Milestones : Business Schools Promote Responsibility

UNITED STATES


 

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Greening finance: Social and environmental ethics will form part of business curriculums.

A burgeoning global movement to reshape corporate behavior by weaving corporate social responsibility principles into business school teaching got a boost last month. At the first Global Forum for Responsible Management Education, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, about 260 business school leaders from 43 countries discussed how academic institutions can instill a sense of social responsibility in future business leaders who can then bring those ethics into the corporate world.

“The events of the past few months are confirmation that a long-term view of the growth of business is needed,” says Manuel Escudero, special adviser for the United Nations Global Compact. “In the area of finance, for example, many theories concerning risk management have been proven wrong. The values of sustainability and corporate citizenship need to be adopted into school curriculums.”

Created in 2000, the Global Compact is an alliance created by the United Nations to ensure companies operate in ways—from human rights to labor to anti-corruption practices—that benefit economies and societies. More than 5,000 companies in 130 countries have signed onto its 10 principles so far.

The conference marked the one-year anniversary of the inception of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative. With its own set of six guiding principles, the initiative aims to integrate corporate responsibility principles into the mainstream of business education and help create a new generation of business leaders capable of managing the complex challenges faced by business and society. “It’s clear that the sustainability is more and more of a pressing issue, and executives have to be concerned with the long-term value of a company,” says Escudero.

More than 200 business schools from around the world have adopted the management education principles, which involve weaving the values of governance, the environment and social responsibility into every course—from finance to accounting to human resources to management strategy.


Paula L. Green
 

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