Educating for a Sustainability Mindset

KENT D. FAIRFIELD

Abstract

Organizations around the world have become increasingly concerned about managing for sustainability, yet undergraduate education about sustainability often presents the challenge of dealing with students equipped with a modest understanding of business and sustainability issues and whose awareness is sometimes politicized. Traditional-aged students are at a stage where they derive their own worldview on many subjects, including their place in a broader world. As such, equipping them to be useful professionals for the future, or even to specialize in sustainability- oriented careers, requires raising their awareness of the global situation in environmental, societal, political, and business terms. A curriculum must get them acquainted with what is needed for the world to reach a more fruitful future as well as with strategies the business sector can pursue to accomplish such an objective. More importantly, however, it should elicit a new worldview about sustainability and, even more profoundly, a deeply felt mindset embracing one’s purpose, feelings, and identity. This article thus proposes a means by which students can embody the ability and confidence to make an appreciable impact toward a sustainable planet.

Keywords

teaching sustainability; sustainability mindset; sustainability worldview; identity; Principles for Responsible Management Education; PRME; United Nations

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/2897