PRME Working Group on Sustainability Mindset

In January 2014, a group of academics from 16 countries came together with a common concern.

  1. If we wanted to shape a sustainable (or flourishing) world, we had to revise what we were teaching.
  2. The planetary challenge required actions.
  3. Intellectual understanding was important, but not enough.
  4. At the foundation of our un-sustainable behaviors there was a mindset that had to be shifted.
  5. Developing a new mindset required a different teaching approach.

They felt like ‘outliers’ in their own institutions with this unusual perspective, and found great comfort connecting with colleagues who were experiencing similar concerns. 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 145 academic members from 128 universities in 46 countries.

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, and an introspective focus on the personal values and the higher self. The mindset finds its expression in actions for the greater good of the whole. The Sustainability Mindset is ultimately a lens through which we analyze and interpret information, and make decisions.

How can we develop a Sustainability Mindset?

The Sustainability Mindset is best described through its12 Principles, grouped into four content areas: Ecological worldview, Systemic perspective, Emotional and Spiritual intelligence. Thus it can be developed through systems thinking, ecoliteracy, and aspects of emotional and spiritual intelligence. The mindset is an internal aspect, yet it can be seen in action, in behaviors. Educators can promote innovative and collaborative work on projects to make a difference in the students' community, as a way to create the experiential learning that can be transformative.

Why is the mindset 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 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 SDGs provide a path for action, the mindset paves that way.

The focus of the Working Group is to explore ways to develop the Sustainability Mindset, through the Knowing/Thinking, 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.

One Vision

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by developing a Sustainability Mindset.

We see the SDGs as the much needed framework for educators to make their teaching relevant and focused on actions for a better world. Our members are finding creative ways to bring the SDGs into their courses, and engaging students in exploring the goals, finding projects that support the goals, and developing contests and events around them.

Goals and Outcomes

  • 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 to 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 awareness of the sustainability mindset
  • To create a network of mutual support that can be a resource for each other’s institutions
  • To establish and maintain relationships with national and international institutions: UNGlobal Compact, other PRME Working Groups, GRLI, AACSB, Oikos, Net impact, efmd, CEMS, Ascolfa.

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, and many become social entrepreneurs.

How to Join

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

Now in its 7th year, the group currently has 145 academic members from 128 universities in 46 countries. We have a platform to share, post documents, start discussions and announce events.

Because of the geographical spread of the network, we have the following virtual meetings:

LEAP Café: A monthly informal space to meet and connect with colleagues from around the world. Every first Monday of the month, in two time zones.

Storytelling Circle: With such a diversity of members and experience, there is a lot to share and learn. Out monthly Storytelling Circle, the 3rd Monday of the month, features members who share about their work, passion or projects.

Fast Track Course: The popular course in 7 modules, provides members with the experience and tools they can use to develop the sustainability mindset with their students.

Sustainability Mindset Principles Atelier: this program dives into the theory and tools to implement the 12 Principles.

For information and registration, contact

Highlights of Projects 2014-2020

  • 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 Working Group has been presenting sessions about the Sustainability Mindset at the Academy of Management since 2014. In 2018 the WG presented at the Academy of Management, Chicago, Ill a PDW with members from 11 countries entitled “ Innovative pedagogies to develop a sustainability mindset in action”; in 2019 in Boston, MA. we led a PDW with presenters from 16 countries entitled “From Inclusive Thought to Action: How can we Develop Individuals that Shape a more Inclusive World?” . Ten other members presented 3 PDWs.
  • Members have presented at various academic conferences and became guest lecturers in other members’ institutions.
  • The Sustainability Mindset Indicator: An instrument to map and profile the Sustainability Mindset is being developed, to guide educators on how to move their students along their development and to assess the impact of their courses.
  • Several journal papers were produced, one of them received the Best Paper Award by Junior Faculty (AOM 2016), several book chapters and the book Stop Teaching (Rimanoczy, 2016) was published on the teaching methodology of the Sustainability Mindset course. Papers authored or co-authored by members of this Working Group: 3 books and 4 scholarly papers in 2018 and 3 books and 4 scholarly papers in 2019.
  • An edited book with contributions of 23 members from around the world was published in 2016: Developing the Sustainability Mindset in Management Education. Kassel & Rimanoczy. Routledge UK
  • By invitation of the Sulitest developers, Isabel Rimanoczy created a new Sulitest Module incorporating questions about the Sustainability Mindset available to PRME Signatories.
  • The Center of Sustainability Mindset and Social Responsibility (CSMSR) of IPMI International Business School in Jakarta opened in 2017. It designs collaboration with other researchers and experts to make sure that future leaders are equipped with the new paradigm of Business as an Agent for World Benefit. If you want more information or are interested in partnering/collaborating, contact Amelia Naim Indrajaya:
  • Collaborative teaching/projects among members and invitations to teach about the SM and the SDGs in UK, Spain, Morocco, Russia, USA, China, Indonesia, and Philippines.
  • We have five Ambassadors to promote the Working Group and invite new members, in Russia, UK, Germany Philippines and Hong Kong.
  • Quarterly Newsletter to stay connected: Read latest HERE

Annual International Meeting-Retreats

  • Since 2015 we are organizing an International Retreat Meeting before the AOM. The most recent were in Chicago, ILL (2018) and Boston, MA (2019) with attendees from India, Brazil, Philippines, Argentina, Italy, UK, Russia, Austria, France, China, Argentina, Costa Rica, Indonesia, and USA.
  • Covid 19 inspired us to design the first virtual international Retreat – August 2020.
  • Members participated in the PRME Research Conferences, Regional Conferences and PRME Global Forums.
  • In 2018 Kennesaw State University and the PRME Working Group on the Sustainability Mindset partnered in organizing a Seminar and a Conference on the Sustainability Mindset in Tuscany, Italy


  • WG professors participating in AIM2Flourish Awards have received awards in 2018 , 2019 and 2020.
  • The Sustainability Mindset Indicator Project was presented by Isabel Rimanoczy at the event Reimagine Education, a global competition rewarding innovative approaches aimed at enhancing student learning outcomes and employability organized by Wharton University and QS UK. The Sustainability Mindset Indicator project received the First Prize -Gold Award in Social Sciences, and Second Prize - Silver Award in the Sustainability category
  • In 2018 Publication of ‘Developing a Sustainability Mindset in Management Education’ with contributions of 23 members from 11 countries. Kassel & Rimanoczy (Eds.) Routledge Taylor. This book received the Finalist Prize from the Humanistic Management Association.

