What is the role of business in education and training for sustainable development?


(Humberto Cardenas) #42

We have developed knowledge management projects, injecting both processes and day-to-day activities with relevant knowledge in sectors as diverse as agriculture, health, finance, etc.
The impact of these projects is measured in the increase of productivity not in terms of traditional education. The results have been surprising. Improvements in the quantity of harvested products up to 80%. Improvements in the quality of the results in patients with bipolarity and depression up to 45% and so on.


(Jason Walters) #43

Pearson’s Tomorrow’s Markets Incubator program supports teams of Pearson employees to develop new products, services and business models that can bring high-quality education to low‑income and underserved communities. Over 150 teams applied for the first round of funding! The incubator enables employees to develop and test their ideas while helping them build and broaden their skills and capabilities. In addition to seed funding, employees receive coaching from external thought leaders and access to trained researchers who specialize in venture creation for low-income markets. The program has already had a big influence on Pearson’s overall approach to innovation and new product development.


(Florencia Librizz) #44

Business can (and should) partner to advance education for the #SDGs. As stems clearly from the report, collaborating with educators and learners is key to make the necessary shift in mindset, skills and knowledge to at the macro level address the complex challenges of sustainability but also at a micro level to be able to deliver in competitive new markets of sustainable products and services.

Working with PRME for over 6 years, I have seen how 700+ academic institutions around the world have join the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) to help integrate sustainability and responsible management education in their research, curricula, organizational practices, dialogues and partnerships. This commitment to sustainability has been the most important driver of a strategic change that comes explicitly from the leadership, faculty and non-academic staff. As a result of this process, our participants’ graduates are exposed globally to experiential learning, community based learning, interdisciplinary teaching and innovative research, being form for the complex challenges that we are facing.

I believe businesses that are committed to sustainability should partner with PRME and its many signatories around the world to support our global movement to form the leaders that we need tor the world we want. Furthermore, they should hire those needed talents to come up with the innovative products and services that can solve real world problems, while respecting and protecting the people and the planet.


(Florencia Librizz) #45
  1. As stems from the report I believe it is key that an effective employee learning for sustainable development is able to provide clarity and integrate objectives for business strategy, sustainability and employee training and development; combines real-life examples with expertise and insights from academics NGOs and others; and engages and empowers employees to take action on sustainable development through active experiential and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. In my work I have seen many business leverage great Executive Programs from PRME schools. In my personal experience, I benefit so much from a wonderful leadership program I took from a Spanish top business school and PRME signatory that had wonderful case studies, great peer learning with many other leaders on the room, practical exercises, leadership tests and also coaching. I think this kind of training and investment not only provides more knowledge and skills but also the inspiration that employees need to do great things!

(David Norman) #46

Thanks everyone. We have a couple more questions to cover, so let me introduce the third question now:

Q3. What does it take for companies to open up and share more of their internal business learnings on what works and what doesn’t for sustainable development?


(Jason Franz) #47

A3: It takes intent. Companies must have it in their best interests to want to share because they understand it is better for the entire market landscape as well as their customers and partners. This is why Starbucks wanted to make sure the Greener Apron program could be employed by other companies, like NRG. We now have three other corps looking to engage this on-line training model as well. You look at what Patagonia decided to do with their tax cut savings by redirecting it to climate change NGOs because that’s what they believe as a culture is best for them as a business. This really stems from leadership and the understanding of leadership’s interests and goals throughout the org, the board, etc. You look at any of the leading coprs in terms of sustainability and they all have a strong direction from leadership.


(Alison Taylor) #48

A3: Sharing successful initiatives is never a challenge. What companies find much more challenging is sharing what didn’t work and why, as your report highlights. This is a shame, because there are usually far richer and deeper lessons to be learnt here.

Companies are still adapting their mindset from one where only positive messages are allowed to go out into the market, and to one where developing stakeholder trust relies more on working in our new hyper-transparent era where the public is in inherently suspicious of all good news stories. We find that admitting to and sharing challenges is in fact one of the best routes available to building public trust and driving advancement.

I would add that careful research in the public domain can often provide excellent academic case studies without the need for companies to share. At my Fordham Law School class (which is cross listed in the business school) I used real company disclosures, media coverage and legal documents to trace the evolution and development of corporate ethics crises, and then what companies did to resolve them. This is very practical and provides deep learning for the students in question.


(Daphne Halkias) #49

Hello everyone-- I am Daphne Halkias, Professor at International School of Management Paris. Most business schools are behind the curve on The issue of substantiality, sustainable development, populations living in poverty and how business schools can graduate students who will focus on sustainability issues rather than profit maximization. Let’s take out all the competitive business schools and focus on mid and small sized schools around the world that really educate 9 out of 10 graduates that will enter the market. For most of these schools sustainable development is an elective course at the drop-end of their curriculum. This issue needs to become a core issue in business education. This change in mindset takes time. My hope is technology can help to develop a borderless, educational society which reimagines how teachers and students connect. At Oxford a faculty group is set to launch a blockchain university by 2020. It will rely on blockchains and smart contracts to protect relationships between students and educators. Innovation in business school cannot move forward unless education is owned by faculty and students and not middle management. The blockchain university platform is meant to diminish the middle layer of bureaucracy between the classroom and the regulator. Then academics and researchers can engage students in today’s pressing global business issues-- of which sustainability is a central pillar. Now we are forced to mostly teach out of textbooks selected by middle management-- many textbooks that can have a 2018 edition— but disseminate knowledge and research are still stuck in the previous decade—IF WE’RE LUCKY. I see AI and technology supporting business educations as the way to go forward and educated business students who are meant to be tomorrow’s world leaders on issues of value and meaning-- issues that younger students want to hear about and care about.


