company’s engagement in the SDG. The toolkit provides a series of examples of how companies and business schools are working together. For more examples, read:


Of course, don’t forget to keep following PRiMEtime, featuring good practices of PRME signatories around the world and, in particular, how they are engaging in the SDGs. Continue to follow the blog to read about specific ways that schools are engaging and making an impact in relation to the SDGs and get inspired. You can now search for recent articles based on which of the SDGs they focus on. Some articles that may be of interest include:

Make sure you share your SDG initiatives on social media using the following tags: #PRME, #SDGs and #GlobalGoals

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.

From the pilot phase to the online portal: Key steps toward Anti-Corruption Toolkit for MBA programmes



Almost exactly one year ago, I had the chance to speak with Matthias Kleinhempel and Gabriel Cecchini from the Center for Governance and Transparency at IAE Business School in Argentina and coordinators of the PRME Working Group on Anti-Corruption in Curriculum Change. Together with the members of the Working Group, they had been working on developing an innovative new resource for integrating anti-corruption (AC) values into the core curricula of leading business schools. This new online Toolkit utilises a mix of core concept readings, details case discussions, primary sources, and documents, and includes scenarios devised for class discussion. Each of the ten study modules contains a long list of resources that allow faculty of different countries to design a course that is appropriately suited to the necessities of his/her students.

The online Toolkit, which was funded through a grant from the Siemens Integrity Initiative, was tested during a pilot phase, and participating schools recently submitted their feedback on how to make the toolkit even stronger. I recently had the chance to speak with Matthias and Gabriel about this project.

1. What is the status of the toolkit?

Over the past two years, the PRME Working Group on Anti-Corruption has developed and tested a unique approach to teaching business and management school students about anti-corruption. The resulting Anti-Corruption Toolkit provides flexible guidelines and resources for MBA programmes in Business Schools around the world. The Toolkit was piloted in 12 schools from 10 different countries between mid-2012 and mid-2013. Last July, the Working Group met at Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance in Berlin to review feedback from this pilot process, focusing particularly in the following areas:

– Localising content to specific countries and regions,

– Creating a system for easily updating material, and

– Integrating a user friendly search engine for the web-based toolkit.

Following this meeting, the Toolkit will be finalised to help professors design anti-corruption courses and select the most adequate content and/or teaching methods for stand-alone courses and/or for anti-corruption sessions as part of other modules, with the understanding that courses can be customised to the needs and context of the institutions using it.

2. How is the toolkit being used by schools?

The toolkit was implemented differently by each of the 12 schools. Some of them incorporated selected topics into already existing courses, while others implemented the toolkit almost in its entirety; others integrated only some documents/materials or points of view about corruption; some courses were mandatory, while others were optional/elective; some courses had many dozens students, while others had only a handful of them.

3. What changes will be made based on feedback from the pilot phase?

Maintenance and refinement of the Toolkit were among the primary challenges cited by the pilot schools. A website was designed to allow professors to submit additional material in the different topic areas. Standards of relevance and quality will be assured by “gatekeepers” designated by the PRME Working Group which developed the toolkit.

4. How can faculty access the Toolkit?

The Toolkit and its online portal (http://actoolkit.unprme.org/)  are available at no cost to all interested business schools and universities around the world. The Toolkit is organised around 11 topics/modules covering different aspects of anti-corruption and corporate integrity problems and issues, plus a teaching methods section with a broad scope of tools and approaches to improve anti-corruption teaching. Additionally, it will provide a search function for easy access to concepts, key words, and tools.

5. How was the Toolkit used at IAE Business School?

The AC toolkit was implemented in its pilot phase at IAE Business School during the second semester of 2012 through the incorporation of some of its content into a 10 session-elective course “Corporate Governance and Anti-Corruption,” both in the MBA and Executive MBA programmes. The course was designed to help students gain a better understanding of the relevance of anti-corruption policies and of its importance for corporate governance.

