Insurers Role in Sustainable Growth – University of Technology Sydney Business School

Brink-May-insuranceA new resource, launched at the Global Compact LEAD Symposium in Madrid on November 19th, provides an overview of mutually beneficial partnerships between businesses and business schools with the aim to further sustainability strategies. To support this, a number of posts focused on these types of partnerships will be featured in more depth on Primetime over the upcoming months.

One partnership example comes to us from the University of Technology Sydney Business School in Australia. A group of Executive MBA students are engaged in a global project bringing together the UN and business partners to explore specific business practices related to sustainability in the insurance industry. I spoke with James Hutchin, Associate Dean Business Practice, and the project leader about this innovative initiative and its potential global benefits.

Provide a brief overview of the project

Executive MBA candidates at University of Technology Sydney Business School in Australia have been undertaking a study which aims to ensure that ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) risks such as climate change, human rights abuses and corruption are considered in the placement of surety bonds (credit guarantees) for big infrastructure projects. The team is working in collaboration with several of the world’s leading insurers, and the International Finance Corporation, an arm of The World Bank.

How did the project come about?

Carefully led MBA project teams have been a big part of The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative insurance industry work since 2008, when the foundational research for the Principles for Sustainable Insurance was first conducted. Since that time, several further projects have been undertaken, many of them with the involvement of joint MBA teams working from the University Technology Sydney and The Fox School of Business, Temple University (Philadelphia).

The actual incorporation of environmental, social and governance risks in the underwriting of surety bonds for infrastructure projects is at present highly variable from insurance company to company, and varies by region of the world.   Our study will hopefully do much to establish a good picture of the current “state of play”, as well as identify what might be some useful guidelines that could be more universally adopted.

What is the Insurers Role in Sustainable Growth? Why is this an important project?

Simply put, no other industry has more alignment of interest with good sustainable outcomes than the insurance industry. When sustainability outcomes go badly, for example hurricane frequency and severity increases because of climate change, then more losses occur which in turn the industry pays. This project is critically important in that it takes the guiding principles of the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), and then seeks to apply them to a specific line of business (“product”) in a way that is useful and quite pragmatically driven.

How has the project been received by the students? What have been some of the successes?

The project is not yet fully completed and a working group of PSI executives and participating professors is continuing to progress the research. The student work to date has been outstanding, and the learning accomplished really quite remarkable. Many business schools on graduation say to students, “… go forth and change the world…” The project demonstrates our ability to deliver a project, guidance, and process that enables them to do that right now.

What have been some of the results so far?

Preliminary research by the team suggests big differences in how ESG factors are considered in types of projects in different countries. The results will feed into a project involving the United Nations, the World Bank and the world’s largest reinsurer, Munich Re looking at how the insurance industry can strengthen its contribution to sustainable development. They will also inform the development of ESG guiding principles for surety bond underwriting as surety providers are in a position to influence how ESG risks are addressed in big projects.

What advice do you have for others thinking of doing a similar project (perhaps in a different industry?)

Five things:

  • You need deep and specific industry expertise embedded in your project leader.
  • There needs to be a practical focus on actual outcomes – this is applied research, not a search for a new theory of business.
  • You need a time-tested and solid process. Getting to “professional grade” consulting output is difficult in the best of circumstances; in a university setting, working with student teams, it requires great attention to detail, timelines, and quality management.
  • Great students are a must, they will never work harder!
  • The “client” must have an executive sponsor deeply committed to the project and in a position to drive outcomes.

What’s next?

We have been so privileged to work with United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initative (UNEP FI), Munich Re, The IFC and others on this project, and have learned much about how to make the generic goals of the PSI actionable at the line of business level. What we most hope for as next is the opportunity to engage more MBA teams in the process, and complete similar projects in other lines of business, working with multiple universities around the world.

