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Harnessing the Sustainable Development Goals for Businesses: A Progressive Framework for Action

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Businesses, as with other sectors in society, are not yet taking sufficient action towards achieving sustainability. The United Nations recently agreed upon a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which if properly harnessed, provide a framework (so far lacking) for

Businesses, as with other sectors in society, are not yet taking sufficient action towards achieving sustainability. The United Nations recently agreed upon a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which if properly harnessed, provide a framework (so far lacking) for businesses to meaningfully drive transformations to sustainability. This paper proposes to operationalize the SDGs for businesses through a progressive framework for action with three discrete levels: communication, tactical, and strategic. Within the tactical and strategic levels, several innovative approaches are discussed and illustrated. The challenges of design and measurement as well as opportunities for accountability and the social side of Sustainability, together call for transdisciplinary, collective action. This paper demonstrates feasible pathways and approaches for businesses to take corporate social responsibility to the next level and utilize the SDG framework informed by sustainability science to support transformations towards the achievement of sustainability.

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2018-06-30

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Assessing the Development of Key Competencies in Sustainability

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Making significant progress on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needs change agents equipped with key competencies in sustainability. While thousands of sustainability programs have emerged at various educational levels over the past decade, there is, as of yet, no

Making significant progress on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needs change agents equipped with key competencies in sustainability. While thousands of sustainability programs have emerged at various educational levels over the past decade, there is, as of yet, no reliable way to assess if these programs successfully convey key competencies in sustainability. This dissertation contributes to addressing this gap in three ways. First, it reviews the body of work on key competencies in sustainability. Based on broad agreement around five key competencies as well as an emerging set of three, an extended framework is outlined that can be used as unified set of learning objectives across sustainability programs. The next chapter reviews the scholarly work on assessing sustainability competencies. Based on this review, a typology of assessment tools is proposed offering guidance to both educators and researchers. Finally, drawing on experience of the four-year “Educating Future Change Agents” project, the last chapter explores the results from a diverse set of competency assessments in numerous courses. The study appraises assessment practices and results to demonstrate opportunities and challenges in the current state of assessing key competencies in sustainability. The results of this doctoral thesis are expected to make a practical and scholarly contribution to the teaching and learning in sustainability programs, in particular with regards to reliably assessing key competencies in sustainability.

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2020