Reporting on the SDGs – A Visual Tour of Different Approaches (Part 2 of 2)

Signatories are increasingly reporting on their efforts in relation to the SDGs in their Sharing Information on Progress Reports (SIP). Although we are still in the early stages of reporting on the SDGs within management education, there are already several schools that are exploring a range of approaches for their whole reports or parts. Here is a two part, visual tour of how Signatories are reporting on the SDGs. (Click here to see Part 1 of 2)

7. Create a guide to easily identify which initiatives a school is doing in relation to each Goal. Externado University Management Faculty

includes a table of contents in their SIP report that links the whole report to the SDGs.

8. Reporting on audits and current status. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania used the SDGs to benchmark the coverage of sustainability topics within the business programme.

9. The University of Wollongong in Australia published a chart that represents the % of faculty research grouped by SDG.

10. Reporting on goals moving forwards: SKEMA Business School (France) has included a section at the end of their report that focuses in on how they are currently working on the 17 SDGs and what remains to be achieved

11. Connecting the SDGs to your campus and operations. Hanken School of Economics (Finland), reports on how the SDGs relate to activities that are happening within their campus.

12. Highlight specific initiatives relating to the SDGs. Several schools highlight specific initiatives throughout their report that focus on and impact the SDGs including Kemmy Business School.

Reporting on the SDGs – A Visual Tour of Different Approaches (Part 1 of 2)

Signatories are increasingly reporting on their efforts in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their Sharing Information on Progress Reports (SIP). Although we are still in the early stages of reporting on the SDGs within management education, there are already several schools that are exploring a range of approaches for their whole report or parts of it, reporting on where they currently stand and where they plan to go. Here is a two-part, visual tour of how Signatories are reporting on the SDGs.

 

  1. Include the SDGs in the letter from the highest executive: Several schools have included a mention, as well as recognition of and a commitment to the SDGs in their opening letter.
  2. Introduce the goals in your report. Reykjavik University Business School
    have a full page right at the beginning of their report that provides an overview of the SDGs as well as a visual of the 17 Goals. This is a good way to raise awareness and start building support with your community around the goals.
  3. Sharing details of frameworks that the Institution has developed in relation to the SDGs: Business School of Lausanne has developed a Framework to measure sustainability progress that includes issues derived from a range of different governmental and international frameworks including the SDGs and Agenda 21. A new version of the Framework will include an interface to the SDGS will be published and marketed in 2017.
  4. Link different initiatives reported on to the SDG they impact. McCoy College of Business Administration provides a link to the SDGs after each initiative and project discussed in the report.
  5. Rotterdam Business School organised their research and cases into clusters according to the SDGs and uses the individual SDG icons to guide readers.
  6. Reporting on where you stand: Nottingham Business School and Copenhagen Business School did a sustainability audit looking at how the SDGs are integrated into the teaching of various modules.

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.

Tackling the Grand Challenge of Inequality – UNSW

UNSW Sydney in Australia aims to lead the debate and shape the public discourse on some of the most important issues facing humanity. The Grand Challenges Programme was established in order to facilitate these critical discussions, and in the process raise awareness of the ground-breaking research and excellent initiatives undertaken by UNSW academics, staff and students. Current Grand Challenge topics include Climate change, refugees and migrants and inequality. As part of our month featuring examples relating to inequality, in particular linked to the Sustainable Development Goals, I spoke with Prof Rosalind Dixon and Prof Richard Holden, the academic co-leads of the UNSW Grand Challenge on Inequality, to learn more about this platform.

Introduce the Grand Challenges Initiative and how it came about?

The UNSW Grand Challenges program was introduced under the leadership of the current President and Vice-Chancellor, Ian Jacobs. It aims to lead the debate and shape public discourse on the greatest issues facing humanity. Thought leaders from around the world come together with UNSW academics, staff and students to share their views and develop ideas on each declared challenge through public forums, speaking events, panel discussions, conferences and policy development workshops. UNSW will build on this platform for discussion and the development of ideas, with a view to fostering innovation and action on these pressing issues.

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

Income inequality has grown dramatically in both developed and developing economies – especially over the last three decades. This has been seen as a challenge to established political and economic structures, and a potential cause of rising political polarization. It is also a major contributor to increased poverty and economic deprivation. The UNSW Grand Challenge on Inequality seeks to better understand the intersection between income inequality and other sources of social and political inequality, including gender, race, ethnicity, age and disability, as well as the complex ways in which it impacts on access to basic human rights – including housing, education and health-care. As part of this the Grand Challenge program will seek to address the issue of income-inequality from a number of different angles – including economic causes, government solutions, government mitigation devices, globalized solutions, and private/corporate responsibilities.

What kind of research are UNSW faculty and students currently engaged in around the topic of inequality?

