A Selection of MOOCs on Sustainability and Ethics for January 2018 (Part 1 of 2)

Every year there is an increase in the number of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available on sustainability topics. These courses are available for free online and open to anyone with an interest in the topic, lasting between three and fourteen weeks and taking three to eight hours per week to complete. Below is a selection of such courses starting in January 2018, listed by topic, from primarily PRME signatory schools.

Foundations of Development Policy: This course uses economic theory and data analysis to explore the economic lives of the poor, and the ways to design and implement effective development policy. MIT – starts February 6 2018.

The Challenges of Global Poverty: This course uses economics to understand some of the root causes behind underdevelopment and the constraints and trade-offs the poor face when making decisions. It also looks into anti-poverty strategies and policies. MIT – Starts February 6 2018.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals – This course provides a brief introduction to the Sustainable Development goals, what they are, how they came about, the goals and targets themselves as well as next steps and our role. Gowi – starts now.

 

Social Norms, Social Change: This course is on social norms, the rules that glue societies together. It teaches hot to diagnose social norms, and how to distinguish them from other social constructs, like customs or conventions. Unicef – starts January 1 2018.

 

Children’s Human Rights – An Interdisciplinary Introduction: This course combines law, psychology, sociology, history, educational and health sciences, economy and anthropology to explore critical issues concerning children’s rights. University of Geneva – starts January 8 2018.

 

Women in Leadership Inspiring Positive Change: This course aims to inspire and empower women and men across the world to engage in purposeful career development and take on leadership for important causes – to lead change with more conviction and confidence – and improve our workplaces and communities for all. Case Western Reserve University – starts January 8 2018.

Droi International de L’Eau Douce (course in French) – This course explores the laws that regulate and produce freshwater and the responsibilities of different stakeholders. University of Geneva – starts January 1 2018.

 

Sustainable Energy: This series of courses explores the complex nature of energy generation, distribution and supply and the challenges of transitioning to a sustainable energy future. University of Queensland – starts January 23 2018.

Energy Principles and Renewable Energy: This course provides an introduction to the language of energy, key scientific principles that underpin energy systems, future energy challenges and available renewable energy options. University of Queensland – starts January 23 2018.

Just Money: Banking as if Society Mattered: This course explores how banks can use capital as a tool to promote social and environmental wellbeing. MIT – starts March 7 2018.

Supply Chain Innovation: How Technology Can Create a Sustainable Future: This course looks at new technologies and how they can make supply chains more sustainable. It also explores global trends in global and supply chain innovation. University of Twente – starts now.

Debt Sustainability Analysis: What are the tools to access debt sustainability? How can countries effectively manage their sovereign debt? To answer these questions, this course combines theory with hands-on exercises. IMF – self paced.

From Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Social Innovation: Based on real-world experiences from business leaders, learn how to develop and lead social innovation initiatives that create both economic and social value. Babson – starts January 16 2018.

 

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.

2017 Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 1 of 2)

This past year was a big year for the Principles for Responsible Management. As a network of networks we celebrated our 10th anniversary including an opportunity to come together and look both back and forwards at the PRME Global Forum in July 2017 in New York City. This year was also the second year that the Sustainable Development Goals have been in effect, including a significant increase in the impact that management education is having in the realisation of these Goals. Many of this past year’s PRiMEtime posts have highlighted this collective impact.

This is the 6th year that I write PRiMEtime. I started this blog in 2011 in collaboration with the PRME Secretariat as a way of showcasing all of the exciting initiatives that Signatories were taking part in. Not only has this shown schools and the business community what is possible but in many instances this has also helped raise awareness of these initiatives within the schools and helped the individuals involved receive more support internally. Thank you to all of the individuals who are not only driving these initiatives but who took the time to share their stories here. PRiMEtime is now a database of good practices from around the world with over 1000 examples of how management education is embedding sustainability the Principles into their work.

This year 60 new articles were posted featuring over 100 examples from more 90 different Signatories in 27 countries. We have also introduced a number of Special Feature Months providing a more in-depth look at how schools are approaching a specific SDG. In this 2-part year-end post we review the examples featured this year, (roughly) organised around the SDGs. Simply click on the links to read the full article.

I look forward to another year of featuring your initiatives. Please feel free to email me your suggestions as well as any requests for 2018.

