Back Back Search

Search report


Outreach & Partnerships

Cross-sector outreach and partnerships are important levers for maximizing IMD’s impact on society. Our commitment to strengthening collaboration is evident in several new partnerships and the deepening of existing relationships.

Principles for Responsible Management Education: Ensuring Future Leaders Develop Key Skills

IMD is a signatory member of the Principles for Responsible Management Education, a United Nations-supported platform to raise the profile of sustainability in business schools globally. Working through its Six Principles, PRME engages business and management schools to ensure they provide future leaders with the skills needed to balance economic and sustainability goals while drawing attention to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aligning academic institutions with the work of the UN Global Compact. In 2023, IMD will deepen the partnership as a PRME Champion, contributing to a guide for business schools on SDG integration in research, curriculum, and partnerships.

Foundations for Business Leadership Program

Business Schools for Climate Leadership Produces Toolkit and Webinars for Executives

IMD pioneered a new partnership in 2021 to help business schools drive solutions to combat the climate crisis. With seven other leading European business schools, we formed the Business Schools for Climate Leadership (BS4CL) alliance. In 2021 and 2022, the BS4CL collective published a toolkit on climate leadership for senior executives and convened a series of webinars for alumni of all eight institutions.

The webinar by Professor Knut Haanaes and professors from Oxford Saïd Business School and Cambridge Judge Business School explored how government incentives to promote green technology and collaboration between startups and established companies will accelerate the transformation to net zero.

The partnership is inspiring business schools in other regions to follow suit. An affiliate partnership, Business Schools for Climate Leadership Africa, was announced at the COP27 summit in Egypt in 2022.
BS4CL plans to host research conferences, offer doctoral courses, and work with the group’s vast alumni community to support business solutions to climate change.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development Collaborates on MBA and Board Programs

IMD and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development established a strategic partnership in 2021, to fulfill a vision of a world in which more than 9 billion people live well within planetary boundaries by 2050. In 2022, IMD and the WBCSD collaborated to deliver sustainability elements of the MBA program as well as the new Driving Sustainability from the Boardroom program. IMD also delivered the Sustainable Development in Context module for the WBCSD leadership program, which brought together 38 high-potential leaders over eight months, providing an in-depth understanding of the sustainability challenges and opportunities that will feed into strategic decision-making.

Swiss Boards for Agenda 2030: IMD Helps Board Members Make Positive Impact

Responding to the need for stronger leadership in sustainable business transformation, IMD delivered masterclasses for Swiss Boards for Agenda 2030 members, together with B Labs, on the practical steps boards can take to support a positive impact strategy in their businesses. SBA2030 members shared best practices on the evolving role of boards, sustainable leadership, responsible supply chain engagement, and how to build a purpose-led organization. The partnership was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos in May.


IMD-Pictet Sustainability in Family Business Award Won by VELUX

We partnered with the Swiss multinational financial services company Pictet to introduce the IMD-Pictet Sustainability in Family Business Award in 2019, aiming to raise expectations for sustainable operations among family firms. At an event in June 2022, the 2021 award was given to Danish roof window manufacturer VELUX Group.

The independent jury panel, featuring past award winners and sustainability experts, was impressed by the forward-looking ambition, demonstrable achievements, and cohesion of the company’s 2030 sustainability strategy, which includes the bold target to reach carbon neutrality over the lifetime of the company by the time of its centenary in 2041.

“It’s highly important for us and our owners that we not only do what’s good for business but also what’s good for the planet and, in the process, I really hope that we inspire other companies to also do the same,” said David Briggs, CEO of the VELUX Group.

The trophy is made from recycled materials in the shape of a tree leaf and symbolizes the extension of the totem pole linking heaven and earth. It was created by Chopard, a luxury watch and jewelry maker founded in 1860.


Global Network for Advanced Management: Sharing Expertise

IMD hosted an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the Global Network for Advanced Management in which business schools from around the world addressed some of the most important issues of our time, with discussions on the climate crisis, rising inequality, and the COVID pandemic, and how new technologies are shaping the content and purpose of business education. Representatives from 32 business schools gathered to explore issues critical to the future.

“By connecting and sharing expertise, we extend our lines of sight and can better prepare students for a world of global challenges,” said David Bach, a founding member of GNAM and Dean of Innovation and Programs at IMD.

Sustainable Businesses Among Startup Competition Winners

Now in its 25th year, IMD’s annual Startup Competition selected 30 Swiss-based startups to work with IMD MBA and EMBA participants on strategy and business model design.

Sustainability was a key theme among the 2022 winners. Kidstorie is an online platform for pre-loved designer children’s clothing; Xilva AG is a platform for early-stage investments in regenerative forests; and Composite Recycling has developed a technology that can recover reusable glass fiber and oil to make new composites.


TOGETHER Initiative Engages Alumni in Sustainability

TOGETHER is an initiative created by and for IMD alumni, which aims to engage and connect the IMD community to promote responsible leadership and drive real impact in sustainability.