Creating Students Passionate about Social Responsibility – Lomonosov Moscow State University (Part 2)

stud_zhizn1-235One of the main requirements for putting in place successful programmes that really engage students in sustainability is a passionate team of enthusiastic individuals. Lomonosov Moscow State University Business School in Moscow, Russia definitely has that. The result has been a range of different programmes that aim to involve students in a number of social projects throughout their undergraduate degrees.

I spoke with Natalia Bukhshtaber, Associate Dean for Academic Programmes and International Affairs, Natalia Sharabarina, Director of Social Education and Nina Koryakina, Supervisor of Social Education Programmes about their initiatives, in particular the Diary for Social Responsibility, and the impact this has had on their students.

What is the Diary of Social Responsibility?

Diary of Social Responsibility is an initiative we started a year ago and it has grown into a more comprehensive project. We realised that there was a need to address social responsibility issues earlier in the programme, during the first and the second years of study, since our Business Ethics and CSR courses are introduced during the third year. Two years ago we started a volunteering project for first year students and the Social Responsibility Diary for second year students.

The Diary of Social Responsibility course focuses on individual social responsibility, the importance of individual values, and corporate philanthropy, aspects that we consider prerequisite to our Business Ethics and CSR courses. Within this initiative, the students learn from and meet with a variety of charity foundations. They complete a number of Small Action projects with these groups to gain experience on implementing social projects. They are then prompted to reflect and discuss the experience in small group and one-on-one setting and to write about them in a Diary.

How did the course come about?

In our initial talks with the students, we encountered a number of stereotypes we wanted to challenge. These included:

  • Social responsibility is for ‘special people’ like social workers, religious workers, etc. I am not one of these; therefore, why should I be involved?
  • Volunteering is for people who have plenty of spare time. I am not one of these; therefore, why should I be involved?
  • Philanthropy is for rich people or celebrities who have plenty of spare money. I am not one of these; therefore, why should I be involved?
  • Social projects mean a personal encounter with dying children or deformed elderly or someone like this. It will clearly be a traumatic experience, and I don’t welcome it.

Most of these stereotypes were due to the fact that, despite media coverage of social initiatives, many of our students had not had any exposure of social projects. We realised that the exposure had to be limited so we came up with Small Actions strategy, providing small groups of students with clear, realistic, measurable tasks, so they would see that, once you become socially responsible (or, you become aware of social responsibility), you can always find ways to practice social responsibility, and even small deeds can make a big difference.

What do the students put in their diary?

The original idea was for them to reflect on every event they participated in. This proved a bit difficult for a number of reasons. Firstly, journaling in general is not common in Russia. This year, in planning our new course (which is now required), we decided to ask the students to make presentations based on their reflections.

Personal discussions proved to be more informative than writing in diaries, either one-on-one or in small groups. During these, we discussed how their perspective on socially meaningful projects, volunteering, philanthropy, and NGOs was changing. We saw that some of their former assumptions were challenged and revisited.

What have been some insights from this initiative?

One of the interesting discoveries was that the students’ attitude toward social responsibility did not correlate with their academic achievement and education background. Some of our students who were not doing well academically became our ‘heroes’ and we saw a totally different side of them. Some of the people who had discipline issues took their Small Actions very seriously.

The biggest outcome of the project, perhaps, was the students’ initiative to do something bigger and on our own. Once they got engaged in Small Actions, the main question they had was “Can we do something bigger?” We ended up organising our very first Charity Gala to benefit one of the foundations we were cooperating with in the project. The second year students who were the core team and they really took charge of the event. At the end of the Gala, we raised over 330,000 RUB (nearly 5,500 Euros) for an elderly home in the Tambov Region. At the end of the year, when we asked for students’ feedback about the academic year (our regular practice), quite a few responses were, “We are incredibly proud that we were part of the Charity Gala and we hope the work will continue.”

What advice do you have for other schools interested in putting in place something similar?

