Educating management to achieve SDGs Agenda 2030

John Hall
TINZ Director
Civics & Human Rights, OGP, Auckland Events

John Hall

TINZ Director,

Civics and Human Rights, Open Government Partnership

The United Nations’ ‘Principles for Responsible Management Education’ (PRME) is transforming business and management education, research, and thought-leadership globally. It’s prime focus is to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

PRME supports academic institutions to ensure they provide future leaders with the understanding and skills needed to balance economic and sustainability goals, for delivering change tomorrow. This global initiative of the UN Global Compact, has six New Zealand signatories. Each is committed to providing 2-yearly progress reporting for international sharing of information on progress.

At the centre of PRME is SDG target 4.7 – to ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.

Six principles

The six principles of PRME for education sector signatories are:

  1. Purpose: To develop capabilities of students to be future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large and to work for an inclusive and sustainable global economy.
  2. Values: To incorporate into our academic activities and curricula the values of global social responsibility as portrayed in international initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact
  3. Method: To create educational frameworks, materials, processes and environments that enable effective learning experiences for responsible leadership.
  4. Research: To engage in conceptual and empirical research that advances our understanding about the role, dynamics, and impact of corporations in the creation of sustainable social, environmental and economic value.
  5. Partnership: To interact with managers of business corporations to extend our knowledge of their challenges in meeting social and environmental responsibilities and to explore jointly effective approaches to meeting these challenges.
  6. Dialogue: To facilitate and support dialogue and debate among educators, students, business, government, consumers, media, civil society organisations and other interested groups and stakeholders on critical issues related to global social responsibility and sustainability.

SDG-16 and ethical leadership

Of particular interest to Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) is PRME’s focus on SDG-16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

By way of example, PRME’s first New Zealand signatory, Victoria University of Wellington (VUW)’s Business School, has identified six SDGs including SDG-16, to be closely linked with the above mentioned Values principle. It’s recent PRME progress report places significant emphasis on further development and practice of ethical leadership. This it argues, must stave off complacency arising from New Zealand’s consistently high Corruptions Perceptions Index, its geographical isolation, etc.

New Zealand is clearly facing substantial new risks to its integrity not only from domestic but also internationally-linked corruption, together with changing outlooks on corruption, that we must not be naive about. The terms ‘ethics’ and ‘ethical leadership’ are also peppered throughout VUW’s PRME progress report under the other PRME values it reported on.

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