Sharing and Inspiring Student Sustainability Research – The oikos-PRME Research Hub

fotolia_92594158_s-e1445435514678There are a growing number of opportunities for students to engage in PRME. One is a joint initiative between PRME and oikos, a network of more than 45 student chapters at universities worldwide with the joint mission to integrate sustainability into education and research. The oikos-PRME Research Hub is addressed to students in economics and management at all levels (Bachelor, Master and PhD) who are engaged in research projects on sustainability-related topics. With this platform, students have the opportunity to share their works within and beyond the oikos and PRME’s international communities.

Writing a thesis is a long process of deep thinking and discovery, in which students are asked to share their knowledge, opinions and beliefs. Yet, more often than not, the results of this process remain unpublished, especially at bachelor and master’s level. The Research Hub is saying “Hey guys, don’t put your thesis away in a drawer. Share it and make a positive impact!”.” Stefano Ramelli, oikos PhD fellow

How this works in practice

The Research Hub is a platform accessible through the oikos international website. Students can browse the uploaded works and take inspiration from what others are doing in their fields. To submit their own research, all that students need to do is choose the “share” function and include an abstract and a few details of the work, as well as their short biography and picture. Students have the option to either share the whole thesis or to make it available upon request. In any case, the authors retain the full ownership of their work and can modify their data on their Research Hub page whenever they wish.

Examples of shared research

For his Masters in Business Management at the University of St.Gallen, Robin Kleiner wrote a thesis offering an evaluation of the first social impact bond in Switzerland. For her Masters in Economics at the Pisa University, May Hong Nguyen explored CSR and human rights using a game theoretical approach. Despite a great deal of diversity of the projects shared so far, they are all equally inspired by the same desire to use economics and management knowledge to make the world a better place.

The impact on students

The Research Hub aims to encourage more and more students worldwide to write theses that address the sustainability challenges of our time. A positive impact of the Hub is to give immediate visibility to sustainability-related theses, even to practitioners. For instance, a few months ago a professional in the finance industry was interested in a thesis shared on the Research Hub, offering a critical comparison of sustainability indices, and was thus put in direct contact with the author by the oikos team. It is hoped and expected that many other students will be contacted in this way by scholars and practitioners with questions relating to the shared research..

How the Research Hub can be used in the classroom

Integrating sustainability into academic curricula can be a slow and challenging process. However, when writing a thesis, students have the unique opportunity to directly shape their own curricula and to influence the research agenda of their institutions. This is the goal of the Research Hub: to integrate sustainability into educational programmes by leveraging on the enthusiasm, critical thinking and innovation of students when making research.

In their role of supervisors, professors can give a great contribution to this project by inviting and encouraging their students to share their theses on the Research Hub. The support of professors is indeed essential to make the Research Hub grow.

How to get involved:

Visit the Research Hub to start browsing existing research and to share your own or write to researchhub@oikos-international.org or more information

Students Providing Ideas for Innovative Solutions to Company-Defined Sustainability Challenges

Continuing on with our theme this month of Student Engagement, this week we focus in on opportunities for students to solve real challenges with real companies, focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Breakthrough Innovation Challenge (BIC), a collaboration between PRME and the UN Global Compact, is a year-long programme that brings together young professionals from leading multinational companies to evaluate disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Internet of Things, and build sustainable business models addressing the SDGs powered by these technologies. The project is part of a larger UN Global Compact Initiative, Project Breakthrough, which aims to catalyze breakthrough, rather than incremental, corporate innovation to advance the SDGs.

“Disruptive technologies are radically transforming industries and changing many aspects of our lives. The Breakthrough Innovation Challenge brings together leading companies and young innovators to design the sustainable business models of tomorrow. This is an exciting opportunity for students to put their ideas and knowledge into practice.” Nikolay Ivanov Coordinator, PRME Champions

How this works in practice

Corporate teams of young entrepreneurs will be tasked with developing a solution to a company-defined challenge focused on the intersection of sustainability and a disruptive technology. PRME students are invited to connect with the participating companies and challenge or support their company teams with innovative sets of ideas and solutions to their company-specific challenges.

Student teams are made up of 3 students per team and should be made up of interdisciplinary members from undergraduate and/or graduate programmes. They have until March 19th to sign up and respond to one of the cases presented by the companies. Company teams will then review the submissions and select one response they consider the best for each challenge. The selected student teams will be invited to work virtually with the company teams between April and June to further develop their ideas. They will be invited to participate in the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2017 and the teams with the best ideas would present their solutions on September 21st at the United Nations in NYC.

