SMU & Royal DSM Affirm Commitment to Educate the Next Generation of Leaders in Sustainability

SMU & Royal DSM Affirm Commitment to Educate the Next Generation of Leaders in Sustainability

Saturday Oct 12,2019

Singapore Management University (SMU) and Royal DSM (DSM), a global science-based company active in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living, announced a partnership that will provide experimental learning opportunities for SMU students through the University’s award-winning SMU-X pedagogy. The announcement was made in conjunction with the SMU Visionary Series lecture on 10 October 2019 by DSM CEO Mr Feike Sijbesma, who spoke on the topic ‘Enabling financial success with sustainability as a business driver'.

Over the course of three years, the partnership will see DSM and SMU collabrate, running one SMU-X Overseas course focusing on sustainability and one SMU-X course on nutrition improvement, both of which will be offered at the SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB) from Academic Year (AY) 2020-2021. The 15-week credit-bearing courses are part of the business school’s Sustainability major.

The learning oppportunities will focus on the topic of sustainability and address a combination of select United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) and nutritional challenges that face the world economy today. Sustainability is a core value of DSM, it’s both a responsibility and a business driver expressed in its “Purpose led, Performance driven” strategy.

[Photo:Celebrating the SMU-DSM partnership. (L-R) Mr Pieter Nuboer, President DSM Nutritional Products, Asia Pacific; Prof Timothy Clark, SMU Provost; Mr Feike Sijbesma, CEO, Royal DSM; Prof Gerard George, Dean, SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business.]

Pieter Nuboer, President DSM Nutritional Products, Asia Pacific, said, “Climate change and nutrition security for all are two of the biggest issues of our time. APAC is home to around 500 million undernourished people, including more than half of the world’s malnourished children. Climate change is already impacting daily life, often where people are most vulnerable. We are in real and present danger of not achieving any of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, yet partnerships like this one between SMU and DSM, we are confident can help accelerate much needed progress.

DSM has been at the forefront of developing science-based solutions to tackle some of the world’s toughest social and environmental issues for more than 15 years and we are committed to investing in both the expertise and funding in education to shape the next generation of leaders to drive purpose-led innovation.”

SMU-X is an experiential learning framework pioneered by the University in 2015. Students, under the guidance and mentorship of faculty and industry partners, tackle real-world, multi-disciplinary challenges by taking on projects from public and private organisations as well as NGOs. In 2017, SMU ramped up its offering of SMU-X courses to give every SMU student the opportunity to take at least one SMU-X module during their university education. Riding on its initial success, the University has also expanded its partnerships to include SMU-X Overseas projects, which give students a realistic experience working with partners abroad, and/or managing regional and global projects in their future workplace.

The DSM-sponsored SMU-X Overseas course on sustainability will include a two-week overseas exposure and immersion experience at one of DSM’s operations within Asia. Guided by a faculty advisor, student project teams will work with mentors from DSM to tackle actual challenges faced by the organisation. In the process, students will gain first-hand experience and insights into the workings of a global business committed to sustainability. During the overseas immersion towards the end of the course, teams will present their findings and recommendations to DSM’s management for their consideration.

The DSM-sponsored SMU-X Nutrition Improvement Challenge course will be offered for three years starting from AY2020-2021 and will address one nutrition improvement challenge per AY. DSM experts will mentor and provide insights and expertise on nutritional and social issues, Applied Nutrition Science, innovation, and advocacy, as students tackle business challenges focused on the UNSDGs.

With its science-based technology and expertise, DSM has been offering high quality, affordable and innovative nutritional solutions in the developing world through staple foods fortification, reducing food loss and waste, and micronutrient supplements, making tangible, measurable impacts along the value chain.

[Photo: Mr Feike Sijbesma (L) taking questions from SMU students after his lecture as Professor Gerard George (R) looks on.]

Professor Gerard George, Dean of SMU LKCSB, said, “Sustainable business is a necessity for our continued prosperity, but the operational challenge remains how to transition from the current business model to a more sustainable one. We are honoured to be partnering DSM – one of the world’s most sustainable organisations – to learn from their experience, so we can develop the next generation of managers and entrepreneurs driven by purpose and sustainability.”

Specifically, the two new courses which will be co-developed with DSM will enhance LKCSB’s Sustainability major. As specialists in sustainability, our graduates will be better prepared to act on sustainability strategies and contribute to a sustainable Singapore and the region.”

SMU has enjoyed a close and robust friendship with Royal DSM through the years. Mr Pieter Nuboer, President, DSM Nutritional Products, Asia Pacific, currently sits on the Advisory Board of LKCSB, and Mr Pradeep Pant, DSM Supervisory Board Member, was a former Advisory Board member of LKCSB. DSM has also supported the appointment of SMU Visiting Professor Simon Zadek as the DSM Senior Fellow in Partnership and Sustainability in May 2016.