The overarching objective of each Grand Challenge is to complement and enhance existing work in the university around inequality by; making connections between researchers and different faculties, schools and centres; increasing publicity and awareness surrounding existing research; and spark and incubate and ideas on the part of staff and students, particularly policy-relevant ideas.

Prof Rosalind Dixon has been doing research on how Presidents tweak the rules to avoid leaving office and delivered a TedX style talk about the topic at one of the events. The Social Policy Research Centre does quite a bit of work on the disadvantage aspects of inequality. One of our events focused on Cities and Inequality involves the Cities Future Research Centre and their research on the topic. Professor Richard Holden is also doing significant research in this area including exploring “Network Capital” and inequality and also delivered a short presentation during the Grand Challenge about how to redistribute capital, mitigating inequality without killing productivity. This is only a snapshot but the list of events that are part of the Grand Challenge shows the range of research we are doing around this topic.

What kinds of events have been organised around the topic of inequality so far?

Launched in 2017, the Grand Challenge on Inequality has already hosted a number of engagement opportunities for UNSW staff, students and community. During semester one O-Week activities, the Grand Challenges team encouraged UNSW students to exploit their creativity and develop a web-based tool that directly challenges inequality as part of a 12hr hackathon. Students developed a range of novel ideas designed to address inequality, including a meet-up app designed to help match refugees with community volunteers, and system of electronic self-notification for indigenous people taken into custody.

That same week we hosted a giant book club, exploring Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century in conversation with Peter van Onselen (Sky News) and Andrew Leigh MP. During the book club, and the following public forum, staff, students and partner organisations came together to share their thoughts on what the Grand Challenge on Inequality might address. Attendees were keen to see robust discussion on topics including Indigenous and gender inequality, housing affordability, education and superannuation reforms. These ideas have been taken into account in the planning for the future events of the Grand Challenge of Inequality.

International Women’s Day on March 8 was celebrated in partnership with Workplace Diversity at UNSW, where the Grand Challenges team hosted a breakfast with the theme #BeBoldForChange. The breakfast was attended by staff and students and highlighting the ground-breaking research and initiatives led by UNSW staff and students driving changes for women in our community. Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Education and Federal Opposition Spokesperson for Women, Tanya Plibersek, spoke in celebration of the achievements of women but implored the audience to keep fighting for gender equality in Australia. A range of other important speakers also shared their thoughts.

The Grand Challenge on Inequality has developed a suite of activities and events to support the concept. These activities will be added to as new opportunities and partnerships arise.

What have been some of the challenges?

Inequality is a very broad concept that touches on many aspects of people’s lives. Keeping the focus broad, but driving toward policy-relevant outcomes is one of the key challenges.

Successes?

Launched in July 2016, the Grand Challenges program has hosted a significant number of high-profile public events, conferences, seminars and workshops, where attendees share ideas and discuss the complexities of each of the Grand Challenge themes. The flagship event for the Grand Challenge Program, UNSOMNIA, was held on 1 December 2016. UNSOMNIA presented 13 UNSW thought leaders riffing on the theme “What keeps you up at night?” The TEDX style event attracted over 700 guests from UNSW and the broader community.

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

We thought it important to engage a wide group of people, bring leading figures onto campus, make events easily accessible (in terms of location but also combining with other popular and centrally located events – see Sydney Writers Festival below) and have a policy focus.

What’s next for the initiative?

We have a number of events coming up and are adding more. At the upcoming Sydney Writers’ Festival we will have a panel on globalisation and inequality in the age of Trump. See here for a full list of events planned so far through 2017 into 2018. You can also listen to many of the talks and presentations from our events here.

 

For the month of June Primetime will be featuring examples around the Special Focus area Equality and Diversity (SDG 10). Click here to see the rest of the articles in that feature.

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

Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) reports, beyond being a requirement for PRME signatories, are an opportunity to bring together the work a school is doing in the area of responsible management education, reflect on that work and explore future opportunities. SIPs can provide an important communication tool to raise awareness both internally and externally about your initiatives. Using visuals in your report is one way to bring the information contained within your report to life, to make it easier for your stakeholders to navigate, understand, engage in, and to take action on. To inspire your next SIP report, here are 6 more visuals taken from recent SIP reports (see Part 1 for the first 6 visuals). These examples are intended to be an exploration of the different approaches taken from different schools. For more examples you can browse through all of the SIP reports on the PRME website.

INCAE in Costa Rica publishes a sustainability dashboard which tracks their consumption and sustainability initiatives on campus over the years, starting in 2010. This includes electricity, solid waste, water, purchasing and a number of other environmental actions on campus.

HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences in Finland have produced a one page report based on an infographic summary for their letter of commitment which very briefly outlines some statistics relating to their engagement in PRME as well as a few goals moving forward.

