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Leading by example

Deakin Business School (DBS) is playing a key role in advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by championing responsible management education

DBS has strengthened its commitment to nurturing next-generation leaders by co-hosting a meeting of international delegates committed to inclusivity and sustainability.

In partnership with La Trobe Business School, DBS recently hosted a four-day Melbourne summit for representatives of Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) champion schools and the United Nations PRME secretariat.

PRME is based on six principles for responsible management education and, under the framework of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) , represents a unique collaboration between the UN and more than 650 worldwide business and management institutions.

DBS academics Professor Kim Watty, Associate Professor Fara Azmat and Dr Harsh Suri co-lead the PRME initiatives across curriculum and research in the Faculty of Business and Law.

Harsh Suri, Girish Gupta, Kim Watty, Beau Arnfield, Shruti Verma and Fara Azmat
Left to right: Dr Harsh Suri, Girish Gupta, Prof. Kim Watty, Beau Arnfield, Shruti Verma and Assoc. Prof.Fara Azmat. 

‘The role of universities and business schools has evolved in recent times, to ensure a more explicit commitment to PRME and SDGs,’ says Prof. Watty.

‘Due to multifaceted global challenges and changing environment – both external and internal – there is demand for universities to be more integrated with the society, to engage in impactful research, and to develop capabilities in our students for responsible leadership. There is now a need for universities to play a critical role in advancing the SDG agenda through curriculum, research and operations.’

The theme for the meeting was “Partnerships for SDGs” which Faculty PRME coordinator Assoc. Prof.  Azmat says is crucial for SDGs success.

‘As SDG 17 is all about partnerships and is like a glue that holds all others together, collaborations and partnerships are critical for the advancement of the SDG Agenda.’

In recognition of its sustainability initiatives and efforts, DBS is now one of two business schools in Australia, and 38 internationally, designated as 2018-2019 PRME Champions.

‘As SDGs become increasingly important, such recognition is significant for Deakin as it enables the university to be seen as a forerunner in the space of SDGs globally. It increases Deakin’s visibility and reputation as a socially responsible university in line with its mission and also creates avenues for collaboration both nationally and internationally,’ says Assoc. Prof. Azmat.

DBS is also playing a key role in developing the SDGs Blueprint – a guide for business schools across the globe on how to embed SDGs across curriculum, research and operations.

Assoc. Prof. Azmat is Deakin’s research theme lead for the Blueprint and Dr Suri, who has been leading the integration of responsible management of education courses in DBS since 2014, is the curriculum lead.

‘Our focus is on a “whole of school approach” which creates a strong nexus between employment skills and PRME,’ says Dr Suri.

‘We are meaningfully integrating sustainability into our core units to ensure to all students experience it in a contextualised and nuanced way.’

DBS is notching up significant recognition in promoting sustainability capability and this year, became the third business school in Victoria and the 12th in Australia to gain the prestigious EQUIS accreditation by EFMD who made specific comment on the strength of sustainability integration in DBS.

Other achievements and accolades include:


As PRME coordinator at Deakin, Assoc. Prof. Azmat says she is delighted to be working in a role that aligns with her personal values for inclusion equality and sustainability.

‘I am a strong believer of SDGs and am passionate about their advancement – this is also reflected in my research, which mainly focuses on sustainability and social inclusion. I feel really positive about all the contributions our team has made in the sustainability space in a short span of time – both nationally and internationally – with our top-level commitment and support. It’s a really nice feeling to be able to contribute towards the SDG Agenda and do something for the world and the community we serve. Although we have achieved a lot, in my opinion, this is just the start of our journey to “sustainability” and we have so many more things to do for a better and sustainable world.’

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