The COVID‐19 crisis has largely confirmed the limits of the current way in which our societies work and strengthened the pressing need to redefine our priorities, our economic models and our organisations. Prof. Anne-Claire Pache and Chantal Dardelet, Executive Director of the Together initiative, on the launch of a strategic project at ESSEC Business School.
ESSEC Together: Ecological and social transition in action by Anne-Claire Pache and Chantal Dardelet.
“Involvement has always been a part of the ESSEC DNA and social innovation has always remained one of the major strategic focus areas of the institution,” states Prof. Anne-Claire Pache, Director of the Together strategic initiative and a leading academic in the fields of philanthropy and social innovation. “Together is the fruit of deep and sincere collective consultation on the transformations our societies need – as much as on social as environmental themes that we consider very closely linked. The global crisis we are going through today shows us the extent to which the need is urgent.”
Getting it all…Together
Developed over a period of 18 months in consultation with all the stakeholders within the ESSEC community, and endorsed by ESSEC’s Dean and President, Vincenzo Vinzi, Together aims todeeply transform the school in its every dimension: teaching, research, and campus life. The official internal launch took place on January 20th, 2020 within the framework of a day’s training on the theme of “Climate and Companies” that assembled the whole of the ESSEC community – the Executive Committee, directors, professors, staff, students and alumni – in a unique workshop centred around awareness. And action.
“Together is an approach to transition which aims to be radical in its capacity to transform the school,” asserts Chantal Dardelet, Executive Director of Together. “It’s holistic in order to impact all of its employees, skills and areas of activity, co‐constructed with all the school’s stakeholders, and finally reflexive because ESSEC commits itself to applying to itself what it promotes.”
Together goes deep, goes far
A number of Together initiatives have already been launched within the ESSEC, in synch with the urgent need to change the curve of climate warming to avoid overstepping the +2°C in 2100, but also to contribute to the development of more inclusive economies – with fewer inequalities – and more respectful of men and women in their diversity. To give meaning to tomorrow’s leadership, ESSEC commits itself to three major areas:
- Environmental: to contribute to protecting the planet
- Social and local: in favour of the fight against social inequalities and in order to invent virtuous models of local development
- Societal: to become the those who craft the transformations required for the business school ecosystem and, more widely, our societies.
“Moreover,” states Prof. Pache, “we will also encourage the development of our faculty research to focus on social and environmental stakes for companies and society and help in the development of relevant learning content.” On this note, the Council on Business & Society, an alliance of 7 international business schools that works on these issues and themes, will provide support in terms of this development on an international scale. ESSEC will also continue to construct a diverse and inclusive society by increasing the number of its students with scholarships from 22% today to 27% by 2023 through a strengthening of the school’s policy of gender equality and respect for others.
“Finally,” asserts Prof. Pache, “we want to anchor ESSEC in the regions in which we operate, notably via the development of the circular economy around our campuses.”
Ambitions that live up to the stakes
Among the first 50 transformation projects the Together initiative will tackle:
- 100% of ESSEC students will be trained in contemporary environmental and social issues. From the beginning of the new academic year 2020-2021, every student in full-time studies will follow a substantial and mandatory programme on climate issues and challenges.
- Knowledge and resources will be developed on issues related to the transition via the large-scale participation of faculty. In September 2020, a new “Climate and Companies” MOOC will be launched in partnership with the consulting firm Carbone4 and a “Sustainability Case Factory” created to produce and disseminate case studies adapted to contemporary issues and stakes.
- An exemplary environmental management system will be set up for all ESSEC campuses by notably committing to reducing the school’s carbon footprint by 25% in the next three years, by proposing healthier and more local food in the various catering outlets on our campuses, and by increasing the number of eco-citizenship workshops.
- The development of the social diversity of the school’s students will be continued. As such, the objective to reach is set at 27% of students benefitting from scholarships at Grande Ecole level (compared to 22% today) in order to enrich companies with more diverse leaders.
- ESSEC will be a model school firmly anchored in its local contexts where new practices in diversity and inclusion will be tested. The Equal Opportunities Centre will coach twice as many secondary school establishments by 2022, with the training of nearly 2,500 teachers for an impact among 60,000 school students in 400 secondary schools in the area.
- ESSEC will accompany the transformation of France’s higher education ecosystem and organisations by contributing, among other initiatives, to the FORTES Project with the Campus de la Transition.
“As such, it is the whole of ESSEC Business School that reinvents itself and replies to the expectations of its students and other stakeholders by transforming its pedagogy, its research and its campus life,” says Anne-Claire Pache. “The social and ecological transition which we’re just entering is essential,” adds Chantal Dardelet. “And it is our responsibility as a leading business school to train responsible leaders.”
- Read a related article: Sustainability Transformation: Triggering the change
- Follow the Together initiative via Twitter @TOGETHERessec1
- Join the Together community via LinkedIn
- Discover and explore ESSEC Business School France-Singapore-Morocco.
Learn more about the Council on Business & Society
The Council on Business & Society (The CoBS), visionary in its conception and purpose, was created in 2011, and is dedicated to promoting responsible leadership and tackling issues at the crossroads of business and society including sustainability, diversity, ethical leadership and the place responsible business has to play in contributing to the common good.
Member schools are all “Triple Crown” accredited AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA and leaders in their respective countries.