Sustainability Initiative

Envisioning and Implementing Sustainable Business Transformation

A better way to shape the future

01:09Sustainability - Ep.3 Capitalism must rediscover its purpose
Capitalism must rediscover its purpose
Knut Haanaes, Professor of Strategy and Lundin Sustainability Chair at IMD, paints a picture of how sustainability can shape the future.

Open Programs

IMD's open enrollment programs are increasingly incorporating responsible business leadership and sustainable practices as key themes, for example within courses on marketing, digital, strategy, leadership, supply chain, finance, family business and entrepreneurship.

IMD is also introducing targeted courses on sustainability, such as the Winning Sustainability Strategies program and the Master of Science in Sustainable Management and Technology.

Discover all our open programs

Leading Sustainable Business Transformation
Build your smart roadmap for a sustainable business future
Leading Sustainable Business Transformation provides you with a complete business transformation journey through the lens of sustainability.
Years of experience: 10+
New, Blended
Duration: 3 days liVe virtual, 5 weeks online, 3 days on campus
Fee: 9'900 CHF
Winning Sustainability Strategies
Embed sustainability into the core of your business
Embed sustainability into the core of your business and create your own sustainability plan for lasting change.
Years of experience: 5+
New, Online
Fee: 1'950 CHF

Latest articles

Press article
Net-zero companies – what CFOs can do
Topics: Sustainability, Leadership, Financial Regulation
By Natalia Olynec - 8 July 2021
A truly inclusive strategy is one that is supported by the whole company and has a high level of employee engagement.
5 min. read
Press article
What a truly inclusive strategy looks like
Topics: Sustainability, Team, Leadership
By James Henderson - 4 June 2021
A truly inclusive strategy is one that is supported by the whole company and has a high level of employee engagement.
5 min. read
Accelerating the sustainability transition
Topics: Sustainability, Finance
By Vanina Farber and Patrick Reichert - 1 June 2021
Where to start and how to maintain the transition to sustainable business models.
6 min. read
Sustainability: From the drawing board into the business
Topics: Sustainability
By Knut Haanaes, Frédéric Dalsace, James Henderson - 19 April 2021
The first steps towards creating a credible sustainable business, is to clearly frame what sustainability really means for your organization and ensure cross-organizational buy-in.
5 min. read
What should your sustainability strategy look like?
Topics: Sustainability
By Knut Haanaes, James Henderson - 12 April 2021
Applying clear parameters to enable a clear sustainable agenda is vital to business, societal and planetary needs. Here are six simple recommendations for your business to become more focused on sustainability.
5 min. read
Why 2021 is the year to focus on sustainability
Topics: Sustainability
By Knut Haanaes, Natalia Olynec, James Henderson - 6 April 2021
In the first of a three-part series, we outline why adopting a sustainable business approach is a profitable, future-proof business strategy.
5 min. read

Sustainability: A better way to shape the future

In these mini case studies exploring climate change, greenwashing, capitalism and ecological disasters, Knut Haanaes, Professor of Strategy and Lundin Sustainability Chair at IMD, paints a picture of how sustainability can shape the future.

Find out more IMD's cases

Award winning case studies

IMD translates sustainability research to action. See all our latest sustainability case studies.
Case study
Ecoalf: because there is no planet B
Topics: Sustainability
By Professor Benoit F. Leleux and Thomas Brochier - 1 October 2020
ECOALF was born from the belief of Javier Goyeneche that something had to be done to ensure the sustainability of the planet.
2 min. read
Case study
PMI's Vision of a Smoke-free Future
Topics: Sustainability
By Vanina Farber and Natalia Olynec - 11 February 2021
CEO Andre Calantzopoulos announced in 2016 a radical pivot in the Marlboro cigarette manufacturer's strategy: the company would shift to 'smoke-free' products in more than 180 countries around the world.
3 min. read
Case study
Patagonia's sustainability strategy: Don’t buy our products
Topics: Sustainability
By Francisco Szekely and Zahir Dossa - 1 February 2018
In 2005, Patagonia launched the Common Threads Recycling Program. The goal was to reduce the number of products Patagonia customers purchased through a two-fold effort.
3 min. read

