Lessons in Preparing your First SIP Report from Reykjavik University

SIPReykjavik University in Iceland was awarded, at a special ceremony at the 2015 PRME Global Forum in June, a recognition for their Sharing Information on Progress report (SIP). In their first SIP report they created an engaging and reader friendly communication tool that brought together the work that they are doing at the Business School, while actively promoting the voices of different stakeholders. I spoke with Hrefna Sigriour Briem, Director of the B.SC Programme at the School of Business, about their experiences and lessons learnt preparing their first SIP report.

What approach did you take when preparing your first report and how did you go about putting the report together?

The report was an excellent opportunity to take a close look at what is already in place. We started by discussing with faculty what initiatives they were already taking in their teaching and research—we were pleasantly surprised by the fact that there was more going on than we had anticipated. The reporting process was a great opportunity to shed light on various activities that were already going on and illustrate them in a coherent manner. In addition we discussed the issue of responsible leadership and sustainability at various faculty meetings and a task force brainstormed for new ideas and initiatives, particularly how to get students more involved and how collaboration could be encouraged.

Is there a part of your report or the process that you are particularly proud of? What parts were, or still are challenging?

It was delightful to experience that faculty members and students were quite interested and enthusiastic. We are particularly proud of the fact that the report illustrates the work of a large majority of our people and the ways that responsible management education (RME) is exercised in our various programmes. Getting started was the most difficult part. What to report on and how to report was a challenge, and we spent considerable time discussing these issues.

How have you been using/communicating the report?

We have mostly used the report for internal purposes—communication to students has been our number one priority. We did however distribute the report to the business community, and the dean and programme directors have made a point of discussing the importance of RME both internally as well is in external communications such as interviews and commentaries. We do see further opportunities in participating in a dialogue with industry, particularly through FESTA, a local business network for promoting sustainability. Our report was sent to the 300 biggest organisations in Iceland and was also covered by various local media.

What advice do you have for other schools putting together their first report?

Start by looking for what is already going on. Get as many of the faculty members on board as you can, but don’t waste too much time on convincing the skeptics, the advocates are the ones that will make the change happen. It is also good to keep in mind that the report should be useful for the institution, we used the report and the process as means to take stock and set goals, that way you can refer back to it as you move along.

What plans do you have for your second report?

We will proceed with the discussion at faculty meetings and continue our task force meetings. By the time we deliver our second report we would like to have reached some of our goals set forward in the first report, particularly with regards to leading by example as an institution, increased student involvement, and measuring progress by surveying faculty and students on their knowledge and attitude towards responsible management and sustainability. We won’t change the format much, but will embark upon attaining more depth. There will be more emphasis on research concerning responsible management education. We will also create more discussion among faculty members, students, business and society.

What are some initiatives mentioned in the report that you are particularly proud of that you are working on at RU?

After we signed up to the PRME principles we came up with the idea of rewarding students for responsible and sustainable business ideas in our Entrepreneurship and
Starting New Ventures course. Reporting on this student involvement was particularly enjoyable. Taking count of students views and attitudes towards sustainability through a research initiative of two faculty members is a very important part of monitoring this constant improvement process, and we will continue this effort and report on it in our next SIP. Last but not least, we thought it was very important to demonstrate, in our SIP, the variety of research projects that our faculty are conducting related to responsible management and sustainability.

To read Reykjavik University Business School’s SIP report click here. A Basic Guide to Sharing Information on Progress was also launched at the Global Forum and is available here. For more posts on SIPs click here.

Implementing Sustainability Principles – Sharing Information on Progress (April/May)

Lund University School of Economics and Management

Lund University School of Economics and Management

Every month, several new Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) reports come across my desk. These SIP reports are full of interesting and innovative projects aimed at embedding the Principles of PRME across campuses. In this series of blogs, I will feature a small selection of these projects taken from recently submitted reports. This month, we take a look at examples, as they apply to the Six Principles of PRME, from Sweden, the US, Paraguay, Mexico, South Africa, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Colombia.

1. Purpose:

Lund University School of Economics and Management (LUSEM) in Sweden currently runs an initiative, launched in the summer of 2013, where students are put in contact with a number of the school’s partners and other companies, to review practi­ces in corporate responsibility and sustainability. The initiative has developed ongoing, active collaborations, with a number of organisations including Alfa Laval, Arla Foods, Deloitte, the Hunger Project, IKEA, and Swedbank. The initiative includes continuous follow-up by the school, and pursuit of further initiatives and partnerships to allow students to engage with the organisations in a number of ways—some of these leading to students writing bachelor’s and master’s theses in collaboration with the companies. This initiative reflects both the commitment by the school to gain ground on corporate responsibility and sustainability issues, and the insight that partners and other corporate, public or non-profit bodies are eager to engage with the academy in these developments.

2. Values:

Clark University Graduate School of Management’s University Park Partnership (UPP) is a broad, grassroots collaboration that involves neighborhood residents and organisations, local churches, government officials, the business community, and public schools. The university has played a leadership role in the community since 1985 and has been a primary partner in UPP since 1995. As a partner, university individuals conduct research for UPP organisations, teach in neighborhood schools, and serve as mentors.

