The Center for Sustainable and Inclusive Business

Envisioning and Implementing Sustainable Business Transformation
Sustainability Report 2021

A better way to shape the future

01:09Sustainability - Ep.3 Capitalism must rediscover its purpose
Capitalism must rediscover its purpose
Knut Haanaes, Professor of Strategy and Lundin Sustainability Chair at IMD, paints a picture of how sustainability can shape the future.

Latest articles

OWP Insight Session: Crash course on ESG
Topics: Sustainability, Finance, Financial Regulation
By Julia Binder - 23 November 2022
What does ESG actually mean? How do environmental, social and governance factors affect my financial value?
2 min. read
Transform climate grief into sustainable business leadership
Topics: Sustainability
By Natalia Olynec - 8 November 2022
Executives and organizations should harness the impact and power of climate grief to accelerate action on sustainable business transformation.
3 min. read
How business can successfully harness UN development goals
Topics: Sustainability, Leadership
By Amanda Williams,Lara Anne Blasberg - 28 October 2022
Positive, broad-based leadership will be decisive in determining whether we move towards our best or worst future, says former UN Special Envoy on Climate Change Mary Robinson
5 min. read
It’s time for a ‘moonshot mentality’ on climate change
Topics: Sustainability, Leadership
By David Bach - 23 September 2022
Positive, broad-based leadership will be decisive in determining whether we move towards our best or worst future, says former UN Special Envoy on Climate Change Mary Robinson
5 min. read
How to identify greenwashing
Topics: Supply Chain, Sustainability
By Knut Haanaes, Frédéric Dalsace, James E. Henderson - 19 August 2022
Here are some tools to determine whether an organizing is greenwashing or truly committed to sustainability.
5 min. read
Sustainable supply chains: time to get serious
Topics: Sustainability
By Ralf W. Seifert, Yara Kayyali Elalem - 21 July 2022
Taking a full supply chain perspective on sustainability has never been more urgent.
3 min. read
Being less bad is simply not good enough anymore
Topics: Sustainability
By Knut Haanaes - 14 July 2022
Why Paul Polman believes that companies whose leaders bring humanity back into business will help us all achieve net zero.
3 min. read
Why all businesses should embrace sustainability
Topics: Sustainability
By Knut Haanaes and Natalia Olynec - 9 May 2022
The message from COP26 rang loud and clear for global corporations: align your business strategy to sustainability targets and reap monetary rewards. Drag your feet and you’ll lose out.
6 min. read
Skyrocketing energy costs make decarbonization a business imperative
Topics: Sustainability
By Julia Binder - 5 May 2022
Soaring oil and gas prices are a major challenge for businesses, but the energy crisis is creating new economic opportunities as well.
6 min. read

Sustainability: A better way to shape the future

In these mini case studies exploring climate change, greenwashing, capitalism and ecological disasters, Knut Haanaes, Professor of Strategy and Lundin Sustainability Chair at IMD, paints a picture of how sustainability can shape the future.

Find out more IMD's cases

Award winning case studies

IMD translates sustainability research to action. See all our latest sustainability case studies.
Case study
Schneider Electric: Becoming the world leader in sustainability
Topics: Sustainability
By Frédéric Dalsace - 1 May 2022
The case briefly outlines the company’s history and describes the progressive integration of sustainability efforts into its overall strategy.
3 min. read
Case study
Kineer: A social marketing challenge
Topics: Sustainability
By Dominique Turpin, Umashankar Venkatesh, Jones Mathew and Sandeep Puri - 19 January 2022
Kineer faced several challenges including finding investors and manufacturing facilities, crafting a suitable distribution set-up, and marketing a commodity product with a differentiated branding strategy.
3 min. read
Case study
PMI's Vision of a Smoke-free Future
Topics: Sustainability
By Vanina Farber and Natalia Olynec - 11 February 2021
CEO Andre Calantzopoulos announced in 2016 a radical pivot in the Marlboro cigarette manufacturer's strategy: the company would shift to 'smoke-free' products in more than 180 countries around the world.
3 min. read
Case study
Ecoalf: because there is no planet B
Topics: Sustainability
By Professor Benoit F. Leleux and Thomas Brochier - 1 October 2020
ECOALF was born from the belief of Javier Goyeneche that something had to be done to ensure the sustainability of the planet.
2 min. read

Case of the month

In 2021 Schneider Electric was ranked the No. 1 company in the world for sustainability performance, this the culmination of 20 years of hard work on the sustainability front. But how did the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation get here? 