Many signatories provide opportunities for their students to work on projects to better their local communities. One example featured was the I’m the Change Initiative from the Institute of Management Technology in India which is a mandatory programme for all students. Many Signatories organise awareness raising events and conferences during the school year focused on PRME and sustainability. At the University of Greenwich Business School their full day conference focused on “Shaping Business Opportunities in a World of Uncertainty” not just organised by students but is organised as part of the requirements for one of their courses.

Students have always been, and will continue to be an important driver of PRME and sustainability on campus. At FEA-RP/USP in Brazil the Sustainable Student Organisation Awards promote and recognise projects that benefit the school and the local community. Students at Universidad EAFIT in Colombia are exploring solutions to local SDG challenges through a range of projects on campus. Copenhagen Business School is looking at a range of ways to really embed sustainability into their campus with the support of a new Sustainable Infrastructure Taskforce.

On PRiMEtime we regularly post blogs summarizing the lists of MOOCs on sustainability topics offered by Signatories. Many of these MOOCs are either available on an on-going basis or have regular start dates so even past posts provide a good resources. If you are planning a MOOC for 2018 please email so this can be included in the next post in January. For 2017 this included a selection of the MOOCs available in Winter 2017 focused around economic, social and environmental issues as well as in September 2017 focused around strategy, cities, social impact, funding and ethics. An update of a very popular post on Primetime from several years ago focused on how to use online games to engage in sustainability was also shared. It provides links to a number of online games that can be used in the classroom organised by SDG.

A post in March also looked at What Students Think About Responsible Management Education outlining a number of insights pulled from a recent survey on students views on sustainability in business education. Another post that came out just before the PRME Global Forum looked at why Management’s Education’s Role in the SDGs isn’t limited to providing quality education and how there are many different ways that Schools can and should engage.

Several posts included projects that tackle SDG 5 around Gender Equality but two focused in on the topic. Students at Slippery Rock University in the United States were the catalyst to creating a new Centre on campus that focuses on development female business leaders. Through their Diversity Institute, Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Canada has been focused on ensuring that management education is accessible and every student is empowered to achieve his or her full potential.

Once again this year faculty from Signatory schools shared examples of companies within their countries that are considered sustainability leaders, companies engaged in a range of activities across all SDGs. Featured sustainable business examples for 2017 included:

Australia: Kindling, Crepes for Change, eWater Systems

Brazil: Votorantim Cimentos, CPFL

Canada: Net Zero Waste, EcoDairy, Nature’s Path Foods, Magnet, Sharbucks Canada, Scadding Court Community Centre, Telus, Stantec, Nova Scotia designer Tabitha Osler

Colombia: EPM, Grupo Sura, ISA

India: Jayaashree Industries, Goonj

Nigeria: Wecyclers, Adcem Healthcare, Doreo Partner’s Babban Gona

Poland: Izodom 2000, Solaris Bus & Coach, Seedia

South Africa: Zoona, AllLife Insurance, GreenCape

Sweden: Filippa K, Max Hamburgers, Axel Johnson AB

UK: Triodas Bank, Bordeaux Quay, Resource Futures, Low Carbon SW, Eunomia

The month of October was a Special Feature month focused on Impact Investing and how schools are engaging in this topic in particular within the Finance curriculum. A range of resources on Impact Investing were presented as well as a summary of ten ways schools are bringing Impact Investing to campus featuring specific examples from ten different signatories including Tsinghua University in China and ESADE Business School in Spain to name but two. Smith School of Business in Canada shared their experiences training the next generation of impact investing professionals through their Social Finance Academy. Sauder School of Business presented their approach to promoting impact investing not just within the business school but externally as well. Impact Investing Competitions organised by different business schools around the world including a more in-depth feature on not just the competition at IESE but also their newly launched student managed impact investment fund. We finished off the month with a special look at the University of Cape Town’s work on promoting impact investing in the African Context and training a new generation of leaders in South Africa and beyond.

Resources on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – December edition – part 1 of 2

There are a growing number of excellent resources around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, many of which can be used in the classroom or to inspire activities within University and Business School campuses. In this new series we will regularly feature a range of different resources that can be used to engage in, and raise awareness of the 17 SDGs. If you are creating new resources or have any favourites please send them so they can be featured as well. Part 1 will feature resources for Goals 1-9 and part 2 will feature resources for Goals 10 through to 17. For more Primetime posts related to the SDGs click here.

