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GIBS Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)

GIBS is a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact initiative known as PRME, the Principles of Responsible Management Education and is a proud member of the PRME Champions group.

The United Nations (UN) PRME initiative was founded in 2007 and currently has over 850 member business schools and universities from around the world. The aim of PRME is to integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into business school research, teaching and other activities. To deliver on this ambition, business schools are in the unique position of teaching and developing business leaders, present and future, about the urgent need for action, the contribution that is needed from business, and the responsibility of decision-makers in business to collectively deliver on key SDG imperatives.

GIBS joined PRME in 2009 and has had the privilege of being a member of the PRME Champions group since 2018. The GIBS mission statement is fully aligned with the PRME Principles and the commitment of PRME Champions.

More recently GIBS has been appointed a member of the founding committee of the PRME Chapter Africa and we are working together with colleagues from business schools and universities across the African continent including Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. The founding committee is tasked with establishing a permanent Chapter, with governance structure, network partners and active member engagement.

Dean Morris Mthombeni has also been appointed to the PRME Global Chapter Council, established as an advisory group to support the further development of PRME Chapters around the world.

Deputy Dean Louise Whittaker is serving as a member of the PRME SIP Impact Sub-Committee, which is tasked with providing support and guidance on how PRME schools can improve reporting practices by setting clear goals and focusing on the outcomes and impact of PRME activities.

We are very proud recipients of the 2021 PRME Recognition Award for Excellence in SIP Reporting for the GIBS PRME SIP Report 2019.20.  | The award was announced by the Global Head of PRME, Mette Morsing at the PRME Virtual Global Forum on 17th June 2021.

All PRME schools are required to report on their PRME activities every two years and to renew their commitment to the PRME Principles. The GIBS commitment is contained in the most recent GIBS PRME Sharing of Information on Progress (SIP) Report for the period 2019.20.


As a business school born in Africa, committed to servicing the entire continent, and an entrepreneurial spirit, GIBS has changed dramatically since its founding in 2000. The University of Pretoria's business school has evolved from being a business school for business, under founding Dean Professor Nick Binedell, into a world-class African institution and research centre, under former Dean Professor Nicola Kleyn.

Now, in 2021 under new leadership, the message of continued relevance and growth is clear. At GIBS we stand for "a form of leadership that is both inclusive and challenging of the status quo. Leadership that embraces the unusual and the uncertain, and that values the power of partnerships, be they local, regional or international."

GIBS has been a member of PRME since 2009 and is very proud to have been one of the PRME Champions schools since 2018. The UN PRME Champions programme centres on developing the next generation of leaders with the necessary knowledge and skills to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As PRME Champions, GIBS is committed to:

  • working collaboratively as an advocate and champion of responsible management education and integrating the SDGs into business school strategy to achieve the PRME principles;

  • serving the broader PRME community through active engagement in PRME activities, connecting with UN Global Compact members and the Global Compact Network South Africa; and

  • contributing to the broader UN goals and issues by actively participating in locally relevant SDG initiatives and pursuing other SDG-related opportunities.   

I confirm that at GIBS we will continue to focus on responsible management education that significantly improves individual and organisational performance. We develop leaders who are curious, innovative and driven; leaders who focus on bold action that creates value for society and for business. They are leaders of today and inspire the leaders of tomorrow.

Professor Morris Mthombeni
Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), University of Pretoria

March 2021

Selected photo of Dr Morris Mthombeni for use 2F.JPG

We are further guided by the statement of purpose as explained by Dean Morris Mthombeni.

To inspire exceptional performance to make business healthier

​As we move forward after the monumental year of 2020, we can all be assured of one thing: 2021 will continue to challenge governments, organisations, leaders, teams and employees. The after-effects of 2020 will be felt in boardrooms and factories the world over, driving new ways of working, spurring on greater intra-industry collaboration and necessitating the repositioning of business structures and workflows. 

Our role as a leading business school from Africa in this changing social and business landscape has never been more essential as we can provide both the anchor and the beacon that will guide students and the broader business community into a prosperous future. 

The SDGs factor strongly in how we approach the shifts taking place around the world, from the issue of Decent Work and Economic Growth (goal 8) to Responsible Consumption and Production (goal 12). Our lens in responding to the global crisis in 2020 must be to think about short-term responses to challenges as well as long-term opportunities. We recognise that we have a responsibility to assist our students and clients in addressing the health of their careers and their businesses, because only when careers and business are healthy can we begin to inspire our students, alumni and their businesses to flourish.

The closure of companies around the world has underscored the critical nature of business as a force for good and as an essential component in ensuring the well-being of humanity. At GIBS we have a vital role to play in helping businesses and our clients to improve the health and longevity of their organisations at this pivotal time. While the world around us may be changing, we continue to believe unwaveringly in the higher purpose of business and its critical importance to the functioning and health of society. This is why, in the years ahead, we will continue to partner with our clients and students to learn from the events of 2020 and to position themselves to effectively and strategically shift their businesses in the face of unprecedented disruption. 

As a school, we stand for improving society. Our ongoing focus is on significant and continual improvement to responsible individual and organisational performance.  We are also evolving all the time. As we are living through a time when we must continue to learn from the past and prepare for the future. In the face of unprecedented change on a global scale, it is equally important that as leaders in business and society we have the competencies to learn in the present in order to lead effectively in a changeable today.  At GIBS, our role is to help companies and individuals seize this moment to shift, strategically, towards a new tomorrow. We are passionate about guiding businesses and individuals through shifting landscapes, equipping them with the tools to navigate change and embedding the strategic and ethical depth required to mould impactful and socially responsible companies.

To learn more about what GIBS is doing to advocate and contribute to the UN SDGs, please click on the icons below.

The PRME Blueprint for SDG Integration is the outcome of a collaborative project undertaken in 2019.20 and the final report was published in June 2020. GIBS faculty, Dr Jill Bogie, was one of the co-authors, working with colleagues from the UN PRME Secretariat and other PRME Champions schools in Australia, Europe and the USA.

The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) is the graduate school of business of the University of Pretoria (UP), one of the largest residential universities in South Africa. GIBS functions within the University as a separate school, with a dedicated campus in Johannesburg

​The Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tawana Kupe, is the Chief Executive Officer of the University. Under his leadership, UP has become more focused on its relevance to societal needs and making a positive difference at multiple levels, in local communities, in South Africa and in Africa. 

“Our actions are achieved through our transdisciplinary focus, covering all the dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social, the environment and governance, together with our institutional networks and partnerships,” says Professor Kupe.

The focus on the SDGs is a place of mutual interdependence between the GIBS and UP strategic priorities; a place of multiple connections and growing interaction and joint action.  Much of GIBS’ success can be attributed to its sense of a greater purpose, more than just producing exemplary businesspeople. Commenting on the 20th anniversary of GIBS in 2020 and looking to the future, Professor Kupe said:
“We believe that our university has a transformative role to play in South Africa, in Africa and globally. GIBS is key in our quest to transform society, especially given how profoundly technology is disrupting business.

 Prof Tawana Kupe and Prof Morris Mthombeni
The UP 2019 Sustainability Report published in November 2020, provides an overview of the strategy of the university as a whole. 


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