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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Project Course

#MBA #MIM #Japan #Nagoya

Professor Goi and Professor Hakeem, faculty members of NUCB Business School of Global Leader Program (GLP), jointly piloted a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) elective course at NUCB Business School for the fall 2020 semester. The course, in the form of a consulting project, was a tripartite initiative involving a partnership between Ricoh Corporation, Ena City government (Gifu prefecture) and NUCB Business School.  The course aim was for participants to understand the concept and practice of sustainable development through case studies and literature reviews, and apply their knowledge to create proposals outlining recommendations to improve  SDG outcomes for Ricoh Corporation.

The 4-day intensive course was spread over 2 months and emulated the principles of the "Immersion Experience Project" (IXP) by Harvard Business School, employing an exploratory and grounded learning approach, but within a live virtual environment due to the COVID-19 situation. A total of 17 international participants formed groups to tackle the challenges of developing sustainable proposals grounded in the context of the Ricoh Ena Forest project in Ena city.

The learning process enabled participants to engage in a number of activities ranging from conducting intensive contextual studies, collecting data through surveys and interviews, and performing group consultation, all the way to self initiated fieldwork, in order to complete the consulting proposals for stakeholders. The course content combines both case studies and academic literature to cover five sections: (i) Understanding sustainability, (ii) Unwinding concepts, such as Environment, Social,  Governance (ESG), (iii) Taking actions through research design, and (iv) Rethinking leadership and business trends beyond sustainability. The consultancy project enabled participants to gain insights through direct interviews with headquarter and regional representatives from Ricoh Corporation, government officials from Ena city, and resident volunteers from the Ricoh Ena Forest  committee about their goals, activities and challenges in achieving SDGs.

The project resulted in meaningful outcomes, positively affecting participants and making constructive contributions to stakeholders. Firstly, the effects of the immersion experience project boosted the levels of leadership abilities and consulting skills amongst the participants. Secondly, project outcomes contributed towards the  understanding of sustainability and creation of shared values about implementing SDGs amongst stakeholders. The proposal recommendations also gave Ricoh Corporation insights in developing more effective measurement of SDG outcomes.

Press Release by Ricoh Corporation