Envisioning and Implementing Sustainable Business Transformation
The Center for Sustainable and Inclusive Business
Envisioning and Implementing Sustainable Business Transformation
A complete business transformation journey
Sustainability is now an essential element of business strategy. It is driving the transformation of business models and the roles of senior executives. Investors are playing a crucial role in demanding transparency and performance in environmental social and governance metrics. Responsible leadership and a systems approach engaging multiple stakeholders are essential to change.
However, many senior executives still struggle with the complex challenge of identifying opportunities for real impact. IMD partners with sustainability leaders to research and share innovative best practices that harness opportunities and mitigate risks. Our programs and research provide you with the insights needed for a complete business transformation journey through the lens of sustainability that will future-proof your organization, contribute to high performance, and benefit society.
A better way to shape the future
IMD’s faculty and research teams regularly publish thought leadership articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics, including sustainability.
The important distinction between sustainability and ESG – and why this matters for businesses.
Why any successful sustainability strategy needs to be underpinned by a solid business case.
What does ESG actually mean? How do environmental, social and governance factors affect my financial value?
Executives and organizations should harness the impact and power of climate grief to accelerate action on sustainable business transformation.
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
Here are some tools to determine whether an organizing is greenwashing or truly committed to sustainability.
Taking a full supply chain perspective on sustainability has never been more urgent.
Why Paul Polman believes that companies whose leaders bring humanity back into business will help us all achieve net zero.
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.
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.
IMD’s award-winning research and thought leadership advance the understanding and adoption of best practices in sustainable business, helping leaders ensure their organizations combine high financial performance with a positive impact on society.
Award winning case studies
IMD translates sustainability research to action. See all our latest sustainability case studies.
The case briefly outlines the company’s history and describes the progressive integration of sustainability efforts into its overall strategy.
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.
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.
Case of the month
OCP Africa: Building Ecosystems for Sustainability explores the challenges OCP AFRICA faced in establishing and sustaining public-private and private-private partnerships for social and economic benefits in a market challenged by unfavorable conditions for the target customer.
Written by Professor Bettina Büchel and Research Associate Mahwesh Bilal Khan, with the assistance of Catherine AGAMIS and Professor Marc Idelson of Africa Business School, the case asks whether the ecosystems established by OCP AFRICA can withstand the farming company stepping back from its role as central orchestrator and the ravages of COVID-19.
This case is the December 2022 IMD Case of the Month.
Analyzing the challenges of business models that leverage public-private and private-private partnerships for social and economic benefits.01:36
By Benoit F. Leleux and Jan Van der Kaaij
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…
By Vanina Farber, Peter A. Wuffli
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…
By Susan Goldsworthy and Sydney Goldsworthy
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…
By Francisco Szekely with Zahir Dossa
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…
By Anand Narasimhan and Jean-Louis Barsoux
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…
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.
Custom Programs & Advisory
IMD designs and delivers high-impact customized learning journeys. With the client, the business school accelerates strategy implementations and drives change through a unique methodology, building individual and organizational capabilities needed to be successful today while preparing for a sustainable future.
Discover our solutions for organizations
In today’s fast-changing markets, leaders must accelerate current growth while proactively exploring and shaping options for the future. To address this challenge, we have developed a holistic approach that builds on our thought leadership and experience working with leading businesses globally:
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
Build your smart roadmap for a sustainable business future
This program provides you with a complete business transformation journey through the lens of sustainability.
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.
Chart your company’s ESG path to long-term success
Enables you to fulfill your role of influencing and steering the integration of sustainability into your company’s strategy. In collaboration with WBCSD.
IMD Sustainability Signals
Sustainability Signals™ is an in-depth pedagogical tool to help program participants navigate shifting sustainability trends and priorities. The tool helps participants keep track and make sense of events and trends shaping environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities.
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.
Rising concerns about waste and resource depletion have led companies to move from the take-make-waste economic model, toward a closed loop system or circular economy. By reconceiving businesses activities for improved resource productivity, companies have created models that recover resources. extend product life. use sharing platforms or take pay-for-use approaches.
Growing affordability and flexibility have facilitated major uptake in different kinds of renewable energy. Renewables are predicted to make up around 24% of total energy production by 2030, largely wind and solar.
The business case for diversity and inclusion continues to grow. Ensuring greater representation of women and under-represented minorities is the area of focus for companies seeking to increase diversity. But measuring DM efforts remains a challenge. Increasingly people ask what it means to create an inclusive culture and how to measure progress toward this goal.
Sustainable investing includes environmental, soda! and governance (ESG) factors in portfolio selection and management More and more investors are seeking evidence that portfolio companies are addressing sustainability issues that may affect their performance. Corporates will need to convince investors of their environmental and social performance, as well as governance effectiveness.
IMD has put together a world-class team of faculty and researchers to meet the learning needs of businesses seeking sustainable transformation. With varying expertise in finance, strategy, political economy, marketing, entrepreneurship, ESG, organizational behavior, leadership, social innovation and digital strategy and ethics, IMD is well positioned to deliver a high impact programs.
IMD Faculty remain on top of the latest sustainability trends and divide their time between teaching, conducting research and acting as consultants to international companies.
Natalia is the Chief Sustainability Officer at IMD, where her work focuses on research, program development, strategy, governance, reporting and advisory. She has worked in sustainability management, consulting and education…
We believe a sense of shared responsibility is essential for the prosperity of individuals, businesses, communities and nations. Challenging what is and inspiring what could be, we develop leaders who transform organisations and contribute to society. We support responsible leaders who act with integrity, contribute to sustainable performance and have a positive impact on the world.
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.
Focusing where IMD and stakeholder interests converge.
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.
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.
Carbon footprint summary of Scope 1 and 2
Each year the IMD-Pictet Sustainability in Family Business Award rewards family-owned enterprises that are leaders in sustainability, demonstrating exceptional breadth and depth in their sustainability strategy, and exemplary implementation and impact.
IMD and Pictet created the Sustainability in Family Business Award in 2019 to encourage and help leaders and organizations to be a force for good in the world. Family businesses are among the most proactive in this area as they are more inclined to think long-term.
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
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.
IMD extends access to executive education though an inclusive offering for not-for-profit and public sector organizations. In 2020, IMD offered support to attend open programs to 36 participants from notforprofit organizations
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.
“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.”
The GMF students helped Medair, a Swiss-based non-profit humanitarian organization, improved its impact03:07