TOGETHER’s ambition is to create a safe environment for reflection and exchange of sustainability-related expertise. The initiative aims to provoke conversations and share sustainability best practices to inspire a global network of IMD alumni to respond to environmental and social needs with business solutions.

To promote learning and real impact, TOGETHER encourages its members to share experiences, know-how, and interests in specific sustainability-related topics. In 2022, TOGETHER organized monthly online meetups with guest speakers on hydrogen-related solutions, a platform to promote female financial education, ocean preservation, and trends in sustainability.

Guest speakers planned for 2023 will explore sustainability in supply chains, FMCG, trading, energy, and agriculture. TOGETHER also intends to organize roundtables and other face-to-face events in collaboration with local IMD alumni clubs.

Mary Robinson_2

Former Climate Change Envoy Addresses Alumni

Former UN Special Envoy on Climate Change Mary Robinson was a keynote speaker at the IMD International Alumni Event. She noted that positive, broad-based leadership will be decisive in determining whether we move towards our best or worst future. “Our best future is still ahead of us. It’s a clean energy world,” she said.

E4S Summit 2022

Enterprise for Society (E4S): Collaboration in Education, Research and Innovation

The Enterprise for Society Center has become a strong platform for dialogue and action on social and environmental challenges. The collaboration between the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), IMD and the University of Lausanne (UNIL) aims to support the transition to a more resilient, responsible, and inclusive economy. The center’s work focuses on three impact levels: shaping institutions, policies, and norms; transforming key industrial sectors; and reimagining managerial practices.

“E4S is emerging as one of the premier research and action-oriented centers on sustainability and technology in Switzerland. Considering the tremendous challenges our world is facing and the fantastic knowledge and know-how asset constituted by the IMD, UNIL, and EPFL researchers together, the development and impact potential of E4S is immense,” said Jean-Philippe Bonardi, E4S Co-Managing Director.

The work of E4S is built upon three pillars: education, research, and innovation.

Education: An E4S two-year Master program launched in the fall of 2021 is built around the three elements of sustainability, technology, and management. It has enrolled 62 students across two cohorts – 32 new students started the Sustainable Management and Technology Master in 2022, and 30 students are due to graduate in 2023.

Research: Over 20 white papers were produced in 2022, and four IMD research proposals received funding through E4S, including projects on systems leadership, blended finance solutions for sustainability, collaboration between multinational corporations and the informal sector, and mental health at work. At the third E4S annual summit, researchers, innovators, policymakers, and youth and business organizations discussed the transition towards a more resilient and inclusive economy while being mindful of the earth’s physical resources and employees’ mental health.

Innovation: At the E4S Showcase 2030 innovation summit, more than 500 participants stemming from academia, businesses, startups, international organizations, and government representatives discussed sustainable solutions and ecosystem action towards a net positive planet.

Since its inception in late 2019, E4S has signed partnerships with several leading businesses and foundations. In 2022 several new partners joined the coalition including Lombard Odier on the circular economy. E4S also partnered with Romande Energie to co-develop a regional decarbonization observatory and with La Vaudoise to support the development of the Levo framework, while Ernst Göhner, Schlumberger, and Lombard Odier Foundation supported the Master program.

New Initiatives

The Levo Framework

Levo is a one-stop solution for startups looking to assess, monitor, and continuously improve companies’ sustainability and impact. Through 2022, Levo has deployed its digital platform, now accessible on, secured financial support from La Vaudoise, and improved its offering by working with accelerators and investors. Levo, which has been developed jointly with the EPFL College of Management (ENTC), is a primary example of incubation support offered to high-impact research projects at E4S.

Observatoire Romand de la Décarbonisation

The observatory, developed in partnership with Romande Energie, aims to build a regional platform to measure and monitor commitments, actions, and outcomes by firms, cities, and public organizations on the path to net zero.

Reverse Boards Foster Exchanges of Experience

The Reverse Boards program fosters an exchange of experience, vision, and values between students and the top management of large corporations. For the first edition, E4S collaborated with Nespresso, bringing together the company’s CEO, CMO, and Head of Strategy with 39 bachelor and master students from EPFL, UNIL, and IMD.

Switzerland Innovation Tech4Impact

The SI Tech4Impact program supports research groups of Swiss universities, universities of applied sciences, and research institutes collaborating with startups and SMEs on the development of ground-breaking technologies in one or more of the Switzerland Innovation Parks. Projects received a one-year grant of CHF 85,000 financed with sponsorship from partners of the Switzerland Innovation Foundation.

E4S Action Labs

Action Labs represent a new format for multistakeholder engagement aimed at a joint vision around selected key topics and proposing new actionable and collaborative projects. In 2022, the team organized action lab sessions on the sustainability luxury index, green bonds, and the true cost of food.

Sustainability 101 Talks

E4S launched a series of events aimed at bringing together leading experts from different fields to explain selected sustainability topics through a series of short interactive lectures, accessible to everyone across the UNIL, IMD, and EPFL communities, as well as members of civil society. The first of the E4S Sustainability 101 Talks took place in October and welcomed Alessio Terzi, author of Growth for Good: Reshaping Capitalism to Save Humanity from Climate Catastrophe.