Details for KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business
Type of Organization
Type of Education
Undergraduate, Post Graduate
Sign Up Date to PRME
07 Sep 2011
Current Sharing Information on Progress Report Submission
31 May 2018
Sharing Information on Progress (2018)
Period Covered: Sep 2017 to Sep 2018
This is the sustainability report of the KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business. It covers operational, education, research, and outreach initiatives concerning ethics, responsibility, and sustainability. A full horizontal assessment of ethics, responsibility, and sustainability in all our courses is also included.
Achievements Curriculum Integration in the Field of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability
The Faculty collaborates with other departments and faculties to develop students’ analytical skills, strengthen students’ language skills and global orientation, and improve students’ understanding of non-economic concepts in an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary way. Below, Table 1 highlights specific courses related to ERS topics, and Table 2 provides some exemplars of ERS education found within the Faculty.
Courses related to ERS
Psychology (BEW, BTEW)
Environmental Economics (BEW)
Development Economics (BEW)
Labor Economics (BEW)
Religion and Meaning of Life (BEW, BTEW, BHI, BHIB)
Health Economics (BEW)
Economic Aspects of European Integration (MEW)
Welfare, Inequality, and Poverty (MEW)
Environmental and Transportation Economics (MEW)
Advanced Development/Public/Labor/Health Industrial Economics (MEW)
People and Organization (BTEW, BHI, BHIB)
Philosophy and Ethics (BTEW)
Sociology of Labor (BTEW)
Social Marketing (MTEW)
Socially Responsible Entrepreneurship (MTEW)
Economics of Global Innovation (MTEW)
Global and Sustainable Governance (MTEW)
Social and Economic Geography (BHIB)
Chemistry w/Applications in Technology and Sustainability (HI)
Corporate Social Responsibility (HW, MBA, MIBEM, HI)
CSR Management (MPM)
Energy Management (MPM)
Energy Supply (MPM)
Environmental Economics (MIBEM, MPM)
Environmental Law (MPM)
Environmental Management (MPM)
Environmental Reporting (MPM)
Environmental Technologies (MPM)
International Project CSR (MPM)
Occupational Health and Safety Management (MPM)
Occupational Rights (MPM)
Sustainable Development Philosophy (MPM)
Sustainable Development Sociology (MPM)
Psychosocial Aspects and Stress at Work (MPM)
Citizen Law (HW, MPM)
Safety Psychology (MPM)
Social Entrepreneurship (MPM)
Social Law (HW)
Social Profit Project (HI, HW)
Sustainable Development (HI, MPM)
Examples of ERS Education
The International Study Visit to London aims to give students of the MPM program a real-world perspective into selected themes of sustainable development/corporate social responsibility. Students are presented with select themes in the context of Belgium, then allowed to compare the Belgian perspective with that in the UK during a five-day excursion that includes guest lectures and company visits. Examples of recent themes include NGO-business collaboration, sustainable mobility, and sustainable business administration.
The Interdisciplinary Assessment Project (IAP) is a course requirement for certain master students. This course gives students the opportunity to cooperate in interdisciplinary teams to resolve real-life cases of business problems. In these cases, economic, technical, and sustainability issues are brought together and resolved. The latest edition of the IAP focused on sustainable resource use with projects being conducted at Volvo cars & trucks Ghent, Tyco Electronics Brugge, Toyota Belgium, Alural, SGS, Terumo, Verimpex and Group Machiels. The winning project at Group Machiels was on tools, technologies and products for enhanced landfill mining, an innovative new business concept to valorize materials and energy from abandoned landfill sites.
Within the framework of the Environmental Economics course, students work together to developed a questionnaire and the choice experiments, as well as collect data, on consumers’ willingness to pay for fair trade and organic labeled chocolate. The professor jointly analyses and interprets the results with the students.
