Details for Nottingham Business School

Participant Status

PRME Champion

Type of Organization

Business School

Type of Education

Undergraduate, Post Graduate, Doctoral, Executive

Institution is part of

Nottingham Trent University


Nottingham, United Kingdom



Sign Up Date to PRME

01 May 2015

Current Sharing Information on Progress Report Submission

26 Apr 2019

Sharing Information on Progress (2019)

Nottingham Business School PRME SIP Report - View Report

Period Covered: May 2017 to Apr 2019

Since our last PRME report in 2017, Nottingham Business School (NBS) in the UK became PRME Champion and is recognised as one of the leading business schools in mainstreaming the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in curriculum, research and partnerships. The SDGs are integrated into every course/programme at NBS. NBS is also leading the PRME Champion project Carbon Literacy Training for Business Schools. NBS is supported by the award-winning operations in Nottingham Trent University.

Achievements Curriculum Integration in the Field of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

Sustainability has been a key focus within Nottingham Business School (NBS) for several years. NBS mission is to “To deliver education and research that combines academic excellence with impact upon business and society”. Underpinning the mission is a view of business as a vehicle for wealth creation and as a force for economic and social betterment. By helping to shape and develop business practice and talent, and by emphasising the ‘social contract’ that exists between business and the communities in which it takes place, we effect not only change in commercial life but also within wider society. This School-based mission links directly to the mission of Nottingham Trent University and its emphasis on “shaping lives and society.”

Since 2013 NBS has a Sustainability Coordinator, who supports the development of sustainability and corporate responsibility related teaching and research activities within the school.
The Sustainability Coordinator is the Chair of the Sustainability Action Group (SAG), which meets four times per year and is responsible within NBS to support the Senior Management Team in the development of Education for Sustainable Development within the Business School. Each department has two delegates and it also includes representatives of important programmes such as the PhD programme and other interested staff members.

Curriculum integration and programme design
A new module called ‘Developing the Responsible Practitioner’ (DERP) is rolled out across postgraduate courses in 2014-15. This module aims to enhance courses to incorporate key themes of sustainable transformation of business and the economy in addition to personal and professional development. It focuses on two key areas:
1. The effective practitioner: practice is central to the ethos of the School. An effective practitioner is able to take responsibility for their personal and professional development, and possesses key skills in research and data analysis as a basis upon which to make decisions. In addition to research skills, students will be expected to access a wide range of learning events designed to develop the skills identified within personal development plans and from knowledge of the wider global organisational context.
2. The responsible practitioner: who is able to recognise and understand the environmental, social, governance and ethical problems that may occur within the chosen discipline and apply appropriate frameworks or professional codes to resolve such problems. In doing so students will reflect on their performance and recognise the value of proactively engaging in the sustainable transformation of business and the economy.
A new core module called ‘Responsible and Sustainable Business’ was developed as part of the MBA curriculum in 2014. The course is co-taught by Professors Painter-Morland, Herzig and Klumpes, and also involves inputs by sustainability practitioners (in the past two years, retired Lafarge executive, Rene Moretti). Additionally, MBA students take part in the Sustainable Organisation Simulation Game.
A ‘sustainability audit’ of the School’s courses and activities was conducted in 2013-14. The results of the audit have provided a number of useful insights which will be used to inform curriculum development and support the development of teaching resources within NBS. The audit report analysed each course in detail and gave numerous recommendations on how to improve the provision of sustainability in the different modules. Course Leaders (Undergraduates) were asked to comment on the recommendations for their course in their annual course leader report in October 2014. These recommendations will be followed up by individual meetings between the Sustainability Coordinator and the Course Leader in 2014/2015.
Several modules have added teaching content in relation to sustainability; the Tourism module for example has added four week online sessions, which were developed specifically in relation to sustainability and tourism.

A textbook ‘The Business Student’s Guide to Sustainable Management’, published by Greenleaf in 2014, was edited by the Sustainability Coordinator Dr Petra Molthan-Hill with contributions from NBS faculty. The book has received international recognition such as a review in Forbes and a review in Choice (publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association).

Other learning vehicles
A thought initiative of NBS, the Sustainability in Practice (SiP) certificate was launched in 2013 as part of the NTU Green Academy. This innovative online certificate, delivered through the online learning platform NOW, seeks to foster personal, disciplinary and inter-disciplinary understandings of sustainability, using food as a key theme. Its pilot phase saw almost 3300 students at Nottingham Trent University and 26 members of staff starting the course and about 100 students and staff members complete the course (approximate 30% of them were from NBS). NBS is demonstrating exceptional commitment to this innovative certificate. By embedding the teaching content of the certificate within both Masters and Undergraduate modules as a compulsory element in 2014, approximately 250 and 900 students respectively are encouraged to explore the meanings of sustainability and food. The 900 Undergraduate students are required to take an online assessment and to reflect on sustainability in an assessed report as part of their module ‘Leadership and Employability’. For the 250 Master students the online learning forms part of a blended learning approach in DERP (further info below). It is also hoped that students will voluntarily undertake the requisite assessment (video, poster of mood board) to get the certificate in addition to their degree and go on to win a prize for NBS. The SiP also fosters a discipline specific understanding of sustainability, and through this process students will be asked to find relevant resources on the subject of Business, sustainability and food, providing a vital bank of knowledge on this subject nexus.

