PRME Working Group on Sustainability Mindset



In January 2014, a group of academics from 16 countries came together, called by a common vision: to develop change accelerators, by developing a mindset for sustainability with their students. They were curious to learn, exchange, research, share and connect, and to document their journey. LEAP! was launched to Leverage resources, Expand awareness, Accelerate change and Partner with forward thinking individuals, to develop a generation of sustainability minded leaders. In May 2015, LEAP! became the PRME Working Group on the Sustainability Mindset. To this date, the network has 64 academic members from 62 universities in 24 countries:  Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, France, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, United Kingdom and the United States.Approximately thirty nine members are actively involved and participating.

What is the Sustainability Mindset?

Sustainability mindset is a way of thinking and being that results from a broad understanding of the ecosystem's manifestations, an introspective focus on the personal values and the higher self, and finds its expression in actions for the greater good of the whole.

What are the Components of the Program?

The Sustainability Mindset program is designed to develop the systems thinking, basic ecoliteracy, and aspects of emotional and existential intelligence, while promoting innovative and collaborative work on projects to make a difference in the students' community.

Why is it important?

Society, business, and professional educators, are witnessing an environmental and social planetary crisis that threatens life in its current form. If the required change is to be implemented effectively, it demands collective and urgent action from all stakeholders. It also demands strong leadership that focusses on addressing these challenges. As such, academics are in positions of strong influence and outreach, and have the opportunity, the skills, and the perspectives to become change accelerators. Many of them sense the responsibility of that privilege.By sharing experiences and insights, the PRME Sustainability Mindset Working Group creates a learning-teaching-researching network of support with a single goal: to accelerate change for a sustainable planet.

The purpose of the Working Group is designed around three steps, which correspond to the Knowing,  the Being and the Doing:

  • Developing awareness – the full picture;
  • Exploring paradigms: the values and emotions that have led us into an un-sustainable mindset; developing a new paradigm that unites us with nature;
  • Identifying and working on a passion project to make a difference.

Impact Potential

Academics impact their students, and also inspire their colleagues in other networks. They engage in collaborative research on the Sustainability Mindset, produce papers and materials and present at international conferences. Students engage on projects in their community, supporting the SDGs through their impact in their own institutions, neighborhood, on business, education or policy. This can draw the attention of the local media, developing awareness of the SDGs and aspects of the Sustainability Mindset in the general public. Students also transfer their new-gained perspectives to their workplace, or become social entrepreneurs. 

Overarching Purpose

The overarching purpose of this Working Group is:

  • To impact  students and support them in developing a mindset for sustainability
  • To lead students to work on SDG based projects making a difference in their community, and document it
  • To create and document tools and exercises that best develop the sustainability mindset
  • To produce papers and present at academic settings
  • To connect with other departments and/or faculty in their respective institutions, to promote a sustainability focus and create synergy
  • To create a network of mutual support that can be a resource for each other’s institutions

Activities and Goals


Before LEAP! officially transitioned to become the PRME Working Group, we have offered four Introductory Workshops on the Sustainability Mindset and three Fast Track Programs for members in 7 Modules and produced a Handbook for the Sustainability Mindset Course. Three members adopted the full syllabus, while others adapted and integrated elements into their various courses.

LEAP! became a Founding Member of AIM2Flourish and twenty three members of LEAP! became part of the pilot of AIM2Flourish, setting the foundation for the new UN-PRME supported celebration of Business as an Agent of World Benefit. The group was present at the AOM 2014 (two sessions), 2015 (three sessions) and 2016 (four sessions) and members have presented at various academic conferences and became guest lecturers in other members’ institutions.

A longitudinal research study is being conducted to assess the impact of the Sustainability Mindset course and two instruments have been developed in India and Hong Kong to measure the development of the Sustainability Mindset

Three journal papers were produced, one of them received the Best Paper Award by Junior Faculty (AOM 2016), five book chapters were produced (forthcoming publication 2016-2017) and a book was published on the teaching methodology of the Sustainability Mindset course (2016).

