Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society
Transforming business education to ensure that leaders and organisations benefit society and the environment.
In a year when the media reverberated with stories of war, climate change, food insecurity and social inequalities, the Hoffmann Institute’s mission to transform business education was more relevant than ever. This collaborative mission rests on a four-pillar strategy of knowledge, learning, engagement and “walking the talk”.
In 2021/2022, the Hoffmann Institute directly funded 19 research projects and supported sustainability research via six other funds, with total financial support of over €390,000. The Institute also supported six chairs and fellowships focused on such diverse topics as innovative business models, the circular economy, and sustainable finance and accounting. It was great to see projects supported in previous years win awards from the Case Centre and to see the school co-host the Responsible Research Summit 2022 with Wharton to ensure further knowledge generation in the future.
To help disseminate existing INSEAD-generated knowledge more widely, the Hoffmann Institute Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society Responsible Research Summit collaborated with colleagues at INSEAD Knowledge for its Crossroads series and released the second season of its own Mission to Change podcasts, exploring stories of inspirational figures and initiatives that are already transforming business.
In addition to working with colleagues in Degree Programmes and the Career Development Centre on curriculum innovations and summer work experiences, the Hoffmann Institute engaged directly with students on sustainability activities outside the classroom. For example, this year’s winners of the €5,000 Social Impact Prize in the twice-yearly INSEAD Venture Competition were Switch-E, which devised an algorithm to save energy and money while commercialising unused residential power, and SPOT which aims to help Africans without a credit record to rent homes.
Our collaboration with student clubs on the SDG Week – promoting the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals – is now an annual fixture. The hybrid event in November 2021 attracted the support of Accenture and 1,700 registrations. Later in the year, we followed up with the first-ever INSEAD Health Week and then INSEAD Earth Week for a deeper dive into these SDG-related topics.
The Institute also partnered with colleagues in Advancement on Lifelong Learning sessions addressing economic upheaval and diversity, equity and inclusion – two highly topical issues on which alumni are seeking to update their knowledge. Indeed, alumni engagement remains a priority for the Hoffmann Institute. During the year, we ensured that sustainability content was integrated into all alumni events. In addition, we worked directly with the alumni-led Community Impact Challenge initiative, which has now supported over 50 organisations committing to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 – with over 100 more in the early stages of their carbon reduction journey.
During 2021/2022, the Hoffmann Institute strengthened INSEAD’s strategic academic partnerships with InTent in the SDG Tent at the World Economic Forum, the ChangeNOW Summit; the Cartier Women’s Initiative; the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge and, in France, Le Club Les Echos Débats: Engagement Responsable. These collaborations enabled the school to engage on crucial sustainability topics with audiences far beyond the INSEAD community.
The Institute also facilitated INSEAD’s far-reaching relationships with United Nations agencies and entities. Dean Ilian Mihov continued to act as Chair for the Board of the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). And in September 2021, INSEAD joined the UN Women HeForShe Alliance, making new commitments to promoting gender equity at all internal levels – including a pledge for gender parity on the school’s Board of Directors by 2023.
Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021, staff from the Hoffmann Institute worked with seven other leading institutions to form the Business Schools for Climate Leadership (BS4CL), focusing its contribution on climate and inequality. This resulted in the production of a “Climate Leadership Toolkit” for businesses, which launched during the summit, with follow-up webinars in spring 2022.
Backing words with action – across every INSEAD campus, department, activity and role – is central to the Hoffmann Institute’s mission. Highlights of the year included our work with Campus Services and faculty members on long-term carbon reduction commitments and receiving a Gold Medal from EcoVadis, the world’s leading and most trusted provider of business sustainability evaluations. INSEAD’s overall score of 69 out of 100, places the school in the top 5% of all organisations assessed by the company and in the top 3% of all higher-education institutions – and marks continued improvement from the Silver Medal that we won in the previous year.