You have to believe in social responsibility and practice it yourself rather than try to reproduce something that worked somewhere else. Every student body is unique and you need to find something that will truly resonate with your student community. However, do not be afraid to try something that is totally new. When we were starting, the core team got together and we said, “We may make all the possible mistakes we can make here but we are going to learn from that and make it better next year.”

Secondly, we saw the benefits of the Small Actions approach. In a situation where students had never participated in anything of the sort, most of them felt insecure and hesitant to try. The point is not to scare them off but suggest something that looks like fun and something they would be willing to try.

Thirdly, keep praising your students. Find ways to let your student body know of the special things that were done by their fellow students and even letting the parents know.

Fourthly, you need to find dedicated people among your faculty and staff who would really take this to heart. Do not ‘assign’ it to someone who does not really grasp the essence of what you are doing or is reluctant to be involved. See who of those supervising the project will be in charge of the ‘PR part’ of it. Proper and effective communication with the student body, other faculty and staff, and the third parties involved is crucial. You don’t want to alienate people or confront them (even if you want to challenge some of their assumptions), you want understanding and cooperation. Find the person on the team who is a good (great would be better) motivational speaker.

What are some initiatives happening at Lomonosov that you are particularly proud of in the area of PRME/Sustainability/Responsible Management?

The Ostafyevo Volunteering Initiative. Ostafyevo is a museum housed in a historical mansion in the suburbs of Moscow. Due to lack of media attention and effective PR practices, the museum had very low visibility, it was known mostly to the people of the local community. Our school started a volunteering project where, once a month, students go to the museum to help with a range of tasks (cleaning, sweeping the park, etc.) and to learn more about the museum. The students organise a special event to promote the museum (a concert, a photo contest, etc.) and at the end of the year student teams present business ideas that would help increase the museum’s visibility and attract sponsors, while not compromising the museum’s values and the mansion’s environment.

 

For more on Lomonosov Moscow State University Business School’s approach to sustainability and responsible management click here.

Sustainability in the Russian Business and Education Communities – Lomonosov Moscow State University Business School (Part 1)

lomonosovLomonosov Moscow State University Business School is one of the oldest business schools in Russia, founded in 1989. After being impressed by their latest Sharing Information on Progress Report, I spoke with Natalia Bukhshtaber, Associate Dean for Academic Programmes and International Affairs, Natalia Sharabarina, Director of Social Education, and Nina Koryakina, Supervisor of Social Education Programmes about some of their initiatives.

In this two-part post we will look firstly at sustainability in Russia more generally. In the second post we will look specifically at how the business school is creating a more socially responsible leaders in their innovative Diary of a Social Responsibility course.

How is sustainability/responsible management viewed within the business community in Moscow? Russia in general?

While the Russian society at large still seems to be rather poorly informed of the CSR and sustainability efforts of Russian companies (a recent survey found that 62% of respondents claimed there were no socially responsible companies in Russia), the same is not true of the Russian business community. Within the last decade or so, CSR in general and sustainability in particular have become one of the pertinent issues on the agenda. In an article on the background and the current situation with CSR in Russia, Russian-based Economic Strategies Journal provided a rating of the most responsible businesses in the country. The rating was dominated by large corporations or mid-size companies, mostly from the field of resource extraction and processing.

What have been some trends you have seen in this area?

Within the last decade we have witnessed a growing number of initiatives that could be called grassroots business initiatives, where socially responsible businesses and entrepreneurs group together to share ideas and collaborate. Among these is Social Responsibility of Business, a main information hub for news, events, and resources on CSR, sustainability, and corporate philanthropy, as well as the creation of Donors Forum, a non-profit partnership of grant-providing businesses.

The Crisis Barometer is a project that monitors the current situation with CSR and corporate philanthropy/volunteering by polling representatives of about thirty large businesses. Their most recent survey was about corporate volunteering and found that only 2 of the 22 companies surveyed stated that volunteering is not part of their corporate agenda. This is a big change, as compared to some ten or even five years ago. Surveys conducted by the Crisis Barometer also found that, even under the current financial crisis, most companies did not cut their corporate philanthropy and some even doubled their expense budgets, and nearly half of the respondents see corporate volunteering and philanthropy as an ‘anti-crisis’ measure that should ‘secure stability of social investment’.

