LEAP: International movement promoting a sustainability mindset

sustainability mindset

Back in 2013, I was reflecting on my coffee conversations at the International Conference of the Academy of Management. As I was sharing my research on the key elements for a sustainability mindset and my stories about prompting a mind shift in the classroom, I wondered what it would be like to connect colleagues with a similar interest.

Shortly after, the first online meeting took place with a dozen professors from Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, France, and the US. The network had a purpose: to Leverage resources, Expand awareness, Accelerate change and Partner, and “LEAP!” seemed to be a great acronym to describe how, by addressing the sustainability mindset, we could leap forward in a more powerful way.

Today, this network is the Working Group on the Sustainability Mindset at PRME, the academic arm of the UN Global Compact. It has close to 300 academic members from over 250 institutions in 58 countries. They cover a broad range of disciplines, mostly from management education but also from hospitality & tourism, law, human resources, education, and schools of engineering and technology.

With the intention of building relationships within this culturally diverse community, there are many opportunities to exchange: the members meet at a monthly virtual Café; there is a quarterly newsletter to introduce new members; there is a Twitter (X), WhatsApp, and LinkedIn group, as well as a social media-like online platform exclusive to the community, which allows members to reach out with announcements or questions.

Global collaboration

For exchanging practices and ideas, there is a monthly Storytelling Circle; to further research, there are collaborative paper writing opportunities, international and cross-disciplinary research projects, and conference presentations.  Inspiring and supporting one another, members invite colleagues to be guest lecturers on topics related to a sustainability mindset. We have organised an international conference in Italy and several retreats in the US and Singapore to brainstorm and envision new possibilities.

During COVID, we imagined a 36-hour virtual conference that started at sunrise in Australia and ended at sunset in Hawaii.  Four edited books (see below) have been published with chapter authors from Europe, Asia, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Americas, sharing their stories of innovative pedagogical approaches used to challenge an unsustainable paradigm and prompt a new mindset.

“I participate in the LEAP meetings on a regular basis. They have resulted in new ways to apply teaching techniques in my classes. I have also launched research partnerships and teaching collaborations with multi-cultural groups of students and instructors. To me, LEAP is a vibrant community of practice for researchers and practitioners who are passionate about the principles underlying the PRME initiative,” said Ruben Burga, PhD, MBA, P. Eng, FEC, Department of Management, Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, University of Guelph.

“As Business schools prepare future leaders to address sustainability challenges by emphasising the importance of values like integrity, accountability and social responsibility when considering the impact of their decisions in the workplace – LEAP meetings provide a platform to unite cross-disciplinary higher education professionals in attaining this aim, advancing sustainability in academia and society through collaborative knowledge exchange,” said Nada N. Naufal, Director, Corporate Governance & Sustainability- American University of Beirut.

To learn more about this free network, please contact Isabel Rimanoczy.

References

  1. Developing a Sustainabiity Mindset in Management Education – Kassel & Rimanoczy, Eds.
  2. Sustainability Mindset and Transformative Leadership – Ritz & Rimanoczy
  3. Revolutionizing sustainability education – Ivanova & Rimanoczy, Eds.
  4. Transforming business education for a sustainable future – Irwin et al.

For additional insights, announcements and perspectives about Sustainability Initiatives, visit the conversation here.

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