Business Newsroom

La Trobe Business School

Tag: Sustainable Development Goals

SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 1

In the last 20 years, do you think that the proportion of people living in extreme poverty worldwide has almost doubled, remained more or less the same, or almost halved? Think you know the answer? Take the gapminder quiz here.

Poverty facts

Although the gapminder quiz shows us that a lot of progress has been made, several of us are still rather ignorant about the ‘good news’ facts, and there continues to be a lot of work to be done. About 736 million people still live on less than US $1.90 and day. Many of them lack adequate food, clean drinking water and sanitation. Rapid economic growth in countries such as China and India has lifted millions out of poverty, but progress has been uneven. Women are more likely to live in poverty than men due to unequal paid work opportunities, education and property (UNDP, 2019). 

Ending poverty by 2030

SDG 1 sets the ambitious target to end poverty in all its forms by 2030, as part of the UN’s Global Goals/SDG agenda. Poverty eradication is central to the Global Goals, and achievement of all Goals is closely tied to the achievement of Goal 1. Poverty impedes the full participation of people in society and the economy. A society free from poverty is more peaceful, stable, innovative and equal (SDG Knowledge Platform, 2019).

From a Business School perspective, we have a responsibility to ensure that future business leaders take the responsibility to prevent and address human and labour rights violations, and identify and avoid practices that perpetuate poverty traps. All companies are linked to global poverty, particularly through their supply chains, and have a responsibility to work towards eliminating negative impacts to the Goal. A useful tool for assessing such impacts is the UN Global Compact’s Poverty Footprint Tool. The UN Global Compact has also developed a Blueprint for Business Leadership on the SDGs, which serves as a useful guide on how business can engage with and address the SDGs in their principled approach to SDG action. 

SDG Video

The first video in the SDG series was produced by our CR3+ Partner Audencia Business School from Nantes, France.  In the video, Dr Céline Louche discusses the sustainable development goal in depth, looking at the definition of poverty, the different perspectives to poverty (need-focused and people-focused) and the consequences of poverty; social exclusion, poor mental and physical health, and unfair working conditions. Céline also explains the targets of SDG 1, such as eradicating extreme poverty, implementing social protection systems and building resilience to climate-related extreme events, and the role of businesses in reaching these targets. The video finishes with an interview with Victoria Mandefield, an Audencia student and founder of the social enterprise “Soliguide” – a multimodal platform providing homeless people and refugees with helpful information.

Please enjoy the presentation:

If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

Get involved!

As a PRME Champion School, LBS has access to several Working Groups made up of a global pool of like-minded researchers on the various SDG themes.  There is a PRME Working Group on SDG 1- Poverty, whose aim is to challenge business education to advocate for the integration of poverty-related discussions into all levels of management education worldwide. Their vision is grounded in the belief that:

  • Poverty is a legitimate topic for discussion and research in schools of business and management.
  • Business should be a catalyst for innovative, profitable and responsible approaches to poverty reduction.
  • Multiple stakeholder engagement is needed for innovative curriculum development.

To find out more, or join the working group please visit the UN PRME website (here).

You can also submit a paper on a topic related to SDG 1 to the CR3+ Conference that LBS is hosting from 24-25 October 2019, along with our CR3+ partners.

 

This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019.

More blogs in the SDG Series:

An introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals

You’ve probably heard about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in your work and across the media. They are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, which they hope will be achieved by 2030.  These goals are a call for action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity and overall transformative action towards sustainability.

Attainment of the goals within the timeframe (by 2030) necessitates urgent, innovative, and far-reaching action from different actors – business, states, civil society, and individual citizens. As insurmountable as they may seem, they present a huge opportunity for all the actors to rethink business, development and growth and stead us all towards sustainable and inclusive world.

2018 PRME report analysis

In our role as a PRME Champion Institution, LBS has committed to embedding the SDGs into our research, teaching, partnerships and operations. In our 2018 PRME report, we undertook and analysis of LBS research outputs and found that 34% of our research is aligned with at least one of the 17 SDGs. In our analysis, we also identified the achievements, research projects and other activities LBS is involved with that are linked to the SDGs. These linkages are created through efforts including informing our understanding of the SDGs, and contributing to the development of solutions in achieving the SDGs.

Outlined below are some examples of significant activities being undertaken by LBS and LTU, linked to the 17 SDGs:

 

A full overview of activities can be found on pages 46 – 48 of the 2018 PRME report.

Seventh CR3+ conference

As part of our broader commitment to PRME and the SDGs, we are hosting the 7th CR3+ conference on the topic ‘Using dialogue to build partnerships for sustainability’ from the 24th to 25th October 2019.

