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First in the PRME: What Does That Say About Us?

SPU’s School of Business and Economics has long been a champion for personal ethics in business dealings, and more recently has championed a distinct social business ethic captured by our tagline, “Another way of doing business.” This theologically infused understanding of business has brought moral imagination to bear on the institution of business and has helped establish the idea that the purpose of business is to serve communities with products and services and establish meaningful employment.

The business world increasingly understands the power of values, meaningful mission, and the need for creating a sustainable future. The business case for sustainability and practicing responsible business is moving from corporate social responsibility to being integrated into a company’s core business processes and value chain. It has become a critical business issue of brand reputation, cost savings, and risk management. This is seen clearly, for example, in the responsibility reporting of Puget Sound companies Starbucks and Microsoft.

The business case for sustainable and responsible business practices has been bolstered by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and its business education convener, Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME). SBE was the first Northwest business school to join PRME in 2007 because it dovetailed nicely with our theologically informed business philosophy. 

Launched in 2000, the UNGC is both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. It is a multi-stakeholder leadership initiative that seeks to align business operations and strategies with the universally accepted values of human rights, labor rights, the environment, and anti-corruption. It has become the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative, with 10,000 signatories in more than 140 countries.

Business school education is considered a strategic partner to the UNGC in that it is educating the next generation of business leaders. Today PRME counts more than 500 business schools in more than 80 countries as members. Other strategic partners to the UNGC are the Principles of Responsible Investing (PRI), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Global Compact Lead Companies, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). 

PRME concentrates on business school curriculum, faculty development, and research around the role, dynamics, and impact of business in the creation of social, environmental, and economic value. PRME’s value-added proposition for SBE is:

  • PRME complements and enhances SBE’s existing mission and curriculum.
  • PRME aligns with SBE’s aspiration for business as one of service to customers, employees, and community within a context of sustainability.
  • PRME provides a bridging mechanism for academic interaction with the business community on key issues such as business as a solution to poverty, business as peace-building, business and ethical supply chains, and business for sustainable development.
  • PRME confirms the global nature, interconnectedness, and interdependent nature of the world of business.
  • PRME aligns beautifully with curricula innovations such as our Social Enterprise emphasis for undergraduates and our Masters in Management with an emphasis in Social and Sustainable Management for graduate students, as well as co-curricular initiatives such as the Social Venture Plan Competition. 
  • PRME confirms the importance of issues such as sustainability, community development, public-private partnerships, microfinance, and social enterprise as key components of the SBE education agenda.

Visit the PRME website for more information or to see SBE’s reports on the PRME principles.

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