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08 June 2023


World Institute for Sustainability and Ethics (WISE)

World Institute for Sustainability and Ethics (WISE)

Name of the research center:

World Institute for Sustainability and Ethics (WISE)

Research Center contact:

Rok Ramšak, rok.ramsak@iedc.si

How many sustainability-focused researchers are part of the center (#)?

5 or less

Implementation of SDG-focused research centers

The IEDC–Bled School of Management, founded in 1986 as the first business school of its type in Central and Eastern Europe, is one of the leading international management development institutions in Europe. IEDC-Bled School of Management believes in ethical and socially responsible leadership, which can be promoted through learning from art, science, sport, and other different professions, drawing parallels around them, and making people reflect. IEDC integrated a Business Ethics component into all its longer management programs more than twenty years ago. As an additional innovation, sustainable development was added to the curriculum ten years ago. IEDC is committed to the PRME initiative as we believe that educational institutions play a vital role in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and, thus, in the creation of a more sustainable society. IEDC hosts the IEDC Coca-Cola Chair of Sustainable Development, an interdisciplinary initiative aimed at creating cutting-edge knowledge in the field of sustainability, promoting the concepts of sustainable development, sustainable value, and embedded sustainability, and providing support for the needs of the CEE while connecting the international sustainability community to the realities and innovations of the region. IEDC is also home to the WISE Institute, which aims to serve professionals in the field of sustainable business (encompassing business ethics, CSR, and environmental responsibility) within rising economies through practice-relevant research, education, and networks. The Coca-Cola Chair and the Secretary General of WISE institute work closely in the development of a common research and teaching agenda and facilitate joint projects which focus on sustainable development. The work of both institutions is complemented by the cooperation of a wide network of IEDC’s visiting scholars as well as international partnerships. The two organizations share the responsibility of leading the IEDC PRME Team and various initiatives and providing sufficient resources.

In which ways is research fostered, motivated, or incentivized by leadership in the institution

We are currently discussing policies to establish a contract-based guiding principle that one-third of our faculty’s time is firmly dedicated to pursuing research activities. Additionally, we have established an IEDC Research Team, which will meet on a regular basis and discuss academic matters and plans for the upcoming year. To make our aims and goals more transparent and binding, we submit our research strategy and specific annual plan with KPIs to our leadership to discuss how specific support structures can be used to help faculty achieve their annual plans.

Percentage of resources is directed toward sustainability-oriented research at your institution

We encourage all of our internal faculty members to specifically comply with research topics that are focussing on advancing our understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals. As the overall strategy of our faculty has been designed to fit sustainability-related topics, all our activities feed into this goal and respective resources. In addition to the time resources of our staff, we also rely on external funding provided by EU funding bodies and research chairs funded by reputable international companies. In terms of external funding allocated for research, approximately 80% of funding directed toward sustainability-oriented research at IEDC.

Main focus of the center's work

The main aim of the WISE Institute is to address the gap in global efforts to propel sustainability and ethics to even-greater prominence and to further strengthen efforts for relevant research.

WISE is headquartered at IEDC-Bled School of Management, Postgraduate studies (IEDC), with regional offices in Germany, China, and Africa. There are already plans to expand to Latin America, India, Russia, etc. WISE is led by the International Board of founding partners, which currently consists of representatives from the following institutions:

-IEDC-Bled School of Management, Slovenia

-CBS International Business School, Germany

-National Institute for Innovation Management at Zhejiang University, China

-University of Stellenbosch Business School, South Africa

Among its prominent founding corporate partners are Port of Koper, NLB Bank, and the Coca-Cola Chair for Sustainable Development.

The Institute benefits from participation in existing networks such as Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME), United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), CEEMAN, etc., and is thus able to connect and assimilate the efforts of current initiatives in different regions in the world. In each of these cases, a growing body of knowledge and expertise leads to excellence in different areas of responsible management education and sustainable development. Embedded in our connections with global and regional networks, the WISE Institute combines the efforts of partners worldwide to drive the importance of topics related to ethics and sustainability to an international level.

As such, WISE addresses the unique needs of sustainability professionals in rising economies through:

-context-relevant research and publications,

-professional development and

-networking events.

Furthermore, we aim to cover all three core areas of integrated sustainability: ethics & compliance, social responsiveness, and environmental responsibility.

WISE also aims to connect the most prominent partners from the corporate world. Corporate partners support the day-to-day operations as well as special projects of WISE. In return, the corporate partners draw many advantages from membership, including visibility, the most up-to-date research results, access to relevant research, and a voice on the WISE board. Corporate partners also have an opportunity to propose local and international research projects and other types of activities, including tailor-made educational programs.

How many sustainability/SDG-oriented publications are produced by the center(s) each year on average? Please separate your response into peer-reviewed articles and other publications.

1-2 peer-reviewed articles; 3-4 other publications (e.g., practitioner papers, book chapters etc.).

Explain briefly how research carried out in the center feeds into teaching, giving examples of modules/courses or related degree programmes.

The research carried out on the topic of quality education is informing teaching by implementing new innovative teaching pedagogies to convey the diverse range of topics taught at IEDC. Research is thus fed into all modules/courses equally but especially those which already have sustainability-related foci. Revisions of all IEDC’s degree programs and courses are conducted on an annual basis as part of the institutional Quality Assurance efforts.

Giving a concrete example, research on gender equality is currently used to inform overall curriculum development and provide insights for accreditation agencies insofar as to provide them with insights on how to improve their evaluation criteria for business schools.

Based on research findings, IEDC also regularly updates its existing non-degree programs and introduces new ones. Based on insights gained through a recent ISSUE project on sustainable solutions on Higher Education Institutions, the Sustainability Journey program and the Sustainability Strategy programs were introduced. Curriculum of the international summer school for foreign students was also informed and modified accordingly.

In addition, IEDC gives allot of attention to disseminating knowledge with business leaders, practitioners and experts. Annual conferences and topic specific events are thus organised regularly among which the most recognised sustainability focused events are the Annual Trends in CSR Conference and the Bled Compliance and Ethics Conference.


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