We think that businesses and markets are a very powerful force shaping our world today. Understanding relationships between business and government, society, and the environment is thus central to any discussion about “responsible leadership.” Commerce touches all aspects of life from our own bodies and family relationships to the structure of society and the health of our physical environment. Many are rightly critical of the excesses and damages businesses can impose, but the Rowan Center for Responsible Leadership takes a more nuanced view. We believe that businesses and markets can cause problems, but can also be expedient vehicles for positive change. The Center aims to explore these broad issues based in the following sets of principles and ideas:

Sustainable Development Goals

We look to incorporate — and help others around campus and in our communities incorporate — the 17 different Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a group of actions and concepts intended, simply put, “to transform our world” (from Designed by the international community working through the United Nations, the SDGs “are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.” We are working to develop strategies for incorporating the SDGs into the research, teaching, and outreach activities undertaken by the Center. We do not blindly accept the SDGs, but consider them an exciting and useful framework for dialogue and collaboration.

The 17 SDGs are:

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and well-being
  4. Quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Responsible production and consumption
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water (protecting marine life and ecosystems)
  15. Life on land (protecting biodiversity and land ecosystems)
  16. Peace, justice, and strong institutions
  17. Partnership for the goals (encouraging collaborative action)

Taken together, the SDGs “recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.” (from

Principles for Responsible Management Education

We embrace the Principles for Responsible Management Education. The Principles, inspired by the United Nations Global Compact, provide a framework for academic institutions to advance corporate social responsibility through the incorporation of universal values into curricula and research.

6 Principles of PRME (adapted from

  1. Purpose — We will develop the capabilities of students to be future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large and to work for an inclusive and sustainable global economy.
  2. Values — We will incorporate into our academic activities and curricula the values of global social responsibility as portrayed in international initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact.
  3. Method — We will create educational frameworks, materials, processes and environments that enable effective learning experiences for responsible leadership.
  4. Research — We will engage in conceptual and empirical research that advances our understanding about the role, dynamics, and impact of corporations in the creation of sustainable social, environmental and economic value.
  5. Partnership — We will interact with managers of business corporations to extend our knowledge of their challenges in meeting social and environmental responsibilities and to explore jointly effective approaches to meeting these challenges.
  6. Dialogue — We will facilitate and support dialog and debate among educators, business, government, consumers, media, civil society organizations and other interested groups and stakeholders on critical issues related to global social responsibility and sustainability.

The Rohrer College of Business Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) Report

For more information on PRME at Rowan University, contact our campus PRME Coordinator: Dr. Dilip Mirchandani (phone: 856-256-4025;

Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

We work with different ideas about business ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in everything we do in the Rowan Center for Responsible Leadership. But what is CSR? According to leading researcher Jeremy Moon, Professor of Corporate Sustainability at the Copenhagen Business School and author of several books on the topic, CSR can be understood as:

  • Business’ responsibility to society (i.e., being accountable);
  • Business’ responsibility for society (i.e., in compensating for negative impacts and contributing to societal welfare);
  • Business’ responsible conduct (i.e., the business needs to be operated ethically, responsibly, and sustainably);
  • Business’ responsibility to and for society in broad terms (i.e., including environmental issues);
  • The management by business of its relationships with society.

Faculty affiliated with the Rowan Center for Responsible Leadership aim to develop undergraduate and graduate courses focused on different aspects of CSR, and help faculty across campus build a focus on ethics and responsibility into all of their courses, regardless of academic department.

(The list of CSR attributes above is from page 3 of Jeremy Moon’s 2014 book, “Corporate Social Responsibility: A Very Short Introduction”, published by Oxford University Press)