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Enhancing sustainability education through experiential learning of sustainability reporting

Adam J. Sulkowski (Division of Accounting and Law, Babson College, Babson Park, Massachusetts, USA)
Wojciech Kowalczyk (EQS International, Gdansk, Poland)
Bruce L. Ahrendsen (Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA)
Robert Kowalski (MBA Program in Agribusiness Management, Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW), Warsaw, Poland)
Edward Majewski (Institute of Economics and Finance, Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW), Warsaw, Poland)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 31 August 2020

Issue publication date: 5 September 2020

Abstract

Purpose

While progress has been made in the realm of teaching about sustainability to business students, integrating sustainability into experiential learning with a systemic mindset has been identified by leading scholars as an area for improvement. The purpose of this paper is to describe a pilot project in which students prepared a sustainability report for a client company and to answer the question of whether the experiment yielded the anticipated benefits.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents an initiative that was part of an MBA course delivered at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland by an international team of professors. The multinational group of students was confronted with the task of preparing an integrated sustainability report for a large corporation.

Findings

The initiative creates opportunities for both students and commercial organizations to understand large business commercial activities from a sustainability perspective. This paper identifies the next steps for others to build upon.

Originality/value

The paper explains the experiential learning opportunity that was created, describes how students rose to meet the challenge, discusses the benefits that accrued to students, professors and a commercial organization and shares some guidance for those seeking to emulate this practice.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments and suggestions of two anonymous reviewers and the “Sustainability” team of Wojciech Kowalczyk, Giovany Castellanos, Anna Huszcza-Podgórska, Valentyna Kapitanchuk, Zofia Szewczyk and Martin Zaehrl, who participated in the integrated case study of the International MBA in Agribusiness Management at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland.

This work was supported, in part, by the US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch/Multistate project accession number 1021035. However, any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the US Department of Agriculture, the University of Arkansas, Babson College, EQS International or the Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW.

Citation

Sulkowski, A.J., Kowalczyk, W., Ahrendsen, B.L., Kowalski, R. and Majewski, E. (2020), "Enhancing sustainability education through experiential learning of sustainability reporting", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 1233-1247. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-06-2019-0185

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited