Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics (JSBE) is a full-service international business school in Central Finland accredited by AACSB, AMBA, and BGA, offering Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and executive MBA degrees in business and economics. Around 100 faculty and staff members work at JSBE serving 1.500 students. According to its mission, JSBE Supports Competitive, Digital, and Sustainable Transformation in Business and Economy. JSBE has a long history in promoting sustainability and we have been one of the pioneers in sustainability education among business schools. Sustainable business has grown into a leading focus area of JSBE’s mission and a strong connecting theme in our research and education. JSBE is a vital part of an internationally renowned research university noted through its history for advancement of Finnish high-quality and innovative education. University of Jyväskylä is a university with societal impact and aims to be a global leader in the study of learning, wellbeing, and basic natural phenomena, reshaping competence to build a sustainable society.
JSBE shares the values of the University – Openness, Trust, Quality, and Integrity – which follow and nurture ethical values and promote sustainability regarding economic, social, and ecological development. Reflecting the University’s strategy, Sustainable Business and Economy is a strategic focus at JSBE.
The roots of sustainable business education and research at JSBE can be traced back to the 1980s, when a group of researchers started to work together on themes around the role of business in society, especially business ethics and stakeholder management. Since then, sustainable business has grown into a leading focus area of JSBE’s mission and a strong connecting theme in research and education. It is fair to say that JSBE has been one of the global pioneers in sustainability education among business schools. In 2001-12, JSBE was repeatedly recognized in the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey, where it was positioned among the top “Global 100” business schools and recognized as truly cutting-edge, leading the way in integrating issues of social and environmental stewardship into business school curricula and research.
Since 1995, JSBE offers an international Master’s Degree Programme in Corporate Environmental Management, and since 1996, publishes Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies. JSBE’s sustainability achievements and potential areas for our contribution to GRLI partners are grouped below under four areas: research, teaching, own functions and administration, and societal impact and cooperation.
1. JSBE’s Sustainable and Responsible Research
JSBE is an institutional partner of Responsible Research in Business & Management (RRBM). Large part of our faculty’s research is dedicated to sustainability issues, and five of our nine research groups, which all have both national and international cooperation networks, focus on different aspects of responsibility. JSBE is also an active partner contributing to the University’s interdisciplinary sustainability research community ‘Resource Wisdom’ promoting planetary well-being. In 2016-20, 32% of JSBE’s publications are related to sustainability. Sustainability themes most often discussed in our research are good health and well-being, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, and responsible production and consumption (UN SDGs 3, 7, 8 and 12, SciVal 2016-20).
Promoting open science and sharing of research data is one of the research objectives in JSBE’s strategy. 84% of our publications published in 2019 are open access.
2. JSBE’s Teaching Promoting Sustainable Development
JSBE is a signatory partner of the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME). In 2020, an evaluation of the Finnish business schools conducted by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre noted JSBE as an example of distinct profiling in sustainability. High-quality education with impact combining sustainability skills is one of the educational objectives of JSBE’s strategy.
In the curriculum of JSBE, sustainability has been considered in various ways. First, since 1995 we offer a specialized Master’s and Doctoral programmes in Corporate Environmental Management, which train sustainability specialists for both private and public sector. JSBE was the first business school in the whole of Scandinavia to offer full Master’s and Doctoral programmes in Corporate Environmental Management. In 2001, in the Beyond Grey Pinstripes ranking by Aspen Institute, JSBE was honored among the top five schools globally at the leading edge incorporating environmental sustainability into business school curriculum and preparing future business leaders for sustainability. The BGA accreditation report in 2020 mentions Corporate Environmental Management as a flagship programme of JSBE sustainability education reflecting its sustainability values and strength in sustainability work. In September 2021, another sustainability related programme, Master’s programme in Responsible Management and Business of Sport, will be launched at JSBE in cooperation with Faculty of Sports of the University.
Second, the course Introduction to Responsible Business, which is compulsory to all business students and open to students from other faculties and students doing studies through Open University, offers basic knowledge about sustainability issues to future leaders. Third, sustainability topics have been integrated into several courses in all disciplines of JSBE to ensure that sustainability is not just a specialty area of a small expert group. To help our students to recognize links to sustainability in the curriculum, a description of sustainability content was added to all relevant courses, when renewing the curricula of all our degree programmes for academic years 2020-23. Currently, over 30% of our courses at all levels, from Bachelor’s to Master’s, Doctoral and Executive MBA studies, include sustainability content.
3. JSBE’s Own Functions and Administration Create a Responsible and Sustainable World
To ensure sustainability of its own operations and the campus, the University implements Green Office environmental management system, which was awarded certification by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Finland in 2013. The University’s commitment to Green Office includes e.g. objectives to create a zero-waste, car-free campus, and to use only Fair Trade products in its catering. The University is also committed to be carbon neutral by 2030. Carbon footprint, as well as the biodiversity impacts, of the University and JSBE have been recently calculated, and a roadmap towards carbon neutrality and decreasing biodiversity impacts is currently being planned. The University offers good working conditions for our researchers, and since 2012, promotes the principles in the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. Researcher career and working conditions are developed according to HRS4R Action Plan, which is audited by the European Commission.
4. JSBE’s Societal Impact and Cooperation as Drivers of Change
JSBE and its faculty are active in many networks promoting responsible business, e.g. Aspen Institute, EASAC Energy Steering Panel, European Business Ethics Network (EBEN), Finnish Chamber of Commerce Responsibility Committee, Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI). JSBE is also a founding member of Finnish Business and Society (FIBS).
JSBE’s faculty have also many expert positions in business and other organizations supporting sustainable transformation. JSBE’s faculty is actively involved in developing sustainability of business schools and business education in Finland and abroad, e.g. through UNIFI, GRLI, AMBA & BGA. Earlier this year, a report of international Climate Change Survey looking at the current state and future outlook of world-leading business schools in regard to incorporating climate change in business education and research was published as collaboration of AMBA & BGA and JSBE.