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Sustainable innovation and CSR: SKEMA creates new pathway

Published on 16 July 2020

SKEMA is creating a new integrated pathway in sustainable innovation and corporate social responsibility (CSR) to train new “social and business transformers.”

​Photo: The commitment wall made by students at the Cop1 Etudiante event at the Cité Fertile in Paris on October 5 and 6, 2019.

Present in the Master in Management, Grande Ecole programme since its creation, the teaching of sustainable development, sustainable innovation and corporate social responsibility is going to be reinforced to constitute a course spanning the three years of the Grande Ecole programme (PGE).

The purpose of this learning experience will be to prepare students to become agents of change across both companies and society, which is one of the goals of SKEMA’s SKY25 strategic plan.

The Sustainable Innovation course offered in the first year (L3) of the PGE will now extend to the second year from the start of the 2020 academic year, resulting in a comprehensive experience covering the three years of the course. It will become an integral part of the SKEMA Way of Learning (cf. SKWoL).

SKEMA’s proprietary pedagogical model, SKWoL is intended to offer students the chance to reconcile their aspirations, their entrepreneurial dynamism and their civic engagement by playing an active role in society. Essentially, SKEMA wants to give its students the necessary keys and training to assist them in becoming the actors of change that businesses and society need.

A three-year programme (L3, M1, M2): building a comprehensive “social and business transformer” course

“This brand-new course enables students to integrate the key social, economic and environmental principles of sustainable development and CSR from the first semester of their course in the first year (L3) through to the final year (M2). By encouraging innovation and creativity, it aims to train social and business transformers who will provide solutions for the challenges of development and create new economies. After the first year (L3) course, students will complete their learning with one or two additional semesters in the second year (M1), focused on innovation and sustainable development. They will then start the specialisation of their choice in the final year (M2) to broaden their knowledge and skills in a specific industry and/or profession”

Sophie Gay, director of the Master in Management, Grande Ecole programme and Denis Boissin, deputy director of the programme and professor of environmental economics, who developed this new course together at SKEMA.

Finance, marketing… Concrete changes in the fundamentals of the PGE

From the start of the academic year, teaching in the core curriculum (L3/M1) will focus specifically on taking sustainable development into consideration in all business activities to be found at the heart of the company. The modules in finance, marketing, design thinking, information systems and strategy will be clearly geared towards setting up sustainability policies and the energy transition: how to put in place, organise, manage and develop sustainable development actions and policies within a company.

Each course will adopt a sustainable development perspective. For example, CSR will become Applied CSR with a very operational approach and concrete activities (in particular, the ISO 26000 standard); the International Finance module will be devoted to sustainable finance, etc.

Additionally, the Technology and Environment and Alternative Economies classes will highlight the role technology plays in environmental activities in complete harmony with SKEMA’s DNA.

Changes in the humanities too

Integrated into the ThinkForward continuum between the preparatory class and the Master in Management, Grande Ecole programme, the Philosophy and Society module will also include a sustainable development component at the start of the 2020 academic year to raise awareness in the first year (L3) for all new PGE entrants.

Creation of new MSc programmes

In addition to the creation of this new Sustainable Innovation and CSR course within its PGE, SKEMA announces the creation of two new programmes: the MSc Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Design which opens at the start of the 2020 academic year, and the MSc Sustainable Finance, scheduled to open at the start of the 2021 academic year.

SKEMA and sustainable development: more than 10 years of commitment

Since its creation in 2009, SKEMA has been a pioneer in the development of the SD/CSR reference system, formerly called the ‘Green Plan’, and has integrated its nine dimensions into its teaching. In 2010, it signed up to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) and became a member of its Global Compact.

In 2011, the school signed the Diversity Charter. It obtained the EESPIG label in 2015, thus becoming a private higher education institution of general interest. In 2016, it was awarded the Business School Impact System (BSIS) label by FNEGE and EFMD for its economic, social and environmental impact on the territories in which it is present. In 2018, the school restructured its OSR policy by adopting the ISO 26000 approach.

In 2019, SKEMA joined the Responsible Campus initiative created by Utopies, thus helping to integrate sustainable development into the teaching and operation of its campuses.

The year 2019 also saw the creation of the COP1 Étudiante event at the Cité Fertile by professors and students from the SKEMA Sustainable Innovation course.

The highlight of these initiatives is the launch of the new SKY25 2020-2025 strategic plan, which makes social impact and commitment one of the school’s priorities. In spring 2021, the school will organise the first Annual Climate Day. This will be held every year in a different form and will bring together SKEMA students, teachers and employees.

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