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About Us

The Responsibility and Sustainability team, led by Prof. Judith Walls (Delegate for Responsibility & Sustainability), coordinates, supports, and reports on the activities related to responsibility and sustainability in research, education, public engagement, and on campus.

Team

Prof. Dr.
Judith Walls


Delegate Responsibility and Sustainability and Co-Head Climate Solutions Taskforce


Rafael Widmer


Head of ECOnnect, support platform for student associations


Tabea Bereuther


Manager Responsibility and Sustainability

Prof. Dr.
Rolf Wüstenhagen


Co-Head Climate Solutions Taskforce

Prof. Dr.
Moritz Loock


Manager Climate Solutions Taskforce

Dr.
Jost Hamschmidt


Project Leader Curriculum Development Sustainability

Vision and Guiding Principles

The university’s mission is to lead global standards for research and teaching through integrative thought, responsible action and an entrepreneurial mindset for business and society, including our sustainability approach. For the University of St.Gallen, sustainability means fostering a just and responsible society through educating tomorrow’s business leaders. Guided by the university’s Vision 2025, our policy for responsibility and sustainability is defined as follows:

As leading business university we contribute to solving the grand challenges of responsibility and sustainability in business and society.

Through our teaching we educate entrepreneurial leaders whose actions are informed by social and environmental responsibility and sustainability.

We include responsibility and sustainability in all our activities, in particular education, student engagement, research, executive education, public outreach, infrastructure, and operations.

Through our research we contribute to solving current and future grand challenges of responsibility and sustainability in business and society.

We partner with other organizations to jointly explore and engage in effective approaches to meet the challenges of global responsible action and sustainable development.

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework that outline political, economic, social and ecological dimensions of sustainable development, to be achieved globally by 2030 by all UN member states. In addition, non-governmental actors, like academia, NGOs, and business actively contribute to achieving these goals. Together, states and organizations seek to find shared solutions to the world’s most urgent grand challenges.

The University of St.Gallen focuses on the following SDGs that are most relevant to our setting.

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Interview with Andreas Bisig, student at the University of St.Gallen

Interview Text:

The fourth UN Sustainable Development Goal focuses on the quality of education. HSG student Andreas Bisig talks about the role of sustainability and responsibility in his business education:

Why did you choose to study at St.Gallen?

In business, you often encounter the classical view that maximizing profits is the only goal that companies have to pursue in order to be successful. Is that really true? I chose the University of St.Gallen so that I could better understand how companies can make a positive contribution towards solving societal problems, whilst being economically successful at the same time. HSG offers me the opportunity to examine such sustainability challenges in my master’s degree and my contextual studies. I want to contribute to a more sustainable economy in my professional life.

How did your education at HSG shape your understanding of the economy?

When I first started at HSG, I understood the economy and ecology as being in opposition to one another. In the course of my studies, however, I have realised that responsibility for social challenges must be an integral part of the economy. I believe that the challenges surrounding global sustainability can only be resolved if companies make their contribution, and it is up to business leaders to take on this corporate responsibility.

Which topics have you dealt with, specifically?

Responsibility and sustainability as topics are widely disseminated at HSG. For example, I have engaged with the question of what moral rights animals should have in our society. One topic in the field of sustainability management was the question of what sets true corporate sustainability apart from mere “greenwashing”. The idea of sustainability was also reflected in my Bachelor’s Thesis: I researched whether the promotion of electromobility in Norway could be a model for Switzerland. In my Master’s Thesis, I will again deal with a topic from this area: For example, I would find it exciting to see to what extent brands can act as the drivers of sustainability.

Highlights:

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all / Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Highlights:

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Research on Responsible Consumption and Production:
Highlights:

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all / Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Highlights:

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Highlights:

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Interview with Andreas Bisig, student at the University of St.Gallen

Interview Text:
The fourth UN Sustainable Development Goal focuses on the quality of education. HSG student Andreas Bisig talks about the role of sustainability and responsibility in his business education:

Why did you choose to study at St.Gallen?

In business, you often encounter the classical view that maximizing profits is the only goal that companies have to pursue in order to be successful. Is that really true? I chose the University of St.Gallen so that I could better understand how companies can make a positive contribution towards solving societal problems, whilst being economically successful at the same time. HSG offers me the opportunity to examine such sustainability challenges in my master’s degree and my contextual studies. I want to contribute to a more sustainable economy in my professional life.

How did your education at HSG shape your understanding of the economy?

