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News - 17 October 2014

Aligning PRME with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals framework – Call for Action launched at 3rd Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit

(Cleveland, 17 October 2014) – Participants at the 2014 3rd Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit workshop on Management Education and Action for Advancing Sustainable Development issued a Call for Action for management education, research and engagement to advance the proposed Sustainable Development Goals.

With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire next year a new framework is currently being developed under the name Sustainable Development Goals. The first draft, proposed by an Open Working Group of United Nations member states with the input from a number of stakeholder groups including business, comprises 17 goals. There are two main differences between these new goals and the MDGs. First, they target not only the needs and challenges of the developing world, but of the whole world. Second, the private sector is no longer an afterthought but a central partner in achieving the goals. With this work-in-progress as background, participants at the workshop, facilitated by Ángel Cabrera, President of George Mason University, discussed how business schools and higher education can take on a key leading role in pushing the new global development agenda. Some of the most far reaching ideas included the following calls for action for business schools and higher education institutions, especially those that have endorsed the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME):

  • Align education, research, and engagement agendas with key global development issues as being articulated in the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals framework;
  • Embed new content and transformative learning approaches, including experiential learning, throughout the curriculum in order to develop the competencies necessary for business to tackle our major sustainable development goals;
  • Engage in new forms of action research around the major sustainable development issues we face and create new solutions to help business play a more effective role in multiple local contexts;
  • Play an active role as public opinion leaders, advisors, solution providers and facilitators to help business become an effective agent of sustainable development;
  • Act as impartial facilitators for and between business, government, and civil society.

See here for the Call for Action.

The workshop was part of the 2 1/2 days Flourish and Prosper: The Third Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Business executives, scholars, policymakers and entrepreneurs from around the world gathered in Cleveland from 15-17 October to discuss creative business practices and inspire local community members during this Global Forum. First held in 2006 and again in 2009, the Global Forum was started by David Cooperrider and Ron Fry, both professors of organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. The Global Forum brought together more than 650 participants to discuss topics such as education, water, energy, health and well-being, and the economy. In addition to panel discussions, the forum included interactive workshops and eight mini design summits. These ranged from agriculture and energy to metrics, the circular economy, cities, consciousness of connectedness and pioneering work on a U.S. Grand Strategy along with a new prizing project to showcase Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Plans are under way to present outcomes of the prizing project at the 15th anniversary event of the UN Global Compact and the 2015 PRME Global Forum in June 2015 in New York.

During the 2006 Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, discussions among participants led to the origins of the Principles for Responsible Management Education. “That effort at the UN has grown and there are more than 500 different business schools from around the world that are a part of PRME. That’s an outstanding example,” said Roger Saillant, executive director of The Fowler Center for Sustainable Value at the Weatherhead School.

For more information, please contact:

Jonas Haertle
Head, PRME Secretariat, UN Global Compact

17 Oct 2014

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