Sustainability Senior Vice-President Gilles Vermot Desroches laid the groundwork for the company’s sustainability strategy in 1998 with the formation of the Schneider Electric Foundation. The Corporate Social Responsibility Department, now Sustainability Department, followed in 2000 and the first Schneider Sustainability Impact (SSI) in 2005. 

The SSI, which underpins Schneider Electric’s sustainability strategy has since undergone several iterations, and is now included in the variable compensation of all leaders and employees of the organization. What comes next for sustainability at the French multinational?  

This case, written by Professor Frédéric Dalsace, is the September 2022 IMD Case of the Month

01:25September Case of the Month: Schnieder Electric: Becoming the Wo ...
Schneider Electric: Becoming the world leader in sustainability
Analyzing the key success factors of a sustainability strategy

Latest books

Winning Sustainability Strategies
Topics: Sustainability
By Benoit F. Leleux and Jan Van der Kaaij - 15 December 2018
Despite recent optimism and global initiatives, the implementation of corporate sustainability programs has been slow at best, with less than a third of global companies having developed a clear business case for their…
The elea Way
Topics: Sustainability
By Vanina Farber, Peter A. Wuffli by - 18 November 2020
Social entrepreneurship and impact investing contribute to a more inclusive capitalism and bring innovative solutions to global challenges, such as fighting poverty and protecting planet earth. This book offers practical…
Award-winning book
Where the Wild Things Were
Topics: Sustainability
By Susan Goldsworthy and Sydney Goldsworthy - 23 September 2019
This is written for both children and adults to entertain and educate. Join storytime as Grandma recounts her adventures with an alphabet of wild animals to her granddaughter, Little Dove. But with species loss…
Award-winning book
Beyond the Triple Bottom Line
Topics: Sustainability
By Francisco Szekely with Zahir Dossa - 27 June 2017
Many recent books make the case for businesses to become more sustainable, but few explain the specifics. In this book, Francisco Szekely and Zahir Dossa offer a pragmatic new business model for sustainability that…
Award-winning book
Topics: Strategy, Change Management, Top Team
By Anand Narasimhan and Jean-Louis Barsoux - 11 February 2014
This book identifies and addresses the seven transformation journeys that are reshaping corporations today. It integrates and builds on the collective experience and learning of IMD's professors,who work directly with…

Leading Sustainable Business Transformation Discovery Event

Our planet, societies and businesses are at a crossroads. Globally, there is a growing awareness of devastating climate impacts that are unfolding and stark disparities in social and political equity. COVID-19 has thrown the interlinked issues of climate, health and social equity into an ever sharper and more unforgiving focus. It is clear the time for real sustainability transformation is now. download the Discovery Event white paper (PDF)

Discover more IMD Nexus events about sustainability.

Discovery Event white paper

Open Programs

IMD's open enrollment programs are increasingly incorporating responsible business leadership and sustainable practices as key themes, for example within courses on marketing, digital, strategy, leadership, supply chain, finance, family business and entrepreneurship.

IMD is also introducing targeted courses on sustainability, such as the Winning Sustainability Strategies program and the Master of Science in Sustainable Management and Technology.

