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How management education is engaging students in the sustainable development goals

Giselle Weybrecht (Independent Researcher Perth, Australia)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 9 July 2021

Issue publication date: 30 August 2021




This paper aims to explore if, and how, business schools globally have been engaging their students in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), both inside and outside the classroom, since the SDGs were agreed upon in 2015 until mid-2020.


The data is collected from information submitted as part of reporting requirements to the United Nations Principle for Responsible Management Education over the time in question. This paper outlines the range of approaches being reported on which specifically relate to students and explicitly mention the SDGs.


The results show that although there are a growing number of innovative approaches that could become the basis for the way management education approaches the SDGs moving forward, the majority of schools are not engaging their students in the SDGs. Of those schools that are, most offer limited evidence of it being embedded into the core of what students are learning or of it being approached in an interdisciplinary way. Business graduates are not being exposed to the SDGs in a way that connects them to “business as usual”. This is a missed opportunity for the students, the universities and the global community, given the important influence that management education, and the business sector by extension, has the realisation of the goals.


The results can help inform and inspire higher education institutions to engage students in the SDGs. A methodology to measure the degree of engagement is presented, which can then be used as a tool to benchmark progress.



Weybrecht, G. (2021), "How management education is engaging students in the sustainable development goals", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 22 No. 6, pp. 1302-1315.



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