Details for Plymouth University

Participant Status


Type of Organization


Type of Education

Undergraduate, Post Graduate, Doctoral, Executive


Plymouth, Devon, United Kingdom


Sign Up Date to PRME

19 May 2014

Current Sharing Information on Progress Report Submission

21 Jul 2016

Sharing Information on Progress (2016)

SIP Plymouth Business School - View Report

Period Covered: Jan 2012 to Jan 2012

Plymouth University (PU) has a longstanding commitment to education for sustainability dating from 1973 when it pioneered one of the UK’s earliest interdisciplinary programmes in environmental sciences. In parallel with the University strategy Plymouth Business School (PBS) has continuously reviewed its curriculum to reflect core values.

Achievements Curriculum Integration in the Field of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

Plymouth University has a longstanding commitment to education for sustainability dating from 1973 when it pioneered one of the UK’s earliest interdisciplinary programmes in environmental sciences. The embedding of ethical and sustainability education across other disciplines was recognised in 2005 when the UK government funded the establishment of a national Centre of Excellence called the Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF). The CSF leads the university’s on-going commitment to embed environmental, sustainability and ethical education across the subject spectrum, with the result that some 49% of all programmes reflect sustainability principles.

In Plymouth Business School a number of initiatives have been developed. In 2011 the Inspiring Futures project drew on external funding to review the first year curriculum. The review incorporated the introduction of sustainability as part of the core curriculum in part delivered through classroom interventions and in part through the delivery of a live consultancy exercise underpinned by sustainable project planning principles. In addition the Faculty is offering a number of cross-subject sustainability modules which are attracting high student demand – with over 400 students undertaking a weekend programme in Sustainable Business. This ‘co-curricular’ curriculum has now been embedded as a credit-rated Year 2 elective degree module entitled Reshaping The Future which involves students developing knowledge, strategic auditing and practice-based sustainability skills.

Responsible management and sustainability education have been featured strongly in the university’s surveying and construction courses since 1996. As a result, the university gained a Global Award for Best Practice in Sustainable Development in Surveying Higher Education conferred by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 2013.

In terms of corporate responsibility, the university is leading by example. Sustainability is a forward-looking corporate commitment at Plymouth formalised by:
• The creation of a Pro Vice-Chancellor post for Sustainability
• Establishing the inter-disciplinary Institute for Sustainability Solutions Research in 2011 (Environmental Building is a founding discipline)
• Publishing an bi-annual stakeholder-written Sustainability Report (from 2011)
• The creation of a new executive directorate responsible for delivering sustainability, Finance and Sustainability
• Including sustainability in the university’s 2020 strategy, which adopts a tri-cameral approach linking teaching, research, and estates functions relating to sustainability
• Making self-leadership for sustainability training available to all staff
• Providing funding for the development of new cross-university modules in sustainability and ethical business based in Plymouth Business School and the School of Architecture, Design and Environment. These modules will be open to students from any subject.
• Maintain funding to the CSF to further drive to embed sustainability across all the university’s functions

Achievements Research Development in the Field of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

Plymouth Business School launched the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy (CSP). Two key professorial appointments lead the research centre, which is focused around best practice knowledge and skills transfer in the field of sustainable fund raising and philanthropy. CSP delivers industry and academic programmes (including doctoral programmes) and undertakes research in a niche field of sustainable decision making.

The Business School is also participating in the global 50+20 forum which is setting standards for the review of curriculum and programmes to include globally responsible practices and sustainability as an overarching theme.

In 2012 the Business School launched its Futures Centre which is creating a sustainable entrepreneurial eco-system (which includes the Social Enterprise University Enterprise Network (SE-UEN) and a focal point for curriculum development and research. The Futures Centre is completely focused around the creation of sustainable programmes and networks of activity designed to deliver regional and national economic impact.

The intention over time is to build on the successes of the Business School and our surveying disciplines by enabling other applied management subject areas such as engineering to embed PRME meaningfully in their curricula.
In addition, research and development work has been underway for several years to provide education and staff development training to business and academic professionals in the fields of values education and self-leadership for sustainability. This avenue is being pursued internally as an internal partnership between the relevant subject lecturers, the Centre for Sustainable Futures and the human resources Directorate and externally through organisations such as the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges and SustainWales.

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