Briefly describe Lomonosov’s approach to sustainability/responsible management?

MSUBS mission is to be an agent of social change. We do this by educating our students in the values and ethics of business, by challenging unethical practices, enforcing sustainability practices, and introducing our student bodies to a range of real life examples and cases of effective business done responsibly. We were the first among Russian business schools to introduce the courses on business ethics, corporate social responsibility, and counteracting corruption.

We encourage student and faculty initiatives and involvement in academic and practical projects aimed at creating a better, safer environment, offering new services to the community, or prompting further discussion of responsibility and sustainability. In 2013, for example, a team of our students reached the semi-finals in Challenge:Future contest on The Future of Work presenting their idea of Eco Evolution for Eastern Europe. A team of our MBA alumni developed an application for allergy-affected people. Several of our faculty attended the 21st CEEMAN International Conference and presented its concept of educating socially responsible and ethically-minded business leaders.

Business School Response to the Refugee Crisis

refugeesSixty million people have been displaced by conflict and over 410,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean from the Middle East so far this year. Although the primary responsibility for peace rests with governments, the urgency of the global refugee crisis is a challenge that requires support from all actors in society on a short-, mid- and long-term basis.

One month ago today the PRME Secretariat, together with AACSB, AABS, ABIS, AMBA, CEEMAN, CLADEA, EFMD, GMAC, GRLI and EAUC issued a call to action to business schools and management-related higher education institutions (HEIs) in response to the refugee crisis. The call was made in response to a similar call made by the UN Global Compact and the UN Refugee Agency for business to take action.

The leaders of the international academic community were called to take action and address the refugee crisis by providing access to scholarships to business and entrepreneurship related classes and knowledge resources to refugees but also by raising awareness and understanding regarding the situation of refugees, and foster social cohesion. By joining forces with business, governments, UN agencies, civil society organisations and/or other HEIs, business schools can forge long-term partnerships for education and sustainable development.

The following are just a few of the many ways that business schools are responding to this crisis.

Through Collaborative Solutions

The Centre for Education on Social Responsibility at the Leeds School of Business, CU Boulder (USA) is taking a leadership role by convening relevant groups (local government, non-profits, businesses, and business schools) to address the topic of the responsibility of business and business schools to help address the refugee crisis. The meetings will consider the economic stability, employment for refugees and benefits to local employers within the Denver and Boulder business and civic communities.

By Engaging Students and Staff

ALBA Graduate Business School (Greece) collected information on how individuals can help the incoming refugees that was sent to all students, alumni, faculty and staff. Among other things, it gave directions on how to collect items and send them to the NGOs. ALBA has already offered an MBA full scholarship to a young refugee from Africa

The French Education & Research Ministry made a recent appeal to universities in France to propose solutions and actions that would facilitate the welcoming and integration of Syrian, Iraqi and Eritrean refugees. Grenoble Ecole de Management (France) has extended their criteria for the school’s volunteer skills-sharing policy to encourage GEM employees to dedicate 1- 5 days a year of their work-time to help welcome and integrate newly arrived refugees in collaboration with local associations and humanitarian organisations. GEM’s annual Geopolitical Festival in March 2016 will also highlight this urgent issue by hosting a range of activities focused that will examine and discuss the causes, the consequences and potential sustainable and human-focused solutions to this global crisis.

