Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative

Ethics, Responsibility, and Sustainability (ERS) in Business School Accreditation: Peer-Learning Perspectives

The topics of ethics, responsibility, and sustainability (ERS) are finding increasing resonance in business school teaching and research worldwide. Responding to a changing business climate, and in conjunction with rising interest from students and other stakeholders, many business school Deans, faculty, and administrators are actively exploring integrating ERS into all aspects of business education. Business school accreditation bodies (including EQUIS and AACSB, among others) have responded to this increase in interest by beginning to include ERS criteria into their accreditation standards and reviews.

Over the course of nine months during 2013-2014, a group of business school faculty and senior university administrators who participated in a GRLI 50+20 innovation cohort, examined ERS practices and collected ideas based on experiences in their eight universities in Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.

Their aim was to share our peer learning as a stimulus through which to globally source rich, vibrant ideas about how universities are bringing ERS to life. The larger purpose of the initiative was to generate dialogue about the inclusion of ERS standards in various accreditation requirements, and to share learning across peer institutions about how ERS can be advanced, whether institutions are seeking accreditation or not.

In attached paper, they used the EQUIS standard as a framework through which to organize their ideas about how ERS can be implemented across business school areas. In 2013 EQUIS revised its accreditation standards and established criteria for integrating ethics, responsibility and sustainability into business schools. The standards suggest that ethical, responsible, and sustainable behaviour should be an integral part of business school’s strategy and governance, as well as be reflected in their regular research, teaching, and service activities. These standards reflect the desire for business schools to contribute to the resolution of societal challenges and to act as ‘good citizens’ in the environments in which they operate.

Values in Action

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