Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society
Transforming business education to ensure that leaders and organisations benefit society and the environment.
Today, businesses, governments and communities are more aware than ever before of the need to integrate sustainability into their activities and are exploring new options for building a better world. This is a process that the Hoffmann Institute seeks to support by inspiring the entire school and the wider business world through its four-pillar strategy of knowledge, learning, engagement and walking the talk.
Research supported by the Hoffmann Institute represents a growing proportion of INSEAD output. During 2020/2021, the Institute worked with a third of resident faculty across all nine academic subject areas, financing 18 research projects, and helping to facilitate 15 case studies and 50 articles on topics related to sustainability – from “tech for good” to “chocolate without child labour”.
The Hoffmann Institute also partnered with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to sponsor two Hoffmann Fellowships for earlycareer academics. These are joint appointments between INSEAD and the WEF and specifically support research into food systems and data, the circular economy and the fourth industrial revolution.
Thanks to the generosity of Andrew Robb MBA’07J, INSEAD also created the Robb Case Fund for Business and Society to foster the writing of case studies on sustainability, with a special focus on diversity and inclusion, sustainable models and social impact.
As well as driving new insights, the Hoffmann Institute supports learning on sustainability at INSEAD and beyond. Activities in 2020/2021 included a collaboration with the MBA Programme on its Master Strategist Day (see the Degree Programmes section of this report for more details). The two intensive events enabled students to apply what they had learned about strategy to real-life, non-profit organisations. Another collaboration with MBA and Career Development Centre colleagues was the INSEAD Summer Start-up Tour (SSUP!). The two teams sponsored by the Institute focused on using technology to make fashion and food systems more sustainable.
Open to all Degree Programme students is the Hoffmann Institute €5,000 Social Impact Prize in the INSEAD Venture Competition. The winner in June 2021 was “Lulu”, a joint MBA-GEMBA team, which is using AI, integrated into assistive technology, to transform the lives of people with communication disabilities.
Learning is made available to the entire world through the range of online conversations hosted by the Hoffmann Institute, to which 13,000+ participants were welcomed over the course of 2020/2021. Speakers at the events included leaders such as Mark Carney, Finance Adviser to the Prime Minister for COP 26 and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance; Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme; Hubert Sagniéres MBA’86J, Executive Vice-Chairman of Essilor-Luxottica and campaigner for improving lives by improving sight; and Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation.
Learning is about much more than classrooms and webinars; hence the Institute’s multifaceted approach to engaging with the INSEAD community. In November 2020, the second annual INSEAD SDG Week took place to promote the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. This time, the event was virtual. Designed with the help of eight student clubs, it attracted 2,500 registrants from 70 countries.
March 2021 brought the launch of a brand-new initiative targeting an even wider audience. The Mission to Change podcast series features inspiring figures who have transformed or created businesses to inspire positive change. The first season covered topics including sustainable fashion and saving forests, while the second focussed on biodiversity. It continued into the new academic year with a special introduction from Hollywood icon and climate activist, Harrison Ford!
During 2020/2021, the Hoffmann Institute also fostered academic partnerships with the World Economic Forum, the ChangeNOW Summit – also supporting their biodiversity study; the Cartier Women’s Initiative; the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge and, in France, Le Club Les Echos Débats Engagement Responsable. These wide-ranging collaborations enable us to spread the word on sustainability far beyond the INSEAD community.
The Hoffmann Institute has a crucial mission to ensure that, internally, INSEAD applies its own messages about sustainability. In 2020/2021, this included aligning the school’s new Procurement Policy with the SDGs; supporting a “Community Impact Challenge” to make more sustainable food choices; publishing the INSEAD Sustainability Report; and gaining a silver medal from EcoVadis, the world’s only universal sustainability ratings provider.
Looking ahead to 2021/2022, we are excited to be entering an acceleration phase of our mission: to make sustainability everyone’s business.