Economics and Business: business as unusual
The current economic system is under pressure because of unsustainable exploitation of resources and increasing pollution of our planet. Climate change and severe biodiversity losses are accelerating at an unprecedented scale while societies are facing rising inequalities in wealth and access to opportunities. These problems are not separate crises, but they can all be rooted in fundamental flaws of the current economic system and imply a fundamental change towards an economy that is sustainable, circular, prosperous, and inclusive.
For the last 10 – 15 years researchers demonstrated that consciously led companies not only ensure all stakeholders benefit as a result of economic progress, but conscious businesses also are economically more successful. However, the practices of conscious business – and what might be different from a traditional view on business – is not yet an explicit part of business education in Europe.
Many of the challenges Europe faces require businesses or support from businesses to create innovative solutions. Business not only are drivers for innovation, jobs and economic wealth, conscious businesses can also create solutions for real problems, but without the collateral damage to some of their stakeholders – be it towards nature, employees, health, equality, or local communities. Currently, too many businesses are still operating extractively, making them (major) contributors to some of our biggest problems such as climate change, inequality, decreasing public health and loss of biodiversity.
The Conscious Business Education initiative
A passionate group of academics and business professionals will develop a ‘Conscious Business Education’ program in order to change business education at universities and business schools. The initiative was kicked off in May 2022 in Barcelona, is co-founded by Erasmus+ and is going to last until 2024.
Members of the consortium of the initiative are:
- Munich Business School – Germany;
- UPF Barcelona School of Management - Spain;
- Palacký University Olomouc - Czech Republic;
- Nova School of Business Economics – Portugal;
- Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) – Germany;
- PIMEC*- Spain: and
- Impact Centre Erasmus – The Netherlands
The purpose of Conscious Business Education
The purpose of Conscious Business Education is to educate the current and next generation of business leaders & entrepreneurs in Europe to conduct business consciously. With ‘consciously’ referring to conducting business in a way that is purpose-driven, ethical, human-centered, sustainable, and inclusive, and where all Business Stakeholders -not only shareholders and managers- benefit.
We believe businesses can be drivers of good, if they design, organize, and create their business consciously. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to educate current and future business leaders regarding how to manage more consciously so that potential damage is eliminated or minimized, and to increase benefits to society and the planet. We aim to address this challenge by creating and teaching an innovative business syllabus which includes Conscious Business Practices for bachelor-, graduate- & executive-level education. Based upon the Syllabus, Conscious Business Education will train current business teachers on how to incorporate the Syllabus into their business education courses and/ or programs.
Goals for the complete syllabus on Conscious Business (- 21 courses - ):
- Describe and teach innovative methodologies how business students can become more conscious leaders
- Understand tools and methodologies for conscious business
- Apply tools and methodologies to manage businesses better
- Embedding ethics and ethical dilemmas in every course
- Stimulate reflection and development of leaders to become more system-oriented, ethical, inclusive and conscious.
- Superiority of purpose-driven companies
Conscious Business Executive Education: developing in co-creation
To educate current leaders and include them in the movement we are developing Conscious Business Executive Education. We focus in this education programming on C-level leaders of small and medium sized companies and European (national) companies who belong to larger (international) holding companies. We are happy to include especially the family-owned businesses. To ensure we develop a Conscious Business Executive Education that fits to the need of these companies we want to incorporate them in our development process.
The process of co-creation includes a survey (2022) in which was asked what they would like to learn about Conscious Business and a stakeholder group as ‘peer reviewing’ (2023). In 2023 we will create a Conscious Business intensive course based on the preferences and learnings. This intensive course will be tested by Impact Centre Erasmus in two countries: The Netherlands and Spain. In Spain it will be tested in collaboration with PIMEC and their members.
*PIMEC is the employers’ association that represents the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the self-employed of Catalonia. PIMEC is formed by individual members and collective members, guilds and associations of sectoral or territorial enterprises. It defines itself as a multisector business confederation, autonomous and independent of any body, power or third institution. It funds itself with the fees of its members as well as the services it provides and the public and private projects in which it participates.
Do you want to participate in co-creation or co-funding? We can discuss your ideas and the possibilities. Leave your information and we get back to you.
20 and 21 June 2024 Lisbon, Portugal