Details for Kent Business School - University of Kent

Participant Status


Type of Organization

Business School

Type of Education

Undergraduate, Post Graduate, Doctoral

Institution is part of

University of Kent


Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom


Sign Up Date to PRME

01 May 2015

Current Sharing Information on Progress Report Submission

19 Dec 2016

Sharing Information on Progress (2016)

PRME REPORT / SHARING INFORMATION ON PROGRESS Principles for Responsible Management in Education; December 2016 - View Report

Period Covered: May 2015 to Apr 2017

This Sharing Information on Progress PRME Report by Kent Business School, University of Kent, UK provides in details specific actions aligned to the six PRME principles that are being implemented by the school. It also outlines some specific future plans that the school hopes to work towards. The introductory remarks by the Director of the School demonstrate the school’s continues commitment to PRME.

Achievements Curriculum Integration in the Field of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

The mission of Kent Business School (KBS) is to be a research-intensive business school that produces rigorous and applicable knowledge, develops employable graduates and informs the practice of management in public and private, local and global communities for a sustainable future. Moreover, valuing diversity and inclusivity is integral to the values of the University of Kent.

Our mission and values drive our strong commitment to responsible management education and have been the guidelines on our continuous journey towards the integration of global social responsibility into our research, academic activities, curriculum and teaching. Our aim is to mainstream global social responsibility throughout our curriculum, programme design and teaching and consequently to shape the thinking of our students and future managers in a meaningful way.

The start of our journey goes back to the year 2007, when we set up a Green Working Group to assess the state of sustainability at KBS and to explore opportunities to better integrate sustainability into the core activities of teaching, research and day-to-day operations. The findings of this assessment have assisted us in developing a systematic approach towards the implementation of sustainability for business and society into not only research, but also curriculum and teaching at KBS.

Since 2007, we have taken a number of additional steps promoting the integration of corporate responsibility and sustainability and we are now more than ever determined to not only integrate sustainability in research, academic activities, curriculum and teaching, but also the overall value of global social responsibility. We have mainstreamed the value of global social responsibility into many aspects of the curriculum of existing modules and teaching, as well as into the development of new modules and future curriculum. Some considerable achievements have been made in recent years, which we would like to share with you in the following:

• Within the Kent MBA issues related to corporate responsibility, ethics and sustainability forms a key part of teaching, research and scholarship reinforcing the mission statement of the school, which has sustainability as a central theme;
• KBS identified and resourced a core group of staff to work together to lead and oversee the curriculum development and change initiatives associated with introducing sustainability into the curricula. These sustainable champions have been allocated resources for project developments and ‘ring fenced’ to promote this agenda;
• Staff have been encouraged to adopt an enquiry rather than outcome-based approach regarding emerging programme design;
• KBS introduced sustainable practices when reviewing modules and programmes. The issues of sustainability, innovation and responsible management are reviewed and must be clearly demonstrated at both the programme and module level, with effect from November 2014;
• We have designed and delivered specific modules on research ethics, diversity management, corporate social responsibility and on systems thinking (taking a more holistic approach); business ethics and the supply chain, etc;
• We have designed, developed and implemented key modules on enterprise and entrepreneurship with includes sustainability and social enterprise as core aspects;
• Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability have been included on the MBA curriculum for future business leaders;
• We have designed, developed and implemented a truly international component of the student experience via our European campuses, study abroad, field trips and industrial internships and placements;
• We have developed mechanisms for our students to engage in and with civic responsibility and being an active citizen of the planet, for example with the 50 hours of voluntary work built into our curricula on several programmes of study;
• We have encouraged and continue to encourage our students to proactively embrace sustainability outside their curricular activities; for instance, we submitted a team of four students to the 2015 Sustainability MBA Challenge: The challenge, sponsored by Nespresso, aims to engage MBA students at leading management schools in solving real world sustainability problems and provides them with an opportunity to have an impact by solving a real case study and potentially see their proposals put into action. The students benefit from the experience as the challenge represents a prime example of how the gap between management education and business practice can be bridged. It also demonstrates our commitment towards developing graduates with a passion for responsible management.

Lastly, KBS cares for its social, economic and ecological environment through responsible and sustainable operational practices, which is reflected in the ‘greening’ of our own service delivery systems within the School such as recycling, using computer programmes such as Moodle, SharePoint, energy reduction, paper reduction/wastage via centralised and monitored printing and photocopying, etc.

The above description of our achievements to date is just the beginning of our effort to mainstream the value of global social responsibility into all our activities. We are committed to extend this effort in the future, which is also reflected in recent appointments of key members of staff, who will actively drive the global social responsibility agenda forward. For example, KBS has appointed a permanent full-time Lecturer in Sustainability and a Senior Lecturer in Strategy and Corporate Social Responsibility, with a specialisation in diversity, equality and inclusion at the workplace. These members of staff have been appointed as the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion representative for KBS and as the chair of the Research Ethics Committee. Their roles includes acting as a focal point in championing and coordinating sustainability activities in the business school, in the development of new sustainability modules and to cement sustainability in the school’s core curriculum.

