This is the first part of a two part series reviewing the best practices in responsible management. It was written by Giselle Weybrecht the author of The Sustainable MBA: The Manager’s Guide to Green Business. The book aims to educate the next generation of business leaders about sustainability issues, whether these be students or business executives. Prior to this she worked for many years with the United Nations internationally in sustainable development. Today she works with government, universities, NGOs, business and with social entrepreneurs in sustainability around the world. She is committed to ensuring that the next generation of business leaders fully understand sustainability by working with business schools and businesses to embed these issues into their programmes. She is a dynamic and sought after speaker in sustainability issues and also writes on sustainability and business issues for a variety of publications including the Economist and Forbes.
2012 has been an interesting year for sustainability and management education and through Primetime I have tried to share some of the incredible work that PRME signatories are doing to mainstream responsible leadership and management education around the world. Primetime has become quite a repository of examples and in the final few blogs of the year I wanted to summarize the range of resources and experiences that have been featured.
Rio+20 and the 3rd Global Forum
In 2012 many of us made our way to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for Rio+20, where world leaders, governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups came together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection to get to the future that we want (29 March – Management Education and Rio+20 Part 1 and Part 2). The academic community came together for the PRME 3rd Global Forum for Responsible Management Education, the official platform for management-related Higher Education Institutions (8 June – Getting ready for Rio+20, The Nine Major Groups Part 1 and Part 2). There were also a range of other events throughout the Rio+20 meeting where the PRME community was quite active (30 May – Getting Ready for Rio: Business Education Events). Jonas Haertle, the Head of the PRME Secretariat, followed up the event with a thought piece on the contribution of the private sector and academic institutions in support of sustainable development and the Rio+20 process (5 July – Why Rio+20 was still a success)
There were several outcomes of the Global Forum (19 June – Outcomes of the 3rd Global Forum, 14-15 June, Brazil). One of the major outputs was the Inspirational Guide, a collection of case stories that provide the answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning the implementation of PRME and seeks to inspire further integration of PRME by highlighting real world examples from signatory schools and universities (31 May – Introducing the Inspirational Guide).
PRME Working Groups
The different working groups were also very active this year and we focused on some of the projects done by the Poverty Working Group (10 September – Poverty Working Group Part 1 and Part 2), the Working Group on Anti-Corruption in Curriculum Change’s Toolkit for embedding Anti-Corruption guidelines into MBA curriculum (12 November – A toolkit) and the Global Gender Equality Repository for Management Education put together by the Working Group on Gender Equality (26 June – Creating a Global Gender Equality Repository for Management Education).
Collaborations across schools
Several member schools got together during the year to share experiences around sustainability issues both at PRME regional forums (MENA, Asia, Australia/New Zealand) and outside of these meetings. Aarhus University in collaboration with PRME organized the first PRME Leaders +20 competition which aimed to encourage faculty and student teams to submit innovative ideas on how to address sustainable development as part of management education courses and curricula at business schools (31 January – PRME Leaders+20 competition). Two of the winners of the contest were featured; The University of Auckland’s new course “Managing change for a better world” (9 July – Creating new courses around sustainability), and MacEwan Business School’s work to include more of an emphasis on sustainable business in the core introduction to Canadian business course (15 October – Competition Challenges Business Students to Rethink Course in Sustainable Terms).
Faculty from Mzumbe University and KCA University visited ISAE in Brazil to learn about their approach to embedding sustainability into their curriculum (3 December – East Africa University Researchers learn from Brazilian Experience). Several schools from across the US, led by Maharishi University, collaborated on a Summer MBA Sustainability Consortium opening up summer sustainability courses to students from the different schools (16 July – The Summer MBA Sustainability Consortium). In Australia several signatory schools have collaborated on a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact (1 October – Graduate Certificate in Social Impact). There were also a range of research related collaborations featured from Canada, the US, France, UK, Denmark and Belgium (24 April – Research Collaborations and Sustainability Part 1 and Part 2).
Collaborations with business
Collaborations are not just happening across universities but also increasingly with the business sector. Several schools have been busy pairing up with both other business schools and local businesses to create more case studies focused on sustainability, in particular at a regional level (16 April – Creating Teaching Cases around Sustainability). In Canada, Concordia University has paired up with banks from across the city of Montreal to provide a new Sustainable Professional Investment Certificate for bankers (16 August – Sustainable Professional Investment Certification).
We have also seen an increase in collaborations within schools and transdisciplinary learning (23 July – Using a common theme to engage the student body in sustainability). Some examples this year have included Bentley, with their course around Energy Needs (24 September – Creating a cross-disciplinary course in sustainability) and Aston’s approach to teaching ethics (8 October – Taking a transdiciplinary approach to teaching ethics).