Engaging Refugees

Roughly 3000 refugees are accommodated in Leipzig at an emergency camp located next campus. HHL – Leipzig Graduate School of Management (Germany) opened a collecting point for donations, which are allocated to the refugees. Financial donations received via their graduate students will be used to purchase picture dictionaries in order to support language efforts. Fifteen language interpreters from across campus coordinated the matching of language interpreters with activities. One of these activities is “Neighbour meets Neighbour”, where the refugees can introduce their regional food to students and staff on campus and get in touch with the community. Another initiative has also been put in place to host indoor activities for the refugees at campus, such as a seminar room for a Refugee Law Clinic. HHL is currently organising a field project where students will work for three months with refugee support coordination bodies and a PhD thesis is underway focusing on opportunities and challenges of labour market inclusion for Germany is also in progress. The School is also planning trainings and mini courses aimed at supporting the necessary qualifications of the refugees.

Through Coursework

Hanken School of Economics (Finland) hosts the Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Research Institute (HUMLOG Institute), which is a joint research institute founded by Hanken School of Economics and the National Defence University of Finland. The aim of the HUMLOG Institute is to “to research the area of humanitarian logistics in disaster preparedness, response and recovery with the intention of influencing future activities in a way that will provide measurable benefits to persons requiring assistance”. Through this Institute, Hanken offers a course on humanitarian logistics and students in the course have been encouraged to volunteer to help in coping with the current refugee crisis. They are currently exploring the opportunity to have one project on the refugee crisis in the course this year.

Scholarships

  • Alfred Nobel Open Business School (China) will provide five scholarships to their online e-MBA for registered and selected refugees having business background.
  • Euclid University (Gambia) will be announcing specific full and partial scholarship programmes for qualifying displaced persons and refugees.
  • Haaga-Helia University (Finland) has a proposal a special intake for refugees to study entrepreneurship, languages, sales and service skills as well as career planning. After these studies, they could be admitted as regular students.
  • ESAN Graduate School of Business (Peru) will offer three scholarships to refugees.
  • University of Warsaw (Poland) will provide an access to business and entrepreneurship related classes and a number of scholarships will be offered.
  • University of Strathclyde Business School (UK) is developing a scholarship with the Scottish Refugee Council intended to help asylum seekers and those staying in the UK on humanitarian grounds.
  • SDA Bocconi School of Management (Italy) already offers two open courses (strategy and finance) free of charge aimed at increasing the employability of young people. This course will now also be open to refugees.
  • Grenoble Ecole de Management (France) will offer admission to 5-10 qualified student refugees to study in one of the schools’ programmes.

 

To submit your pledge visit https://business.un.org/pledge_refugee_crisis

Technology in the Classroom – How Schools are Using it to Teach Sustainability

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University of Wollongong IDLE

Technology can be a major distraction for students in the classroom. In fact Penn State and California State University have even developed an app called Pocket Points that rewards students for ignoring their iPhone during class, with discounts and deals from local businesses. Of course technology can also be an important tool to strengthen the curriculum, bring interdisciplinary groups of students together, and engage with the wider community. In this post we look at how Universities are using technology as part of their approach to embed sustainability and responsible management into the curriculum.
Using technology to increase discussions and sharing

Lomonosov Moscow State University Business School in Russia has an agreement with a Social Innovation Lab called Cloudwatcher, a non-profit Moscow based organisation dealing with the new technologies that promote social projects and social entrepreneurship in Russia. Students help find sponsors and volunteer support for different projects through an internet platform created for those who are seeking for support or offer it. Portsmouth Business School in the UK has put in place a number of Technology-Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) rooms. The layout of these rooms give access to multiple technologies that allow students to share multiple viewpoints and angles giving them a greater ‘systems’ perspective for what they are doing and learning. The eZone at University of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa was developed for students and academics to have a platform to write informative and practical articles that develop entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial thinking, and build collaboration between students, communities, and academics.
University of Curtin in Australia is committed to engaging one million active learners by 2017. One of their approaches is an innovative “Balance of the Planet” challenge, a collaboration with UNESCO Bangkok, which works to engage self-forming, collaborative, international, problem-solving teams across the Asia-Pacific region, to create solutions to addressing sustainable development goals through a digital media learning laboratory. The challenge will be open to anyone aged 18 and above. The criteria for judging solutions ideas will be open, transparent and available to all. Voting and comments on solution ideas will be open and transparent.