Students who took the course (23 in MBA; 26 in EMBA) found the toolkit’s materials generally useful. They appreciated the material as excellent bases for interesting discussions around the issue of corruption. When preparing the elective course, four main topics from the toolkit were particularly useful: Core Concepts, International Standards, Supply Chain, and Managing Anti-Corruption Issues. With respect to methods, long and short case studies were used as well as dilemma scenarios and lectures with guest speakers (i.e., compliance practitioners); additionally, group work and discussion were incorporated.

6. What are the next steps for the Toolkit?

Looking forward past this Toolkit stage, the Working Group will continue working in a second phase in the direction of creating bridges between academia and business through education actions aimed at “train the trainers” and best business practices programmes and workshops, in order to share academic knowledge and tools with compliance practitioners around the world. Information about this next phase will be communicated in due time.

Developing the post 2015 agenda

worldwewantIn the year 2000, world leaders came together to establish the Millennium Development Goals – also known as the MDGs – a set of eight goals which member states and international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. The MDGs are to:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development

The MDGs have been a powerful tool for sustaining global attention and bringing together international support to promote development. The strength of the MDGs is that they focuse on a limited set of concrete human development goals and have provided a target for setting national and international development policies. The specific, time-bound targets and measurable indicators provide valuable and effective benchmarks for monitoring progress and achieving concrete results.

The target today, post Rio+20, is still on achieving those goals by 2015 but the process has started to develop a framework that could succeed the MDGs in the post 2015 era. Discussions are already underway as to what these new goals and targets may look like, taking the lessons learnt from the MDGs. This includes an intergovernmental Open Working Group, a UN System Task Team as well as over 50 national consultations being led by the UN Development Group (for more information about this process visit Post 2015 site).

It was felt, in particular by civil society organizations, that there were several important issues that were not addressed in the original MDGs, issues productive employment, violence against women, social protection, inequalities, social exclusion, biodiversity, malnutrition, the rule of law, human rights that could be included this time around. In order to ensure that the important issues are not overlooked and to make the goals and targets stronger, this time civil society is being invited into the process through a wide range of consultative processes.

In conjunction with the UN task forces and governments plans for the post-2015 agenda, a consultation process is being held online via a platform called The World We Want 2015. Here, nine thematic consultations are taking place led by various UN agencies including Inequalities, Governance, Health, Sustainability, Population, WaterEmployment,  ConflictFoodEducation,  and Energy. Each theme has regular online discussions, summaries of the consultation process, and ongoing Twitter updates of the live proceedings.  Currently there is an online consultation on Sustainability and Growth that will continue until the 8th of March. There are also a series of conferences around the different topic areas happening around the world.

Individuals are also being invited to take part in the process is via My World (www.myworld2015.org), a global survey asking individuals to choose priorities in creating a better world. The results will be shared with world leaders in setting the next global development agenda.

There are also a range of hubs bringing together research, reports and information about the Post-2015 discussions, all which invite contributions. Post 2015 is a hub for ideas, debate and resources on what comes after the Millenium Development Goals. Co-ordinated by the Overseas Development Institute, which has been working on a major research project on the post-2015 agenda, the site also collects information about new research, papers and other relevant information regarding this topic.  Several movements and organizations such as Beyond 2015 and Global Call to Action Against Poverty provide a space for civil society groups to discuss what the post 2015 agenda may look like and submit their recommendations.

The first report of the UN system on the Post 2015 Development Agenda – Realizing the Future We Want for All – provides a good overview of the whole process and the issues being discussed. Moving forward there are a range of events that will bring together the public consultations into the Post 2105 edition of the MDG. For example Feb 27-28 will be the 2013 Global MDG Conference in Bogota, Columbia and the topic will be discussed at length at the upcoming 68th UN General Assembly in September of this year.

To follow other Post Rio+20 activities visit sustainabledevelopment.un.org.