The Universidad del Cono Sur de las Americas in Paraguay has an annual event that has been going on for six years now called, Contest of Crazy Ideas. This contest invites students to develop creative ideas and new products and services with a focus on social responsibility.

3. Method:

The Universidad del Norte in Colombia has been working to build up its database of case studies with a clear focus on social responsibility and sustainable business. It is working with the Colombia Global Compact Local Network, of which it is part of the organising committee, to create a series of case studies on human resources and social responsibility at the national level.

As part of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Business School Network for the Promotion of Responsible and Sustainable Business Practices through Business Education, EGADE Business School in Mexico, has designed a course in collaboration with the ILO, Boconni University in Italy, and Sun Yat Sen University in China. The course, called “Labour Dimension of Corporate Social Responsibility; from principles to practice,” is available to enterprises, entrepreneurs, and the general public.

4. Research:

Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in South Africa has a Centre for Dynamic Markets, which is dedicated to generating and disseminating insights into and information about doing business in dynamic markets, as well as the implications, arising out of the success of the dynamic market economies, for doing business elsewhere. The centre has been expanding its operations and presence into other African countries, with a new office in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2014, it launched its inaugural GIBS Dynamic Market Index, which attempts to empirically identify the conditions and institutions that enable the catalysts for economic growth, wealth creation, innovation, and overall socio-economic development. The index, which will be updated annually, measures a series of indicators across 133 countries over a seven year period.

5. Partnerships:

The Faculty of Economics and Administration (FEA) at the King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia is working closely with the anti-corruption authority, an initiative created by the government of Saudi Arabia in 2010 to fight corruption and unethical behavior, and foster a culture of social responsibility among all sectors of the Saudi Arabian economy. FEA held workshops in conjunction with the authority, with the aim of exploring venues for potential cooperation between the college and the anticorruption authority through training and research.

6. Dialogue:

INALDE in Colombia has a project in collaboration with the Exxon Mobil. This programme brings together leaders of national NGOs and Foundations to develop the capacity of these leaders to generate positive change at the community and national levels.

The George Washington School of Business’ (GWSB) Career Center partnered with employers to create the Corporate Collaborative Council (CCC). The CCC consists of senior level industry leaders strongly committed to developing global business talent. Council members—representing a broad range of business, government and non-profit organisations—help drive the direction of the business education curriculum through regular meetings with key faculty and administrators.

+ Organisational Practices:

Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business in the Philippines invited students to take part in a No Impact Experiment, a one-week carbon cleanse programme. Students and staff were encouraged to take steps to reduce their impact. Each day had a theme, Monday was trash, Tuesday transportation, Wednesday food, Thursday energy, Friday water, Saturday giving back and Sunday was eco-Sabbath. The event was organised by the Campus Sustainability Office.





Implementing Sustainability Principles – Sharing Information on Progress (Feb/March)

Students from Auckland University of Technology Business School

Students from Auckland University of Technology Business School

Every month, several new Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) reports come across my desk. These SIP reports are full of interesting and innovative projects aimed at embedding the Principles of PRME across campus. In this series of blogs, I will feature just a small selection of these projects taken from recently submitted reports. This month, we take a look at examples – as they fit into each of the Six Principles of PRME – from New Zealand, France, Belgium, South Africa, Brazil, Columbia and Canada.

  1. Purpose: Auckland University of Technology Business School, New Zealand

The Auckland University of Technology Business School’s mission is to prepare its graduates for the changing world. Social responsibility and ethics are built into learning goals in both the undergraduate and graduate levels with the goal of creating graduates that think and act ethically. Sustainability and responsible business practice is a key topic in the first semester of study with substantial papers on the topic required from students throughout their programme. Students are also required to reflect on their ethical decision-making and discuss processes or issues that they observed during their nine week work placement.

  1. Values: Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier Business School, France

GSCMBS has been granted the French diversity label (AFNOR), which is awarded to institutions that fight against discrimination and educate all students regardless of their origins and social situations. The school has integrated diversity into its mission, teaching, and research. It has a range of different programmes in this area including a network of referees for counseling that can accommodate each student and adapt curriculum according to their needs (such as disability, young parenting, top athlete, illness, stress needs, and so on). This topic is led by the Human Resources, Diversity, and CSR Direction Department at the school.

  1. Method: Louvain School of Management, Belgium

Since 2012, students from Louvain School of Management have organised the LSM Cup: Ethics in Business – a business game focusing on CSR. This inter-faculty, multidisciplinary game consists of solving case studies in realistic situations, by teams of four students from both the Bachelor and Master’s programmes. During the two-day event, students must address four different challenges presented by specific companies, applying the theme of corporate social responsibility to the main aspects of management: finance, marketing, sourcing and procurement, and strategy. The game is sponsored by a range of business and not for profit partners.