Using technology as a basis for research in the community
The Centre for Digital Business at the University of Salsberg in the UK, has an internationally-recognised profile of research in digital technologies. The Centre together with Tameside Council and the Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU), developed an innovative engagement strategy and digital toolkit to support home owners to return their empty properties to use as much-needed affordable housing. This Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) was awarded an outstanding rating—the highest possible—by an independent panel of assessors from Innovate UK.

Using technology to strengthen learning opportunities
Copenhagen Business School (CBS), in Denmark, uses technology as an integral part of bringing sustainability into the curriculum. In their fourth semester, students work to facilitate a sustainable and energy efficient lifestyle with the use of informa¬tion technology, including big data and the Internet of Things. The Smart City online module enables students to apply new ideas in using tech¬nology to better bridge the gap between humans and their energy consumption. This includes exploration of how citizens, governments and corporations can take ideas from research to market. CBS also offers a MOOC on Social Entrepreneurship. In excess of 26,000 people from more than 180 countries signed up for this 12-week online course on how to create societal impact through social entrpreneurship. Students were introduced to examples and guided through the process of identifying an opportunity to address social problems, in addition to how to outline their ideas in a business plan. At the end of the course business plans were submitted by 270 participants and five of those plans made it to the finals.
University of Wollongong’s (Australia) interactive and dynamic learning environment (IDLE) computer simulation, designed and developed by the Faculty of Business in 2014, received first place in local iAwards for innovation technology. IDLE is a total enterprise simulation that incorporates social responsibility and sustainability decisions. The Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden is collaborating with the Financial Times, Technische Universität München in Germany, Foreign Trade University in Vietnam, African School of Economics in Benin, and the Darden School of Business in the USA to use technology to discuss important sustainability topics on an international level. The collaboration involves using current news articles published in the Financial Times, and discussing them in real-time with students from the different schools on the SSE MBA Island in the virtual life platform Second Life.

Using technology to help not for profits and small businesses
Justine Rapp, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of San Diego School of Business Administration, won the 2014 Innovation in Experiential Education Award for two experiential learning projects she developed for her Digital Marketing and Social Media course. The first project, called “Google Pay-Per Click Campaigns,” involves students working with two non-profit organisations, USD Electronic Recycling Centre and Skinny Gene Project. Students need to develop an advertising campaign for these groups that are run on Google. The project is split into two parts. For part one, student groups create three different advertisements which run concurrently on Google. After 6 weeks students reconvene and look at the data and readjust the advertisements accordingly. Newly revised ads are then run on Google for another 6 weeks. On the last day of class, everyone comes together to look at the data, and compare successful and unsuccessful measures.
The second project she does in class is a website development project for small businesses in the San Diego area. Each client gets three websites, developed by the students, to choose from at the conclusion of the semester. The project helps support a number of small business owners locally each year who often struggle to build their first professional website and hire a marketing team, whether due to finances, time or logistics, and also helps to support students in launching their marketing careers with some hands-on experience.
Jonkoping International Business School in Sweden established a collaboration to engage students in the practice of crowd-funding, by means of a competition on ecological sustainability. Makers and Bankers is the first financial social platform for crowd-funding with no commission and a 0% interest rate based in Jonkoping. The company was founded by five graduates of the School. Students in the undergraduate course “New Venture Development” participate in the competition, and design social and sustainable venture projects.

5 Key Messages from Businesses to Business Schools Around Sustainability

PRME Global ForumAt the recent PRME Global Forum in New York City, business representatives from the Global Compact LEAD and PRME Champions groups met to discuss how they could work together to move the sustainability agenda forwards for their respective organisations and beyond. The discussion covered a range of different possible projects and collaborations but, in particular, focused on the need to develop employees and graduates with the relevant competencies and skills that businesses of the 21st century need.