Assessing Bottlenecks: With the SDGs, the question is: What are the actions that will take us forward more quickly across a broader range of interlinked goals? This report explores the interlinkages and integrated nature of the SDGs and the need to go beyond silos to taking an integrated approach to development interventions. The SDG Accelerator and Bottleneck Assessment tool development by the UN Development Programme explores these.

Zero Hunger Challenge: The Zero Hunger Challenge reflects five elements from within the SDGs, which taken together, can end hunger, eliminate all forms of malnutrition and build inclusive and sustainable food systems. Stakeholders including universities can become participants of the Challenge by making a commitment to take action that will have a demonstrable, quantifiable impact. The challenge website also offers a range of resources and videos that can be used to create your own version of the Zero Hunger challenge on campus.

Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum: This site includes a series of dilemmas and case studies that were developed to support efforts by business to respect human rights in their operations and supply chains. Cases are focused on a number of topics including living wages, working hours, human trafficking, doing business sin conflict affected countries and indigenous peoples’ rights.

World Youth Skills Day: Youth are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and are continuously exposed to lower quality of jobs, greater labor market inequalities, and longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions. This is particularly the case for women. The 15th of July ,World Youth Skills Day, aims draw special attention to this issue. UNESCO has developed a special kit with a range of videos that can be used.

Women’s Empowerment Principles: Over 1,000 business leaders have adopted the Women Empowerment Principles that are used to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The site includes a Gender Gap Analysis Tool to help companies identify strengths, gaps and opportunities to improve their performance eon gender equality as well as a series of resources that can be used in the classroom.

Guidance for Companies on Respecting the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation: This resource provides companies with practical measures on how to bring a human rights lens to their existing corporate water stewardship practices. It is on of several publications provided by the CEO Water Mandate, a group of companies working to develop, implement and disclose water sustainability polices and practices and sharing best and emerging practices.

Sustainable Energy for All: The site includes information to indicators for sustainable energy that give policy makers and investors detailed country-level insights for levelling the playing field for sustainable energy worldwide. ‘Heat maps’ available on the site, combine and analyse some of these data sets to show leaders where they can make the biggest and fastest inroads towards the SDGs.

Decent work and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: The International Labour works to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all. Their site offers a range of resources around decent work and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a cross cutting theme that impacts and is impacted by many of the other SDGs. They also have a number of Notes on specific issues such as green jobs, national employment policies, skills and engaging the private sector on decent work.

The Equator Principles: The Equator Principles is a risk management framework, adopted by financial institutions, for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in projects. It is primarily intended to provide a minimum standard for due diligence to support responsible risk decision-making. It currently covers over 70 percent of international Project Finance debt in emerging markets.

Management Education’s Role in the SDGs isn’t limited to providing quality education (SDG4). It is broader and more important than that.

When I discuss the Sustainable Development Goals with business school representatives, and ask what kind of initiatives they are working on in relation to these Goals, the answer is often the same: “We educate, therefore our focus is on SDG 4: Quality Education”.

But focusing solely on, and stopping at SDG 4 is a mistake, and a missed opportunity for the institutions in question and society at large. The role that business schools play is much broader and more important than that. The wider community engaged in the SDGs most often fails to recognise the crucial role that business schools can and are playing in the SDGs but they aren’t the only ones; business schools themselves generally fail to recognise the extent of their own role.

The Sustainable Development Goals are unique in that they are a globally recognised set of goals that outline where we need to go as a planet and where all stakeholders should direct their attention. It is a common language that unites us, that allows for partnerships to grow across sectors, industries, disciplines, all through this shared platform. It is a key for schools to connect into these discussions, to participate in them and to influence them all for the benefit of the school, its faculty and students.