Discover all our open programs

Leading Sustainable Business Transformation
Build your smart roadmap for a sustainable business future
This program provides you with a complete business transformation journey through the lens of sustainability.
Years of experience: 10+
New, Blended
Duration: 3 days liVe virtual, 5 weeks online, 3 days on campus
Fee: 9'900 CHF
Next start: 10 May 2023
Winning Sustainability Strategies
Embed sustainability into the core of your business
This program is designed to help you integrate sustainability in your strategy so you can maintain your competitive edge.
Years of experience: 5+
Duration: 5 weeks
Fee: 1'950 CHF
Next start: 29 May 2023
Driving Sustainability from the Boardroom
Chart your company’s ESG path to long-term success 
Driving Sustainability from the Boardroom enables you to fulfill your role of influencing and steering the integration of sustainability into your company's strategy.
Years of experience: 15+
On Campus
Duration: 2 days
Fee: 7'500 CHF
Next start: 27 April 2023

Interactive Teaching

Sustainability Signals™ is both a web-based tool and physical card deck. It is flexible and can be used independently to familiarize participants with the sustainability trends/signals influencing the world or in combination with other sessions for visioning exercises, competitive analysis, and stress testing business models.
It can be used in liVe and online programs in sessions spanning 10-400+ participants.
Sustainability Cards
Knut Haanaes
Professor Knut Haanaes
Professor of Strategy and International Management, Lundin Sustainability Chair

Knut Haanaes' research and teaching focus on strategy, sustainability, strategic renewal and business models. He says these different pillars enable him to help companies think about their path for the future and take…

David Bach
Professor David Bach
Dean of Innovation and Programs and Professor of Strategy and Political Economy

Political economy expert David Bach brings to IMD a proven track record of creating impactful learning journeys in a dual role as both Professor and Dean. 

Through his award-winning teaching and writing, Bach helps…

Julia Binder
Professor Julia Binder
Professor of Sustainable Innovation and Business Transformation Director of IMD Center for Sustainable and Inclusive Business

Julia Binder specializes in the intersection between sustainability and innovation. Her research and teaching explore the processes, strategies and mechanisms that allow entrepreneurs and managers to combine economic,…

Salvatore Cantale
Professor Salvatore Cantale
Professor of Finance

Salvatore Cantale is Professor of Finance. His academic and consulting work is divided into two different but complementary streams. First, he works at the intersection between strategy, business models, and financial…

Carlos Cordon
Professor Carlos Cordon
Professor of Strategy and Supply Chain Management

Carlos Cordon is a Professor of Strategy and Supply Chain Management. Cordon’s areas of expertise are supply chain management, digital, value chains, digital lean and process management, all of which are particularly…

Frederic Dalsace
Professor Frederic Dalsace
Professor of Marketing and Strategy

Frédéric Dalsace focuses on two distinct areas – B2B issues such as customer centricity, buyer-seller relationships, and value management, and sustainability, inclusive business models, and alleviating poverty.

He is Co-…

Vanina Farber
Professor Vanina Farber
elea Professor of Social Innovation; Dean of the Executive MBA

Vanina Farber is an award-winning economist and political scientist who specializes in social innovation and the mobilization of private capital for impact investing. Her research focuses on innovative, practical,…

Susan Goldsworthy
Professor Susan Goldsworthy
Affiliate Professor of Leadership, Communications and Organizational Change

As a former Olympic finalist, award-winning writer, executive coach, and speaker with more than 20 years of corporate experience with large multinationals, Susan Goldsworthy brings knowledge from the fields of sport,…

James Henderson
Professor James Henderson
Professor of Strategic Management

James Henderson is an expert on strategic agility, or the development and implementation of strategy under uncertainty. His research focuses on competitive strategy, corporate strategy, digital transformation, ecosystems…

Florian Hoos
Professor Florian Hoos
Professor of Sustainability and ESG accounting

Florian Hoos is a Professor of Sustainability and ESG accounting at IMD. He is an award-winning teacher, innovator, and writer who was selected by Poets&Quants as one of "The World's Top 40 Business School Professors…

Ivan Miroshnychenko
Ivan Miroshnychenko
Research Fellow & Term Research Professor at IMD

Research Fellow & Term Research Professor at IMD’s Global Family Business Centre and Sustainability Initiative.