In 2014 NBS has also build a strategic partnership with Nottingham Energy Partnership, (NEP) Energy Services ltd, a local Queens award-winning social enterprise and sustainability consultancy with a proactive practical and strategic role in the local low carbon economy. The partnership has provided opportunities for final-year business students to work with local SMEs looking to implement the Investors in the Environment (iiE) EMS to address their Greenhouse Gas Emissions and develop their presence, influence or market in the local low carbon economy. In 2013-2014 32 companies or organisations took part in the student led consultancy service such as Broxtowe Borough Council and Castle Rock Brewery. A summer school based on the same partnership was offered to international students and has led to several invitations to present on this project e.g. in Miami/USA and in Paris. This project has won the Guardian University Award 2015 in Business Partnership.

Executive Education
In the area of executive education, NTU’s ‘Working with you’ team is hosting a workshop on
’Making a Difference: Ethical, Social and Sustainable Business Practices’, on 11 March 2015.

NBS’ active membership of the Drucker Society, EFMD and other external networks and also its partnership with the Academy of Business in Society (ABIS), provides useful support and input to the work of the Sustainability Action Group.

Achievements Research Development in the Field of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

Achievements in terms of academic research and knowledge development in the field of corporate responsibility and sustainability

In 2013, the Responsible and Sustainable Business (RSB) Research Group was established under the leadership of Prof Mollie Painter-Morland. Its ambition is to carry out research in the area of business and sustainability that combines academic excellence with impact. The goal is to produce research in this area that can help in driving change in business and organisational practices through our creation of knowledge and our engagement with practice. The group has 4 focus areas, and initiated research projects in all 4 areas during 2014.

 Teaching Ethics and Sustainability: In addition to the textbook mentioned above, a team of researchers from the RSB research group (Mollie Painter-Morland, Petra Molthan-Hill, Ehsan Sabet and Helen Goworek) wrote a paper on: A systemic approach to embedding sustainability and ethics into business school education globally: Curriculum, core constituents and institutional capacity (currently under review at JoBE).
Other papers that were published in this area include: Herzig, C., Godemann, J. Moon, J & Haertle, J United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education. Purpose, Progress and Prospects, Journal of Cleaner Production 62, 2014, 16-23.
Herzig, C., Godemann, J & Haertle, J Responsible Management Education, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliches Studium (WiSt) 7, 2014, 383-385
Prof. Herzig was the co-editor of a Special Issue of the Journal of Cleaner Production on Higher Education for Sustainable Development: Emerging Areas (with Maik Adomssent, Daniel Fischer, Jasmin Godemann, Insa Otte, Marco Rieckmann & Jana Timm).
Prof. Painter-Morland was also the co-editor of Special Issue on ‘Experiential Learning’ for Journal of Management Development (with Claudia Kipka).

 Sustainable Design and Consumption: in partnership with the School of Architecture, Design and Built Environment, a joint research project was identified on the topic: Understanding Behaviour: The carrier-practice framework as a design tool in stimulating sustainable consumption (Alex Hiller, RSB Research Group – Nottingham Business School with Mariale Moreno and Laura Piscicelli - Sustainable Consumption Research Group – School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment). The study commences in 2015.

 Managing and Measuring Sustainability: Professors within the group also published a number of research papers on this topic (indicative examples):
Herzig, C., Windolph, SE & Schaltegger, S. Implementing Corporate Sustainability: What drives the Application of Sustainability Management Tools in Germany? Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal 5(4), 2014, 378-404.
Lund-Thomsen; P., Jamali, D. Vives, A. 3014. CSR in SMEs : An Analysis of Donor-financed Management Tools. Social Responsibility Journal, 10(4), 602-619.
Lund-Thomsen, P. Lindgreen, A. Vanhamme, J. Industrial Clusters and Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries : What We Know, What We Do Not Know, and What We Need to Know. Journal of Business Ethics, Online first, 24.9.2014
Lund-Thomsen, P. Lindgreen, A. 2014. Corporate Social Responsibility in Global Value Chains : Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?. Journal of Business Ethics, 123(1), 11-22.
Lund-Thomsen, P., Wad, P. 2014. Global Value Chains, Local Economic Organization and Corporate Social Responsibility in the BRICS Countries. Competition and Change, 18(4), 281-290.
Prof. Herzig was the co-editor of a Special Section of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal on Social accountability and stakeholder engagement for sustainability: Shaping organisational change in higher education? (with Jasmin Godemann, Jeremy Moon & Jan Bebbington) and Prof Lund-Thomsen, was co-editor of a Special Issue on Industrial Clusters and Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries, Journal of Business Ethics (with P. Lindgreen A., Vanhamme)

 Critical Perspectives on Responsible and Sustainable Business: research in this area is focused on yielding papers in top-ranked journals, but also to stimulate critical discourse in organsations. Two collaborative papers have been prepared for conferences, and publication submissions are underway: 1) Mollie Painter-Morland, Carole Tansley and Sue Kirk, “Talent is more than a word: The (Im)possibility of ethical reflection within talent management” 2) Mollie Painter-Morland, Daniel King and Ofelia Palermo, “The Powers and Perils of Liquid Leading: Influencing the dialectic of structure and flow”.

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