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Responsibility & Sustainability

at the University of St.Gallen

We envision a University of St. Gallen where sustainability is deeply embedded in all aspects of university life.

In doing so, we aim to contribute to solving grand sustainability challenges of our time, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and social inequality. This mission guides our actions in transforming HSG towards sustainability.

Happening now

IDG St. Gallen Hub: Promoting Inner Growth for Outer Change

On Thursday, March 28, 2024, a diverse group of around 40 changemakers gathered at SQUARE to kick-off the Inner Development Goals (IDG) St.Gallen Hub. The IDG Hub idea initially emerged in exchanges between team members of the Sustainability Innovation Lab (ITEM), the Responsibility and Sustainability Team and the Competence Center for Social Innovation at the University of St. Gallen, who believe that higher education institutions in the St.Gallen region can contribute to the global movement by:  

  • Bringing researchers, scholars and practitioners together to explore collective action around Sustainability, Innovation and Leadership;
  • Learning, innovating, prototyping, practicing and sharing experiences of projects and application of IDG-inspired tools;
  • Connecting with experts from the private sector, the local community and other cantonal institutions to engage in (or create) local events or programs.

During the kick-off, people from small and large enterprises, NGOs, Think- and Do tanks, start-ups, foundations and academia came together to learn about existing and future activities in St. Gallen, Switzerland, and the world. Mauricio Suarez, co-founder of the Swiss IDG Hub, introduced the Inner Development Framework to the participants. Impact Hub Zurich co-founder Niels Rot presented the web-app Rflect that allows Students to take charge of their learning journeys and to combine it with (peer-) coaching processes. Additional Impulses illustrating promising initiatives were given by Maximilian Palmié, Suzanne Dvorak, Rachel Brooks, Jost Hamschmidt and Johannes Tschiderer. 

What are the Inner Development Goals? 

The Inner Development Goals represent a growing decentralized non-profit, open-source initiative. The IDGs are based on the assessment that progress to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is not happening fast enough, and we urgently need to increase our collective abilities to face and work effectively with complex challenges. 

Mauricio Suarez, stated in his introduction to the IDG’s: “The Inner Development Goals are not just another thing. They combine different schools of thought and are therefore like the sweet filling of the doughnut”. He referred to Kate Raworth’s concept of doughnut economics, which hints to the need to operate within a safe and just space for humanity by fulfilling socio-economic needs while accepting planetary ecological boundaries.  

The kick-off was filled with a vibrant energy for action. A number of concrete ideas for working with the Inner Development Goals were developed. They ranged from contributing to the development of the post-2030 SDGs to integrating inner development practices into university seminars. To keep the momentum going, a core team of the IDGs St. Gallen Hub is being developed to further connect interested stakeholders and regularly inform them about local, regional and global initiatives focused on inner development and transformative learning.  

A big thank you to all the co-founders who made the founding meeting of the IDG St. Gallen Hub a success. Special thanks to Monica Barroso from the ITEM Sustainability Innovation Lab who facilitated the launch event. If you want to collaborate or learn more about the IDG St. Gallen Hub activities to promote inner growth, a sustainable future and impactful change, contact

Author: Lasse van Look

Date: 4. April 2024

Academic Poster Session 2024

As part of the oikos Sustainability Week 2024, the Delegate’s team for Responsibility and Sustainability will again organize an academic poster session to present current research projects related to the SDGs. We encourage PhD students, postdocs, and faculty members to participate by presenting an academic poster about their research project. If you want to participate with a poster, please sign up by February 14 to 

It is a great opportunity to get feedback on your research, connect with like-minded people within the HSG community and get inspiration for your own work.

The Delegate’s team will sponsor the printing of the posters as well as drinks and snacks during the event. If you want to participate without submitting a paper, please block the date in your calendar – a registration link will be provided soon via oikos announcement.

Sign up by 14.02.2024 and hand in your poster by 28.02.2024 via 

Session takes place: 06.03.2023, 3.30 – 5.30 pm at SQUARE

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Author: Julian Boemelburg

Date: 8. February 2024

Award-winning research at HSG

HSG researcher Anna Stünzi (Institute of Political Science) and her colleagues from ETH Zurich are among the winners of this year’s Financial Times Responsible Business Education awards in the category Academic Research. The team developed a natural language processing model — called ClimateFinanceBERT — that identifies and categorises these climate projects. Countries self-report the climate projects and the money they contribute, all using different methods and in a process that is not transparent.