Prior to joining IMD, Ivan was an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Family Business Management…

Natalia Olynec, Head of Sustainability at IMD
Natalia Olynec
Head of Sustainability at IMD

Natalia is the Head of Sustainability at IMD, where her work focuses on research, program development, strategy, governance, reporting and advisory. She has worked in sustainability management, consulting and education…

Karl Schmedders
Professor Karl Schmedders
Professor of Finance

Karl Schmedders' research and teaching currently focus on sustainability and the economics of climate change. He is therefore able to provide key insights on the transition risk arising from the shift to a greener…

Michael Yaziji
Professor Michael Yaziji
Professor of Strategy and Leadership

Michael Yaziji is an award-winning author whose work spans leadership and strategy. He is recognized as a world-leading expert on non-market strategy and NGO-corporate relations and has a particular interest in ethical…

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Amanda Williams
Sustainability Research Fellow at IMD

Amanda’s research lies at the intersection of sustainability management and social-ecological systems. She studies how organizations understand global sustainability issues and develop corporate sustainability…

Our Core Focus Areas

IMD's core focus areas reflect both how the institution influences others to contribute to sustainability through its teaching, research and outreach, and how it embeds sustainable processes and behaviors into its own culture and operations.

Sustainability wheel

Materiality Framework

Focusing where IMD and stakeholder interests converge.
Materiality framework chart

Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Our approach to sustainability is aligned with the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). PRME seeks to deliver the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 through responsible management education.

This decade is known as the Decade of Action for the SDGs and IMD is committed to doing its part to meet these ambitions through its scope to teach, research, convene and develop business and not-for-profit leaders.

Five core UN SDGs
IMD's five core focus areas align and generate positive impact for five of the UN SDGs

Carbon Footprint Report

IMD has completed the measurement of its scope 1 and scope 2 carbon emissions footprint conforming with the internationally recognised standards of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Scope 3 measurements are currently under development. The results are presented in the Carbon Footprint Report.

Scope 1 and 2 Carbon Footprint measurements
Carbon footprint summary of Scope 1 and 2

E4S Master program

Based on the conviction that institutions of higher learning have a responsibility to help individuals and organizations overcome societal challenges and identify opportunities, IMD partnered with three leading Swiss academic institutions, the University of Lausanne through, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to create Enterprise for Society (E4S).

E4S formally launched a new, joint masters degree in sustainable management and technology starting in September 2021 to prepare tomorrow’s leaders to drive this ambitious business transition.

Discover more about the program

E4S masters degree in sustainable management and technology
The Master of Science in Sustainable Management and Technology (SMT) program's aim is to equip the entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs of the future with the knowledge and skills enabling them to contribute to the transition toward a more resilient, environmentally responsible and inclusive economy while harnessing the power of technology.
The BS4CL initiative

In the run up to COP26 in Glasgow, IMD has joined together with seven other business schools: Cambridge Judge Business School, HEC Paris, IE Business School, IESE Business School, INSEAD, London Business School, and Saïd Business School (University of Oxford) to help shape climate leadership.

The business schools have collaborated on a toolkit designed to equip present and future leaders with the skills and actions needed on the road to decarbonization. As we countdown to COP26, BS4CL is also holding a webinar series covering various climate change topics.

Discover more about the BS4CL initiative.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

IMD and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2021 to collaborate on the most sustainability-centered MBA program in the world.

IMD will also explore ways to further expand Vision 2050 - WBCSD’s vision of a world in which 9+ billion people live well, within planetary boundaries, by 2050 – by developing short programs targeting business executives.

WBCSD is a global, CEO-led community of over 200 leading sustainable businesses and represents a combined revenue of more than $8.5 trillion and 19 million employees.

Discover more about the partnership with WBCSD.

As 'purpose' as a guiding element in business strategy, but also in leadership in general, is becoming increasingly important and differentiating, it is good to have a combined perspective from for-profit and from non-profit executives. Sharing and understanding both perspectives, seeing the commonalities between them and learning.
David Verschoor, Director Marketing, Partnerships & Communication
“Following a leadership course with executives from the for-profit sector exposes us to another way of working and makes for a very intense and dynamic learning experience. It is essential to exchange with peers from other sectors in order to broaden one’s perspective.”
Senior Resource Mobilization Manager, ICRC
03:07Global Management Foundations - Live Project Week: Medair
Global Management Foundations - Live Project Week: Medair
The GMF students helped Medair, a Swiss-based non-profit humanitarian organization, improved its impact
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