(Florencia Librizz) #50

A2: The UN Global Compact launched the Academy early this year which is a new digital learning platform to help companies become more sustainable. The Academy is designed to provide businesses with the knowledge and skills they need to meet their sustainability objectives while contributing to the SDGs. In order to access this great service, companies have to engage the Global Compact at the Participant level. The offering has a special focus on practical guidance for companies to align their business strategies and operations with the 10 Principles and the SDDGs.


(Florencia Librizz) #51

A 3: Often times it takes business to understand that by sharing more information with their constituents and stakeholders they can actually benefit their strategies, operations and overall their long-term sustainability. This understanding help them realize that by sharing with others they can learn from positive experiences as well as from challenges, while also realizing that they are positively influencing how external groups perceive and affect their performance, reputation and value. Business that join the UN Global Compact commit to share their progress implementing the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact yearly. Please find more information here: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/participation/report/cop


(Al Rosenbloom) #52

At Dominican we have made “creating sustainable value” one of the cornerstones of both our undergraduate and MBA education. Our MBA program is for fully-employed adults, so they are already working. Our hope is that with sustained engagement across a number of MBA and undergrad courses, we are developing a sustainability mindset, along with ethical leadership behavior, that supports the future leaders of business.


(Daphne Halkias) #53

… and we certainly need industry and other actors from the social policy sphere working together with business schools-- and to help business school break out of their silos.


(Alison Taylor) #54

Totally agree - evolution of thinking in business schools is a really pressing concern


(Katie Hyson) #55

Hi All, I am Katie, Director of Thought Leadership for Business Fights Poverty, but in a previous life I run internal colleague engagement programmes across sustainability agendas for MNCs - for each of the questions about how to embed SD into business learning and development, and how to subsequently get them to open up and share learnings, we need to get the agenda out of the CSR / sustainability teams and onto the L&D team’s agenda and get them owning this - they have been a professionalised body of people within businesses far longer than sustainability has, they have professional learning standards, academies and training. They are used to sharing best practice, move around a lot between businesses and sectors - we need to be empowering and training them - the trainers.


(Florencia Librizz) #56

A 1: Many examples comes to my mind of what business schools are doing to support advance responsible management education to progress the #SDGs.

a) For instance, a university in UK has involved students to audit the whole curriculum of the university, this included the “formal curriculum” (meaning what is taught in class), the “informal curriculum” (e.g. student, campus activities, etc.) and also the “subliminal curriculum” (which is what students learn by example based on the way that the school operates, how it treats its employees, how they conduct business, etc.)

b)Honoring today’s corporate sustainability champions is a great way to inspire current and future students. A university in Canada, the Distinguished Business Leader Award is both a celebration of ethical leadership and a legacy to support future leaders. The award has recognized outstanding leaders in the community since 1993. The award endeavours to recognize the exceptional contribution of the community’s ethical business leaders and to support future leaders.

c) Recognizing that young generations also have the responsibility to to protect environment and promote sustainability and they need to partner and work collaboratively, a business school in Morocco devised the ‘Green Street’ project which is a collaboration between students, the local agency for development and rehabilitation of the city, and the municipality. As a result of this collaboration, they helped improved and beautify the environment of the site Oued Al Jawahir located in the old Medina of Fez.

d) Greening organisational practices on campus can greatly support sustainability at the community level. A Business School in the UK has been recycling up to 81% of their waste since 2010. The University has funded and developed a new waste app ‘Your Rubbish’ for students and all residents of the town to use to provide information on bin collections and recycling, with over 3800 downloads.

e) A Business School in New Zealand is pioneering on the future of accounting and has embed exciting research and pedagogy on accounting, including ways to incorporate social and political theory into teaching.

f) Many schools around the world have already introduced a requisite course on sustainability and responsible management or CSR, including emphasis on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how responsible business can help advance these Goals.

g) A University in New York ensures that not only business school students are taught sustainability and responsible management, since many graduates move into the non-profit and civil society space. This school provides values-based training and PRME’s 6 Principles for their non-profit management courses in undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

Business have wonderful potential partners within the PRME community!


(Jason Franz) #57

We love the notion that there isn’t enough sharing of what didn’t work. Real learning and advancement comes from an understanding of the failures we encounter throughout and clearly promoting and developing sustainability programs and messages has been a challenge. It required tying corporate benefit to sustainability to make it something the board room would listen to.


(Levan Pangani) #58

A3: Companies should be willing to open up to students in order to provide knowledge and enable them to better react to sustainability challenges once they join the workforce. Students should know and understand business challenges with regard to sustainability. Companies should get closer to higher education institutions with whom they would need to share their experience regarding sustainable development topic. It would create awareness on how companies deal with existing sustainability challenges, motivate them to reflect on their own experience, and get ideas on alternative ways of overcoming current or future sustainability-related obstacles.


(Al Rosenbloom) #59

To piggyback on what Jason F said, I think it also requires trust between the company and the school, or more precisely, trust between the firm and students. Agreed: It is easy for firms to showcase their good projects. Yet organizations have resistance points, etc. Student teams, esp. at the MBA and Executive MBA levels, can be instrumental if helping firms “unblock” themselves – if trust is there.


(Florencia Librizz) #60

Thank you Al for sharing this example! As a leading PRME school, this is a great example of how responsible management education can help form the leaders we need for the world we want #SDGs


(David Norman) #61

Does anyone have thoughts on how trust can be built up to overcome concerns that sharing this kind of insight might harm a company, particularly where the learning relates to less successful initiatives?