UN Global Compact and PRME call for business school to focus on the Global Goals

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The FINANCIAL — The United Nations Global Compact and Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) called for systemic changes in business and management education today at a high-level dinner today in Davos, Switzerland.

Over 40 academic leaders and corporate executives — including deans from top business schools and Chief Executives from leading businesses — gathered for the dinner, held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, to discuss gaps in today’s business and management education.

The call for change was directed at the world’s higher education institutions, with a view to accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Global Goals, and to sensitize future business leaders to values like sustainability and responsibility, according to the United Nations Global Compact.

The dinner also served as the launch of the 2018-2019 cycle of the PRME Champions, a group of 38 higher education institutions that commit to a significant transformation in teaching, research, and partnerships aligned with the Global Goals. The PRME Champions are intended to work collaboratively on developing resources that would help other higher education institutions to integrate the Global Goals into operations.

Speaking to attendees, Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, said, “we at the UN Global Compact recognize this opportunity, and are committed to working together with you in business schools through PRME — on the global level as well as through our 76 Local Networks around the world — to guide and support you to achieve your sustainability objectives.”

“Business and management schools play a key role in shaping the skills and mindsets of future leaders, and can be powerful drivers of corporate sustainability,” Jonas Haertle, Head of PRME, said in comments during the dinner. “But in order to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Global Goals, today’s higher education institutions must change the way they teach about business, and more systematically incorporate values like sustainability, ethics and responsibility into their teaching, research, and campus leadership.”

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PRME, an initiative of the UN Global Compact since 2007, also suggested that business school ranking studies take into consideration focus on the Global Goals as a way to incentivize a more rapid transformation in teaching, research and campus practices.

Recognizing that business is vital to solving global challenges like climate change, poverty and inequality, the event was a chance to reaffirm the importance of instilling a holistic purpose of business in future leaders. The dinner concluded with a renewed commitment to ensure tomorrow’s business leaders are equipped with the skills, tools and values to build a more inclusive and prosperous society in harmony with the natural world.


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