  1. Ensure everyone on campus knows what the goals are and why they are important: Sobey School of Business in Canada organised a faculty session on the SDGs with a focus on how faculty can better embed discussion of the Goals into their courses. Faculty were asked to commit in writing how they planned to do this in their 2016/17 courses through the use of cases, assignments, additional readings etc.
  2. Identify which SDGs are most material to your institution: Hanken School of Economics in Finland identified which SDGS were most material to them in order to prioritize first steps. They are now working to understand where they stand on each of them and are exploring how to move forward.
  3. Embedding the SDGs into the curriculum: Slipper Rock University of Pennsylvania and La Trobe Business School have both been working to benchmark the coverage of sustainability topics within the business curriculum by mapping coverage of the SDGs taught in the courses offered in the core curriculum and whether it is part of the text, a module, part of an assignment or discussions.
  4. Embedding the SDGs into class assignments/discussions: Students at University of Colorado Denver in the US are tasked with developing an implementation plan for a company of their choice to address specific sustainable development goals and identify how the business could make progress against the specific targets associated with the goals. Students also need to consider actions that the United Nations could take to encourage more businesses to address the SDGs.
  5. Explore possible solutions: Students at Hult International Business School in the US were challenged to create a company-led “system” to solve a specific Sustainable Development Goal. Proposals ranged from training FARC rebels to meet employment needs while helping them to re-integrate into Columbian society; to challenging companies to get rid of boxes by collaborating with retailers to create new distribution systems for cereals.
  6. Facilitate interdisciplinary and multi stakeholder discussions to move the goals forward: Kemmy Business School’s Accountability Research Cluster hosted an international seminar on Tax and Poverty as part of their series Architects of a Better World. The event, which brought together a range of stakeholders focused around Goal 1 of the SDGs: No Poverty, the first time that the role of tax in delivering on the SDGs has been specifically addressed in Ireland.
  7. Work on the goals within your own institution: ISAE/FGV in Brazil reports on what they are doing on campus to reach the SDGS within their own operations including through waste management, water consumption, ethics and corruption on campus, gender equality and access to education.
  8. Use the SDGs to guide research priorities and impact: The University of Wollongong in Australia reports on what percentage of their research relates to the different SDGs and Manchester Met Business School is aligning their research closely with the SDGs.
  9. Developing partnerships to advance the goals: Faculty at Nottingham University Business School in the UK are collaborating with an international group of scholars to develop an innovative framework for assessing the impacts of Multinational Corporations on issues relating to the SDGs, in particular SDG 16 Peace Justice and Strong Institutions. The toolkit is being testing through close collaboration with partners from a range of industries as well as research organisations and civil society.
  10. Report on your efforts and impact in relation to the SDGs: University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur has organised their reporting around the SDGS with a particular emphasis on which SDGs they have a direct, indirect or collateral impact on.

Every one of the SDGs impact, and are impacted by management education, the research that you do, the decisions that your graduates make and how, as a network of schools, we create value. Each of the goals requires businesses and other organisations to work together on the challenges and developing and implementing the solutions. The upcoming 2017 Global Forum for Responsible Management Education – 10 Years of PRME in New York City on the 18-19 and of July will focus on sharing best practices in relation to making the Global Goals local business and how to bring the SDGs into every classroom.

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.

 

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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.

 

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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

Sustainable Business Examples from Around the World – Hong Kong, Kenya, and Canada

img_4721As businesses become more and more engaged in sustainability around the world, we are presented with an increasing range of examples of active companies. However, when I speak with students and faculty, they say that they often hear about the same examples from the same international companies over and over again.

In an attempt to share some new best practice examples, I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite classroom examples of local companies that are actively involved in sustainability. Here are some examples from Kenya, Hong Kong, and Canada.

Jessica Vaghi, E4Impact Foundation, ALTIS Postgraduate School of Business and Society, Italy (examples from Kenya)

Continental Renewable Energy (Corec) is a Kenyan based company that recycles waste plastic into eco-friendly building material and sell the hardware to developers whose problem is high material cost by providing affordable and durable construction products. It prevented 700 tons of waste from landfills, made 26,000 posts and signed orders over 10.000 roofing tiles by customers across Kenya in 2 years of operations.

Stamp Investment is a Kenyan enterprise that distributes briquettes and multitasking fuel efficient stoves, which enables schools and households to have access to safe drinking water with a reduction of 75 % in water borne diseases. The business won the Grand Challenges Africa “pitching your innovation” competition in 2016 and has been national winner of the most innovative business idea during Enablis Chase bank, ILO business launch pad competition in 2011.

NUCAFE – National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises is a sustainable market-driven system of coffee farmer organisations empowered to increase their household incomes through enhanced entrepreneurship and innovation in 19 districts of Uganda. NUCAFE Contributed in influencing the development of a National Coffee Policy and to improve gender relations among coffee farming households and was nominated by AGRA best Africa farmer organisation of 2013 in income diversity category.

