INSEAD's latest offering: Leading the Business of Sustainability

Why are environmental, social and reputational issues important to businesses today? INSEAD's new programme aims to help executives understand just that, and to “reframe sustainability” from a constraint into an opportunity.

Reflecting the increasing importance of sustainability among businesses globally, international business school INSEAD has launched a new programme to help senior business executives understand it better, and to use it as an opportunity for profit.

The ‘Leading the Business of Sustainability’ programme will convene in a classroom an international group of business decision makers, as well as a limited number of regulators, professionals from the non-profit sector and social entrepreneurs in a five-day residential programme at  INSEAD’s Singapore campus starting 2nd November. 

Jean-Francois Manzoni, INSEAD Professor of Management Practice, holder of the Shell Chair in Human Resources & Organisational Development and Programme Director, noted that many organisations have not yet “fully appreciated the business opportunities associated with sustainability, often perceiving it as a ‘feel-good’ feature promising limited financial return”.

This leads to a lack of urgency and incentive in planning and investment, he said.

Fortunately, a number of innovative companies and their leaders are showing that there is a better way to face the challenge of sustainability.

Jean-Francois Manzoni, INSEAD Professor of Management Practice

“Fortunately, a number of innovative companies and their leaders are showing that there is a better way to face the challenge of sustainability. Rather than seeing it as a constraint on which they should try to do ‘not more than is necessary’, they embrace its underlying challenges as unavoidable trends and a call to action,” he added.

The INSEAD programme will explore these issues in detail and help business leaders understand the environmental, social and reputational issues most important to their stakeholders and how these can be aligned with a wider business plan, said Manzoni.

In a statement, the graduate business school said the course is “in response to the increasing pressure organisations are under to achieve financial returns with integrity and in ways that create environmental and/or social value”.

This pressure is leading companies to approach sustainability through isolated initiatives that aim to protect reputation. In contrast, the programme proposes to “reframe sustainability” from a constraint into an opportunity.

The executive programme will give importance to a ‘forward-thinking approach’ in business while creating value in its own right, it added.

The course will focus on four key areas, with pre-residential modules also offered to ensure that all participants come to the programme with a common knowledge base. The key areas are in strategy and innovation; stakeholder engagement; leadership and change; and measurement and reporting.

Michael Pich, INSEAD’s Dean of Executive Education, said the new programme is a “further illustration of INSEAD’s understanding of what businesses are going through, and of our commitment to best practice and leading thought in the area of sustainability”. 

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