Published 2020-04-01

This post is also available in Swedish

Mette Morsing begins top job at UN

For three and a half years, Mette Morsing has been the Director of the Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets (Misum). Now, she is shortly to hand over this role and take up a top job at the United Nations in New York. There, her objective will be to give students of economics, finance and business worldwide the tools required to incorporate the global Sustainable Development Goals into these areas.

As head of the UN initiative PRME, Principles for Responsible Management Education, Mette Morsing will be responsible for globally developing the sustainability profile of business schools and universities.

Mette Morsing.

‘It’s a matter of integrating sustainability efforts into these institutions’ study programmes, achieving a balance between economic aims and targets for sustainable development, and boosting knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).’

The UN initiative has existed since 2007, and more than 850 academic institutions are currently affiliated. Since the world’s study programmes in management and economics largely shape students’ thinking, as well as giving them knowledge and tools, the UN sees the importance of equipping tomorrow’s leaders with sustainable driving forces and a powerful toolbox.

Morsing sees ample scope for extending the work and expanding the collaboration already under way. Potentially, 14,000 business schools worldwide could join in, and there is a keen appetite for integrating more responsible leadership and sustainable development into their curricula and research. This applies in Africa, Asia and the Middle East in particular, she explains.

‘My Scandinavian experience from the Stockholm School of Economics and Copenhagen Business School has given me a solid platform and useful experience, and now I can make a global contribution. This is a job I couldn’t turn down. I’m hugely honoured to get the chance to lead this absolutely vital work.’

Important experience in sustainable finance

The original plan was for Morsing to be in place at the UN’s Manhattan headquarters by 1 May. With the current coronavirus pandemic, however, she will start her job at a distance.

‘In a global organisation there’s always a lot of distance work going on, of course, and it can be a bit challenging. At the same time, we see how fast teaching and education at the world’s higher education institutions are adjusting right now. The hope is that, in the future, we’ll also get the opportunity to visit schools and represent PRME, hold discussions and exchange ideas to push the work forward.’

Nevertheless, she sees the global pandemic as key experience. It has clarified the importance of equipping the students for difficult situations that pivot on many issues relating to investments, infrastructure, management, governance and, in particular, long-term planning.

In Morsing’s view, her work at the Stockholm School of Economics, and as head of Misum, has also given her a great insight into the importance of sustainable finance.

‘It’s an area where more knowledge is needed, but also one that there’s great interest in. We need to find new ways of investing, new objects to invest in and new ways of looking at the flow of money.’

Starting on 1 May, Martina Björkman Nyqvist will take over as Director of Misum.