The challenges

Eight companies have defined eight real-life challenges focused on building sustainable business models and solutions powered by disruptive technologies. These include:

  • BRASKEM – Halve the key inputs used by agribusiness while increasing yields
  • ENEL – Affordable, clean and sustainable energy for everyone
  • FUJI XEROX – Creating an innovative work culture for creative, decent, eco-friendly work
  • IBERDROLA – Providing clean and affordable energy to everyone
  • NATURA – Enable a global collaboration network of Natura’s consultants
  • NESTLE – Enable exponential consumer engagement and behaviour change to contribute towards Nestlé’s strategy to prevent and minimise food waste along the value chain
  • SUMITOMO CHEMICAL – Feeding the world through precision agriculture- biosensors
  • YARA – Responsibly feed the world and protect the planet

The impact on students

Students will have the opportunity not just to engage in real life business challenges around the Sustainable Development Goals, but to possibly contribute to real company’s strategies in this area moving forward. This is a unique opportunity to step out of the classroom and make an impact in the way a global company approaches these issues.

Moving forwards

This is the pilot year for the Breakthrough Innovation Challenge with the prospects of having it run annually. The quality and impact of this engagement between multinational companies and innovative students will determine the future design of this programme.

How to get involved

PRME students can register here. For more information visit https://goo.gl/dB0a9a.

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.

Business Students Discovering SDG Solutions – AIM2Flourish

For the whole month of March, PRiMEtime will be featuring examples of student engagement from across the globe including a more in depth look at PRME’s Student Engagement Platform. 

There are a growing number of opportunities for students to engage in PRME, for example through the recently launched PRME SDG Student Engagement Platform, which contains a growing number of new opportunities for Signatories. One of the Platform’s  is AIM2Flourish, an online database of best practices housed at Weatherhead School of Management-Case Western Reserve University.

The AIM2Flourish.com platform invites students from business schools around the world to identify companies with sustainability innovations, interview the business leaders involved and then write up a short case study about the innovation. These are uploaded onto the platform, which currently has a database of over 425 examples of SDG business solutions from around the world. Students and faculty are then invited to comment on the different cases.

These interviews—and the students’ stories that come out of them—have the effect of jump-starting and reinforcing students’ commitments to being responsible business leaders themselves.” Claire Sommer, AIM2Flourish Communications Director

How this works in practice

Using the Sustainable Development Goals as their lens, and with their professor’s support, students identify a world-benefitting business innovation and interview a business leader about it. They submit their story on AIM2Flourish.com using an online form, along with photos and video links. After the student submits her or his story, it goes to the student’s Professor for review and comments. Finally, each story receives a final review from a member of the 30-person volunteer AIM2Flourish Story Stewards community before publication, to ensure that the story reads well and meets the AIM2Flourish publication criteria.

The AIM2Flourish.com community has more than 2,100 citizen, professor and student members from 58 countries. All AIM2Flourish community members can comment and like on stories, and connect to other members. Additionally, they are invited to submit short “Sightings” of businesses doing good in the world. AIM2Flourish students use these “Sightings” as story-starters for their AIM2Flourish assignment.

Site visitors can browse through the stories and sort them by SDG, Certified B Corp status, location, school and author. To help Professors teach students about the UN SDGs, the AIM2Flourish team has created a resource page that is updated weekly.

Some examples of cases

Since AIM2Flourish’s launch at the 2015PRME Global Forum and GRLI All Gathering Momentum (AGM) events, business students worldwide have published over 425 business innovation stories for good. Many students are writing about business leaders in service to big environmental challenges or positive health innovations, like the Lucky Iron Fish, a social enterprise started by University of Guelph business student Gavin Armstrong. Armstrong’s innovation helps combat iron deficiency in Cambodia with a small fish-shaped iron ingot that, when boiled with a meal for 10 minutes, releases a significant portion of a person’s daily iron intake requirements.

Likewise, a student at Ursuline College in Cleveland, Ohio, shared this reflection about writing the story called It’s About the Chocolate: “Researching this business has truly inspired me to be a better person. Researching all that Askinosie Chocolate does for their employees and cocoa bean suppliers and for the community has definitely made a positive impact on me. My findings help demonstrate that there are successful businesses out there who do not rely on economic growth and corruption to make a profit.”

The impact on students

According to Claire Sommer, the Communication Director at AIM2Flourish, “an essential part of the AIM2Flourish experience is that students leave the classroom and have a positive, strengths-based conversation with a business leader. In these interviews, students discover ‘what’s going right’ in terms of profitable innovations at the leader’s organization that help achieve the SDGs. Students tell us that writing an AIM2Flourish story about a business innovation is transformational—it changes how they think about business’ potential for good, and how they see their own potential to be positive social innovators. The business leaders who are interviewed tell us that they see their accomplishments in a new light, feel recommitted to business practices that do good, and appreciate meeting rising talent. These new relationships have led to jobs, internships and even a board seat offer.”