The representatives from the Global Compact companies provided a number of interesting insights during this meeting that are relevant to PRME Signatories. Six key messages came out of the discussion, including:

  1. Business doesn’t need sustainability professionals, but rather professionals that are capable of making sustainable decisions in any role.

Many of the business representatives present suggested that a sustainability course/degree/certificate may miss the point. While basic knowledge of sustainability is of course necessary, more important is that graduates have an understanding of how to apply it in the business context in which they are working and the function that they are filling. They need all of them employees to have this knowledge and not just a few specialized individuals.

  1. Business needs better managers/leaders/team members to move sustainability forward.

Business need graduates that have the reflexes to ask the right questions and to find answers when it comes to sustainability. They should be able to ask “Will the decision I am making today stand the test of time, and if it doesn’t, what decision should I make?” Graduates need to be able to drive and influence change, build consensus, and shift the conversation.

  1. Business can see that graduates are increasingly interested in the topic of sustainability and are seeing some benefits….

Businesses in the room at the PRME-LEAD meeting stated that they receive a significantly higher number of applicants, and higher quality applicants, for all jobs because of their reputation as a sustainability leader. This is particularly true when sustainability is mentioned in the job application. Businesses are noticing the work that academic institutions are doing in this area and are encouraged by the changes they are already seeing in graduates.

  1. …but also recognise that there is more business could do to help in this regard.

As sustainability becomes core to how modern companies operate, it will increasingly be part of all jobs and therefore job descriptions and selection criteria. However, business representatives agreed that this isn’t always the case and these skills, which they admit they want/need, are often not integrated into the recruiting process. Incorporating sustainability into the recruiting process would sent a strong message to students about the importance of being knowledgeable about sustainability topics to increase their changes of being hired.

  1. Business is interested in engaging with business schools, but partnerships need to be mutually beneficial

Business schools want/need business to engage with them in order to move their sustainability agendas forward, while businesses often prefer to engage with schools that they see are already advanced in this area. For this reason business schools need to give businesses a clear reason to want to work with them. Do you have students who are knowledgeable about these topics and can use that knowledge to help a company further their efforts? Does your school have a research focus that coincides with that of a local company engaged in sustainability? There needs to be something in it for all parties involved.

  1. Business schools should become knowledgeable in what business needs are in the area of sustainability today, and prepare for what they may be in the future.

Representatives working in the field of sustainability within leading businesses are busy people with limited time and resources. They do not necessarily have the time to tell business schools what they need and want, it is up to the schools themselves to uncover these needs and tailor programmes and projects accordingly. They can do this by staying connected and up to date with sustainability issues, attending local, country, and regional Global Compact events or organising and bringing together groups of professionals working in this field from their city.

 

For more on the outcomes of both meetings, view the outcomes documents from the PRME Global Forum and the Global Compact +15. ‘The State of Sustainability in Management Education’ was launched at this meeting and provides a summary of some of the challenges that management education are facing in embedding these topics into their curriculum as well as some of the opportunities for business and academic institutions to work together moving forward.

A Selection of MOOCs on Sustainability/Ethics for Fall 2015

Lund University
There are a growing number of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) being offered on a range of 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 between three and eight hours of time per week to complete. Here is a selection of such courses offered this Fall 2015, listed by topic, from PRME signatory and non-signatory schools.

Energy

Solar Energy: This course explores photovoltaic systems and the technology that converts solar energy into electricity, heat and solar fuel. From Delft University of Technology, TU Delft – starts September 1.

Energy Subsidy Reform: This course explores energy subsidies, their costs, and the design of a successful reform based on country case studies. International Monetary Fund – Starts January 27, 2016.

Climate Change – The Science: Master the basics of climate science so you can better understand the news, evaluate scientific evidence, and explain global warming to anyone. The University of British Columbia – starts October 14.

Climate Change: This course develops an interdisciplinary understanding of the social, political, economic, and scientific perspectives on climate change. The University of Melbourne – starts August 31.

