The photo credit: Cambridge Judge Business School, Cambridge University

UNDP SDG Impact contributes to MBA curriculum at Cambridge Judge Business School, Cambridge University

Earlier this year, UNDP SDG Impact was invited to teach an MBA module at Cambridge Judge Business School, Cambridge University (CJBS), focused on sustainable management. Given the success, UNDP SDG Impact has been invited back in 2023 to teach the module again.

The students were asked to consider what role the private sector can play in addressing the UN SDGs through decision-making in an organization. The module also encouraged students to think about the differences between the growing focus on ESG investing and the need to manage both the positive and negative impacts a business or investor may have on people and planet.

To illustrate the often-perceived complex issues, Sebnem Sener, Senior SDG Finance Specialist and Belissa Rojas, Impact Measurement and Management Lead at UNDP Sustainable Finance Hub worked with Professor Matthew Grimes, CJBS, to develop a business case study.

The case study is based on silicon chip designer, Arm, the biggest European player in its industry. Its Sustainability Manager, Simon Humphrey understood that the UNDP-developed, SDG Impact Standards, that are independent and voluntary management standards, could significantly help Arm embed sustainability throughout its business. By having this overarching decision-making framework that brings together all the existing sustainability frameworks and high-level principles in one place, Arm would be able to identify and then reduce its negative impacts on people and planet while also making a profit.

However, Humphrey faced a dilemma when deciding whether to implement the UNDP SDG Impact Standards during the intense period of late 2021 and early 2022. Arm was the subject of an acquisition attempt by US chip fabricator, NVDIA. When that ultimately fell through, Arm’s parent company, Softbank, proposed putting Arm up for IPO.

Read the case study along with the teaching guide to see if Humphrey is successful in convincing the leadership team to commit to sustainability and adopting the SDG Impact Standards despite the ongoing changes in ownership of the company. The materials are available on Case Centre, here.

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