Outlook for 2020 and beyond – projects, events, activities

  • We set our goal to reach 150 members in 50 countries by Dec 2020, and are close to it. We want to engage more PRME institutions and academics; to expand awareness of the mindset, influence and provide inspiration, connecting with colleagues across the globe.
  • We launched a new course ‘Understanding Self and the Contemporary World”, developing the Mindset for Sustainability through the 12 Principles. Successful implementation in Morocco
  • We plan to organize a Webinar for Deans to help them address aspects related with the new mindset required.
  • We are creating a repository of materials, resources and syllabi to develop the Sustainability Mindset, led by Tay Keong Tan.
  • We are preparing a Fieldbook with activities and exercises to implement the Principles.

Forthcoming publications:

The Sustainability Mindset Principles - a Guide to Develop a Mindset for a Better World. Isabel Rimanoczy. Publisher Routledge Taylor Francis, UK. The book introduces the 12 SM Principles and guides for educators on how to bring them into their courses.

Struggles and Successes in the Pursuit of Sustainable Development, Routledge, The Taylor and Francis Group, July 2020. Ed. Tay Keong.

PRME BOOK 2020 - Chapter by Rimanoczy about the great work of the Working Group members. Dr. Mette Morsing, Head, Principles for Responsible Management Education

Sustainability Mindset and Transformative Leadership – Aixa Ritz and Isabel Rimanoczy

book with 17 contributing authors sharing models and experiences developing a mindset for sustainability in leaders.

How do you shift a mindset? Tools and Transformative Stories from Students Around the World -Ekaterina Ivanova and Isabel Rimanoczy –

With 23 contributors from 5 continents, WG member professors present how they shift mindsets of their students through innovative transformative learning tools in order to foster sustainability. The book, organized into 2 volumes. Volume 1 features students’ essays about their transformative insights, as a result of specific tools and activities, also described in the book. Volume 2 features the sustainability mindset shift as students work on the SDGs.

Do you want to join us?

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 and Sustainability Mindset Principles Atelier
  • Participate in the online platform to share, discuss, connect.
  • Receive and contribute to the quarterly electronic newsletter
  • Participate in the 2020 Virtual Conference
  • 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, Barcelona, Curitiba, Sao Paulo, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston)
  • 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, papers, writing projects
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships with national and international institutions: UNGlobal Compact, PRME, GRLI, AACSB, EFMD, Oikos, Net impact, CEMS, AASHE
  • Representing the Working Group in national and international academic events
  • Promotion of the Working Group with new institutions
  • Engagement with leadership of PRME and Deans of participating institutions
  • Promoting the shift of a mindset to achieve the SDGs

Resources and Guidance Materials

This book explore how 16 business leaders brought together their compassion, their caring for others and the world, with their work. It presents the research which was the foundation for developing the concept of a Sustainability Mindset.

This book explores 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.

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.

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.

Editors: Shelley F. Mitchell, and Jorge A. Arevalo

With over 50 contributing authors from around the world, this Handbook strives to enhance knowledge and application within sustainability in management education (SiME) across different academic programs, geographic regions and personal/professional context. Cross-disciplinary and boundary-spanning, this book focuses on specific themes and is therefore split into four distinct sections: one on theory and practice, one on transformational interventions in business programs, one on the role of external agents and the last on innovative approaches in SiME.

Roland Bardy, with co-authors Maurizio Massaro and Arthur Rubens.

Roland Bardy Editor, with Maria-Teresa Lepeley (Editor), Ernst von Kimakowitz (Editor)

Editors: Kerul Kassel and Isabel Rimanoczy, . (Eds.) Routledge Taylor

It is the first edited book with contributions from with contributions of 23 members from 11 countries in the Working Group: The book's purpose is to be of value to faculty around the world who aim to integrate a sustainability mindset into their curriculum, courses, and programs.

Editors: Satinder Dhiman and Joan Marques.

Chapter: Personal development towards a sustainability mindset. Rimanoczy, I.

Isabel Rimanoczy, ‘A holistic learning approach for responsible management education’ with practitioner commentary by Roger Saillant and Craig Teal.

Dennis P. Heaton and Emanuel Schachinger, Maharishi University of Management, USA, ‘Consciousness development for responsible management education’ with practitioner commentary by Chris Laszlo.

Chapter: Mehdi Majidi, Cultural Perspective on Sustainable Socioeconomic Development

Tom establishes an understanding of qi and virtue as a technology within the Daoist paradigm, outlining the benefits of its cultivation while illuminating how contemporary Western philosophy and science support this paradigm.

Quarterly Newsletter: Read it here.

Co-Chair: Isabel Rimanoczy,

Co-Chair: Mary Grace Neville

Co-Chair: Martine Marie,

For more information about the Working Group contact:

Isabel Rimanoczy,

Martine Marie,

No resources available for this chapter.

March 2023

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