The United Nations launched 17 sustainable development goals for business and society last September 2015. Beyond legislation, the next generation of leaders needs to include these goals as a priority in their way of thinking, and get out of the box in order to produce / manage / sell / buy / communicate… in a sustainable way.
During the 24-hour-course « Managing and leading a team », Camilla Quental and Umesh Muhki focused on businesses where leaders decided to base their core activities on at least one of the 17 SDGs. Instead of only providing few facts in class about the role of corporate responsibility, students led their own investigations : choosing a minimum three-year profitable company whom core business is based on sustainable goals.
They interview leaders, produce a video illustrating the company history and write a note on the sector, and how the results of the company have an impact on society. The objectives of the course are to change their way of thinking on CSR: business opportunities rather than reporting / identify solutions and capitalize on what is already working (Appreciative inquiry) / open vision on other stakeholders as a leader / focus on the main issues. Direct contacts with leaders bring students to concrete situations, they need to fully understand the context in order to be able to tell the story and produce a video.
This pedagogical approach, called Aim2flourish was launched by the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at the Weatherhead School of Management-Case Western Reserve University and co-sponsored by PRME (Principles for responsible management education). It engages worldwide students to do the same. At the end, hundreds of stories are shared on the Aim2flourish platform. This platform gather innovations implemented in companies and are communicated by students. As a result, Students and businesses are connected in order to make business on a more sustainable way.
In Audencia, students enjoyed going though CSR ideas with a fresh eye, as a prerequisite for doing business and create ideal conditions to create new projets based on these principles. Meeting people inspire them and give them confidence. It also helps in facilitating commitment: no need to have answers for everything, things can be solved on the way, going through experimentation is a strong basis for improvement. This year Camilla and Umesh taught the course to 120- second-year students with double background: manager and engineer. They investigated Bakeys Company (India), O'Bocal (France), Altered Company (Sweden) or Greenrail (Italy) for example.
Please find the example O’Bocal, video made by students (april 2017)