Furthermore, HSG researchers Tami Dinh & Anna Husmann (both Institute of Accounting, Controlling and Auditing) together with their colleague from HEC Lausanne won the best paper award 2023 in Accounting in Europe with their paper “Corporate Sustainability Reporting in Europe: A Scoping Review”. Based on material issues identified for the European context, their study provides a research agenda based on comprehensive and rigorous scientific evidence on the state of the art of sustainability research in Europe.

Congratulations to all winners on these wonderful achievements!

Author: Julian Boemelburg

Date: 8. February 2024

Sustainability TAP 2023

Are you teaching at HSG and seek ways how to better embed sustainability into your class?

Then don’t miss the opportunity and choose from two options – the Sustainability Thematic Block for course evaluations and the Sustainability TAP – to get the focused feedback on sustainability you need.

(1) The Sustainability Thematic Block is a fixed set of 3 questions addressing different aspects of sustainability that you can add to your course evaluation.  Because these questions are bundled to address one topic, they count as only 1 question of the 2 customized questions allotted to lecturers.  You can select to include these questions via the course evaluation platform.

(2) Sustainability TAPs are specially designed Teaching Analysis Polls (TAPs) jointly developed by the HSG Delegate’s Team for Responsibility & Sustainability and the TAP Team. They are constructed for lecturers to get the support they need from their students to collaboratively improve the integration of sustainability in their courses – regardless of the topic, discipline or program.

Sustainability TAPs follow the overall structure and procedures of the standard TAP, while additionally offering the opportunities:

  • for students to share their sustainability-related learning experiences in a specific course in order to improve the integration of sustainability themes in that course.  This integration, in turn, helps equip students to face existing and future sustainability challenges related to the course topic and discipline.
  • for lecturers to gain insights on sustainability from their students via an anonymous qualitative method conducted by the TAP Team. Lecturers get customized input to keep improving the content and implementation of sustainability-related course topics. 

There are only benefits, so don’t hesitate – register for a Sustainability TAP and add the Sustainability Thematic Block to your course today – please find more information on the HSG FacultyWeb Intranet.

Sustainability TAP and the Sustainability Thematic Block are elements of the broader HSG Sustainability Curriculum Support System created to meet the objectives of HSG Strategic Plan 2025. For more information on the Support System visit Responsibility & Sustainability – University of St. Gallen (unisg.ch).

Author: Julian Boemelburg

Date: 2. November 2023

Gift Dembetembe joined the Delegate’s Team for Responsibility & Sustainability

In September 2023, Gift Dembetembe joined the Delegates Team for Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of St. Gallen as a Research Associate (Sustainability Curriculum Development) and doctoral researcher. Building on his broad teaching experience, Gift will be working on realizing the HSG vision and Roadmap 2025 supporting the implementation of sustainability in the curriculum at HSG.

Gift is passionate about sustainability especially with regards to climate change and sustainable extraction of minerals. His research focuses on the organizational responses to conflicting societal demands and how these responses affect sustainable development. Gift examines the implications of these organizational response strategies in the context large companies in the Global North and small-scale mining organizations in the Global South.

Previously, Gift worked at the Institute for Economy and the Environment in the teaching and research team where he assisted in several sustainability courses at master and PhD levels. Gift is a beneficiary of the Swiss Government Scholarship from 2020 to 2024 under which he conducts mining related research. He holds a master of mineral science degree where he focused on mining technology and has also consulted for the civil society sector in Zimbabwe where he gained vast experience related to sustainable development.

Alongside his new role in the Delegates Team for Responsibility and Sustainability, Gift will continue to work on his PhD research which he aims to finish in 2024.

Author: Lasse van Look

Date: 9. October 2023

The Empathy Imperative in an Era of Radical Transformation

Are you interested in exploring how empathy helps us to tackle the grand challenges of our times? Then join us on October 13 for an interactive keynote by Anita Nowak, PhD on ‘The Empathy Imperative in an Era of Radical Transformation’

In today’s world, marked by #climatechange, technological advancements, misinformation, and polarization, the significance of purposeful empathy cannot be overstated. It holds the key to shaping the future of #democracy and humanity. High-performance organizations emphasizing sustainability, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are expected to embrace empathic #leadership. The good news? #Empathy is ingrained in our human nature and extending it not only benefits us individually but also empowers us to address the major social and ecological challenges we face.

