Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)
The transformation into a sustainable society is one of the great challenges of the 21st century. Business schools are called on to contribute. They must ensure that their students understand the interrelationships between their actions and ecological and social challenges, and that they reflect on their responsibility as future specialists and managers. Moreover, their graduates will need to know the models and tools that enable companies to understand and implement sustainability and social responsibility as a success factor. At the ZHAW School of Management and Law, we are aware of this task. Our lecturers, researchers, and staff have been committed to it for years. The Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) are the ideal tool to develop our organization further in this respect. In 2014, the ZHAW School of Management and Law made a clear commitment by signing up to the PRME initiative.
6 Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)
These are the six PRMEs that can support universities in the implementation of responsible management education:
- Principle 1: Purpose
- We will develop the 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.
- Principle 2: Values
- We will incorporate into our academic activities, curricula, and organizational practices the values of global social responsibility as portrayed in international initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact.
- Principle 3: Method
- We will create educational frameworks, materials, processes and environments that enable effective learning experiences for responsible leadership.
- Principle 4: Research
- We will 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.
- Principle 5: Partnership
- We will 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.
- Principle 6: Dialogue
- We will facilitate and support dialog 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.
PRME is a six-pronged, globally oriented initiative founded in 2007. PRME has the following objectives:
- Support of business and management schools in implementing responsible management education using the six Principles. The scope of responsible management education includes degree programs, continuing education, research and services, operations, and governance
- Development of a platform for collaboration and exchange between universities
- Advancing the dialogue and raising awareness concerning the Sustainable Development Goals
In the meantime, more than 700 universities from more than 85 countries have joined the initiative. It has one mission: "PRME is the UN Global Compact’s initiative to transform management education, research and thought leadership globally by providing the Principles for Responsible Management Education framework, developing learning communities and promoting awareness about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals." And it has one vision: "the UN Sustainable Development Goals realised through responsible management education."
The members of the initiative are organized in regional groups (“chapters”), which, as largely autonomous networks, look after the interests of the member universities in the various language regions. For the German-speaking countries of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, this is the PRME DACH Chapter. The DACH Chapter organizes regular events and other activities for its members and the interested public. These include DACH Chapter meetings, workshops for the DACH Working Panels, the PRME Research Conference, and the SDG Roadshows.
Some of the most experienced and dedicated universities are part of the PRME Champions Group for a period of two years. The mission of the Champions Group is to take a leadership role in thinking and acting in the context of responsible management education within the framework of the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The ZHAW School of Management and Law (SML) joined the PRME initiative in August 2014. In the following, we present a selection of our activities to implement the six Principles.
- PRME contributes to the strategic development and quality of the university.
- Exchanges with other universities in the PRME DACH Chapter as well as the PRME Champions Group support the SML in its efforts to embed responsible management education.
- The commitment by the university's executive board to support PRME also helps employees and students to be committed to responsible management and social responsibility.
- Mission Statement and Strategy
The sustainable development of society is a central concern of the ZHAW School of Management and Law. Since 2014, it has been committed to sustainable development and corporate responsibility in its mission statement. The implementation of this commitment is part of the strategic goal of “social responsibility” with which the ZHAW School of Management and Law positions itself as a responsible business school contributing to the sustainable development of society.
- PRME Roadmap
This goal is being implemented through a PRME Roadmap, which is a two-year plan that includes all sustainability activities at the ZHAW School of Management and Law in the areas of degree programs, research and development, services, continuing education, and operations.
- PRME Committee
Preparation of the PRME Roadmap is the responsibility of the PRME Committee, which includes the Dean, key personnel from all departments and performance areas as well as representatives from all functional levels employed at the ZHAW School of Management and Law.
Education is a key prerequisite for implementing the SDGs. In order to become professionals and managers that act more responsibly, it is essential for our students, as part of their business management education, to acquire specialist knowledge of the interrelationships of business management in the sense of sustainable development and to be taught effective methods with which to use this knowledge in the business world. This applies to Bachelor's and Master's programs as well as to part-time, practically oriented continuing education programs.
At the ZHAW School of Management and Law, researchers are involved in various projects dealing with aspects of a sustainable and future-oriented society. The ZHAW School of Management and Law has defined three main research areas since 2014:
- Corporate Responsibility Management
Research focus: sustainable corporate management
Center for Corporate Responsibility
- Enabling Energy Transformation
Research focus: energy transformation
Center for Innovation Systems
Center for Energy and the Environment
- Ethically Responsible Leadership
Research focus: the ethical responsibility of executives
Center for Human Capital Management
- Social Law
Research focus: Issues of social law in a national and international context
Center for Social Law
- Sustainable Finance
Research focus: sustainable financial intermediation, sustainable investing, sustainable corporate finance, sustainability reporting.
Center for Corporate Performance and Sustainable Financing
Institute of Wealth & Asset Management
PRME sees itself as a learning platform on which universities can exchange information about their activities and experiences in the field of responsible management education.
- Member of the PRME DACH Chapter
The ZHAW School of Management and Law is an active member of the PRME DACH Chapter. It regularly attends DACH Chapter meetings and conferences and in November 2017 organized and hosted the fifth PRME Chapter meeting as well as the first ever SDG Roadshow in Switzerland.
- Member of the PRME Champions Group
The ZHAW School of Management and Law was invited to join the PRME Champions Group for the 2018/2019 period as one of 38 business schools worldwide.
The PRME Champions commit to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals through a significant transformation in teaching, research, and partnerships.
- Open Social Responsibility Forum
Since August 2019, as part of its strategic social responsibility program, the ZHAW School of Management and Law has been hosting a series of open forums on a range of topics related to ethics, sustainability, and responsibility. Students, employees, and their friends come together to hear two 30-minute talks, followed by a Q&A session and the opportunity to join in an open dialogue.
- Impact Entrepreneurship Program
The ZHAW School of Management and Law supports potential young entrepreneurs developing business ideas to solve pressing social and ecological problems. As part of our "Impact Entrepreneurship" program, we support three to four promising start-up projects each year presented to us by students, staff, or alumni of the ZHAW School of Management and Law who are interested in running their own startup.
- From Students for Students: Sustainability Day @SML
As part of their voluntary contribution, students at the ZHAW School of Management and Law organized the first Sustainability Day at our university. The aims of Sustainability Day include raising awareness of sustainability issues among students and staff at the university and promoting the dialogue in this area.
Further details (in German)
The Elective "Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Seminar" Introduces Students to the Topic of Plastic Pollution
Setting up a Competence Area on Business and Human Rights
PRME-related topics in our degree programs: Corporate Responsibility Business Projects
SML Publishes Third PRME Progress Report
PRME4US: The jury has decided …
Sustainable development has been the guiding principle of the United Nations since 1987. The Brundtland Report defines it as follows: "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the "Agenda 2030" on Sustainable Development. This includes 17 goals – the Sustainable Development Goals.
Universities, as centers for innovation and as training centers for future decision-makers, play an essential role here. Management education, in particular, plays a decisive role. On the one hand, business schools educate the next generation of junior executives, who must be able actively to promote the transformation of companies. On the other hand, business schools not only impart knowledge and skills but also shape the attitudes and values of their graduates. Comprehensive integration of the Sustainable Development Goals in research and education is, therefore, essential for shaping sustainable development.
This is why the Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of everything we do in the context of PRME. The vision statement of the initiative is: “Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals through responsible management education.” All future activities of our PRME initiative to support the SDGs are geared towards this vision.