On the way to an ambitious social & ecological transition

Vincenzo Esposito Vinci tells us about how ESSEC is trying to contribute to a more sustainable future economy. Banner image: © pixelfit /Getty Images
On the way to an ambitious social & ecological transition

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Environmental challenges and current health and social issues have forced us to rethink our organisations, economic systems and management models. We recognise that the fight against climate change constitutes the most important challenge facing humanity; taking on that fight requires profound changes within business schools, as well as a willingness to reconsider their impact on the planet and on society. A major transition—social, democratic and technological—is necessary to build a sustainable future.

After 18 months of concerted work by its community, in May 2020 ESSEC Business School launched its strategic initiative of environmental and social transition. This programme aims to transform the institution comprehensively—reaching across all of its activities (training, research, life on the different campuses) and out to all of its stakeholders (students, staff, faculty and instructors, supervisors and partners)—to bring them fully on board with the environmental, social and societal expectations that we must meet.

Our goals

In accordance with this new strategy, ESSEC has set itself three major objectives: 

  • Provide answers to environmental challenges 
  • Fight against social inequalities and invent virtuous development models in connection with the local region
  • Drive transformation in educational ecosystems and more broadly in society.

A profound transition

The changes announced at ESSEC are already underway. They entail a profound transition that is ready to reassess established practices through a holistic approach, including all areas and activities of the school. These changes reflect new ways of operating by combining efficiency and respect for the environment. Ultimately, change is being progressively enacted by all of the school’s stakeholders—not only our professors and staff, but also our students, alumni and partners. Our transformation is both mindful of the severity of the situation and confident in our collective capacity to find solutions and new managerial practices that promote a fairer, more sustainable, and more inclusive world. 

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The ESSEC environmental and social transition initiative

These objectives have been deployed through nine work plans that cover all the topics we wish to address:

  • Training and pedagogy
  • Research
  • Climate
  • Waste and the circular economy
  • Biodiversity
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Local and regional anchoring
  • Alumni

Our flagship achievements in 2020-2021

After the first year of the transformation, ESSEC has already made great strides in addressing environmental and social issues, relying on collective intelligence to imagine solutions and new managerial practices that promote a more inclusive, sustainable and supportive world. Today, the transformation of all our pre-experience programmes has been launched, the reduction of our carbon footprint has begun, the circular economy approach is being strengthened, and new tools such as the Diversity Fresco are emerging.

 2021-2022: Many projects to go even further

  • ESSEC Cergy Campus is being rebuilt: its three new buildings will bring significant environmental added-value; at the same time, ESSEC is continuing the thermal insulation of the oldest and most energy-intensive buildings
  • On the question of energy, in addition to the reduction in energy consumption that we are to achieve we should also produce green energy for self-consumption with the installation of a photovoltaic plant on our roofs in 2022
  • Regarding travel, a plan for more responsible international mobility is being developed by the various programmes
  • ESSEC also intends to intensify its policy for more “Responsible Digital” usage by signing the eponymous charter and increasing the number of awareness workshops on our equipment and our use of digital tools

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Future of Education & Skills Future of Work Tackling COVID-19 Climate SDGs