The conference is being hosted in conjunction with our CR3+ partners – Audencia Business School (France), Hanken School of Economics (Finland) and ISAE Brazilian Business School (Brazil). The call for papers has been circulated, and we encourage you to submit a paper to the conference. The call for papers can be found here.

 

SDGs Series

In addition to the conference, all CR3+ partners have collaborated on a series of videos on the SDGs, bringing their unique geographical and business perspectives in developing content for four of the SDGs each. The objectives of the videos are to:

  • Introduce the Agenda 2030 framework and Sustainable Development Goals (along with insight into concepts and history of sustainable development).
  • Explain all 17 SDGs and their targets.
  • Present real-life cases demonstrating contribution towards different SDGs in different geographical regions.
  • Critical perspectives on the SDGs.

We have developed a blog series where we will highlight one Sustainable Development Goal every fortnight based on the videos in the lead up to the CR3+ conference in October. Watch this space for the first upcoming video!

 

If you like to know more about LBS’ involvement with PRME, please read our blog from earlier this year: LBS’ United Nations PRME commitments, or contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

LBS in support of International Women’s Day

Last week, on the 8th of March, it was International Women’s Day. La Trobe Business School took part in several events that day.

ATEM Breakfast Series

The Association for Tertiary Education Management (ATEM) organised an International Women’s Day Breakfast with guest speaker Freda Miriklis. Freda spoke about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and specifically Women’s Empowerment Principles, which relates to SDG number 5: Achieving gender equality and empower all women and girls.

 

The Women’s Empowerment Principles are:

  1. Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
  2. Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and non-discrimination
  3. Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
  4. Promote education, training and professional development for women
  5. Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women
  6. Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
  7. Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality

LBS staff members attending ATEM’s International Women’s Day Breakfast

IPAA International Women’s Day event

Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) organised an IWD Dinner to celebrate the contribution that women make to the public sector and to commit to the actions that will build greater gender equity in the sector. Special guest speaker was Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2012-2017.

As head of the Australian Human Rights Commission, she led a number of high profile inquiries, including an examination of the impact of prolonged immigration detention on children, and consistently championed the need for a system of checks and balances to protect the most vulnerable people in our community.

Professor Gillian Triggs giving her keynote speech

Gillian was the keynote speaker to the event and talked about her time in the Human Rights Commission. Specifically, how she was able to be resilient in a male dominated environment whilst having the media constantly mocking her. The event also included a panel discussion on each Woman’s career and obstacles faced along with life lessons and the next generation of women entering the workforce.

The panel facilitator was Penny Burke, CEO of Essence Communication. Penny is an accomplished public speaker who has worked in the field of marketing and advertising for over 20 years and has worked on many inspiring and well-known advertising campaigns. Penny’s experience has led her to become a thought leader and an expert in Commitment.

Inala Cooper, Lifelong Fellowship Lead, Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity, University of Melbourne, was a panellist. Inala is a Yawuru woman from Broome in The Kimberley, WA. Born in Victoria, she grew up in the South West on Gunditjmara land and has lived on the land of the Kulin Nations here in Melbourne for over 20 years. Inala has a Masters in Human Rights Law and is an advocate for Indigenous rights and social justice. She encourages young Indigenous people to connect with their culture and find strength in their identities.

Gill Callister, Secretary of the Department of Education and Training, hosted the event. Gill is directly responsible for management of the Department to deliver and improve early childhood, school education, and vocational and higher education services across Victoria. Gill is also President of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (Victoria).

LBS staff members attending IPAA’s International Women’s day event

Developing a Sustainability Disposition

In 2008, La Trobe Business School (LBS) was one of the first schools to become a Signatory to PRME. LBS has been actively engaged in both embedding responsible management within its school as well as contributing to the PRME network. LBS is starting their second term as a PRME Champion. Ten years on, LBS was selected to be a PRME Champion along with 38 other business schools from across the world who are taking transformative action on integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into three key areas: curriculum, research and partnerships.

In 2015, LBS put in place a second year subject focused on Sustainability which is mandatory for all students enrolled in any Business Degree at La Trobe University. Because of its focus on developing a sustainability disposition in students rather than just educating them about the issues, the course has been very well received by students and continues to be an exemplar of cross-disciplinary subject content within the School.  PRIMEtime interviewed Dr Swati Nagpal  about this innovative course.

Dr Swati Nagpal receiving the LBS Award in recognition of her continual support of the PRME initiative

 

What is La Trobe Business School’s approach to sustainability in the classroom?

LBS understands the obligation as an institution to advocate for responsible management education throughout the school; in its four departments and its research centres, and by advocating and supporting responsible management initiatives and operations across the university.

