Research Collaborations around Sustainability – Canada, US, France, UK and Denmark

To advance sustainability and the related themes being explored at Rio+20 in June 2012 and beyond, there needs to be an increase in research around the topics of sustainability and responsible leadership. Below are some examples from Canada, the US, France, the UK and Denmark.

  • The David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business has launched a Sustainability Scholars Program. Researchers from around the world are invited to visit for two to eight weeks and are encouraged to collaborate with faculty at the business school on research around sustainability and responsible leadership.
  • Villanova School of Business (VSB) has formed a Strategic Initiative Groups (SIGs) to enable diverse, multidisciplinary groups of faculty to collaborate around shared research and pedagogical interests. One such VSB group is the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) SIG, which serves as a hub of ethics-related scholarship and teaching at the school.
  • Euromed Management is a member of the international academic network SEABUS (International Research Network on Social and Environmental Aspects in Business and Management). This network, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, brings together ten research institutions from across the globe to foster research in the area of social and environmental aspects of business and management.
  • Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences (ASB) provides seed money to stimulate interdisciplinary research collaborations within sustainability through a programme called Virtual Communities on Sustainability. If an ASB researcher has an idea for a research theme that requires expertise from more than one department at ASB, other research units at Aarhus or other universities, an organisational framework is now in place to support such initiatives.
  • Cranfield School of Management has set up a Small Grant fund, whereby applicants from across the School can apply for funding to support research that intersects with responsible and sustainable management.

An Inspirational Guide for the Implementation of PRME: Placing sustainability at the heart of management education, which includes more great examples of how schools are engaging faculty and addressing other common questions/concerns related to embedding sustainability, will be launched at PRME’s 3rd Global Forum at Rio+20 in June.

Getting Faculty on Board with Sustainability

Business Schools are increasingly looking at how to embed sustainability into their curricula and in particular core courses. How to get faculty on board is one of the most common questions/concerns relayed by schools as they work in this area. Here are a handful of examples from Denmark, France, Turkey, Germany and the US showing how schools are bringing their faculty together to look at these issues.

  • Euromed Management has created CSR faculty officers who are mandated to provide a link between Euromed Management’s CSR Department and their own departments, with at least on representative from each area. Their role is to transmit and disseminate the CSR strategy to their departments, but also to bring ideas and information that may affect the school’s strategy to the attention of management. The CSR Officers have become vectors of Sustainable Development throughout the school. Last year, their commitment resulted in the creation of a student well-being project and working groups on dematerialisation and responsible purchasing.
  • Istanbul Bilgi University Department of Business Administration formed a working team consisting of four faculty members from Operations Management, Statistics, Economics and Marketing to look at sustainability. The multi-disciplinary taskforce held various in-depth interviews with faculty members from all the subject areas of the Business Department. During these interviews, they explained the main principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and PRME. Afterwards, the faculty were encouraged to integrate these concepts into their courses.
  • At the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, faculty created “primers” for each academic department to assist faculty with identifying ways to incorporate responsible leadership concepts (e.g. using case studies and readings) into academic frameworks and courses. They also conduct workshops for faculty to learn and discuss this very issue, present leading ideas and promising practices from other institution and firms, and share what others at Smith are already doing.
  • For several years now, HHL- Leipzig Graduate School of Management has been gradually expanding its institutional co-teaching (i.e. the joint teaching of courses by faculty from different areas of expertise). Students are very interested in understanding interfaces between different disciplines, such as the interaction between Ethics and Financial Management, Marketing Management, Strategic Management, Accounting, or Logistics Management. Examples include the incorporation of a session on ethical approaches in a marketing management module and the discussion of financial theory from a business ethics point of view.

An Inspirational Guide for the Implementation of PRME: Placing sustainability at the heart of management education, which includes more great examples of how schools are engaging faculty and addressing other common questions/concerns related to embedding sustainability, will be launched at PRME’s 3rd Global Forum at Rio+20 in June.

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