  1. Research: Gordon Institute of Business Science, South Africa

In 2013, the Gordon Institute of Business Science became the host organisation of the Network for Business Sustainability, South Africa, in partnership with the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town, increasing the academic community’s ability to support sustainable development in the economy through vigorous academic research into business challenges in sustainable development, conducted in partnership with leading private sector companies, non-profit organisations, and the South African government. The partnership is motivated by the need to enhance collaboration between business and sustainability researchers, and between practitioners and researchers, in South Africa and beyond.

  1. Partnerships: National Service of Industrial Apprenticeship in Parana in Brazil

SENAI in Parana is part of the Curitiba International Schools for Urban Sustainability (CISUS) Project. The project is a partnership, involving the City of Curitiba and a range of Universities in the city, which aims to produce and share knowledge, innovative ideas, and skills around sustainable cities. It is based on the city of Curitiba’s urban management experience, knowledge shared by respected educational institutions, innovation, and its constant search for improvements. The city intends to broaden the connection between industries and academic and professional knowledge, through experiences in urban sustainability. For SENAI, this is also an opportunity to connect students with planning and decision-making processes in sustainable urban management.

  1. Dialogue: Universidad EAFIT, Columbia,

In 2013, the Trade, Investment and Development Observatory was created with the support of the virtual institute of the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD). UNCTAD’s mission is to promote inclusive and sustainable development in international trade. The Observatory at EAFIT is organised by students from different schools across the university who regularly write short articles focused on UNCTAD’s work and policies. To find out more visit http://tradelatam.blogspot.com

+ Organisational Practices: British Columbia Institute of Technology, Canada

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has a fund it calls the Revolving Fund for Sustainability, which provides no-interest loans for internal projects that save energy, conserve water, reduce waste, and/or lower operating costs. Additionally, their is a volunteer group of employees at the school, the Green Team, keen on inspiring change from the ground up. Following the team’s successful Heat Savers initiative that called on staff to combat wasted heat at BCIT, they are now in the midst of a new green commuting campaign, Commute Smart,  which encourages students and staff to leave their cars at home and use public transport, bikes, carpools or their own two feet to get to campus.







Putting together your first SIP report – Glasgow School for Business and Society (Part 2 of 2)

GCUIn August, Glasgow School for Business and Society at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) submitted their first Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) Report. The report was recognised for Excellence in Reporting among new signatories at the 2013 PRME Summit – 5th Annual Assembly earlier this year in Bled, Slovenia. I recently had the chance to speak with Dr. Stephen Sinclair and Dr. Alec Wersun, Co-Chairs of the PRME leadership Team at Glasgow School for Business and Society, about their experiences putting together the report (click here to read Part 1).

5.       Were there things that you were pleasantly surprised about as you went through the process?

What became most apparent in the course of gathering information for the SIP report was the sheer range of expertise and the quality of the work undertaken within GCU. However, one corporate activity that stands out in particular is the Caledonian Club, which is designed to open up access to higher education to traditionally under-represented groups and deprived communities in both Glasgow and London, where GCU also has a campus. The Caledonian Club involves a programme of activities aimed to make University study an opportunity for everyone and not a privilege for the few. Staff and students who volunteer to deliver some of the Club’s activities help to ‘demystify’ University life for those who are unfamiliar with higher education and build up their confidence and aspirations. Increasing social mobility and contributing to social justice depend upon activities such as this.

6.     What advice would you have for other schools putting together their first report?

PRME is a process rather than a one-off event or accomplishment. We certainly don’t feel that we have reached the end of our journey nor got everything right, and we are open to ideas and learning from others. PRME is not a competition (even though we were proud to win an award!) but an opportunity for sharing experiences and improving together – the very name of Sharing Information on Progress expresses this sentiment. Sharing knowledge and experience strengthens and enhances rather than diminishes it, so we would advise others who are preparing their own SIP reports to take what they can from other members of the PRME community, adapt it where necessary – and perhaps even improve it in the process – and let others know about they have learned from their experience.

7.     What are your plans for your next report?

We hope that our 2014 report will reflect a deepening and widening application of PRME within GCU. Many of the activities and processes we have initiated to embed PRME in our culture and practices are new, and we hope that each report will reflect not only their growing impact but also our increasing understanding of how to improve them. We see this commitment as an ongoing journey. It is our aim to embed the Principles of PRME in everything we do, teach, and research. We would welcome any feedback that colleagues from the international PRME community may wish to give and, of course, we would be happy to provide any additional information to anyone who may wish to know more about our approach and experiences.

Why the GCU’s SIP report was recognised for Excellence in Reporting:

  • The structure and organisation of the report is clear and coherent. Initiatives for each Principle addressed are easily identifiable and key achievements are highlighted.
  • Actions undertaken are shown in concise, honest (i.e. failures/challenges are recognised, in addition to successes), realistic, useful, and inspiring ways.
  • Reporting has been used for both internal improvement/development and external communication. The report itself provides doable ideas for faculty mobilisation, project implementation/facilitation, prioritisation or evaluation of progress.
  • The evolution of the activities (the story of the institution, efforts undertaken, challenges, etc.) and future goals or plans are provided.
  • The report is clear, inviting, and readable.

– What were your experiences putting together your SIP report? Share them in the comments below. –

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