A patchwork of subjects addressing Sustainability Education in Business degree courses at La Trobe was replaced in 2015 by a core second year subject entitled ‘BUS2SUS – Sustainability’, for all students enrolled in any Business degree. More than 2,500 students are now enrolled in this compulsory subject every year.

The subject is based on a blended learning design that allows for greater scalability across the entire portfolio of majors within Business and across all our campuses in Australia and abroad. With sustainability as the lens or context for change, students are introduced to systems thinking, tools for solving wicked problems, and the role of advocacy in managing change for sustainability.

How have you approached the design and delivery of this core course?

The process of embedding sustainability thinking into the core business curriculum presented a number of challenges, including distinguishing sustainability from related streams of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and non-financial measurement and reporting. The curriculum design was ultimately guided by the need for a future set of skills, rather than by identifying disciplinary content that business graduates might require. These skills include critical thinking, creative problem solving, ethical awareness and teamwork. For example, by working in small groups in class, and engaging with ‘wicked’ global sustainability issues such as climate change, global poverty and renewable energy, students are required to apply a systems lens to examining the true nature of the issues and potential solutions.

There is also an emphasis on creating a ‘safe space’ in classes to tackle often controversial social and environmental issues such as indigenous disadvantage in Australia, the refugee crisis and the potential for a sugar tax. This has required class teachers to be briefed and trained in pedagogical techniques that require reflexive practice and approaches to manage conflict.

The course puts a focus on developing a sustainability disposition. Why do you think this is important?

Research on education for sustainability, student surveys and teaching feedback have taught us that developing graduate skills for sustainability is not enough to create the impetus required for students to be change agents for sustainability, there also needs to be an emphasis on creating a ‘mindset’ change. This is enabled in the subject through use of a range of pedagogical design elements to create a learning environment that seeks to bring about this change. For example, through the use of case studies, examples and problem-based scenarios that require students to reflect on their underlying values base and question the status quo in management thought. As such, this subject places a focus on both generic graduate skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, while also creating the disposition towards sustainability and ethical decision-making.

How are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) embedded into this course?

Using the SDGs as a guide, students are introduced to the interplay between the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainability, and the implications for ethically complex decision-making. Ultimately, educating students new to the SDGs places us in a unique position as the entry point in their educational experience. We believe this is critical in developing their awareness of global issues and challenges so that they can enter the workplace fully equipped to advance and implement policies and practices that will contribute to sustainable business.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

The question of whether business schools should approach embedding sustainability into core curriculum or as an elective has not been resolved to date. Our experience at LBS in taking the ‘core subject’ approach has been positive since we have the institutional support in terms of the University’s focus on sustainability and our historical emphasis and ethos of social justice. Therefore, gaining institutional support for furthering the sustainability agenda is key, along with the resources to make it happen.

The challenge in any modern business subject in sustainably is an emphasis on both the development of graduate skills and students’ disposition towards sustainability and ethical decision-making. This requires modern educators to span the boundary of the classroom and identify opportunities to engage with industry partners and other stakeholders to continuously produce innovative teaching materials and approaches that inspire and motivate students to pursue business ideas that align with the SDGs.

 

What other initiatives at your school you are particularly proud of in this area especially in relation to the SDGs.

In 2017, LBS embarked on a series of workshops that brought together delegates from business, local government, education, not for profit and community sectors to discuss what the SDGs mean for them, and create opportunities for collaboration among the sectors towards implementation of the goals.

This outreach project on the SDGs is an international effort by our CR3+ network which includes LBS and PRME Champions Audencia Nantes School of Management (Nantes, France), ISAE/FGV (Curitiba, Brazil) and Hanken School of Economics (Helsinki, Finland). All four business schools have committed to hosting similar workshops in their countries.

Two Australian workshops were held in Wollongong and Albury-Wodonga on 15/11/17 and 29/11/17 respectively. In addition to the original aims as set out in the project proposal, the choice to focus on regional areas was two-fold; firstly, to develop our regional campus’ capacity to build and sustain cross-sector engagement and partnerships on the theme of the SDGs, and secondly, to focus on areas where UN Global Compact Network Australia presence is limited.

This post is part of a special feature throughout the month of February focused on schools in Australia and New Zealand. This blog post was originally published on PRIMEtime. Read the original article.

 

La Trobe Business School’s 2016 UN PRME Report released

PRME La Trobe Business School

The United Nations’ PRME secretariat has recently released the third sharing of progress (SIP) report submitted by La Trobe Business School. In the document, LBS details the achievements that illustrate its ongoing commitment to each of the six  Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), developed further since the last report was submitted in 2014. This work makes a significant contribution to the ways in which LBS fulfils its mission.