 

Hult International Business School provides a visual overview of the proportion of compulsory courses where learning objectives include explicit reference to ethics, responsibility and sustainability across all programmes offered by the school.

Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business in the Philippines provides an illustration of how the university intends to address the sustainability challenges of the 21st century through actions directed towards self, school and society, visually bringing to life the school’s strategy in this area.

The Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town in South Africa has a range of special features on current and past students actively engaged in PRME related topics both within the university but in particular externally in the community, within government and companies.

The University of Western Australia conducted a sustainability audit in early 2015. This visual shows the key energy and waste management results of part of this audit as well as the financial and environmental benefits possible if each parameter is improved by 100%.

Students Exploring Corporate Sustainability Reporting – WikiRate

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-16-41-53With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it is more important than ever to be able to track and assess the contributions of businesses towards the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The annual Communication on Progress (COP) Report that UN Global Compact participants submit every year has information about company specific advancement. However while interesting, unless this information and data is taken out and brought together it can be of limited use.

In the second article of our month long series on student engagement, we are featuring WikiRate, part of PRME’s recently launched Student Engagement Platform. WikiRate’s mission is to spur corporations to be transparent and responsive by making data about their social and environmental impacts useful and available to all. Through a new partnership with PRME, students are invited to review company COPs and extract data from these reports for a set of metrics from leading reporting frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and others, as mapped to the SDGs in the SDG Compass. This information is used to populate the WikiRate open-source database. The data is available and comparable to analyze where company and sector improvements can be made.

 

“Teaching Corporate Governance and Sustainability can often be an abstract topic, but WikiRate enables us to bridge the gap between theory and practice and expose our students to real data from real companies. In the first half of 2016, over 300 MBA students championed the first WikiRate pilot researching and checking companies’ environmental, social and governance data via metrics based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. Following this success, we’re already engaging the next cohort of 280 students to contribute company research in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals”

– Morris Mthombeni, Lecturer at The University of Pretoria Gordon Institute of Business Science

 

How this works in practice

Students read through company reports and extract a series of data points focused on the company’s engagement in different Sustainable Development goals. The selection of companies and metrics for research is up to the professors themselves. In addition to researching the companies, students are also requested to check the values populated by fellow students through a ‘double-checking’ for metric values mechanism on WikiRate .

The Bertelsmann Stiftung has partnered to contribute suggested research questions, to facilitate class discussions and encourage further analysis of the data populated on WikiRate. The purpose here is to extend the assignment beyond the task of extracting data from reports to engaging more thoroughly in analyzing the data, including identifying its limitations. This stage includes questions such as – how well does the metrics that are selected measure contributions to the selected SDGs and what additional information in the COP would be relevant to assessing a company’s contribution to the SDGs. Many of these assignments are also complemented with research reports drafted by the students.

How WikiRate is being used in the classroom

A growing number of schools are engaged in this project, including, but not limited to, the University of Western Australia Business School, CENTRUM in Peru, Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and the University of Pretoria-Gordon Institute of Business Sciences.

Professors are taking diverse approaches. For some institutions such as the Universidad EAFIT, in Colombia, professors will be integrating the assignment, offering the chance to coordinate internally and share ideas and takeaways among different classes. At Glasgow Caledonian University, the project is presented to the cohort in a live presentation to kick-off the assignment and field questions. A professor at Oxford Brookes University is presenting this as a voluntary exercise for students to use as a tool to supplement their research on environmental sustainability in companies for a required report.

Each school or class also has their own Project page on WikiRate where they post their research findings and analysis. All the Projects are visible to everyone, so that students and professors around the world can check in on the progress of their peers, and compare research.

The impact on students

Through this task students develop an understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility strategies, how they are applied, tracked and reported, and also consider which aspects of corporate contributions to progress on SDGs can be tracked with available metrics and data. The PRME network and UN forums are also important for making the link between students and the sometimes intangible aspects of the SDGs. This brings students’ work into the fold and connects the classroom topics directly to the bigger picture. It gives students the opportunity to engage in the complexity and diversity of CSR reporting to not only raise their awareness of the issues, but also create a body of data that will be useful in tracking and measuring business impact globally. According to projected semester participants, WikiRate has already exceeded , and are now looking to double, their target of having 500 students researching 500 companies this semester.

Moving forward

The WikiRate platform is still in beta stage – meaning that they are in the process of developing and improving structure that captures the complexity of the data and the corporate reporting landscape as well as understanding user and researcher needs. The pilot launched at the University of Pretoria Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), in South Africa, has kicked off this semester’s engagements with 280 students conducting research.

The research and analyses have the potential to fill some gaps in knowledge around what companies are doing and what they should be doing, to contribute to achieving the SDGs. Some of the outcomes will be presented at the Global Forum in July 2017.

How to get involved

A second iteration of this project will be open for schools to join in the fall 2017. For more information visit the WikiRate website or use this contact form.

