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Research Centers

We produce research that is both rigorous and relevant to practitioners who are leading sustainable business transformations to create future-ready firms. Outreach and frequent engagement with senior executives ensure that these insights are applied and fit for purpose.

New Center for Sustainable and Inclusive Business

In 2022, we inaugurated a new Center for Sustainable and Inclusive Business, a global research hub at the forefront of sustainability strategy and leadership, where executives and researchers engage to co-develop business solutions to the grand societal challenges of our time.

The center will regularly engage a community of corporate sustainability leaders and practitioners in a series of collaborative learning events.

The center, which includes the Lundin Sustainability Chair and the Rio Tinto Chair for Stakeholder Engagement, brings together research, innovation, and learning to drive sustainable business transformation. It seeks out diverse viewpoints to explore and share new ideas, best practices, and innovative thinking on corporate sustainability leadership. It leverages IMD’s expertise in applied research and developing global leaders, focusing on the organizational and systemic changes required for sustainable transformations.


“Leveraging our close ties to the business world, our center seeks to break new ground for impact-driven research by providing actionable thought leadership that enables business leaders to drive the change towards an environmentally sustainable and inclusive world.”

Julia Binder, Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable and Inclusive Business

New Rio Tinto Chair in Stakeholder Engagement

IMD appointed strategy and political economy expert David Bach to a new Rio Tinto Chair in Stakeholder Engagement. The Chair aims to equip business leaders with the insights and skills needed to engage with a diverse set of stakeholders as they drive positive change for society and the planet.
Across diverse industries, business leaders have recognized that fostering strong, trust-based relationships with communities, NGOs, regulators, and policymakers is critically important.

“Business is called upon to lead on key global issues, from climate change to economic inequality,” said Bach, who is also Dean of Innovation and Programs at IMD. “And with the rise of social media and technology, many stakeholders now have the tools to scrutinize business operations and to hold companies accountable. Separating signal from noise is key and we hope research supported by the Chair will provide leaders with practical new tools.”

Rio Tinto chair IMD_4

Hinrich-IMD Sustainable Trade Index

The IMD World Competitiveness Center (WCC) and the Hinrich Foundation combined their expertise in 2022 to build the Hinrich-IMD Sustainable Trade Index, to stimulate discussion among policymakers, business executives, and civil society leaders striving to advance sustainable and mutually beneficial global trade. The index measures a country’s readiness and capacity to participate in the international trading system in a manner that supports the long-term goals of economic growth, environmental protection, and societal development.

Global trade has helped lift hundreds of millions of people around the world out of poverty, but the benefits of trade do not come without their risks. If an economy is unprepared for the consequences of trade growth, it may result in labor disruption, environmental degradation, and worsening inequality. However, proactive and responsible government policy and farsighted corporate decision-making can harness the positive elements of trade while mitigating the negative, making for a more robust global trading community.

OWP Lausanne 2022 at IMD Business School

Driving Impactful Philanthropy and Sustainable Family Business

The IMD Global Family Business Center develops frameworks that challenge the wealthy and influential to turn the developing world green, explore impactful and inclusive family philanthropy, embrace circular economy practices, and leverage new approaches to help achieve the UN SDGs. The focus on sustainability was reflected in the flagship Leading the Family Business program, through sessions on “Transforming your Family Business towards Sustainability”. In family business custom journeys, more than 50% of the team projects focused on societal or philanthropic endeavors.

The Debiopharm Chair for Family Philanthropy together with FBN International published Navigating Your Family’s Philanthropic Future Across Generations, a report that shared insights on challenges and opportunities highlighted by leading philanthropic families.


Unleashing Social Innovation

The elea Center for Social Innovation publishes research across four pillars: impact investing, blended finance, social entrepreneurship, and corporate social innovation. Through new programs including Leading for Impact and Driving Innovative Finance for Impact, with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Economic Forum, and the Lombard Odier Foundation, IMD brings together entrepreneurs, executives, investors, philanthropists, researchers, and other change agents to accelerate the speed, scale, and effectiveness of social innovations across the spectrum of capital.