Drawing from neuroscience, leadership studies, and positive psychology, Anita Nowak, PhD, will delve into the vital role of empathic leadership in addressing contemporary #grandchallenges during this interactive keynote at the Universität St.Gallen (HSG). She will introduce a powerful six-step practice and explain how embracing empathic leadership can enhance health, happiness, and performance. Additionally, she will shed light on the profound connection between empathy and business success, making this event a must-attend for anyone passionate about #TransformativeLeadership.

Anita is an empathy expert, award-winning educator, podcaster, and the author of ‘Purposeful Empathy: Tapping Our Hidden Superpower for Personal, Organizational, and Social Change’. As a certified coach, she assists family foundations in translating philanthropic goals into meaningful social impact. Anita is dedicated to teaching and mentoring the next generation of changemakers. She serves as Faculty at the McGill Executive Institute and is renowned for her expertise in Leadership, Ethics in Management, and Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

Join us on this interactive keynote by Anita Nowak at SQUARE (HSG) as she unlocks the transformative potential of empathy, and let’s explore together how empathic leadership can steer us toward a brighter, more compassionate future.

This public event is co-organized by the Mentoring-Programm der Universität St.Gallen, ECOnnect, & Agenda 2030 – Netzwerk St.Gallen. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Author: Lasse van Look

Date: 9. October 2023

Creating Positive Impact by Jointly Transforming HSG

Are you attending the HSG Alumni Community Festival on September 30? Join our workshop ‘Creating Positive Impact by Jointly Transforming HSG’!

Our world is facing several grand challenges, and HSG is committed to preparing its students to become future leaders in a world that must solve these serious ecological and social crises. In this bilingual workshop (DE/EN), you can explore what HSG is currently doing to educate change agents for a safe and just future, bring in your perspective as a key stakeholder on what skills are needed, and let’s discover how we can collaborate to transform HSG and create a positive impact together!

When? September 30, 13:10 – 14:30

Where? SQUARE, 1st floor, room 11-1091

This event is co-organized by the HSG Delegate’s Team for Responsibility & Sustainability and the HSG Alumni Sustainability Club. We are looking forward to meeting you there!

Author: Julian Boemelburg

Date: 21. September 2023

HSG Faculty Peer Exchange on Sustainability

Sustainability Teaching exchange is back on September 26th!

Are you teaching at HSG and seek inspiration how to embed sustainability into your courses? Then join the upcoming Faculty Peer Exchange on Sustainability in Teaching on September 26!

Once a semester HDZ, CAT and R&S join forces to provide a space to enable a teaching exchange on sustainability as part of the HDZ Teaching Exchange Series. We will focus on faculty exchanging concrete teaching best practices at HSG to further inspire and support each other. We hope to foster an impactful peer learning experience for all!

When? September 26, 12:00 – 14:00

Where? MeetingPoint

Please register here

Author: Julian Boemelburg

Date: 19. September 2023

Upcoming Events

IGNITE Conference 2024

17. April 2024

Standort: Universität St.Gallen, SQUARE

Von: 17.04.2024, 08:30
Bis:
17.04.2024, 18:00

“Beyond Profit: Navigating the Path to Human-Centered Business”

If the prospect of igniting change in the business world resonates with you, we look forward to your
participation! To secure your spot at the IGNITE-Movement Conference 2024, simply click the link
below. Don’t miss out and be fast! There are only limited spots available!

Click here to learn more about the conference.

Become the next ECOnnect Community Developer! (Application deadline: April, 30 2024)

30. April 2024

Standort: Universität St.Gallen, SQUARE

Von: 30.04.2024, 08:00
Bis:
30.04.2024, 18:00

We are looking for a new ECOnnect CommunityDeveloper as of June 2024 or by mutual agreement.

Take the opportunity to take charge of the ECOnnect community and oversee various co-curricularactivities, including the NextGen Sustainability Mentoring and NextGen Impact Career roundtables.Empower student leadership for sustainability by focusing on community building, impactdevelopment, and providing advisory support. Join the Delegate for Responsibility andSustainability team and collaborate with a growing number of changemakers in the ECOnnectcommunity.
The position is a part-time engagement, and the workload varies according to the period(semester, examination phase or semester break).

Read the whole job description here.

Key facts

Our engagement and activites

Research
Teaching
Campus
Our contribution to the SDGs

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed upon in 2015 by the United Nations provide an overarching framework for addressing the world’s sustainability challenges. Find out more about the University of St. Gallen contribution to achieving the SGDs goals through our activities.

How students are shaping sustainability at HSG

Student engagement has always been a central part to campus life at the University of St.Gallen. There are several student associations that focus on sustainability and help shape the university’s sustainability activities.

Student Initiatives