Latest books

Winning Sustainability Strategies
Topics: Sustainability
By Benoit F. Leleux and Jan Van der Kaaij - 15 December 2018
Despite recent optimism and global initiatives, the implementation of corporate sustainability programs has been slow at best, with less than a third of global companies having developed a clear business case for their…
The elea Way
Topics: Sustainability
By Vanina Farber, Peter A. Wuffli by - 28 April 2022
Social entrepreneurship and impact investing contribute to a more inclusive capitalism and bring innovative solutions to global challenges, such as fighting poverty and protecting planet earth. This book offers practical…
Award-winning book
Where the Wild Things Were
Topics: Sustainability
By Susan Goldsworthy and Sydney Goldsworthy - 23 September 2019
This is written for both children and adults to entertain and educate. Join storytime as Grandma recounts her adventures with an alphabet of wild animals to her granddaughter, Little Dove. But with species loss…
Award-winning book
Beyond the Triple Bottom Line
Topics: Sustainability
By Francisco Szekely with Zahir Dossa - 27 June 2017
Many recent books make the case for businesses to become more sustainable, but few explain the specifics. In this book, Francisco Szekely and Zahir Dossa offer a pragmatic new business model for sustainability that…
Award-winning book
Topics: Strategy, Change Management, Top Team
By Anand Narasimhan and Jean-Louis Barsoux - 11 February 2014
This book identifies and addresses the seven transformation journeys that are reshaping corporations today. It integrates and builds on the collective experience and learning of IMD's professors,who work directly with…

Case of the month

Building a brand on values was never easy but sustainability superseded those reservations and impacted everyone. Indeed, there was no planet B. This award winning case, written by Professor Benoit F. Leloux and Thomas Brochier, is the July IMD Case of the Month.  

01:00IMD Case of the Month - ECOALF: because there is no planet B
ECOALF: because there is no planet B
In 2010 entrepreneurially-minded Javier Goyeneche set off on a mission to “transform what others call waste into amazing products.”

Leading Sustainable Business Transformation Discovery Event

Our planet, societies and businesses are at a crossroads. Globally, there is a growing awareness of devastating climate impacts that are unfolding and stark disparities in social and political equity. COVID-19 has thrown the interlinked issues of climate, health and social equity into an ever sharper and more unforgiving focus. It is clear the time for real sustainability transformation is now. download the Discovery Event white paper (PDF)

Discover more IMD Nexus events about sustainability.

Discovery Event white paper

Interactive Teaching

Sustainability Signals™ is both a web-based tool and physical card deck. It is flexible and can be used independently to familiarize participants with the sustainability trends/signals influencing the world or in combination with other sessions for visioning exercises, competitive analysis, and stress testing business models.
It can be used in liVe and online programs in sessions spanning 10-400+ participants.
Sustainability Cards
Knut Haanaes
Professor Knut Haanaes
Professor of Strategy and International Management

Knut Haanaes' research and teaching focuses on strategy, sustainability, strategic renewal and business models. He is co-author of the best-selling book Your Strategy Needs a Strategy and a successful TED speaker, and…

Salvatore Cantale
Professor Salvatore Cantale
Professor of Finance

Salvatore Cantale is Professor of Finance at IMD. His major research and consulting interests are in value creation, valuation, and the way in which corporations structure liabilities and choose financing options.…

Carlos Cordon
Professor Carlos Cordon
Professor of Strategy and Supply Chain Management

Carlos Cordon is a Professor of Strategy and Supply Chain Management.

Professor Cordon's areas of interest are digital value chains, supply and demand chain management, digital lean and process management.

