Bentley Selected as North American Research Partner for Global Sustainability Project
In response to Bentley’s growing visibility in the global business arena, Bentley University has been selected to be a member of a global research team composed of universities from Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and China. The team is charged with assessing the sustainability of the multinational companies participating in the United Nation’s LEAD program, a 2011 outgrowth of the UN’s Global Compact Initiative.
“The Global Compact was founded in 2000 and was the UN’s response to the growing complexity of the world’s problems,” explains Tony Buono, professor of management and sociology. “The UN determined that nation states by themselves weren’t able to fully deal with the issues surrounding labor, human rights, corruption, and the environment, and it was imperative to engage multinational companies.” The LEAD program is composed of 56 companies that emerged as the leadership in the Global Compact by committing to tangible examples of their sustainability efforts. Bentley will be the North American research partner in the assessment of the LEAD initiative, selected by a consortium composed of the United Nations, the Academy of Business in Society, and the Ashridge Business School in the United Kingdom. Buono, in his role as coordinator of Bentley’s Alliance for Ethics and Social Responsibility, will lead Bentley’s efforts.
The UN introduced this assessment at the request of the LEAD companies to ensure the Global Compact remains a viable undertaking in promoting the UN’s causes. Because the Global Compact is a voluntary initiative, the companies are not under contractual agreement to fulfill their commitment. Nor is the UN a regulatory agency, which is why the UN tapped business schools like Bentley that are affiliated with its PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) initiative to determine through interviews, observations, and archival data if the companies are meeting their leadership commitment to the Global Compact.
“The companies are interested in knowing critical aspects of their sustainability efforts, such as, are their stakeholders engaged and if they’re making a difference locally,” says Buono. “They want to know what it takes to be a real leader in global sustainability and if the LEAD program is meeting those expectations.”