The report can be viewed here.

What does PRME stand for?

The six PRME principles provide a framework for business schools as they seek to develop competent and responsible managers through education. The program was conceived by way of a recommendation of the academic stakeholders from the United Nations Global Compact. The six principles were developed and adopted in 2007 by an international task force of sixty deans, university presidents and official representatives of leading business schools and academic institutions.

The PRME philosophy sits alongside the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), formally adopted in Paris in 2015, as part of the universal, integrated and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 17 SDGs balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. The Goals and targets provide a framework to stimulate action over the next 14 years in areas of critical importance for the long-term sustainability of human society and the planet, build on the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) and complete what the MDGs were unable to achieve.

LBS’s commitment to the UN PRME

Since joining UN PRME in 2007, La Trobe Business School has been actively engaged in embedding responsible management, not just in its curriculum and research activities, but also at an institutional level. The School has laid the foundations for the next phase to expand its activities through dialogue (the sixth principle). This success to date means that LBS can more effectively engage in dialogue with stakeholders, and share its understandings more broadly.

La Trobe University values its Business School’s capacity and the opportunity to engage with the demands of responsible management education. LBS and the University have a longstanding commitment and philosophy to foster new generations of responsible professionals. La Trobe Business School aims to educate and encourage students to carry responsible management into their workplace along with a thorough understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

LBS also continues to take the requisite steps to ensure that undergraduate and postgraduate courses, research programs and activities, strategic frameworks and its overall philosophy provide enabling environments for meeting the principles and the accompanying demands of educating about responsible leadership. This includes teaching current perspectives in corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, business ethics, gender balance, diversity, sustainability accounting, and environmental and resource economics across many of the LBS courses and subjects. In addition, the assessment modules are consistently reviewed and designed to emphasise these values to students and provide them with practical applications of responsible management.

New initiatives taken by LBS

Since 2014, many exciting new developments have taken place within La Trobe Business School that further contribute to its work around responsible management. The creation of the Yunus Social Business Centre, the SAS Analytics Innovation lab and the appointment of 11 Professors of Practice to the Business School stand as flagship achievements between 2014 and 2016.

The Sustainability Thinking, Global Citizenship, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship Learning Essentials of LTU provide an excellent platform to further support, grow and direct LBS students to recognize the global contexts in which they will work, exchange values and perspectives, act across cultures and borders and to work with, and within, diverse communities.

Since mid-2015, more than 2000 undergraduate students have completed La Trobe Business School’s second year Sustainability subject, one of three Learning Essentials for the School and the University. Within the MBA Program, LBS offers core subjects that engage with PRME. The University is also leading in the creation of innovative learning and research environments for students through the Hallmark Program and industry outreach including partnerships with local government, and in the community. The University also provides greater access to tertiary education through scholarship programs and the early entry Aspire program.

A number of LBS academics from a wide range of disciplines continue to undertake research projects that are closely aligned with the PRME principles.  These include projects related to sport and social impact, the role of technology in supporting the wellbeing and sustainability of human society, climate change impacts on business, accounting and human rights, rural tourism and sustainability, and data analytics for improved healthcare outcomes.

LBS will continue to use this research platform to create new, and build on existing, engagement opportunities with external stakeholders and partners such as sporting organisations, government agencies and departments, accreditation bodies, NGO’s, private sector organisations and consultancies.

Finally, La Trobe Business School is proud to be nominated as one of 30 leading institutions from around the world to participate in the pilot phase of the PRME Champions Group.

La Trobe Business School partners with the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility on the 2016 Annual Review of the State of Corporate Social Responsibility

Dr Leeora Black Intro (002)

The results of the 2016 Annual Review of the State of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Australia and New Zealand were announced on Wednesday evening 6 July at La Trobe University’s City Campus, at 360 Collins Street, Melbourne.

The review is produced by the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR).

The review is the longest running study of CSR practices in Australia and New Zealand, and one of the largest longitudinal CSR studies in the world.

This year 1,080 respondents participated in the research. This year’s report also explored the relevance of international CSR frameworks in Australia and New Zealand and indicated that the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) remains the most used and the most useful framework for most organisations, followed by the UN Global Compact.

The results of the Review and Australia’s progress in CSR and towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was outlined by Professor John Thwaites  (Chair, Monash Sustainability Institute and Chair, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific).

PRME_reports_editedProfessor Thwaites joined a panel with Dr Suzanne Young (Head of Department of Management and Marketing, La Trobe Business School) and two employees from the Top ten companies, Grace Rose Miller (Yarra Valley Water) and Jordan Grace, Corporate Responsibility Manager with the National Australia Bank (NAB), to discuss the Review and provide perspectives from the academic and corporate sectors.

