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Campus - 28.03.2023 - 08:00 

PRME report: Responsibility & sustainability in teaching, research and campus activities

HSG embeds sustainability in teaching, research and campus activities along the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME). The latest sustainability report is now available online and highlights how HSG embedded sustainable practices into its activities from 2021 to 2022.

As a signatory to the UN PRME (Principles of Responsible Management Education), the University of St.Gallen (HSG) is committed to the six PRME principles. The HSG sustainability report highlights their implementation and shows the broad spectrum of sustainability-related activities. President Prof. Dr. Bernhard Ehrenzeller says he is pleased that HSG is continuing the journey toward greater sustainability and further promoting the PRME principles

Considering ecological, social and economic aspects of sustainability 

"Sustainability is a core part of the 'HSG Strategy 2025', integrated across all our activities. We want to prepare our students for the future as well as walk the talk," says Delegate of Responsibility and Sustainability Prof. Dr. Judith Walls. Working together with the Delegate of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Prof. Dr. Isabelle Wildhaber, the report covers a wide variety of sustainability topics: Climate Change, Circular Economy, Biodiversity Loss, and Diversity and Inclusion. Based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, HSG pursues a broad and integrative understanding of sustainability – environmental, social and economic aspects are taken into account. Sustainability is understood as the goal of balancing our social and economic systems within the limits of the planetary boundaries, for example, climate change. 

Implementing the sustainability strategy

In 2020, HSG developed a sustainability strategy, which was approved by the President and the President’s Board in 2021. This strategy aims to prepare students for a world that needs to solve severe environmental and social challenges. Further, HSG operations are also to be made as sustainable as possible. 

The sustainability strategy encompasses the three dimensions of teaching, research and campus, and targets the following core areas:

  • Environmental sustainability with core issues of climate change, circular economy and biodiversity loss,
  • Aspects of social and economic sustainability,
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion with special attention to gender equity, special needs, personal integrity, care work, LGBTIQ+, and racism.

Educating sustainability ambassadors

"Our direction is clear: everyone teaching at HSG must become an ambassador for sustainability issues," describes Prof. Dr. Martin Eppler, Vice-President Studies & Academic Affairs. The broad range of sustainability courses offered in the various programmes contributes to the understanding of sustainability. Additional offerings such as "NextGen Mentoring" or events on "Impact Careers" (career paths in the field of sustainability) allow students to delve deeper into sustainability topics alongside their regular studies. In addition, numerous student associations at HSG organize events throughout the year and introduce initiatives that advance sustainability topics. The community platform "ECOnnect" already counts 16 student associations among its members. 

Actively connecting researchers 

As a leading business university, HSG also wants to actively contribute to research in the field of sustainability as well as to debates on how to overcome these challenges, says Prof. Dr. Thomas Zellweger, Vice-President Research & Faculty. In addition to the 13 institutes, centers and research departments explicitly dedicated to sustainability topics, more than half of all HSG institutes and centers deal with different aspects of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as parts of their research. In the areas of sustainable governance as well as finance, social innovation and responsible entrepreneurship, HSG has gained further expertise by hiring new professors. In 2021 and 2022, HSG researchers published more than 130 sustainability-related articles in scientific journals, received awards, and were awarded funding grants of approximately CHF 3.5 million. Last but not least, the "Impact Scholar Community" was founded, the world’s first local spin-off of the "Academy of Management (AOM)" initiative of the same name. The community organized various events, such as the "Academic Poster Session", where around 40 researchers presented their latest research results. 

Promoting a diverse, inclusive and "net zero" campus

"Sustainability is an important goal for HSG – our aspirations in research and teaching should also be reflected in the sustainable design of our campus," says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schmid, Vice-President External Relations at HSG. "It is our mission to consider sustainability in an interconnected way across all activities at our University – above all, it is key to walk the talk," says Director of Administration Dr. Bruno Hensler. Measures have been taken to promote biodiversity on campus as well as to foster sustainable infrastructure. For example, a photovoltaic system on the library building, comprehensive waste management system, adjustments in the food offering of the cafeteria, and changes in the area of mobility. Diversity is also actively promoted. For example, there is a "Women*@HSG-Infoday" and a "Diversity and Inclusion Week".

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