How AIM2Flourish is being used in the classroom

The platform has more than 150 professors around the world who contribute to AIM2Flourish, including 22 professors who have made it a mandatory part of their programme. Some professors offer AIM2Flourish as part of a semester-long course. Others have modified it for shorter classes of 8 or 12 weeks. The AIM2Flourish assignment is being used for online classes, in-person classes, and a hybrid of both. In some classrooms, AIM2Flourish is a mandatory assignment, and in others it’s elective or for extra credit. Students can work individually or in teams of up to 4 people. The assignment was designed for graduate level students, but is being used by undergraduate students as well, from Canada to Morocco.

Moving forward

The cases submitted by students to AIM2Flourish will be considered to be part of a Global Opportunity Explorer being developed by the UN Global Compact (launch mid 2017). The platform will share opportunities and solutions to advancing the SDGs and how to make them work. The platform is in its early stages but is scheduled to go live before the 2017 PRME Global Forum on 18-19 July in New York.

The best stories published by December 31, 2016 will be recognized at the first 17 Flourish Prizes at the June 2017 Fourth Global Forum at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. There will be one Flourish Prize for each SDG, selected by a jury of business and academia leaders. The inaugural Flourish Prizes will be awarded. All stories published in 2017 will be eligible for the 2018 Flourish Prizes.

How to get involved:

All PRME schools are invited to offer the AIM2Flourish assignment to their students, as preparation for students to become Global Goals business leaders. For more information visit AIM2Flourish.

Using Games to Engage in Sustainability – An Update (Part 3 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) and Part 2 (SDG 7 -12).

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

SDG13Climate Change

Habitat the Game is designed to educate players about the effects that climate change will have on different species around the world while also encouraging players to examine how their own behaviours and ecological footprint will impact the planet. It was developed by Sydney University, The Rainforest Alliance and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Climate Challenge is a game aimed at young professionals based on real climate change data where players can try out different approaches for themselves and learn about the issues. It was developed by the Oxford University Centre for the Environment and scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The player takes on the role of the President of Europe, choosing policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from 2000 to 2100. The player has to balance emissions reduction while making sure there is enough electricity, water and food for people, whilst also managing their spending and popularity with the electorate.

EnviroMan, developed by Novo Nordisk, looks at climate change and how to strike the right balance between economy and environment.

World Climate is a group role-playing simulation of the international climate change negotiations. The exercise provides participants the chance to explore the risks of climate change and the challenges of negotiating international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Participants play negotiators representing countries and regional blocs that work to create an agreement that limited climate change.

SDG14Water

Ice Flows, developed by the University of Exeter, the National Environment Research Council and the British Antarctic Survey is a game which tasks players with controlling the size of the ice sheet in order to get penguins to their desired destination. The climate changes, whether that means decreasing snowfall or increasing ocean temperatures, make it harder (or easier) for the penguins to catch fish, and thrive in their environment.

The Fish Game gives players 10 days to catch as many fish as they can to support their family. Several other version of the game exists which change the rules slightly. The object of the game is to have as many fish as possible by the end of the game while still keeping the fish population healthy.

Fishbanks is a multiplayer web based simulation in which participants play the role of fishers and seek to maximise their net worth as they compete against other players and deal with variations in fish stocks and their catch. Participants buy, sell, and build ships, decide where to fish and negotiate with one another.

Tragedy of the Tuna aims to educate students about the concept of the “tragedy of the commons.” In this game, each student or group of students represent a county in control of a tuna fishing fleet and makes decisions about fleet size and deployment. As the game progresses, teams vie to stay afloat as the competition for the shared fish population becomes more intense.

Marine Debris Tracker lets anyone track and report marine litter from anywhere in the world on a mobile phone, helping beach clean-up efforts and protecting our oceans. Data is easy to upload and can be downloaded in excel for analysis.

SDG15Biodiversity

Climate Game is an interactive online game that sets you on a quest to settle on an uninhabited island covered by green trees and thick forests. You can harvest, use and plant trees, manage your income to develop island infrastructure. But, beware of the consequences of your action.

About That Forest is a web-based role playing simulation that takes place in a forest and the community that lives in it. Participants take the role of the people living in the forest and need to manage it sustainably.

Forest Cover Analyzer, created by the World Resource Institute, enables users to assess forest cover change and risks related to sustainable palm oil production in areas of Indonesia. Another app, the Suitability Mapper, enables users to identify potentially suitable sites for sustainable palm oil production.