Carlos Cordon is…

Frederic Dalsace
Professor Frederic Dalsace
Professor of Marketing and Strategy

Frédéric Dalsace is a Professor of Marketing and Strategy at IMD. Prior to that, he spent 16 years as a Professor at HEC Paris, where he held the Social Business / Enterprise and Poverty Chair presided by Nobel Laureate…

Vanina Farber
Professor Vanina Farber
elea Professor of Social Innovation

Vanina Farber is Dean of the Executive MBA. She is an economist and political scientist specializing in social innovation, corporate social responsibility and sustainable finance with more than 20 years of consultancy,…

Susan Goldsworthy
Professor Susan Goldsworthy
Affiliate Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change

As a former Olympic finalist, award-winning writer, executive coach, and speaker with more than 20 years of corporate experience with large multinationals, Susan Goldsworthy brings knowledge from the fields of sport,…

James Henderson
Professor James Henderson
Professor of Strategic Management

James Henderson is an expert on strategic agility, or the development and implementation of strategy under uncertainty. His research focuses on competitive strategy, corporate strategy, digital transformation, ecosystems…

Natalia Olynec, Head of Sustainability at IMD
Natalia Olynec
Head of Sustainability at IMD

Natalia is the Head of Sustainability at IMD, where her work focuses on research, program development, strategy, governance, reporting and advisory. She has worked in sustainability management, consulting and education…

Karl Schmedders
Professor Karl Schmedders
Professor of Finance

Karl Schmedders is Professor of Finance at IMD.

Karl's research focuses on quantitative methods in finance. He applies numerical solution techniques to complex economic and financial models shedding light on relevant…

Michael Yaziji
Professor Michael Yaziji
Professor of Strategy and Leadership

Michael Yaziji is an award-winning author whose work spans leadership and strategy. He is recognized as a world-leading expert on non-market strategy and NGO-corporate relations and has a particular interest in ethical…

Our Core Focus Areas

IMD's core focus areas reflect both how the institution influences others to contribute to sustainability through its teaching, research and outreach, and how it embeds sustainable processes and behaviors into its own culture and operations.

Sustainability wheel

Materiality Framework

Focusing where IMD and stakeholder interests converge.
Materiality framework chart

Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Our approach to sustainability is aligned with the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). PRME seeks to deliver the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 through responsible management education.

This decade is known as the Decade of Action for the SDGs and IMD is committed to doing its part to meet these ambitions through its scope to teach, research, convene and develop business and not-for-profit leaders.

Five core UN SDGs
IMD's five core focus areas align and generate positive impact for five of the UN SDGs

E4S Master program

Based on the conviction that institutions of higher learning have a responsibility to help individuals and organizations overcome societal challenges and identify opportunities, IMD partnered with three leading Swiss academic institutions, the University of Lausanne through, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to create Enterprise for Society (E4S).

E4S formally launched a new, joint masters degree in sustainable management and technology starting in September 2021 to prepare tomorrow’s leaders to drive this ambitious business transition.

Discover more about the program

E4S masters degree in sustainable management and technology
The Master of Science in Sustainable Management and Technology (SMT) program's aim is to equip the entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs of the future with the knowledge and skills enabling them to contribute to the transition toward a more resilient, environmentally responsible and inclusive economy while harnessing the power of technology.
As 'purpose' as a guiding element in business strategy, but also in leadership in general, is becoming increasingly important and differentiating, it is good to have a combined perspective from for-profit and from non-profit executives. Sharing and understanding both perspectives, seeing the commonalities between them and learning.
David Verschoor, Director Marketing, Partnerships & Communication
“Following a leadership course with executives from the for-profit sector exposes us to another way of working and makes for a very intense and dynamic learning experience. It is essential to exchange with peers from other sectors in order to broaden one’s perspective.”
Senior Resource Mobilization Manager, ICRC
03:07Global Management Foundations - Live Project Week: Medair
Global Management Foundations - Live Project Week: Medair
The GMF students helped Medair, a Swiss-based non-profit humanitarian organization, improved its impact
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