To change the norms of global business in line with the globally agreed goals, we have to equip our students and participants with the tools they need to transform business and society. We need to bring the SDGs into the classroom, put them in focus with research and engage with our partners on the critical topic of sustainability. As the Business School for the World, INSEAD wants to shape global growth by developing leaders who champion business as a force for good and innovate new, sustainable business models.
Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD, Academic Director, the Hoffmann Institute
In our first year, we heard the need to bring INSEAD and the SDGs closer together and are excited for the future. When I speak with our students, professors and staff, I hear over and over that sustainable development is the key to a prosperous future where healthy communities thrive on a healthy planet. When I meet with alumni and other business leaders, I hear the same thing. People want to be part of this global movement towards a future defined by sustainability. INSEAD has an important role to play in making that happen.
Katell Le Goulven, Executive Director, the Hoffmann Institute
Whether through education, research, or innovative business ideas many of us at INSEAD want to make a positive impact. Explicitly bringing the SDGs into our teaching and research helps us focus this collective energy on the world’s most pressing issues.
Mark Stabile, Deputy Academic Director, the Hoffmann Institute
This page will be updated frequently, be sure to check back regularly to stay #SDGSMART!
The INSEAD Gender Initiative publishes research on gender and diversity issues in line with the SDGs. The Initiative also hosts a series of Women at Work conferences that convene leading academics to share insights and discuss practical evidence-based gender solutions.
By convening an interdisciplinary team of scholars from across INSEAD, the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Centre for the Study of Wealth Inequality aims to generate new insights about inequality problems and harness the power of business to solve them. It connects the lab with the classroom to ignite new ideas; spur discourse and debate; shape business education; and inspire leaders to take action.
The 2017 case on Supply Chain Hubs in Global Humanitarian Logistics is a resource for governments and multilateral organizations improve humanitarian relief. The case is a product of the Humanitarian Research Group, which produces research that has proven useful in focusing response to Ebola outbreaks in the DRC and shaping humanitarian action following disasters.
The new Bianca and James Pitt Chair in Environmental Sustainability demonstrates INSEAD’s ongoing commitment to address the critical environmental issues business and society are facing. It will support knowledge creation targeted at sustainable operations management, the circular economy, and extended producer responsibility. Professor Atalay Atasu will serve as the first Chair holder in recognition of his teaching and research in this area. The gift is evidence that INSEAD alumni endorse the school’s commitment to address sustainable business and societal impact in light of the environmental crisis.
The INSEAD Healthcare Management Initiative was founded on the belief that many of the systemic challenges of the healthcare industry globally can benefit from the application of principles that stem from rigorous, evidence-based thought leadership. As the world’s leading global business school, INSEAD is uniquely positioned to contribute to the creation and dissemination of knowledge in this space. Faculty research is multi-disciplinary, with recent studies deepening our understanding of processes for more effective clinical trials, exploring the role of social and policy factors on public health outcomes, evaluating the impact of marketing on consumer health choices, and modelling how process improvements in healthcare delivery can enhance patient value.
Professors and researchers at INSEAD produce high-impact work. For example, Professor Pierre Chandon studies innovative marketing solutions to align business growth with consumer health. He currently works with supermarkets to understand how consumers can make better choices when buying food products.
Network for Business Sustainability Centres Workshops that bring together academic researchers and experts to address key challenges. INSEAD has hosted many of these over the years and intends to continue to do so, inspiring more and more faculuty and researchers to focus on sustainability topics and discuss the global challenges we face.
A research Hackathon under the auspice of the Initiative for Academic Collaboration in the Middle East and North Africa, initiated by Ithai Stern, brought faculty from Egypt, Israel, Tunisia, Iran, and Syria, and Turkey who gathered in 10 teams to develop, in less than 36 hours, research proposals on the use of strategy and entrepreneurship tools to address Middle East problems such as Palestinian workers compensation in Israel, minority owned SMEs, and helping refugees through entrepreneurship.
