New York  — The Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), an initiative of the UN Global Compact, has announced the development of a new digital platform to engage business students to support the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The announcement was made during the annual United Nations Private Sector Forum, a high-level event of top business executives, world leaders, and public figures coming together to jump-start progress on the SDGs, and exploring ways to advancing sustainable development to prevent global instability.

As part of their course work, business students from Advanced PRME signatory schools will be tasked with extracting and analysing data, statistics, and innovative business solutions from UN Global Compact participants through resources such as the public database of Communication of Progress (COP) reports — the visual expression of a company’s commitment provided to the UN Global Compact every year.

This platform consists of two parallel projects, which are managed in partnership with WikiRate and with AIM2Flourish. The WikiRate project will facilitate the analysis of information provided in COP reports and present data that, among other things, will showcase where company and sector improvements can be made. The AIM2Flourish project will categorise activities and data according to each relevant SDG determined through research on innovative business practices that do good and do well.

Both projects offer students the opportunity to analyse and evaluate the quality of company activities as they relate to responsible and sustainable business operations, and highlighting the most notable achievements of companies in each major industry. This effort will support the UN Global Compact and PRME as they assess outcomes and progress on achieving the SDGs. Information from the platform will then be presented to member states during the UN’s High-Level Political Forums to demonstrate commitment from companies to achieving the Goals.

Noting the pivotal role that students and youth will play in advancing the SDGs, Jonas Haertle, the Head of PRME, described this new platform as a unique way to engage business students and allow them to utilise their academic talents towards supporting the SDGs by highlighting the most innovative and sustainable business practices.

“Today’s business and management students are keenly aware of the importance of sustainable and responsible companies, and have higher expectations for companies they wish to work for,” Haertle said. “Students and youth are eager to see systemic change in the way that business plans are managed so that values like sustainability take higher priority.”

“This platform will offer business students a chance to support the SDGs by evaluating existing business solutions and highlighting the most successful practices in each industry for other companies to follow,” he added.

The student engagement platform is organised with the support of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi. He noted that students and youth will be crucial to advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Today’s youth play a pivotal role in tackling the development challenges of the 21st century,” Alhendawi said, adding that “business students in particular will be key to addressing these challenges through their future involvement in the private sector.”

PRME is the first organised relationship between the United Nations and business schools. Its mission is to inspire and champion responsible management education, research and thought leadership globally by engaging business and management schools to ensure they provide future business leaders with the skills needed to balance economic and sustainability goals, while drawing attention to the SDGs and aligning academic institutions with the work of the UN Global Compact.