Ethics, responsibility and sustainability

IMD’s aim, as best in the world at developing successful global leaders, entails preparing participants to become ethical leaders who are socially responsible in their business practices. To this end, IMD programs actively encourage participants to work toward a more sustainable and just world and to address the challenges of global poverty and environmental sustainability.
IMD’s commitment to ethics, responsibility and sustainability is integrated into its educational offerings, thought leadership, community engagement and organizational activities.

Development activities

  • Between 2013 and March 2018, IMD faculty published 182 publications: 4 books, 3 book chapters, 12 academic research articles, 55 practice-oriented research articles, 46 case studies, 4 working and 4 conference papers and 54 articles on pedagogic development and innovation in the areas of ethics, sustainability, responsibility and responsible leadership based upon keyword searches for publications in those areas. 
  • Recently IMD has gone through a major strategic transformation from having a separate Global Center for Sustainability Leadership, with its own research and teaching agenda, to breaking the silos and making corporate social responsibility and sustainability transversal and embedded across different areas and topics. Two new research chairs have been created in the CSR area to further increase research production. Corporate social responsibility and sustainability are part of IMD’s DNA and are embedded in all four areas of IMD’s activities: teaching, thought leadership, internal operations and community engagement.
  • In September 2017, IMD inaugurated the Debiopharm Chair for Family Philanthropy with the aim of researching the social and financial impact of family philanthropy. The chair, held by Professor Peter Vogel, facilitates the creation of best practices to strengthen analysis, decision making, evaluation, governance and impact in this area.
  • The second chair, the elea Chair for Social Innovation, was created in January 2018. Funded by the elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization, it is held by Professor Vanina Farber and focuses on teaching, research and outreach to advance the field of social innovation, with special emphasis on entrepreneurial poverty alleviation.
  • In addition to Professors Vogel and Farber, faculty with research agendas in the fields of ethics, CSR and sustainability include Professor Jennifer Jordan (power and ethical behavior), Professor Bala Chakravarthy (sustainable development), Professor Ben Bryant (social impact) and Professor Denise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez (Responsible Ownership). Professor Kenyon-Rouvinez co-curates the World Economic Forum Transformation Maps on Stepping up to Governance 4.0 and Responsible Ownership and Leadership.
  • Two of IMD’s research centers, the CEO Learning Center and the Global Board Center, also conduct research that focuses on responsible leadership. 
  • Notable recent publications in the areas of ethics, CSR and sustainability include:
  • In IMD’s MBA and EMBA programs, CSR and sustainability principles are taught in numerous courses and highlighted in a couple of specific courses. All MBA participants take the Business and Society course, which includes presentations by guest speakers on current strong and weak CSR practices. MBA elective courses in the areas of CSR and sustainability include Business Sustainability and Business and the Human Prospect, a course in which participants research issues related to health, food and energy. The discovery expeditions in both the MBA and EMBA programs expose participants to CSR and environmental sustainability topics.
  • In 2018, the MBA program launched The IMD Stewart Hamilton Scholarship to benefit outstanding women. The scholarship reinforces IMD's commitment to attracting a diverse pool of applicants. 
  • In the executive education portfolio, the online program on Building Business Sustainability is offered twice a year and lasts for eight weeks. Executives learn how to integrate sustainability into the DNA of their organizations, identify the risks and opportunities that sustainability presents, develop a sustainable business model for their organizations and discover how sustainability can make their businesses more competitive.
  • The IMD World Competitiveness Center, which publishes the widely recognized annual world competitiveness rankings, has a unique role in promoting the discussion of socially responsible and sustainable business practices. Competitiveness is the extent to which a country is able to foster an environment in which enterprises can generate sustainable value. Metrics in the areas of social responsibility, equity and environmental sustainability are used as part of the rankings of national competitiveness.