Globally Responsible Business - OBS’ new course on responsibility and sustainability in global business conduct

 ‘Globally responsible business’ or ‘sustainable business’, as it is often referred to, has become a buzz-word both in scientific discussions and the world of business professionals and stakeholders. Rightly so, as past and present societal disparities and environmental catastrophes often are influenced by business conduct and the larger frameworks they take part in. Jan Hermes, Doctoral student in International Business Management was one of the teachers in OBS's pilot course on the topic in Spring 2015.

OBS’ new course “Globally Responsible Business” took place for the first time in the beginning of 2015 and focused on responsibility and sustainability in companies’ economic, social and environmental bottom lines. In multicultural and multidisciplinary groups students were encouraged to investigate case companies’ business activities against the background of responsibility and sustainability both locally and globally. This course removed the scales from many students’ eyes and showed them the responsibility they carry when making decisions as accountants or business managers, for example. The students were also the first ones in OBS to take the global Sustainability Literacy Test - a set of 50 questions focusing on different aspects of sustainability. Students also learned how powerful their lever to move business conducts into ethically correct directions actually is, as one student majoring in Finance emphasized in her individual learning report:

“…I realized during the course that if a company is committed to sustainability with a keen interest on its production processes, it will result in the provision of quality service, improved product designs and production efficiency which eventually leads to environmental development.”

Having received a lot of constructive and valuable student feedback for this course we are looking forward to improving both content and teaching methods and embarking on the next responsibility challenge in spring 2016.

Sauli Sohlo and OBS's pilot group after competing the test
Martti Ahtisaari Institute's Sauli Sohlo and course students after completing the first ever Sustainability Literacy Test taken at Oulu Business School

Jan Hermes
Doctoral student, International Business Management

Last updated: 3.10.2015