Using Online Games to Engage in Sustainability – An Update (Part 2 of 3)

Back in 2012 I put together a three post special on online games that focus on raising awareness on different sustainability topics. To this day these are some of the most popular posts ever on PRiMEtime. Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting a series of articles with an updated summary of online games that aim to raise awareness about sustainability topics that can be used in the classroom or by students individually interested in these issues. I will also be covering a range of apps that allow students to engage, in real time, in sustainability issues locally or even globally. All of these resources are organised based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Click here to read Part 1. (SDG 1-6).

Do you use any other games in your classroom? Send them and I will update the list.

SDG7Energy

ElectroCity lets players manage their own virtual towns and cities while teaching them about energy, sustainability and environmental management in New Zealand.

The Solar PV Industry Simulation, developed by MIT, is a live web-based simulation where participants play the role of senior management at SunPower, a leading firm in the solar photovoltaic industry. Users compete against other firms, simulated by the computer, and set the industry conditions so as to learn about strategy under different conditions relating to learning, knowledge spillovers, and competitive behaviour.

Clean Start is a web simulation where participants play the role of the founder of a new startup company in the exciting and competitive cleantech sector. Each quarter they must set prices, decide how many engineers and sales people to hire and set compensation including salary, stock, options and profit sharing.

CityOne, released by IBM, helps users discover how business process management, collaborative technologies and service oriented architecture enable industry solutions that help organisations and industries adapt to new demands and build a sustainable advantage. The game looks specifically at Water, Energy, Banking and Retail.

SDG8Work

Sweatshop is a game that educates users about the realities that many workers around the world contend with each day. Players act as the factory manager and are responsible for hiring workers while ensuring that prices stay down and product numbers stay high.

Oiligarchy puts gamers in the seat of CEO of the world’s biggest oil company, confronting them with real challenges like corruption and drilling around the world and oil addiction.

The Business Ethics Challenge, developed by Novo Nordisk, looks at how to deal with business ethics issues in everyday business situations while ensuring a balance between sales targets and company reputation.

McDonald’s game was developed to explain to their customers the challenges of running a business, including some of the negative impacts that corporations such as theirs have on society and the environment – from rainforest destruction to working conditions, faulty advertising campaigns, food poisoning, etc.

SDG9Innovation

Green&Great is a simulation game in which players assume the role of managers in large consulting firms. Their companies compete for clients and seek to make a profit, while achieving social goals and reducing environmental impacts. By facing the consequences of their own decisions, players learn and experience the importance of business sustainability as a source of competitive advantage.

Making is a tool to inspire designers and creators to make better choices in the materials they use. Powered by Nike Materials Sustainability Index, the app provides the information to enable users to make real time, predictive decisions.

OpenSourceMap provides a database of supply chain maps for companies all around the world which includes the companies’ suppliers, the suppliers’ suppliers and all other stakeholders across their supply chain.

SDG10
Inequalities

Evoke is a ten week crash course in changing the world. The goal of this social network game is to help empower people all over the world to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems. The game was developed by the World Bank Institute and is appropriate for all ages.

SDG11Cities

Stop Disasters is a disaster simulation game from the UN/ISDR (International Strategy for Disaster Reduction). Each scenario takes between 10 and 20 minutes to play and there are five scenarios each available at an easy, medium or hard difficulty level. The site also provides a range of teaching materials around different types of disasters including tsunamis, floods, wildfires and earthquakes.

Disaster Detector teaches players how to analyse and interpret data on natural disasters in order to mitigate the effects of those disasters and also forecast future catastrophic events. The aim is to help the fictional town of Smithsonville predict and prepare for natural disasters. The game was developed by the US Department of Education.

Sust. Has three games. An environment game (how you live in your home), a building game (building a sustainable house using a fixed budget) and MySustTown (building houses, schools, developments have positive and negative impacts on the town’s sustainability).

Urbanology, a project launched by BMW Guggenheim Lab, is a quick game that forces users to make choices about urban issues, producing some quick findings based on choice. By answering questions relating to education, housing, healthcare, infrastructure and mobility, users “build” a city that matches their indicated desires and needs. Their city is then compared with other cities around the world.

SDG12Consumption

Consumer Consequences is an interactive game designed to illustrate the impact of our lifestyles on Earth. It asks players a series of questions about their lifestyle and will show the player how many Earths of natural resources it would take to sustain all humans if they lived like us.

Oceanopolis is a Facebook game designed to educate users on sustainable living. The users protect their island paradise from being buried under recyclable rubbish. Players must turn the trash into treasure by recycling and upcycling.

Wise up on Waste is an app developed by Unilever that aims to save costs in professional kitchens by reducing food waste. The app provides waste management tools as well as tips to reduce food waste.

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