Click here for more information about E4Impact Foundation and their work in Kenya.

Pamsy Hui, Hong Kong Polytechnic University Faculty of Business, Hong Kong

It is often a misconception that interesting work in the field of sustainability can only be done by companies with a lot of resources.  In Hong Kong, many small and medium enterprises are doing very interesting things with limited resources.  For instance, Diving Adventure Ltd., a company providing training services and products related to scuba diving, has always put the environment in the forefront of its business decisions.  They regularly collaborate with NGOs, the government, and other organisations on environment protection initiatives (e.g., underwater cleansing activities, reef check).  What is impressive is that for such a small operation, they go far beyond just caring about environmental sustainability.  They are also committed to create employment opportunities to minority groups, released prisoners, and reformed drug users, to help integrate them into the society.  On the service side, they regularly provide training to underprivileged children and individuals with disabilities, providing a sense of inclusiveness for people who are often overlooked, if not discriminated, by the society.

Another example is Baby-Kingdom.com, a parental online forum for parents to share information and experiences related to bringing up children.  In addition to donating to NGOs, they help NGOs advertise on their forum, bringing awareness among their large number of users. They set up the Baby Kingdom Environmental Protection Education Fund in 2008 to support programmes in primary schools to educate school children on concepts such as greenhouse gas reduction and green diet.  Consistent with its family-friendly image, Baby-Kingdom.com started family-friendly practices well before they became a trend in large corporations.  The well-being of children is central to its human resource practices, and the company is often recognised for being a socially responsible employer.

A third example of a company doing interesting things related to sustainability is 4M Industrial Development Limited, a toy design company specialising in educational toys.  In designing their products, 4M consciously favors sustainable materials and supply chains with lower carbon footprints.  In addition, 4M partners with NGOs in multiple ways.  With the Spastics Association of Hong Kong, they adapt part of their manufacturing process to support the disabled.  It also works with different NGOs to promote their causes.  Many of 4M’s products have a green message behind them (e.g., Paper Recycling Kit, Trash Robot Kit).  For each box of the Clean Water Science Kit, for example, 4M donates a portion of its profits to NGOs to fund water-purifying projects in the third world.  Meanwhile, children buying the kit would get a message about the project in the box.

Click here to read about the Interdisciplinary Wellness Clinic at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Deborah De Lange, Ryerson University, Canada

Our Horizon is a national not-for-profit organization led by Robert Shirkey that works with governments to require climate change labels on gas pumps. The idea is a low-cost, globally scalable intervention to communicate the hidden costs of fossil fuels to end users and drive change upstream.

ZooShare is a biogas plant led by Daniel Bida that turns animal waste from the Toronto Zoo and food waste from grocery stores into fertilizer and renwable power for the Ontario grid. The process aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 tonnes of C02 each year. The biogas plant is starting construction now and will be operational in the summer of 2017.

Purpose Capital is an impact advisory firm that mobilises all forms of capital – financial, physical, human and social – to accelerate social progress. Alex Kjorven is the Director of Corporate Development and is a graduate student in the EnSciMan programme at Ryerson.

Click here to learn more about the interdisciplinary EnSciMan programme at Ryerson University.

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How the Social Impact Festival at University of Western Australia Supports Global and Local Progress

img_7254-smlThe Sustainable Development Goals help us consider everything – from one person, to the university, to our cities – in a global context. They provide a robust yet accessible framework for learning about global progress. This is the focus of the work being done at the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia. Among their many programmes is their annual Social Impact Festival, an opportunity to bring together individuals and organisations who are deeply committed to making Western Australia a better place.

I spoke with Claire Stokes from the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia about this increasingly successful event.

What is the Social Impact Festival?

The Centre for Social Impact at The University of Western Australia (UWA) hosted the first Social Impact Festival in May 2015 – we call this ‘prototype 1’. It saw over 1,000 people attending events on the UWA Crawley campus focused on furthering social impact. When 2016 began, the team at the Centre for Social Impact UWA decided to take the festival into ‘prototype 2’ in July 2016. Katie Stubley (the other co-director) and myself started with a purpose and designed the event to fulfill that purpose. This included three primary aims: share and diffuse cutting-edge knowledge; strengthen and connect social impact networks; and increase our capacity to make WA better for all. We also identified many people, ideas, organisations and networks that have been deeply committed to making WA a more just, vibrant and better place for all. So a key element of the festival was bringing stories of social impact in WA to the surface to be celebrated and amplified.

