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  • Writer's pictureThothathri Raman

sustainable development goals, the B-school challenge

The United Nations while adopting the 17 sustainable development goals, in its three day { September 25-27, 2015} inter government meeting of the Heads of nations had stated "this Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity." The resolution further stated "We recognize that eradicating

poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path."

Such a lofty set of goals, also require total cooperation of stake holders present and future and here is where the B-schools come in. The deadline set for achieving the goals so that "no one is left behind" was 15 years from the resolution date or 2030 which is merely eight years away.

On the achievements front, though much has been done, there is still enormous tasks left and the current leadership is not fully in it yet even after about six years of full implementation of the SDGs. Keeping this in view, there is now an urgent need to develop the future leadership with sensitivity towards the enunciated goals which is not an easy task. The relatively low results achieved through nearly half way mark, means that the remaining years are extremely crucial and everyone should be brought to speed especially the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) along with the governments.

While policy making and institutional mechanisms are still not in place in many of the countries, the education world is by far the slowest to move towards sensitizing0 the future generation about the need to meet these goals.

The onus of responsibility on the B-schools is huge as the goals have to be implemented based only on individual leadership and creativity in understanding and implementing the goals in various areas of focus. It also requires focused collaboration after identifying the stakeholders and of course also follow up and amplify the goals already achieved

"Despite increases in strong messages surrounding sustainability coming from all sides—students, alumni, business, and others—business schools are still surprisingly slow to change and adapt to this new business reality. For many, it still remains a checklist; a lecture here, an elective there, a student club, maybe a research center, and they have thus fulfilled their obligations to their students and society", writes the sustainability leader Giselle Weybrecht in an AACSB article.

Realistically the B-schools especially in the developing nations have not yet come to grip with the larger commitments their passouts have to take up beyond their mundane jobs for they have to be equipped. Even in India, sporadic attempts have been made for instance relating to Poverty and Healthcare by adopting villages, setting up urban schools and such but these are few and far between.

There is much to be done! SEAA Trust, New Delhi as member of United Nations Global Compact will be continuously focusing on SDG Advocacy for raising the B-school quality benchmarked with the best in the class.

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