The Society for Progress was initiated in 2013 by Subramanian Rangan, professor of strategy and management at INSEAD. The school, through its partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council, has supported the research, meetings, and activities of the Society. INSEAD Dean Ilian Mihov, a Princeton trained macro-economist, affirms the initiative resonates with the evolving roles of business and business schools. “If science must be a force for truth, business must be a force for good,” he notes. “This research will support the development of leaders and entrepreneurs with competence and character.”
This group of scholars and leaders who believe that integrating perspectives from moral and social philosophy will help evolve the decentralised economic system (“capitalism”) in a manner that better integrates markets and society, humans and nature, and the present and future. In 2016, it launched the Progress Medals Ceremony to award medals for pioneering research and leadership. Their work was published in two books: Performance & Progress: Essays on Capitalism, Business, and Society, and Capitalism Beyond Mutuality? Perspectives Integrating Philosophy and Social Science.
The book Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing published in 2017 by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne explores applications of the blue ocean strategy framework. This aligns with the Blue Ocean Strategy Institute research objective to develop social applications that bring business creation strategies to the developing world to mitigate poverty and improve education and health.
Around the school, there are many examples of award winning and innovative knowledge creation for a sustainable future. We publish this research on our INSEAD Knowledge platform to make it freely accessible as a resource.
Master Strategist Day is the evaluation of the core strategy course. On the day, students divide into sections to analyse a real organisation’s pressing strategic issues. Then, each section develops recommendations supported by Bain & Company mentors. At the end of the day, each section presents ideas to the organisation’s CEO and a panel of INSEAD judges.
In 2018, the organisation selected for MSD was the Unjani Clinic, a network of nurse-owned and nurse-operated healthcare clinics in South Africa. Unjani provides affordable care to underserved communities. The MSD strategic challenge centred on how to grow Unjani’s network of clinics to 1,000 by 2030, with a sustainable funding model built in. Adding a new dimension to MSD, MBA students could bid for a ‘Business as a Force for Good Practicum’ as part of their electives that involved hands-on work with the Unjani Clinic in South Africa. Students identified knowledge gaps and work on-site to train to nurses leading the clinics.
Our latest elective innovation is the SDG Bootcamp, a workshop focusing on problem framing, ideation and prototyping. The Bootcamp gives students a toolkit to address real-world problems in line with action on the SDGs. In June 2019, the SDG Bootcamp and Business Sustainability Thinking were recognized with the Page Prize for Excellence in Sustainable Business Education.
The INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Programme creates social and economic value through collaboration with entrepreneurs, companies, investors and the public sector.
The MBA curriculum addresses sustainability topics in seven core courses, covering 33% of total content, with a key role in Public Policy, Political Environment and Business Ethics courses. Nineteen elective courses address sustainability, including Business Sustainability Thinking, Strategy and Impact, Social Entrepreneurship, Strategies for the Bottom of the Pyramid and Economics and Management in Developing Countries to name a few.
Sustainability and business and society outcomes are also integrated throughout the curriculum. The year begins with an Inclusive Leader session on diversity, equity and inclusion. Courses cover business and society issues such as the recent Master Strategy Day.
Scholarships are another way that INSEAD engages around sustainability and inclusive education as outlined in the SDGs. Some scholarships recognise applicants with a strong passion for business as a force for good. We award scholarships for social entrepreneurship and social enterprise and a young leader’s fellowship.
Our scholarships that cover Social Entrepreneurship issues bring diverse perspectives to each INSEAD MBA class. Recent recipients include an electric vehicle drivetrain designer and a tutor for disadvantaged children.
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We engage our alumni community and build relationships with public and private sector organisations that result in real world impact.
In January 2020, the Hoffmann Institute will co-sponsor the SDG Tent in Davos alongside the World Economic Forum for the second year in a row. In the tent, INSEAD will convene leaders from business, government and academia to discuss business education in development and accelerate progress towards the SDGs.
