Details for University of Guelph College of Business and Economics

Participant Status

PRME Champion

Type of Organization

Business School

Type of Education

Undergraduate, Post Graduate, Doctoral, Executive

Institution is part of

University of Guelph


Guelph, Ontario, Canada


Sign Up Date to PRME

10 Apr 2012

Current Sharing Information on Progress Report Submission

24 Sep 2018

Sharing Information on Progress (2018)

University of Guelph's College of Business and Economics PRME - SIP Report (2016-2018) - View Report

Period Covered: Jul 2016 to Aug 2018

The University of Guelph's College of Business and Economics is proud to share our SIP report, outlining the academics and research activities associated with the principles of PRME. The University of Guelph exists to “Improve Life.” Guelph’s College of Business and Economics is improving life by redefining leadership. We are responding to the changing business world and what employers are looking for in this next wave of responsible business leaders.

Achievements Curriculum Integration in the Field of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

The University of Guelph is dedicated to changing lives and improving life through an enhanced understanding of those things that are essential to the quality of life - water, food, environment, health, community, commerce, culture and learning. The University community shares a profound sense of social responsibility, an obligation to address global issues and a concern for international development.

Within the College of Business and Economics (CBE) our vision is to "be and develop leaders for a sustainable world". We have many talented and dedicated faculty, staff and students who are committed to addressing issues of importance to the world. CBE faculty have been pursuing CSR-related initiatives for some time, and with the addition two years ago of Profs. Elizabeth Kurucz and Rumina Dhalla, the college is now in an even stronger position to give this important area dedicated focus. Notably, sustainability has become an increasingly important component of our curricular and research activity, and I am personally committed to ensuring that it continues to help define what makes management and economics education at Guelph unique.

We have been working hard at embedding sustainability across our curriculum as well as developing specialized course offerings in our undergraduate (BComm) and graduate programs. In addition to engaging with the core curriculum, students are encouraged to study sustainable commerce on an independent study basis, under the supervision of a faculty member, helping to address issues of importance to organizations in our local community or much further afield, such as helping establish a successful eco-tourism initiative in the Amazon, a project supervised by our President Alastair Summerlee. Other examples include conducting a sustainability audit of a local organization, developing business plans for social-purpose products and services, or looking at ways to help make campus organizations more sustainable (such as increasing the use of local food in the student run coffee shop).

Faculty and students also have the opportunity to participate in non-course related activities, such as joining the Net Impact student club or participating in Impact! The Co-operators Youth Conference for Sustainability Leadership which was held in Guelph in 2010 and 2011, and attracted students from a variety of disciplines. In conjunction with this conference, one of our faculty – Dr. Rumina Dhalla – was twice awarded $100,000 from Canada's national Social Sciences and Humanities Council (SSHRC), to support student attendance from across the country.

Going forward, we are in the process of developing a certificate in business and sustainable management that students completing their BComm will be able to take beginning in 2013. We are also introducing a new stream in our MBA in 2013 that will link sustainable business practices to improving the global food supply chain and in so doing, hopefully make a contribution to resolving issues of world hunger. We are also developing a second MBA stream that will deal with issues of sustainable commerce in a variety of industries, and a non-academic workshop on sustainable commerce, that we also hope to launch in 2013.

Achievements Research Development in the Field of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

CBE faculty are engaged in research related to corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Recent examples include:

Professors Mike von Massow and Bruce McAdams are studying food waste in restaurants, specifically how much is created and its contributing factors. With food waste becoming an increasingly important consumer concern, this research is providing restaurant owners and managers with information that can assist them in creating a less wasteful environment.

According to research by marketing and consumer studies professors Vinay Kanetkar and Sunghwan Yi, many Ontarians fall short in eating enough green and yellow vegetables. In 2015, they released the results of their collaborative study with family relations and applied nutrition professor Paula Brauer that looked at consumer differences in vegetable consumption. The most popular vegetables were found to be tomatoes and potatoes.

One of the next top crops in Ontario could be hazelnuts, according to research being conducted by professor Elliott Currie and fellow University of Guelph researchers. Currie has been investigating the popular nut’s economic viability and according to his findings, it has the potential to be a highly profitable and sustainable business. Ontario farmers in particular are in a strong position to make the business work, considering the amenities already available in the province, including plenty of arable land, a favourable climate – hazelnuts need cold temperatures for the flowers to mature – transportation and water.

A study by marketing and consumer studies professor Sunghwan Yi and researchers at Dalhousie University is helping to explain why it is difficult to treat gambling problems. Through examining a range of stimuli involving positive emotions, Yi and his team found that the urge to gamble among regular gamblers is easily sparked by brief, subtle emotional cues, especially those that denote excitement. Even in a fraction of a second, TV programs, websites and roadside billboards showing images such as dice, a roulette wheel or cards along with the sense of excitement can increase the desire to gamble.

Along with co-authors, Dr. Elizabeth Kurucz's book titled "In Reconstructing Value: Leadership Skills for a Sustainable World," presents the ‘4R’s’ process for re-thinking, relating, responding and re-inventing our ways of operating on the planet, and for re aligning our systems of value creation. The book equips leaders and managers in business, civil society and government to come to a clear understanding of global challenges and opportunities, to ask important and relevant questions, and to engage others in collaborative efforts at building positive value.

Along with co-author Nils Kok (Maastricht University), Guelph researcher Dr. Avis Devine’s
research concludes that certified “green” buildings generally have a higher probability of lease renewal, and have more satisfied tenants. Both Canada and U.S. samples confirm previously documented results—LEED and ENERGY STAR certified buildings command a small rent premium and have a lower vacancy risk. Their research provides an important contribution to the understanding of underlying value drivers in more efficient, sustainable buildings and offer some first evidence for the international validity on the financial performance of more efficient, “green” commercial buildings.

Dr. Louise Grogan’s research examines the positive affect to development when a community is connected to the electrical grid. Her research identifies the causal effect of households’ electrification based on Colombian censuses and a 2007 World Bank data set. She concludes there is a large positive change in women’s work behaviour and children’s schooling when a municipality receives a connection to the electrical grid. This is especially true for those who do not have electricity, but their neighbours do. This effect can be described as a positive externality of household electrification.

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