–  How do you incorporate the MDGs in your research and teaching? What are your thoughts on what the post 2015 goals and targets could look like? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. –

2012 Summary of Best Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 2)

2012 has been an interesting year for sustainability and management education and through Primetime I have tried to share some of the incredible work that PRME signatories are doing to mainstream responsible leadership and management education around the world. Primetime has become quite a repository of examples and in the final few blogs of the year I wanted to summarize the range of resources and experiences that have been featured.

Getting faculty engaged

Faculty are key when it comes to bringing about change in sustainability on campus. Several blogs focused on how to get faculty on board with sustainability (9 April) as well as a range of examples from signatories featured in the Inspirational Guide (23 August). Faculty including those from Maastricht University (22 October – Outside the Classroom New ways to feature sustainability in business courses) and Kozminski University (16 January), have initiated a range of innovative courses around sustainability. Several have also initiated Certificates in Sustainable Business, taking a variety of different and innovative approaches (26 April).

We also focused on a range of methods for teaching sustainability, in particular the increasing number of tools available online for faculty to use in their courses, including lectures (19 March), discussion spaces (23 January) as well as online games developed by NGOs (27 February), the business sector (5 March) and universities (15 March).

Finally we focused on bringing out some of the favourite business and sustainability examples of faculty from around the world, including examples from the Dominican Republic, Tanzania and Slovenia (3 July), the USA and Australia (29 October), Poland, UK and the Netherlands (13 February), and Canada, UK and New Zealand (30 August).

Sustainable Campus

Quite a few schools are doing some excellent work around creating more sustainable campuses including looking at providing more sustainable food options (7 May – Sustainable Food on Campus Part 1 and Part 2) and encouraging bike use on campus (6 February – Creating more sustainable campuses: Bikes). Universities have come up with innovative ways to make their campus more sustainable including Aston with their Go Green Awards (21 August – Go Green Awards), Olin’s Sustainability Case Competition (17 September – Using a case competition to make campus more sustainable), the Student Green Energy Fund at University of South Florida (December -)  and Viterbo’s Metrics of Sustainability course (3 September – Engaging your students in making your and other organisations more sustainable).  We also looked at a variety of ways in which students are becoming more engaged in these discussions whether it be through conferences (9 January – Responsible Leadership in China), Board Fellows Programmes (2 January –  Board Fellows Programmes) or through a range of contests (19 November – Contests for Business Students in Sustainability). As signatories are getting engaged in more and more activities across campus they are also exploring how to better communicate these activities and other sustainability programmes both across campus and with other stakeholders (30 July – Communicating your work with stakeholders).

Exploring specific themes

Quite a few schools are doing some excellent work around specific topics and, in particular around Rio+20, many of them were featured here. In May, we had a focus on Water, both on campus and in the curriculum (21 May – Creating a more sustainable campus: Water Part 1 and Part 2). We have also had blogs on the topic of Microfinance (20 February –  Teaching Students about Microfinance) and social entrepreneurship (5 November – Innovations in Social Entrepreneurship Courses Part 1 and Part 2).

We finished off the year with a three part series focused on the UN International Year of Cooperatives, which took part throughout 2012, with an overview of the year (26 November – Introduction), a range of examples of cooperatives around the world (10 December – Business examples) and finally some examples of schools providing teaching and programmes around the topic (24 December – Business School Response). In 2013, this focus will continue with a look at how to incorporate cooperatives into business education programmes.


In 2013 we will continue to provide a range of best practices around mainstreaming sustainability and responsible leadership into management education globally. Some new features for 2013 will include a dean’s corner and a continued focus on how to incorporate the 6 Principles of PRME into your work.

Primetime is all about featuring the work that you are doing at your schools in the area of management education and sustainability/responsible leadership. If you have an interesting example that you would like to share with the community or if there is a particular theme that you would like to see explored, please do email me at gweybrecht@thesustainablemba.com.

Happy New Year!

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