Where have we come from?

The GRLI is the result of the first organised relationship between the United Nations and business schools (UNGC & EFMD MOU 2003). In 2004 UNGC & EFMD selected 21 Companies & B-Schools to hands-on address the question of how to develop a generation of globally responsible leaders. This resulted in the 2005 founding call of the GRLI.

Subsequently GRLI played a central role in the development of the Principles and the establishment of the Principles of Responsible Management Education PRME (2006-2007). In 2012, following the impact of the 50+20 vision and GRLI’s pioneering work on Whole Person Learning, AACSB International and EFMD entered into a strategic partnership agreement with the GRLI in terms of which “GRLI will serve as a primary operational arm of AACSB and EFMD in the arena of responsible leadership and sustainability”. The Strategic Partnership agreement with AACSB and EFMD was reset in 2016 to include UNGC and in terms of which GRLI hosts a collaboratory on Responsible Management Education which includes co-facilitation of the PRME Champions.

Today, the GRLI is both a formal partnership of 50 organisations (11 companies, 36 learning institutions and 3 global organisations) and a less formal global community comprising a number of organisations involved informally in communities of responsible action.

Within this we have important strategic partnerships with EFMD and AACSB International as well as the UNGC. We also have a total of 32 alumni organisations that have been involved in the GRLI at one time or another since its inception and are currently not actively engaged (though we maintain informal links with many of the individuals within those organisations).

A clear positive outcome of the past decade of our work

A clear positive outcome of the past decade is that the concept of globally responsible leadership is now embedded in the global discourse – a direct consequence of the creation and work of the GRLI. Our timely message has spread virally to an extent that the idea of such a leadership being the aspirational “new normal” has become culturally ingrained in the international lexicon.

One decade after the inception of the GRLI, the challenge of developing a new generation of globally responsible leaders is as great as ever. Human beings have always had the ability to take remarkable changes in direction when confronted with great challenges. Today there is a global groundswell which is seeking new answers to how we live and how to make a living.

The importance of entrepreneurial and responsible business is clear, and so is the importance of a relevant new education of managers and leaders – attuned with the world of today and the needs of tomorrow. In a world with global interconnections and interdependencies, the way forward is complex and in need of collaboration and trans-disciplinary approaches.

Enabling the development of the leadership which asks the right questions and finds answers which integrate towards systemic solutions that simultaneously address environmental, social, cultural and economic issues in a deep change agenda is the raison d’etre of the GRLI.

We have been, and remain, a community driven by the energy, ambitions, dreams and dedication of active partners globally.

Our ambition over the past decade has been to build a GRLI community of responsible action that:

  • creates, encourages and engages in transformational and innovative approaches to globally responsible practice
  • works to transform business as a force for good
  • measures the impact of such initiatives against real-world needs
  • convenes and coordinates a network of leadership to improve the effectiveness of individual and collective actions.

This task is demanding, but also rewarding as we seek to produce visible results at the three levels simultaneously of the individual, the organisation and society. Our opportunity space comprises advocacy, thought leadership, research and execution in the arenas of leadership in relation to new learning practices, the operation of business and other organisations and the development of the individual.