Basics of Energy Sustainability: Explore basics of energy sustainability through techno/economic frameworks and global markets – a comprehensive foundation for strategic business decision-making. From Rice University – starts October.

Environment

Tropical Coastal Ecosystems: This course will help you to develop the skills and knowledge needed to help preserve tropical coastal ecosystems that provide goods and services to hundreds of millions of people. It will give an overview of the challenges, and provide tools to understand problems and solutions to manage tropical coastal ecosystems. University of Queensland Australia – starting September 1.

Introduction to Water and Climate explores how climate change, water availability and engineering innovation are key challenges for our planet. Delft University of Technology, TU Delft – starts September 1.

The Biology of Water and Health – Sustainable Interventions: This course explores how to promote safe water conservation and water sustainability to improve public health. Open Education Consortium – starts September 29.

Planet Earth…and You!: This course discusses how earthquakes, volcanoes, minerals and rocks, energy, and plate tectonics have interacted over deep time to produce our dynamic island in space, and its unique resources. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – starts September 14.

Forests and Humans – From the Midwest to Madagascar: This course explores the forests of the world, from the taiga to the tropical rainforest. Learn why humans depend on them, and how we can sustainably manage forests for us, and the many species with whom we share them. University of Wisconsin-Madison – starts September 30.

Social

Foundations of Development Policy – Advanced Development Economics: This course uses economic theory and data analysis to explore the economic lives of the poor, and ways to design and implement effective development policy. MIT – starts September 21.

Quality of Life – Livability in Future Cities: This course explores how urban planning, energy, climate, ecology and mobility impact the livability and quality of life of a “future city.” ETH Zurich – starts September 23.

Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education: This course explores strategies, examples, and resources that support teaching and learning of indigenous ways of knowing in classrooms, schools, and communities. The University of British Columbia – starts September 29.

Business Ethics for the Real World: This self-paced course is designed to provide an introduction to the subject of ethical behaviour in business. Santa Clara University – starts August 10.

Geopolitics and Global Governance: This course offers a reflection – from a geostrategic and geopolitical viewpoint – on the basics of understanding today’s world. This course is in Spanish. ESADE – starts November 2.

Production and Consumption

Industrial Biotechnology explores the basics of sustainable processing for bio-based products, to further understand their impact on global sustainability. Delft University of Technology, TU Delft – starts September 30.

Circular Economy – An Introduction: Design a future that rethinks our current “take-make-waste” economy to focus on circular, innovative products and business models. Delft University of Technology, TU Delft – starts October.

Greening the Economy – Lessons from Scandinavia: This course addresses sustainability, climate change and how to combine economic development with a healthy environment. It will explore how individual choices, business strategies, sustainable cities and national policies can promote a greener economy. Lund University – starts September 14.

Change Makers

Transforming Business, Society and Self: This course puts the student in the driver’s seat of innovation and change. It helps change makers see below the surface of today’s environmental, social, and spiritual-cultural challenges, identify the root issues that cause them, and create solutions from a place of deeper awareness. MIT – starts September 10.

Social Entrepreneurship: This course will cover a select set of topics associated with social innovation and entrepreneurship whether non-profit or for-profit. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania – starts September 14.

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, take on leadership for important causes and improve our workplaces and communities for all. Case Western Reserve University – starts September 8.

Social Learning for Social Impact: In this MOOC students will collaborate with other like-minded individuals from around the globe on doing social impact work while also being exposed to concepts and models on how to effectively do so. McGill University – starts September 16.

Innovation and Problem Solving through Creativity: This course helps participants increase innovation and improve problem solving at work by fostering your creative abilities. The University of British Columbia – starts October 20.

The Science of Happiness: This course teaches positive psychology. Berkeley University of California – starts September 8.

– Are you organising a MOOC this or next term not mentioned above? Get in touch at gweybrecht@thesustainablemba.com

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