Last year in the SDG Tent, the Hoffmann Institute – under the guidance of our patron André Hoffmann – held panel discussions and workshops. Academics and school leaders discussed how to transform business education in line with societal needs and technological progress. We put the Davos conversation into the context of day-to-day reality faced by leaders of business and society. The tent is a space for open discussion around the role of business in helping to achieve more sustainable and inclusive development.
The Hoffmann Institute is the Academic Partner of the ChangeNOW International Summit for Change for the second year in a row. Through this partnerhsip the Hoffmann Institute will bring INSEAD research and knowledge to practitioners and leaders.
The INSEAD Social Impact Award provides financial support for MBA students that pursue an internship in public, not‐for‐profit sectors, for-profit social ventures and social investment firms with clear social or environmental purpose.
Through partnership with Cartier, INSEAD raises the profile of women entrepreneurs and supports their successful ventures by providing them with coaching and mentoring.
May 2019, the Cartiers Women's Initiative celebrated twenty-one entrepreneurial women in San Francisco. They were all company founders or co-founders chosen largely due to the strong social impact of their companies. The companies and women recognised by partners Cartier and INSEAD are inspirational, creative and dynamic – and they are leading the way to a better future for all.
The MBA Impact Investing Network & Training programme gives hands-on impact investing experience and trains the next generation to think like an impact investor.
A student-led Social Enterprise Consulting Experience connects students with social enterprises with support from leading consulting firms.
GEMBA students have challenged the INSEAD community to run the 20,000km distance that connects the school’s four locations with proceeds to benefit Girl Rising, a charity that educates and empowers girls around the world.
Another project involves the Energy Club and Career Development Centre providing solar electricity to not-for-profit organisations around the world.
Webinars and master classes on sustainability for alumni series featuring thought leaders that include INSEAD professors and WWF president Pavan Sukdhev.
INSEAD’s Career Development Centre supports the students’ initiatives to learn and gain exposure to business as a force for good. Partnerships are key to these efforts. The CDC works collaboratively with other INSEAD stakeholders such as the INDEVOR student social impact club, faculty and alumni to gather information, identify recruitment champions and source relevant social impact job opportunities for students.
Each new student intake participates in a SPLASH Project, a team-building exercise with social purpose that benefits local communities. Since 2007, thousands of children have benefitted from the 29 MBA SPLASH Projects held to date. During academic years 2015-2018, a total of 1,420 INSEAD participants took part in SPLASH Community Projects. For example, a 2015/2016 academic year project featured 210 MBA students working for three days to build a playground for The Haven in Singapore, a residential home that services children and young people lacking care from their own families. Splash Projects extend to executive education participants and INSEAD staff.
More projects available here.
The Hoffmann Institute has worked to produce a comprehensive Sustainbability report for INSEAD detailing their initiatives and contributions to all aspects of sustainability. The report has received certification marks by the Global Reporting Initiative, or GRI, the world’s most widely adopted global sustainability reporting standards. The report notably includes SDG mapping against these standards.
The school prioritises faculty and staff health. We provide free psychological counselling, First Aid training and wellness programmes to promote health, wellness and self-care. INSEAD enacted a Code of Ethical Conduct in 2016 that outlines principles of fairness and lack of conflicts of interest, non-discrimination and respect for people and laws. A 2018 Global Anti-Harassment Policy protects against discrimination, sexual harassment and abusive behaviour. Regular working condition surveys monitor the results of workplace initiatives.
In our operations, we walk the talk with initiatives like carbon footprint analyses, sustainable waste management and sustainable procurement of goods and services. We have also made IT improvements to increase energy efficiency and strive for a paper-free future.
All of this can be found in INSEADs latest Sustainability report.
In September 2018, the INSEAD Asia Campus eliminated Single Use Plastic Water Bottles from programmes and events. The initiative is on-going on our Europe Camus and has been joined to INSEADs Europe Campus Renewal project. We are working work to provide alternatives to single use plastic water bottles, this also includes the installation of more water access points.
A series of social impact brownbag lunch seminars for staff allow faculty members to share their research on sustainability issues and discuss how to apply these business solutions in staff’s day jobs. A list of upcomming sessions will be available shortly.