The Review reveals that Australian businesses are very aware of the newly adopted SDGs and many are planning strategies and partnerships to pursue the Goals.

This year the review examined how companies are aligning their business strategies with the SDGs and revealed that the most important Goals for Australia and New Zealand business are Gender Equality; Good Health and Wellbeing; and Decent Work and Economic Growth; followed by Industry Innovation and Infrastructure and Climate Action.  The Review has also shown that the ‘implications of technology for business’ has risen to second top priority from tenth place in 2012.

“It was encouraging to see that organisations are planning to address a multiple set of Goals and see important linkages in their broader societal contributions,” says ACCSR’s Managing Director, Dr Leeora Black. She continued: “Engaging in strategic partnerships is the key action they will undertake in the year ahead – suggesting they understand advancing the Sustainable Development agenda.”

At the same time, in this Review, responses from participating businesses indicate a significant gap between espoused priorities and concrete plans, and the results hint at the continuing struggle of CSR workers to influence organisational decisions and ensure appropriate budgets for their work.

In viewing sustainability and CSR as key management capabilities, La Trobe Business School continues to work with ACCSR to embed sustainability and CSR in the programs and strategy of the School. In line with the themes of this Annual Review, La Trobe Business School is one of the United Nations Champion Business Schools in the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) to advance corporate sustainability and social responsibility in our curricula and research, thought leadership in this area and to develop responsible leaders of the future.

La Trobe Business School is planning to facilitate a series of Australia-wide workshops between PRME higher educational business schools and members of the UN Global Compact Network Australia to present and interact on the theme of the SDGs. The outcomes of the workshops will be improved dialogue and networks between universities and other sectors, and the initiating of joint projects on the SDGs.

Professor Thwaites believes that business understands that the Goals are more easily achieved in partnership than by individual organisations operating on their own. He noted: “What we need to do is establish the right strategic partnerships, and having done that, implement them.”

Professor Thwaites outlined a number of strategic actions businesses can take to work towards achieving the SDGs and said that at present companies are mapping what they are doing, and comparing that to the Goals and targets. He says that businesses are adopting a smart approach but he said that while we are working well towards meeting some goals, “it’s important not to take our eye off what we have ignored.” He sees that there is a need for a degree of flexibility as different companies have different operations, and it is difficult to find a one-size-fits-all model.

Over the next period he believes more products will come into the market to help businesses identify how they can make impact and align their businesses to meet the Goals.

The Annual Review reported this year’s CSR Top ten organisations that scored greater than 75% for CSR management capabilities (as ranked by their employees) are Abergeldie, Deloitte, Ebm-papst A&NZ, KPMG, NAB, PwC, South32, WaterAid, Westpac and Yarra Valley Water.  This year, the Review included New Zealand companies and found the leading three CSR companies in New Zealand are Bank of New Zealand, Toyota NZ and Z Energy.

Grace Miller, representing Yarra Valley Water, said that gender equity and diversity are the big issues for her organisation along with minimising impact on waterways. A strategic priority for the organisation is to work effectively with Indigenous communities and local governments.

Dr Suzanne Young said that generally universities are not performing well in CSR and have an important and essential role in achieving and teaching about the SDGs. “If business schools are educating the next generation of leaders and a key issue is responsible management – it is critical for universities to build the capacity of our future leaders and for them to understand these priorities,” she says.  She believe that students are expecting leadership to be a core of university teaching and research, and that universities themselves have to lead by example in areas such as gender equality where we currently see a low score card. Dr Young also believes that the universities in regional Australia have an important role to play in building sustainable communities and ensuring that educational capability is a priority.

Jordan Grace from the National Australia Bank says that one of NAB’s philosophies in progressing their CSR strategy is that ‘their business will do well if Australians are doing well’. Jordan says that NAB has a sound record of programs that support its customers in financial inclusion and resilience. “Many of these programs sit across a number of SDGs, like Decent Work and Economic Growth and No Poverty. SDGs provide a good lens to look at what we are doing, where we want to go and how we can drive collective impact.”

Partners for the 2016 Annual Review of the State of CSR in Australia and New Zealand were La Trobe Business School, Massey University, the New Zealand Sustainable Business Council, Sustainable Business Australia, Engineers Without Borders and Wright Communications.

The 2016 Annual Review of the State of Corporate Social Responsibility is available for download, here.

The Sustainable Development Goals can be seen, here

More information about La Trobe Business School’s involvement with the PRME can be accessed, here.

 

© 2019 Business Newsroom

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