When I first started at HSG, I understood the economy and ecology as being in opposition to one another. In the course of my studies, however, I have realised that responsibility for social challenges must be an integral part of the economy. I believe that the challenges surrounding global sustainability can only be resolved if companies make their contribution, and it is up to business leaders to take on this corporate responsibility.

Which topics have you dealt with, specifically?

Responsibility and sustainability as topics are widely disseminated at HSG. For example, I have engaged with the question of what moral rights animals should have in our society. One topic in the field of sustainability management was the question of what sets true corporate sustainability apart from mere “greenwashing”. The idea of sustainability was also reflected in my Bachelor’s Thesis: I researched whether the promotion of electromobility in Norway could be a model for Switzerland. In my Master’s Thesis, I will again deal with a topic from this area: For example, I would find it exciting to see to what extent brands can act as the drivers of sustainability.

Highlights: New Certificate Programme on Managing Climate Solutions

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all / Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Watch the video of Prof. Rolf Wüstenhagen about the SDGs 7 and 13 at the University of St.Gallen:

Highlights:

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all / Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Watch the video of Prof. Rolf Wüstenhagen about the SDGs 7 and 13 at the University of St.Gallen:

Highlights:

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Watch the video of Kuno Schedler about the SDG 16 at the University of St.Gallen:

Our History

The University of St.Gallen has a long history of integrating responsibility and sustainability into its research, study programmes, on-campus activities, and public engagement.

 

HSG has a long history of integrating corporate responsibility and sustainability in its academic curriculum and programs, and continues this tradition today.

 

Systemic Approach and Contextual Studies
Hans Ulrich’s Systemic Approach (St. Gallen Management Model) has influenced the direction of HSG’s business management education for many decades. It calls for corporations and their leaders to be open to environmental and societal concerns, and integrate managerial tasks from an early stage.Along with core subjects such as Business Administration, Economics, Law and International Relations, the university has firmly established interdisciplinary topics over many decades. What used to be Cultural Studies has become Contextual Studies, due to the Bologna reform in 2001. This area comprises 25 percent of the curriculum at the Bachelor and Master levels of all courses offered by HSG, and provides wide-ranging leadership skills, critical thinking and cultural awareness.
This unique and unprecedented integration of professional studies within a cross-discipline framework of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is second to none among business schools. It also ensures that HSG graduates are given the opportunity to extend their knowledge beyond the subjects of Business Administration, Economics and Law.

IWE and IWOE Foundation
The university has a long history of incorporating ethical issues in its business education, and this was in evidence when it established a Chair for Business and Corporate Ethics, as well as the Institute for Business Ethics (IWE-HSG) in 1989. We also integrated ecology into the curriculum with the foundation of the Institute for Economy and the Environment (IWOE-HSG) in 1992. Both institutes were among the first of their kind at a European university, and reflect the university’s history of progressive-minded academics. The contributions of outstanding St. Gallen scientists, including Hans Ulrich (Business Administration), Hans-Christoph Binswanger (Economics), Peter Ulrich (Business Ethics) and Rolf-Peter Sieferle (Environmental History) are closely linked to these developments, and many graduates and up-and-coming scientists have benefited from their tenure at the HSG.

IWE & IWOE Expansion and CLVS & CDI Foundation
One of the HSG’s most noteworthy developments recently is the expansion of the School for Humanities and Social Science. The university established a second Chair for Business and Corporate Ethics, and also founded the Center for Leadership and Values in Society (2005), which is focused on the public responsibility and added value of corporations and organizations. Similarly, HSG established the Center for Disability and Integration (2009), which conducts research on workforce opportunities and prospects for people with disabilities. Finally, we created a privately sponsored Chair for Management of Renewable Energies. In all of these areas, the university maintains a strong presence both in science and in public.

oikos
HSG’s legacy of incorporating corporate responsibility and sustainability into its academic programs is largely due to the significant contributions of the student initiative oikos. oikos was founded at the university in 1978 as a student association, but originally emerged from the Student Committee for Environmental Economics (SCO), which launched in 1972. This group was founded by committed St. Gallen students in response to alarming messages conveyed in a Club of Rome report entitled “The Limits to Growth.” More information on oikos’ wide-ranging activities can be found in the “Student Engagement” section.In 1989, oikos played a major role in founding the Swiss Association for Environmentally Conscious Management (öbu), now called “Network for Sustainable Business Practices”, a vibrant corporate association featuring about 400 Swiss companies as members. It also contributed significantly to HSG’s founding the Institute for Economy and the Environment and the creation of a Chair for Environmental Sustainability Management.

UN PRME Reports

The university publishes a Responsibility and Sustainability Report every two years, as part of our commitment to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (UN PRME).

Last year’s Highlights