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The Path towards a Sustainable Society

The path towards a sustainable society is one of the great challenges of the 21st century. The ZHAW School of Management and Law (SML) joined the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) in 2014. Recently, the fifth meeting of PRME schools from the German-speaking countries (DACH) took place on our campus.

Business schools must ensure that students understand the relationship between their actions and the prevailing environmental and social challenges and that they reflect on their responsibilities as future specialists and executives. The Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), a United Nations-supported initiative with the goal to raise the profile of sustainability in schools around the world, are the ideal tool to support the SML in this regard. More than 650 universities in 85 countries have joined the PRME initiative. The members of the initiative are organized into 15 regional groups («chapters»).

The PRME Chapter DACH organizes regularly events and other activities, such as the annual Chapter-meeting, which took place the School of Management and Law on the 6.-8. November 2017, welcoming representatives from academia and UN Global Compact Networks Switzerland and Germany to discuss topics relevant to the meeting’s theme «5 years PRME Chapter DACH - Vision 2022».

Current State of PRME Global and PRME Chapters
The one and a half day meeting started with inputs from Jonas Haertle (Head of PRME) and Carole Parkes (Special Advisor to PRME on Chapters). For the PRME initiative as a whole, Jonas Haertle resumed its current strategy 2017-2020, its standings as well as its short- and mid-term perspectives. For PRME chapters in particular, Carole Parkes, PRME Special Advisor on Chapters and Chair of Chapter UK/Ireland, presented a review of current organizational basics for PRME Chapters, and a draft «Developmental Model for PRME Chapters». As its academic representative, Jutta Nikel introduced the Environmental and Sustainability Education Research Network (ESER) and highlighted the possibility of cooperation between both networks on SDG-related research.

PRME Chapter DACH Strategy 2017-2018
Based on these insights and on the outcomes of a strategy meeting in spring 2017, Chapter members further developed its strategy 2017-2018 focusing on its relations with PRME global (PRME Secretariat), its positioning regarding members of DACH Chapter, non-members in the DACH region, related thematic networks (e.g. in the fields of sustainability, ethics) and its collaboration with student initiatives.

Inputs from DACH Chapter Guests
In the afternoon four guests presented their inputs regarding future DACH Chapter activities. 

SDG Roadshow
In the late afternoon the first SDG Roadshow in Switzerland took place as part of the PRME Chapter DACH Meeting. Five short inputs on the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for business and universities were followed by a panel discussion and a poster session. The event saw about 120 guests. 

Parallel Workshops on selected issues
The second day started with a wrap-up of day one in which the results of the strategy workshop (see the five focus themes above) were presented and discussed. This led to a work stream of three parallel workshops on the following topics: 1) Implementing SDGs in Curricula at DACH member schools, 2) Sharing Information on Progress (SIP)-Reporting, Impact Metrics and Monitoring (SDG Dashboard), 3) PRME Student Hub. 

Outlook
After a presentation of the workshops results, the meeting concluded with an outlook on future activities and meetings. Since spring of 2017, DACH Chapter has a number of sub-groups working on selected priority topics, which include: 1) Consulting for PRME members, 2) Faculty development, 3) SIP reporting «best practice», 4) Responsible Management Education in German-speaking countries, 5) «Buddy System» for universities and business schools interested in PRME, 6) PRME Student Hub, 7) Integration of the SDGs into the curriculum. 

This outlook also included an invitation to the next official DACH Chapter meetings. The first one will take place at the Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) in Austria on 19/20 February 2018. The second one will take place at Cologne Business School in Germany on 12 November 2018. The School of Management and Law will participate in both meetings.