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Anchoring sustainability in the social economy: EU project develops teaching concept

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In order to also promote sustainability in companies in the social economy, well-trained specialists and managers are needed. This is why several European partners in the educational project "Eco3 - Sustainability Management and Green Controlling in the Social Economy" now want to develop a transnational curriculum that can be integrated into corresponding degree programs. Prof. Dr. Bernd Halfar, Professor of Management in Social Institutions at the KU, is one of the involved researchers in the project. Other partners are the FH Campus Wien (project management), the Czech University of Ostrava, the Romanian Babes Bolyai University as well as the management consultancy firm xit GmbH and the IT company akaryon. The project is funded by the European Union through the "Erasmus+" program.

The social economy is still underestimated by the general public, even though its economic performance and importance as an employer have increased greatly. The Friedrich Ebert Foundation estimates the sector's share of overall economic value added at seven percent; around eleven percent of all employees work in the social economy. These aspects show that the social economy in particular offers great potential for systematically anchoring sustainability. However, the necessary knowledge is still lacking among many professionals. Sustainability management gives equal weight to the importance of a company's economic, ecological and social goals. "The social economy mainly consists of non-profit organizations that lack skills related to this new type of management. These organizations also need employees with skills in the area of sustainability", says Professor Bernd Halfar. This is why the project partners want to provide the managers of the future with the knowledge they need to reconcile economic, ecological and social factors in non-profit organizations. They need people for whom sustainability and green controlling are not just empty words.

The target group of the three-year project includes teachers and students in the fields of social economics, social management and social work in the participating countries. In addition to a teaching concept including teaching materials on sustainability management and green controlling, the project team is developing the business game "Green Monopoly". In this context, students can test how sustainability management is established in a company: How do they convince their future boss to apply a sustainable focus for the organization? Which key figures do they need to manage the company and how can they be determined?

Using a "green controlling" tool, they learn how to use key figures and their importance for the management of social economy organizations. The aim is to use and understand economic, ecological and social key figures for controlling. 

There will be accompanying videos and podcasts for repetition and preparation as well as multinational network meetings.