Operational sustainability initiatives are used as a learning opportunities in various courses, including: co-authorship of the sustainability report by students in the MPM program, assurance of the sustainability report by students in the CSR elective course (available to MBA and MIBEM), and improvement to sustainability communications by students of the HW program. In addition, various bachelor and master projects have focused on improving the sustainability of campus Brussels (waste reduction, energy reduction, air quality, GHG calculations, stakeholder engagement, etc.). These master projects are often conducted in collaboration with private companies and every year, Colruyt retailing group sponsors a sustainability award for the best ERS related master thesis.
Assessing the Integration of ERS in Curricula
The Auditing Instrument for Sustainability in Higher Education (AISHE) has been used to measure how well sustainability has been integrated into certain degree programs at FEB. In 2009, the Combined Bachelor/Master of Environment, Health, and Safety Management and the Combined Bachelor/Master of Business Engineering of the FEB@HUB were audited, and in 2010, each program received a two-star certification (out of a possible score of three stars), indicating a relatively high integration of sustainability themes into these program. Due to the privatization of AISHE certification, participating in formal audits is no longer cost effective, but the AISHE methodology is still used as a guiding tool for integrating sustainability into education and other activities.
Flemish institutions of higher education can voluntarily apply for a Special Quality Characteristic (Bijzonder Kwaliteitskenmerk) when having their educational programs accredited by the Dutch-Flemish Accrediting Organization (Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie – NVAO). The FEB@HUB sub-faculty has successfully been awarded the Special Quality Characteristic of Sustainability for its academic programs Bachelor/Master in Environment, Health and Safety Management, and Bachelor/Master in Business Engineering, based on the two-star AISHE certificates both programs received after an external audit by the Dutch organization Sustainable Higher Education (Duurzaam Hoger Onderwijs - DHO).
The FEB is currently in the process of developing a supplement to the traditional ECTS file that addresses the themes of ERS, as well as teaching methods and competencies of education for sustainable development (ESD). In academic year 2013-2014 this course file was applied to the Master of International Business Economics and Management at the Brussels campus. If successful, this supplement will be applied to the other programs of the faculty to assess what aspects of ESD are integrated in FEB curricula. In addition, the FEB anticipates the introduction of criteria for ERS education from the Global Reporting Initiative, and plans to make use of such criteria once available.
Achievements Research Development in the Field of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability
The Faculty aims to stimulate cross-pollination of fundamental, applied, and policy-orientated research and invests in centers of expertise and policy research centers for the benefits or regional and (inter)national organizations and companies. Below, specific research centers and projects related to ERS themes are highlighted.
Center for Economics and Corporate Sustainability – CEDON@HUB
CEDON@HUB is an interdisciplinary research group focusing on the interactions between: economics, business, sustainable development, and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Within CEDON, economists, engineers, psychologists, and other scientists collaborate with business and social interests to develop strategies for sustainable development and CSR. The interfaces of environment, society, and economics are the central themes in CEDON activities. Within CEDON there are several research themes, including: environmental, energy, and ecological economics; safety- and health- related public and private policy research; and corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship.
Center for Economics and Ethics – CEE@Leuven
The aim of the Center for Economics and Ethics is to: 1) organize and stimulate scientific research on the ethical aspects of economic activity; 2) stimulate ethically inspired research in the Faculty; 3) foster interdisciplinary contacts; 4) confront the Christian ethical tradition with the concepts of justice, freedom, and efficiency as they are formulated in the social sciences and in philosophy; 4) project applied problems of economic and business ethics against this general theoretical background; 5) stimulate the social debate on ethical aspects of economic activity (ethical norms for economic life, distributive justice, welfare economics, altruistic motivations, ethical aspects of the market economics, environmental economics, poverty and living standard, etc.).
Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance – LICOS
LICOS focuses on theoretical and empirical research of micro- and macro-economic aspects of transition, institutional changes and economic performance across the world. LICOS is internationally oriented and is working together with other research centers and institutes in Europe and throughout the world. LICOS performs state-of-the-art innovative research in the area of development economics.
Research Centre of Energy, Transport, and Environment – ETE@Leuven
An important element of ETE research relates to numerical partial and general equilibrium models for the assessment of transport, energy and environmental policies.
