The 4th PRME Regional Meeting North America took place at the University of Guelph’s College of Business and Economics in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, welcoming representatives from academia and industry to discuss topics relevant to the meeting’s theme, ‘Realizing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through Education, Research and Partnership.’
The theme of sustainability was woven throughout the two-day meeting, which was preceded by a visit to a local conservation area. This pre-conference “learning journey” was an opportunity for attendees to learn about Indigenous culture and history, as well as share teaching innovations that incorporate the SDGs into management curricula, in a natural setting. Participants also enjoyed lunch at local BCorp Certified restaurant Miijidaa, which included a presentation by owner Court Desautels who spoke about his journey fostering sustainability in the foodservice industry.
Representatives from Global Compact signatories (Deloitte, CPA Canada and JLL) provided a perspective from business, while keynote speaker Sebastian Teunissen, Managing Director, Solidaridad North America, and University of Guelph alumnus, provided a unique perspective linking the importance of responsible management education to creating a more equal and just world through partnerships between local producers, government and industry, across the global food supply chain.
The meeting also saw the recognition of outstanding contributors to PRME’s mission through the inaugural PRME Awards for Excellence. Amy Klemm Verbos, Assistant Professor of Business Law at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Director of Ethics Board at Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, was recognized for research, Bruce McAdams, Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph’s School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management, was recognized for service, and Jessica McManus Warnell, Associate Teaching Professor, Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame, was recognized for teaching.
Meeting attendees had the opportunity to connect with University of Guelph business students who, through their senior-level corporate social responsibility course, had prepared posters on the incorporation of the SDGs within local organizations. The exercise was part of the AIM2Flourish program, whereby student teams participate in a process of appreciative inquiry.
An optional dinner saw participants travel to Chris Houston’s farm, where they participated in a “field to fork” dinner, prepared by a local celebrity chef, followed by an after dinner “fireside chat” with Chris regarding his new book For Goodness Sake: Satisfying the Hunger for Meaningful Business.
Over the course of the formal meeting, plenary speakers and panels discussed a number of critical topics, including:
- The role of sustainability centres in advancing the SDGs
- Greyston Bakery’s commitment to open hiring
- The incorporation of the cooperative movement within the b-school curriculum
- The move to “Integrated” sustainability reporting
- The role of business and business schools in assisting with the integration or refugees and immigrants into local economies
- The role of Aim2Flourish in advancing the SDGs
- The launch of the PRME SDG Dashboard
- Benchmarking co-operative social and environmental performance
- Pedagogical innovation and experiential learning
- Supporting Indigenous aspirations and rights
- Achieving sustainable communities
- CSR as a development strategy
In addition to speakers and panels, updates were also provided on the following PRME projects:
- PRME’s Strategic Review
- PRME’s Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) reports
- The Intersection between PRME and Catholic Institutions in relation to refugees
- The relation of PRME to Indigenous Peoples issues
- Gender Equality
If you would like to participate in the activities of the PRME Chapter North America, or to receive more information on PRME Chapters, contact PRME Chapter North America Chair, Mark Meaney (firstname.lastname@example.org), Executive Director Center for Education on Social Responsibility, Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder.