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The Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society


Recognizing Responsible Business: Innovations in Sustainability

business sustainability awards 2023

The Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society

Recognizing Responsible Business: Innovations in Sustainability

Recognizing Responsible Business: Innovations in Sustainability

Step into a vision of the future of business – a world where populations are fed from our fastest growing and most dense proteins, and growth is powered by clean energy from the Earth. This is a world where we use the latest technologies to monitor progress towards climate change goals and companies report sustainability action each year to improve over time. 

This world is within our grasp if more business leaders heed the advice of innovators and thought leaders in the sustainability space. The Hoffmann Institute is proud to showcase responsible businesses that are actively building this envisioned world by spotlighting the winners of the INSEAD Business Sustainability Awards.

The Business Sustainability Awards were a highlight of the December 2023 INSEAD Americas Conference at our San Francisco Hub for Business Innovation. The three-day conference brought together over 300 alumni and 60 expert speakers to discuss integrating sustainability into business from leadership and strategies to governance, supply chains and even climate finance.

The Hoffmann Institute connected with the award winners to discuss sustainability in their business models, how INSEAD enabled their journey and future plans in the sustainability space. These conversations are summarised here to encourage and inspire more action on sustainability. 

FUL Foods

FUL Foods is a food tech startup that uses nutrient-dense microalgae to create sustainable products. It was founded by Julia Streuli MBA'19D, Sara Guaglio MBA'19D and Cristina Prat MBA'19D. We caught up with Co-Founder and CEO Julia Streuli to discuss the future of food. 

FUL Foods recognised that consumers increasingly care about sustainability, but taste, price and convenience still drive consumer behaviour. New food solutions must meet these core consumer demands and be sustainable. FUL Foods puts sustainability at the centre of the strategies to make nutrition from microalgae. The company grows spirulina to produce a nutritious, delicious and affordable protein that can replace animal protein, opening a huge opportunity for positive climate impact in global food systems. Julia credits INSEAD for serving as an incubator for the venture from inception to investment. 

The FUL Foods team formed within the first few weeks of the founders’ MBA journey. They were inspired by a summer research project backed by the Hoffmann Institute focused on INSEAD alums working on “innovations that aligned profit and purpose”. The idea was sparked by INSEAD coursework and the business plan was honed by winning the INSEAD Venture Competition. The founders acknowledge INSEAD for helping nurture their curiosity in sustainable innovation into a business solution – and for bringing together a team committed to sustainability solutions. 

Today, FUL Foods is commercializing a second ingredient extract from spirulina, a protein for dairy and meat alternatives. Julia says that putting sustainability at the core of their business model and mission means that pursuit of profit and purpose are aligned – the more microalgae they sell, the more positive impact FUL Foods has on climate and human health.


GHGSat is helping the world move from estimating how much greenhouse gas we emit to measuring it. CEO Stephane Germain MBA'94J set out with a very deliberate goal – to use space technology to serve the environment. INSEAD was part of the plan to reach that goal.

GHGSat was at the right place and time to seize the opportunity and move from emission estimates to measurements. The company serves the increasingly urgent need to understand, control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the fight against climate change. Most of their customers are heavy industrials, and GHGSat is scaling by meeting needs across industries, countries and time zones. Scaling up is a challenge which requires ambition and dedication. 

Stephan tells INSEAD students that perseverance is key. Many market opportunities in sustainability are still relatively early stage. Whether working within a large corporation or as an entrepreneur, it takes energy, flexibility, creativity, patience, and more to achieve success. But the outcomes are worth it. At GHGSat, the learning curves and challenges are all about helping customers integrate sustainability into business strategies. These strategies reduce millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year.

The company is scaling rapidly as a trusted data source of past, current and future greenhouse gas emissions for every industrial facility in the world. Stephan looks forward to helping industrial leaders use capital to reduce emissions, helping governments monitor progress of policies and helping financial institutions understand climate risk in their portfolios.


Eavor Technologies Inc. is based on a new geothermal power generation technology and offers scalable clean power anywhere. President and CEO John Redfern MBA'88D is working towards a virtuous cycle of innovation through implementation that lowers costs and increases use of this new clean energy solution.

Because Eavor’s core business model relies on renewable energy, it is inherently sustainable. Eavor offers a truly green, carbon-free energy source with minimum externalities, no vulnerable supply chain and small surface footprint. When installed, these clean power plants can last 100 year or more, use less water and improve resilience to disaster. The company found a challenge in moving their own operations towards sustainability, even as they help their clients do the same. 

Founder John Redfern sees INSEAD as an integral part of the foundation on which Eavor is built. He relied on the alumni community as a source of insight and inspiration before the tech was invented. The company was international from its outset – headquartered in Calgary with projects in Germany, founders in LA and funding from Asia. Redfern tapped into vibrant business environments where progressive populations look to form healthy societies. He encourages entrepreneurs to focus on the societal benefits and business success will follow.

Now, Eavor considers resistance from entrenched competitors as an indicator that the company is on the right track. They see this resistance from oil and gas, but also competing renewables – wind, solar and storage. The company remains focused on working with governments to create the right regulatory frameworks for clean energy solutions to thrive. 


EcoVadis is the world’s largest and most trusted provider of business sustainability ratings. Since its founding in 2007, under the guidance of Co-Founder and Co-CEO Pierre-François Thaler MBA'99D, EcoVadis has created a global network of more than 125,000 rated companies.

Pierre-François credits this success to several factors. EcoVadis flipped the narrative to demonstrate that sustainability isn’t a true cost, but a mine of opportunity. They show that suppliers with great ratings win more business from key B2B customers. They speak about the tangible value of sustainability in language that resonates with diverse stakeholders, such as procurement organisations and SMEs. And they develop useful metrics and ratings. It has been a long journey, with resilience and focus as key factors for building the business. 

According to Pierre-François, INSEAD is the best incubator to meet the partners on this journey. The MBA taught him to look beyond profits and see the potential for business as a catalyst for positive change. EcoVadis was founded on the principle that the world needs businesses that genuinely make a difference. He encourages INSEAD students to start with the ‘why’ and let that be their compass.

For EcoVadis, the horizon holds a vision of scaling impact and leveraging synergies. They want to connect technology and human insight to make sustainability assessment more dynamic, predictive and integrated into global supply chains. The company also plans to take on new topics such as decarbonization and regulatory compliance.

The Future of Business is Sustainable 

It is an undeniable truth that INSEAD alumni are a force for good. Our community of leaders are innovating business models for the sustainability era. Companies that do well by doing good can inspire more business leaders to integrate and innovate sustainability into their business models.  

The Hoffmann Institute will continue to champion those who are leading today to inspire others to grow the sustainable businesses of tomorrow. The Business Sustainability Awards provide a glimpse into the future of business and prove that profit and positive impact are possible in the same business model. Now is the time to work together and make those models the new normal. 

The Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society would like to recognize all the nominees of the 2023 INSEAD Business Sustainability Awards. We also thank INSEAD Advancement, the San Francisco Hub for Business Innovation, the INSEAD Knowledge Team and all partners and participants of the Americas Conference. We look forward to future editions of the Awards and the Conference. 

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