Educating for sustainability?

 Posted by sustainable on February 22, 2012 

There is no doubt that the world is facing a number of serious challenges now and in the near future. The world population keeps rising and we clearly see the climate changing. Natural resources will become scarce and the environment will suffer if we don’t act and meet these challenges.

There are many possible approaches to how these challenges should be met. In our opinion, proper education of future leaders will create the sustainable development needed. The PRME LEADERS+20 Competition is a global competition focusing on how to integrate sustainability in management-related education to meet society’s demand for a sustainable world and leaders.

It all started at Aarhus University, Denmark, where the upcoming Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development sparked the idea of sponsoring a contest for students and lecturers. A contest where participants have to co-create innovative ways of integrating sustainability issues into management-related courses and programmes. The PRME LEADERS+20 Competition evolved into a team effort between the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) and Aarhus University.

Large international companies such as Maersk, Vale, China Minmetals Corporation, and Novozymes have showed great interest in the competition and are supporting organizations. The Commissioner of Climate Action in the European Commission, Connie Hedegaard, is also supportive and thinks it is a splendid initiative. We are proud that such large organizations and influential people are supporting the cause as it proves that sustainable development is an important issue to both individuals and organizations.

Why?

We believe that the leaders of the future can’t afford NOT to be sustainable. We believe in changing people’s mindset through education and that by making changes locally, we will be able to make changes globally. We believe that this bottom-up approach to integrating sustainability issues into management-related courses and programmes is the way to move forward towards a more sustainably managed society. We hope to start a movement of students and lecturers focusing on how we should educate future leaders to meet global challenges.

However, it takes hard work to create focus on these rising global challenges and the sustainability issues connected to these challenges. Most people are aware of the sustainability challenges ahead and the need for action, but as it is with many things, it is hard for people to relate to this, unless they feel affected by it. Luckily focus on sustainability and the need for action has risen within the last few years. Therefore, we hope for great success with our competition.

We see the PRME LEADERS+20 Competition as a way of making small changes, which hopefully will lead to big changes in the long run. Changes that are beneficial for all of us in the long run because they are made with a sustainable focus in mind.

Please follow the link to read more about the competition http://prme-leaders20.au.dk/

This entry is written by Nina Hejlskov, Community manager at the PRME LEADERS+20 Competition