How one business school focuses on sustainability teaching for a better tomorrow

sustainability transformations

We all know that focusing on sustainability in business school teaching is important in helping to address the climate challenges that our planet faces. We highlight how one business school in France is doing their bit. 

NEOMA Business School in France implemented a new Masters in Sustainability Transformations last year in September 2023 on their Reims campus, one of several sustainability pledges announced in the school’s 2023-2027 strategic plan, in line with the school’s commitment to delivering positive societal impact.

Recent reports demonstrate the urgency of the climate crisis. Large parts of the Torres Strait Islands could be uninhabitable by 2050, displacing islanders and submerging an entire country. On the opposite side of the world, an unprecedentedly wet winter has reduced crop yields, meaning the price of some food is expected to rise further during a cost of living crisis. Wherever the eye of the media falls, there is an abundant supply of examples showing why a more sustainable approach to life and business is necessary.

Against this backdrop, students from NEOMA Business School’s new MSc in Sustainability Transformations, a specialisation of the Master in Management (MiM), are taking action. 

2tonnes Workshop

In January, for instance, students led a workshop on how people can reduce their carbon footprints from over nine tonnes to just two tonnes per year by 2050, outlining several individual and collective actions that could be implemented.

The three-hour interactive “2tonnes Workshop” provided participants with practical skills that will help them to reduce their carbon footprints. At the same time, it aimed to deepen their understanding of their potential individual and combined impact on the climate over the next two and a half decades.

“At first, we present the concepts and challenges of climate change; participants have different levels of knowledge, and they learn from each other. They have eight rounds to gradually reduce from nine-10 tonnes to two tonnes by choosing their means of action. It’s interesting to compare the very different choices that all lead in the end to reducing one’s carbon footprint,” says Baptiste Gardair, an MSc in Sustainability Transitions student and 2tonnes Workshop facilitator.

“We were afraid of developing eco-anxiety, which is already present among young people. The strength of the workshop is to show that there are plenty of solutions,” says Anna Rousseau, another student facilitator.

NEOMACT – academic recognition for citizen projects

In addition to the new MiM specialisation, NEOMA’s strategic plan unveiled NEOMACT, a sustainability initiative which became operational at the start of the 2023-2024 academic year. The scheme’s mission is to empower students as changemakers in line with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The initiative provides a pathway through the curriculum for all NEOMA students, starting with determining their eco-profile. From there, it engages students in interactive online training to better understand climate and biodiversity challenges. Participating students develop the skills to take action on these issues and receive academic recognition for citizen projects with organisations working in the public’s interest at local, national, and international levels.

Introducing CSR referees for student associations

NEOMA has also introduced a new mandatory position for all student associations: RSE Referee. RSE (Responsabilité Sociétale des Entreprises) is equivalent to the concept of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). Through tailored training, the role of each RSE Referee will be to oversee the social responsibility approach of their respective associations and participate in the school’s governance bodies on matters concerning societal and environmental transformation.

Dany Leroux joined NEOMA’s MiM programme, alongside participating in various student associations.

“These associations revolve around fundamental themes such as sustainable development (the CSR Committee), promoting social diversity and equal opportunities (Envie d’Sup), and social and solidarity economy (Enactus). These associative commitments have deeply influenced my career choices, especially my passion for corporate social responsibility,” he says.

“These experiences converge to provide me with a range of professional skills while allowing me to contribute positively to our society.”

With new sustainability-focused programmes, the Masters in Sustainability Transformations,  as well as other projects and initiatives relating to making a positive impact, NEOMA Business School is committed to teaching crucial topics related to climate change, and it’s clear that the school is inspiring future leaders for a better tomorrow.

For additional insights, announcements and perspectives about Sustainability Initiatives, visit the conversation here.

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