Achievements Research Development in the Field of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

The creation of research for a sustainable future is an integral part of our mission. KBS aims to develop knowledge in the field of CSR and Sustainability and to share this knowledge through its academic research not only overcoming disciplinary boundaries, but also boundaries between academic research and corporate practice. KBS is home to five applied research centres, which conduct not only quality research, but also in the field of CSR and sustainability. In sharing knowledge with businesses and industry, the research centres have positive social, environmental and economic impact on knowledge development with companies. For example one of the research centres, ‘The Centre for Value Chain Research’, works nationally and internationally with high profile organisations such as Tesco, Unilever, Oxfam and the Institute for Economic Development, as well as hundreds of farmers and small food producers. The centre’s research helps small food producers make effective use of consumer insight data and promotes the development of sustainable supply chains for small farms in developing countries.

The key to transcending gaps between academic research and corporate practice is to engage in knowledge transfer and collaborative research activities with companies and practitioners and to develop, share and disseminate knowledge on sustainable management practices and approaches. The examples below demonstrate some of our current and past collaborative research activities with companies in the field of CSR and sustainability:

• Sustainable Tourism: With research partners including The World Bank, Commonwealth Secretariat, Foreign Office, national governments, industry associations (such as Malaysian Budget Hotel Association) and NGOs the research team at the Centre for Tourism in Islands and Coastal Areas identifies niche tourism as a more sustainable basis for economic growth. It generates data that inform tourism policy for the world’s 40 small island developing states (SIDS) and poor coastal communities. The research is often conducted in direct partnership with the NGOs and governments needing evidence-based approaches to sustainable development for vulnerable economies.
• Promoting Sustainable SME Performance in Kent: The on-going project has engaged with over 300 small to medium sized enterprises in the Kent region of the UK and 12 of the national and local government bodies or industry associations that support them. As part of the research undertaken by The Centre for Employment, Competitiveness and Growth businesses across the region are studied and characteristics that define better sustainable performing businesses are identified. The emphasis of the project lies on translating the latest research on sustainable business growth and performance into practical tools and techniques that SMEs can use to gain clarity for sustainable performance.
• Sustainable Social Partnerships: The research addresses cross-sector collaboration between business, non-profit and public sector organisations. Two special issues were edited in the leading journal of CSR research by a member of KBS, several books and papers were published in addition to organising and co-ordinating an International Symposia Series on ‘Cross Sector Social Interactions’ with the leading academics in this field. Furthermore two members of KBS are involved in the international annual publication in the field of cross sector collaboration research the ‘Annual Review of Social Partnerships’ (ARSP) as the Editor-in Chief and as the Associate Editor in the ARSP Sustainability Section. The ARSP is written for and by cross sector social partnership academics and practitioners focusing on non-profit, business, and public sectors who view collaboration as key to solving social problems such as climate change, economic inequality, poverty, biodiversity and HIV/AIDS. The ARSP is circulated to over 30,000 recipients around the world aiming to share the knowledge produced by the international community and the best practices by organisations while bridging the gap between theory and practice within this field.
• IPCC Mitigation of Climate Change Research: A KBS member of staff was part of the group of international scientists that conducted research and authored the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) on Chapter 10-Industry. As part of the research process for the report, reviews from industry, national governments and governmental agencies as well as businesses had to be taken into account. The report has generated a knowledge base and sets the agenda as one of the important scientific reports that underpin discussions on global sustainability and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Future plans for ‘Academic Research and Knowledge Development with companies’:

Future plans for ‘Academic Research and Knowledge Development with companies’ are an integral part of our continuous journey towards the integration of CSR and sustainability into our school wide activities. Please find below some of our future plans:
• Better Integration of Multi-Disciplinary Research, between the KBS research centres, internal and external collaborators. We are currently reviewing the work of our research centres; the aim is to create a better environment to enhance CSR and sustainability research and its impact.
• CSR & Sustainability Conference organised and hosted by KBS. This is to provide a formal platform to present and discuss critical issues on CSR and Sustainability. As a way of disseminating knowledge from the conference, a Special Issue will also be planned with an international journal.
• International collaboration and community of practice ‘Promoting all talents!’ against the ethnic minority glass-ceiling: The main aim of this initiative, which was initiated by AFIP (Paris, France) is to promote a diverse talent pool in the private and public sector and to create a community of best practice for private and public organisations. This international collaboration between various stakeholders such as NGO’s, universities and companies in the UK, France and Africa, will provide companies such as L’Oreal, IBM and SODEXO with a platform where all actors can share their experience and best practice. Events, such as working groups and conferences will be held in the scope of this initiative.
• Better Engagement with Companies, through the support of KBS External Services and the Research Office, there is an emphasis on forging continuous collaborations and better engagement with organisations in the Kent region, nationally and internationally for both student an and staff.

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