Selected Research Projects on Sustainability Themes
POLICY RESEARCH CENTRE FOR SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS MANAGEMENT (2012-2015)
The interdisciplinary Policy Research Centre for Sustainable Materials Management (SuMMa) started in January 2012 to investigate and foster the role of policy in Flanders, which is necessary to make a transition towards sustainable materials management.
COLLABORATION OF SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (2011-2014)
The FEB@HUB Sub-Faculty is partner in this project, which started in October 2011. CoDeS is a Comenius multilateral Network funded by the Lifelong Learning Program from EU that focuses on school community collaboration addressing sustainability.
SHORT TRAINING INITIATIVE
The Short Training Initiative, facilitating multi-actor collaboration for sustainable resource management, is a training course that focuses on the social process knowledge and skills to facilitate multi-actor collaboration among stakeholders from business, government, and civil society in order to find sustainable solutions for complex problems.
Seminars on Ethics, Responsibility, and Sustainability issues:
LICOS organizes seminars on micro- and macroeconomics aspects of transition, institutional changes, and economic performance across the world. In the past, seminar topics included, for example: “Global Food Security and the Role of Innovation Systems”, “Natural resources, inequality, and Public Social Expenditure”, “Armed Conflict and Schooling in Rwanda”, “The Impact of Row Planting on Farmers’ Yields in Ethiopia”, “Mobile Messaging for Health and Education”, “The Unintended Consequences of Hosting Refugees.”
CEDON organizes an annual Belgian Environmental Economics Day, which offers an opportunity to researchers in the areas of environmental, resource, and ecological economics from universities, university-colleges, or research institutes in Belgium, to present their recent work. It is an academic, one-day meeting open to all interested stakeholders (academics, public servants, consultants, students, etc.). BEED also aims at making the scientific discipline of environment economics more visible in Belgium. It can be seen as an intermediate platform between individual researchers and traditional international professional associations (European Associations of Environmental and Resource Economists EAERE, International Society of Ecological Economics ISEE).
FEB as a Catalyst for Ethics, Responsibility, and Sustainability within Society
The FEB@HUB Sub-Faculty collaborates with the Belgian stakeholder network, KAURI, on various initiatives to promote ERS in the local landscape. KAURI is a Belgian multi-actor learning network and knowledge center on corporate responsibility (business ethics, corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, and corporate citizenship) and NGO accountability. In 2012, the sub-Faculty in Brussels was privileged to have KAURI help it organize the first external stakeholder dialogue for a higher education institution in Belgium. In 2013, the Faculty hosted a KAURI seminar on the role small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play in the sustainability agenda and the role sustainability plays in SMEs, and the Faculty participated as panel members for a KAURI workshop on stakeholder engagement.
CEDON@HUB and ETE@Leuven co-organize the annual Belgian Environmental Economics Day, which offers an opportunity to researchers in the areas of environmental, resource, and ecological economics from universities, university-colleges, or research institutes in Belgium, to present their recent work. This is an academic, one-day meeting open to all interested stakeholders (academics, public servants, consultants and students). BEED also aims at making the scientific discipline of environment economics more visible in Belgium.
FEB faculty members also present their findings at various external (inter)national seminars and workshops, for example: Flemish Market Place for Sustainability in Higher Education (Ecocampus), KAURI Stakeholder meetings, Global University Network for Innovation (GUNI), Engineering Education for Sustainable Development Conferences (EESD), Environmental Management for Sustainable Universities Conferences (EMSU), Multi-Organizational Partnerships, Alliances and Networks Conferences (MOPAN), European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE) and many more.
The Faculty also promotes the integration of sustainability in education throughout the greater community. The teachers’ manual Het IVOOR, developed by professors and researchers in coordination with Syntra West and VOKA KVK Oost-Vlaanderen, is a tool to help all educators incorporate sustainability into their individual classrooms. The game CSR at the Helm is an interactive game aimed at secondary and higher education students and business leaders to introduce them to the themes of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The work shop on game theory “to cooperate or not” introduces secondary school students to basic concepts of environmental economics like externalities, public goods and free riding behavior in the context of global climate change.