What is social impact and how to measure it?


This is a question that many business schools ask themselves in order to assess to what extent the programmes and teaching they deliver and the research and projects they undertake contribute to the advancement of responsible, ethical and sustainable management.

Not only schools but individuals might get caught up in formulating what social impact means for them and their communities, as proves the video survey below from SOCAP 17.

At the end of September 2019, Financial Times launched a call for examples of best practice with evidence of societal impact in research, teaching, student activities and operations.

The Financial Times asked business schools around the world to share examples of their activities with societal impact, around faculty research, teaching, student projects and their operations. The areas where the examples of best practice were sought included research, teaching, student projects and operations.

EFMD was pleased to be part of the panel of experts who had the chance to assess and consequently highlight those examples that they considered the most impressive.

The idea behind was not to create a system of rankings. The goal was to showcase schools’ initiatives, achievements and above all, to spark a wider discussion on how to measure the effectiveness of such initiatives.

This week, Financial Times shared the outcomes of the call in their article “Social purpose: how business schools around the world measure up”. The ample examples should motivate students, academics, schools and employers alike to cooperate, launch initiatives and develop new attitudes.

EFMD’s support of socially responsible initiatives

EFMD is a strong advocate of the social and environmental imperatives that must accompany business practices globally. Our commitment is to offer professionals and institutions involved with management learning and organisational development the opportunity to be part of a dynamic, relevant and diverse network, sharing the common objective of developing effective and socially responsible leaders and managers.

In recent years, we have launched and supported various initiatives and projects to creating positive change in this area, such as:

  • Inclusive Growth: Financial and Social Inclusion book by Howard Thomas, Senior Advisor, EFMD and Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Chief Global Economist at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth


  • Support for the Responsible Research in Business and Management (RRBM) Network

RRBM is a community dedicated to inspiring, encouraging, and supporting credible and useful research in the business and management disciplines. With some 1500 endorsers and about 100 institutional partners (schools, associations, journals), RRBM sponsors and encourages, among others activities, the Journal Special Issues, Awards and organises a yearly Responsible Research Summit.

RRBM website: https://rrbm.network

  • EFMD’s EQUIS & EPAS Accreditation Systems

Ethics, Responsibility & Sustainability is fully embedded into both of the EFMD international accreditation systems: EQUIS institutional accreditation since January 2013 and EPAS programme accreditation since January 2014.

We were the first accreditation body to give such importance to the responsible management issues in our accreditation standards; being an active agent of change in the management development industry.

More information on EQUIS is available here: https://efmdglobal.org/equis/

More information on EPAS is available here: https://efmdglobal.org/epas/

  • Sustainable Business Book Series

EFMD works with the Center for Industrial Productivity and Sustainability (www.cipsfoundation.com) and the Product-Life Institute, Europe’s oldest sustainability-based think tank and consultancy (www.product-life.org), to provide business communities with proven, training-based books, manuals, and videos to help managers engineer a more sustainable future for their companies.

A key component of our education portfolio is The Sustainable Business, an award-winning introduction to sustainability that is distributed as a free download in numerous languages.

Website: https://www.efmd.org/research/the-sustainable-business

  • Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative

EFMD signed in 2003 a partnership agreement with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and launched the Global Responsibility Invitation which in turn led to the creation of the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI). The GRLI exists to catalyse the development of globally responsible leadership and practice in business and society worldwide. Since its foundation by strategic partner EFMD and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in 2004, the GRLI now also counts the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International as a long-term strategic partner (since 2013).

Website: https://grli.org

  • Principles for Responsible Management Education

EFMD has worked closely with the UNGC since 2006 as a founding member in the development and formulations of The Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).

Website: http://www.unprme.org/index.php

  • Business in Society Gateway 

The Business in Society Gateway is part of the strategic partnership between EFMD and the Academy of Business in Society (ABIS). The Gateway is a comprehensive online resource centre featuring thought leadership and educational materials on issues related to business in society.

Website: http://www.businessinsociety.eu