2016 and future

Current projects include several publications: we have a contract with Greenleaf Publishing for an edited volume on the Sustainability Mindset (forthcoming 2017), and plan a textbook of the Sustainability Mindset and ‘Angels of Change’, a book about social entrepreneurs under 30, the 2nd Edition of Big Bang Being: Developing the Sustainability Mindset for a New Planetary Imprint (target audience: general public) (2017). We are working on a Podcast Series on the Sustainability Mindset on NPR, an online course on the Sustainability Mindset (all audiences,), a pilot pre-post assessment with new instrument developed in Business School Lausanne, Switzerland and Game development on the Sustainability Mindset.

We are committed to engaging all PRME Working Group Sustainability Mindset participating institutions in PRME and setting up a Consortium for exchange of faculty and students among the Working Group's member institutions. 

Working Mode and Deliverables

By participating in the Sustainability Mindset Working Group you will have the opportunity to:

  • Join the monthly LEAP Café, a virtual meeting the first Monday of the month
  • Join the monthly Storytelling Circle, a virtual meeting the third Monday of the month 
  • Participate in the next Sustainability Fast Track
  • Receive and contribute to the monthly electronic newsletter
  • Host or attend Regional F2F meetings (so far, we have met in in Philadelphia, Vancouver, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Copenhagen, Paris, Miami, New York, Atlanta, Portland, Anaheim)
  • Make suggestions, start your own projects within the scope of the Sustainability Mindset

You will bring your expertise and talent to support our goals:

  • Production of materials
  • Creation of a website 
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships with national and international institutions: UNGlobal Compact, PRME, GRLI, AACSB, EFMD, Oikos, Net impact
  • Representing the Working Group in national and international academic events
  • Promotion of the Working Group with new institutions
  • Engagement with leadership of PRME Engagement of Deans of participating institutions
  • Virtual support and collaboration
  • Cross-fertilization connecting members with similar areas of research
  • Surveys 


Resources and Guidance Materials 

Big Bang Being: Developing the Sustainability Mindset 1st Edition
by Isabel Rimanoczy  (Author), Ervin Laszlo (Foreword)

When asked for the definition of mental health and fulfillment, Sigmund Freud had two words: lieben und arbeiten, love and work.  This book explore how 16 business leaders brought together their compassion, their caring for others and the world, with their work.

Stop Teaching: Principles and Practices For Responsible Management Education Paperback – June 17, 2016
By Isabel Rimanoczy  (Author) David Cooperrider (Foreword)

This book will explore the ways in which teaching methods need to evolve in order to develop a new generation of business leaders who connect profits with purpose, who see in social entrepreneurship and innovation the key opportunity for addressing our planetary challenges? The answer lies in the contents we select to teach, in the values we invite to explore and develop, and in the methods we use. 

The Thinking Executive's Guide to Sustainability (Environmental and Social Sustainability for Business Advantage Collection) Paperback – December 31, 2013

By Kerul Kassel  (Author)

We live in an increasingly global economy in which the effects of shrunken economies, broadened communication, and widespread meteorological incidents associated with climate change are leaving virtually no one untouched. As a result, a working knowledge of concepts such as the triple bottom line and sustainability, have become mandatory. Systems -thinking is foundational for grasping these concepts. . This book offers a practical, relevant, and easily grasped overview of sustainability issues and the systems logic that informs them, supported by empirical research and applied to corporate rationales, decision-making, and business processes.

A New Psychology for Sustainability Leadership: The Hidden Power of Ecological Worldviews 
By Steve Schein

During the last decade, the sustainability position in multinational corporations has grown in influence. Much literature has explored how corporations can play an important role in solving the environmental challenges facing the planet. However, until now, there has been little research on sustainability leadership at the individual level. In this book, Schein explores the deeper psychological motivations of sustainability leaders. He shows how these motivations relate to overall effectiveness and capacity to lead transformational change and he explores the ways in which the complexity of sustainability is driving new approaches to leadership.

Book Chapters:

Educating for Responsible Management, Edited by Roz Sunley and Jennifer Leigh. 
Isabel Rimanoczy, Nova Southeastern University, USA with practitioner commentary by Roger Saillant and Craig Teal:  ‘A holistic learning approach for responsible management education’ by Dennis P. Heaton and Emanuel Schachinger, Maharishi University of Management, USA, with practitioner commentary by Chris Laszlo: ‘Consciousness development for responsible management education’ 

Newsletter August 2016 (Newletter produced every 3 months): 


How to Join

If you are interested in joining the working group, please complete this registration form.

For more information about the Working Group contact directly:

Isabel Rimanoczy,

Martine Marie,

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