(List #56)Who's in charge of sustainability internally?

Who is in charge of sustainability at your institution?

(List #56)Who's in charge of sustainability internally?
Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

This week I’ve been looking at who is responsible for sustainability in universities (or at least how they report on the topic). There are a few questions I ask myself when I’m looking into how a university is approaching sustainability, and  I’ve organised this week’s list around seven óf these questions.

After over 10 years of analysing the Sharing Information on Progress reports submitted by Signatories to PRME, I have collected a lot of information. I’m currently going through it all and will be sharing examples specific to reporting in a new section of this report called SIP BITS.  You can also view all examples added to this new section on the website here.

If you have just submitted a SIP and would like to share some of your examples in relation to reporting, please do send them to me and I’ll add them to the database.

A total of 24 examples have been posted on the List site relating to this topic. You can read the remaining examples here. All of this data is taken from the 2021-2022 PRME Sharing Information on Progress Reports.


1.     WHERE DOES IT SIT WITHIN THE UNIVERSITY?

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University of Mannheim includes in their 2021 report a summary of how sustainability is incorporated across the institution to ensure a whole institution approach. The names, positions and photos of some of the representatives are also included in the report.

2.     WHO IS PART OF THE GROUP (AND WHO ISN’T) AND WHO DO THEY REPORT TO?

The sustainability board at Pforzheim University Business School was founded in 2016. It bundles competencies and key players on the topics of sustainability, PRME and ethics. The committee meets once a semester and there are also many bilateral meetings. The committee is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Tobias Viere, the representative for sustainability and PRME and the pro-rector for climate protection and energy management, Prof. Dr. Ingela Tietze. Representatives for ethics and equality, quality managers, sustainability-oriented scientists, representatives of the faculties and technical services and other stakeholders work on our sustainability board. The students are represented on the committee by representatives of the General Student Committee, sustainability initiatives and important stakeholders.

3.     WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF THEIR WORK?

Within Sasin School of Management, the key driver for sustainability is the Sustainability & Entrepreneurship Centre (SEC) -- a merger between the Sasin Centre for Sustainability Management and the Sasin Entrepreneurship Centre. The merger of these two centres shows Sasin’s desire to engage with sustainability through an entrepreneurial mindset. “Entrepreneurship ensures that sustainable measures are found through radical and innovative avenues. Thus, by promoting sustainability through entrepreneurship, Sasin creates the ideal environment for sustainability to flourish.”

4.     DOES IT INCLUDE THE SDGs/CURRENT ISSUES?

UNSW’s university wide SDG steering Committee that has been established, is headed by the Senior Deputy Dean of the Business School. The Committee includes representatives from all faculties and has accountability for developing, coordinating, monitoring, evaluating and communicating the University’s engagement with the SDGs. They have set up a three year plan, are developing a dashboard to track progress, preparing submissions for the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings and coordinating change at a curriculum level. They also conducted a survey of staff and students to understand which SDGs they are most passionate about.

5.     WHAT ARE THEIR ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES?

Politecnico di Milano School of Management (SoM) set up an organizational unit (Sustainability Team) that is tasked with encouraging the School’s entire community to become involved in responsible and sustainable education projects. The School’s drive towards responsible management education is expanding and affecting all SoM’s normal operations and community members, including the students, helped by the Sustainability Team’s work in areas such as measuring the PRME-related content in educational programmes, and involving students and faculty members in collaborative projects with NGOs. Under the coordination of the Academic Director and another Executive Board director, 15 faculty and staff members have designed and are implementing four enabling policies 1. Monitor and measure educational programmes 2. Engaging students and faculty in collaborative projects with NGOs 3. Designing and implementing good environmental practice. 4. Monitoring and communicating SoM’s new PRME-related initiatives.

6.     WHAT KIND OF REACH DO THEY HAVE?

Deakin University Faculty of Business and Law has allocated both human and financial capital to facilitate PRME work and embed SDGs across curriculum, research and partnerships. During the reporting period, the PRME team comprised of two associate professors of management, and two associate deans (quality and standards, and teaching and learning). While the team overall is responsible for both internal and external engagement on PRME and SDG related matters, one faculty member leads research and partnership activities related to PRME while the other leads ERS and SDG integration into curriculum.

7.     ARE THEY FOCUSED ON A CENTRE, THE BUSINESS SCHOOL OR THE UNIVERSITY AS A WHOLE?

HEC-Management School, Liege set up the Institutional Unit for Sustainable Development (ISDC), a coordination and expertise structure for sustainable development in 2017. It is composed of a Coordination Committee and Scientific Council for Sustainable Development, which composition includes HEC Liège professors. The ISDC is in charge of implementing, coordinating and evaluating institutional initiatives for sustainable development. One of its tasks is to submit a proposal to the Board of Directors for an institutional strategy on sustainable development. Two bodies pursue these missions: the Scientific Council and the Coordination Council. The Coordination Council will more specifically examine the operationalization of strategies and the integration of sustainable development practices into institutional operations. The Scientific Council will be more specifically responsible for mobilizing the expertise of its members to guide and evaluate institutional projects. In January 2020, the institution also established a Green Office, in charge of coordinating projects run by and for students. Close collaborations already exist and will go on being developed with HEC Liège S’LAB.


SIPBITS

There are 24 new examples in the new Organisation section including

-        Northampton’s Centre for Sustainable Business

-        Hang Seung University’s Sustainability Leadership

-        Leeds Business School’s Director of Sustainability

-        AMBSs SRE Committee

-        Tippie’s Sustainability Committee

-        Sprott Sustainability Champions

To add yours, email me here with a short description.


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