Global Forest Watch provides global maps and data for tree cover gain and loss.

The Good Fish Guide is an app that provides in depth information on how sustainable different types of fish are. Similar apps have been developed in other regions of the world including Australia.

International BarCode of Life is the largest biodiversity genomics initiative ever undertaken aimed at cataloguing all species on the planet.

ESRI is a detailed map of the world that defines bio climate, landform, geology and land cover information. It was created by the US Geological Survey and includes climate change data.

SDG16Peace

Syrian Journey, developed by the BBC, is a digital product that explores the exodus of the Syrian people. The project aims to bring audience awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees.

Endgame: Syria is a game that examines the complexities of the Syrian civil war. Played from the perspective of the Syrian rebels, players must balance the in game currencies of morale and support against the costs of fighting in the war and decide when and if the time is right to accept a peace treaty.

Darful is Dying is a narrative-based simulation that puts you in the shoes of a displaced Darfurian refugee. The game is based on 2006 statistics and data.

PeaceMaker, developed at Carnegie Mellon, challenges players to establish peace in the Middle East. Players can take the perspective of the Israeli Prime Minister or the Palestinian President and react to unpredictable real-world events. The ultimate goal is to create virtual peace and be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

Using 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.

Using Games to Engage in Sustainability – An Update (Part 1 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 individual students interested in these issues. I will also be including a selection of apps that allow students to engage, real time, in sustainability issues locally or even globally. All of these resources are organised based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

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

SDG1Poverty

Alit,The cost of Life, is about helping the Guinard family in rural Haiti get an education and improve their lives. This includes their wellness and general health, their emotional well-being and their educational levels. The goal is to try to keep the family healthy and happy for all four years of the game. The game was developed in collaboration with UNICEF.

Spent is an online game about poverty and the challenges it brings forth for each and every person. Throughout the game, players make series of decision that impacts their income. Each decision is connected to different dilemmas and problems tied to health, level of education and providing basic needs for your family.

SDG2Hunger

Food Import Folly is a game, created by The New York Times, where players take on the role of Food and Drug Administration inspectors in a world of increasingly numerous food imports and increasingly unmanageable risk. Participants must protect their country by not letting any contaminated food cross the border.

ShareTheMeal, developed by the World Food Programme, provides the opportunity for individuals to donate $0.50, enough to feed one child for one day. Users can use the app on their phone at any time to donate a meal to a child.

SDG3Health

Sea Hero Quest is a unique game that gathers data on dementia through the playing of the game. The 2 million individuals who have played the game have generated more than 6,000 years of dementia research data just by playing. The game involves navigating the high seas while navigating buoys, setting flares and spotting aquatic monsters. The route that players take as they navigate the environment is being analysed by scientists aiming to set a benchmark for ‘normal’ navigation skills, against which they can examine those of patients showing signs of early dementia.

At-Risk is an interactive game that aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness in order to reduce the number of students with undetected or untreated conditions. Tailored for use among universities, it addresses the feat and stigma of mental illness that may prevent university staff and faculty from approaching and assisting students exhibiting symptoms of mental illness including depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide.

Foldit, developed by various departments from the University of Washington, explores the process by which living beings create the primary structure of proteins. It attempts to apply the human brain’s natural three-dimensional pattern matching abilities to predict protein structures. As more players complete the game, the researchers can create a better understanding of these protein structure and craft new medicines to promote better health and cure disease.

The Convincer, developed by Novo Nordisk, has players work to convince the Minster of Health to invest in ways to effectively address the rising challenges of the proper diabetes initiatives.

SDG4Education

The Republia Times puts players into the shoes of the editor-in-chief of the national newspaper of Republia, a fictional country recovering from a war with its neighbour, Antegria. Players use their newspaper to influence public opinion in the country by selecting articles that will be published and which will not be published.

SDG6Water

The Water-Energy Nexus game gives participants a unique opportunity to get an insight into managing the water needs of energy production. Such insights can lead to improvements in water management leading to improved water systems’ resilience. It was developed as a training tool to be used in workshops in Southern African Development community countries.

the uva bay game is a large-scale participatory simulation, developed by the University of Virginia, based on the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Players take the roles of stakeholders, such as farmers, developer, watermen and local policy-makers, and make decisions about their livelihoods or regulatory authority and see the impact of their decisions on their personal finances, the regional economy and health of the watershed.

Water Risk Assessment is an online tool created by the WWF that helps companies and investors ask the right questions about water, to assess risks and offer guidance. It covers information from more than 32 industry sectors.

 

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