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

The concept of ‘social impact’ is so broad that we knew a regular conference format would not work. To see real change, we knew we had to reach audiences beyond those who had previously engaged with the Centre and in a variety of settings. The format was based roughly on a ‘fringe festival’: a diverse range of small, low-cost, and engaging events in a variety of venues so attendees could ‘create their own adventure’.

We turned to our postgraduate course – the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact – for a framework which gave us the following themes for the four key days of the festival:

  • Creating social impact: entrepreneurship, innovation & design
  • Demonstrating social impact: research, measurement & evaluation
  • Funding social impact: investment, philanthropy & ethical consumerism
  • Leading social impact: organisation, collaboration & systems

As a whole, the festival featured 34 events over 7 days in 16 venues around Perth. Individual event prices ranged from $0 to $30 and 15 events were free. More than 150 people and organisations contributed to the festival programme (including speakers, workshop facilitators, co-working space hosts, artists, performers, open house venues, and market stall-holders). Through the interactive ‘Stories from the Field’ events (21, 22, 26 & 27 July), 68 individual stories of social impact were shared. Twenty local ethical businesses featured in the Marketplace & Ethical Fashion Show (23 July), and 10 spaces and organisations featured on Social Impact Open House day (25 July).

What are/were your favourite parts of the festival?

Pitching events are always interesting, as they provide opportunities for real people and organisations to take action, as well as the chance to learn about investing and the local landscape. The Impact Seed Pitch Night on 26 July was no exception. Run by a new Perth-based organisation, Impact Seed, the event saw five investable social businesses pitch for investment to a packed auditorium of 120 people. It also featured a highly engaging keynote address from Bessi Graham (The Difference Incubator, Melbourne). Graham also sat on the judging panel with Paul Flatau (Centre for Social Impact UWA), Derek Gerrard (Innovation Bay), and Paul Bide (School for Social Entrepreneurs).

Two other standout events were the Festival Opening and Marketplace & Ethical Fashion Show. The Opening was a directed performance, mixing inspiring speech from Michael Chaney, Cassandra Goldie and Noel Nannup together with music, poetry, song and dance. The Marketplace & Ethical Fashion show held an atmostphere that was absolutely perfect for what we were trying to achieve. There was a modest amount of stalls – 20 in total – but every single person involved demonstrated deep passion and commitment to their cause. This also extended to an excitement in celebrating and helping each other on the day. Businesses represented included social enterprises, fair trade homewares, organic kombucha and tea, eco-garden services, ethical fashion, Aboriginal enterprises, and more. An estimated 300+ people attended the event and all stallholders reported they sold more than expected.

Although not an event, the ongoing co-working and collaboration space was another highlight. This provided ample opportunity for attendees of events throughout the festival to come early or stay afterwards to simply work, or meet other like-minded people and make new connections. The hosts of this space, Perth-based social innovators enkel, also ensured users of the space made the most of it by engaging with interesting activities such as mindfulness, story-telling, and more.

What impact does the festival aim to have/ already have?

We have already observed and heard about the immediate impact of the Festival. For instance, as one of the key aims was connecting people across sectors we were delighted to hear that almost 70% of attendees said they made new connections they intend to follow up with (or already have). That does not even take into account the connections made across the 150 contributors. We have also heard of some changes, or actions taken based on transformative experiences. For example, 26% of attendees to seek out formal education or training in fields linked to social impact. One person reported they have already chaired a board meeting and presented information from the Festival, leading the Board to review the organisation’s mission, objectives, strategies and how we can better measure our social impact.

Anecdotally, we have heard of many new connections and collaborations around Perth that resulted from the Festival, while other connections have strengthened or formalised. This is exactly the kind of impact we intended to create.

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

Design with a purpose. That was the single-most important aspect of the festival and it resulted in an event that was not only successful in terms of numbers and engagement, but in the immediate impact it had, leaving everyone involved with the optimism and drive to create positive change.

What’s next?

We are synthesizing the huge amount of information that was drawn out during the festival – in the form of stories, ideas, presentations and feedback. Many of the resources presented or created throughout the festival can be found here: http://www.socialimpactfestival.org/resources/

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