University College Isle of Man lecturer Dr Christa McCartney has a chapter included in a new encyclopaedia about the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She explains more:
I'm a lecturer in business at UCM with a focus on Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Governance and Ethics.
As an educator, it is always interesting to see when new methods are being used and where older methods are finding new life through new ways of application.
Growing up, I was always drawn to social justice and environmental issues, supporting Greenpeace when I was in school and attending numerous marches in my teens and early 20's. I was therefore delighted to have the opportunity to undertake my doctoral thesis on the change to sustainability in business which provided me with the opportunity to explore the many positive developments currently emerging.
Many business schools now place an emphasis on a triple bottom line, people and planet as well as profit.
The number of universities offering social responsibility modules has increased dramatically.
In 2008, only 20 universities offered these modules, by 2012 this had increased to 120 and currently they are offered by the majority. Several business schools and universities offer entire MBA's in social entrepreneurship as it has become increasingly obvious that the scale of change that the planet requires can no longer be met by non-profit organisations and governments alone.
When Springer announced it was publishing an encyclopaedia of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals, I was delighted to follow-up on my thesis, written for my recently gained doctorate with the University of Liverpool, and contribute a chapter on business school partnerships for sustainability.
One of the most interesting parts of writing my thesis was discovering how many business schools work collaboratively and use open access.
Due to the speed that sustainability was introduced to the curriculum, groups of business educators formed to support each other and lead the way, GRLI (the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative) and 50+20 being two of the first. Websites and YouTube began spreading awareness and now social media and particularly Twitter provide a platform for global co-operation between different partners as this paradigm grows. It is easier than ever to keep informed and be connected throughout the change to responsible business leadership. I am hugely encouraged to see young graduates taking a leading role in driving this movement forward. The international OIKOS movement (www.oikos-international.org) is an entirely student-led organisation campaigning for sustainability in economics and management showing this is as much a grassroots, bottom up movement as it is a top down one.
There are other collaborative partnerships too. The largest of these shared endeavours is the UN Principals of Responsible Management Education (UNPRME), connecting more than 650 organisations in 85 countries and playing a valuable role in publicising business school success stories and providing inspirational success stories.
Another important organisation is HESI, partnering the UN with more than 300 universities globally. Its emphasis on green campuses and localism in sustainability is, I think, valuable in allowing the next generation of leaders to see the benefits that can be achieved.
Everywhere I look, I find these issues growing in importance and, increasingly, partnerships are appearing between business schools, NGOs, the UN, and businesses seeking graduates who understand the importance of being globally socially responsible.
There is still much to do, but the increasing partnerships that are emerging provide a means by which non-damaging, positive, economics can be explored and furthered.
As a lecturer in business, I find this hugely encouraging.