Academic collaboration between B Lab Switzerland and the Faculty of Economics and Management GSEM of the University of Geneva - to offer a concrete experience in responsible management
In a global context of environmental emergency and major social crises, the crucial role of business in the transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy is more evident than ever. With this in mind, B Lab Switzerland and the Faculty of Economics and Management of the University of Geneva have joined forces to offer a unique academic experience as part of the "Responsible Management" course by Prof. Judith Schrempf-Stirling during the Fall 2019 semester.
For an entire semester, the first year Master in Management students were offered the opportunity to work as “junior consultants” on real case studies with companies in the Geneva region, active in Switzerland and internationally. This project had the dual objective of training future changemakers and accompanying companies in their journey towards sustainability by identifying their potential for improvement (governance, employees, value chain, environment and positive impact business models).
Working in groups, the students were tasked with assessing the environmental and social impact of a company using the B Impact Assessment (BIA) tool and producing a report with recommendations. The recommendations were then evaluated according to their ease of implementation, the investment required or their materiality, as well as their suitability in relation to the companies' market trends.
This concrete learning experience, developed in the B lab's "B Academy" framework, allowed students to become aware of the challenges involved in responsible management practices, as well as the opportunities for positive impact throughout the value chain of Swiss companies.
Throughout the course, each group was able to benefit from the advice and guidance of B Lab Switzerland as well as the B Leaders, professionals trained in B Lab tools to conduct impact assessment and make analyses leading to positive transformations.
At the same time, students, companies and B Leaders appreciated taking part in this exercise anchored in the concrete, and everyone benefited from it. Following the success of this first collaboration, the initiators of the program are already exploring new avenues for a future edition. In addition to other collaborations in different regions of Switzerland. To be continued!
“We have received the formal and informal evaluations from our students and the majority of our students really appreciated the project a lot and enjoyed working with a company on a ‘real’ project to make a difference. It goes without saying that I enjoyed it too and think that this is one of the most meaningful student projects that I have done so far.”
Judith Schrempf-Stirling, Associate Professor of Responsible Management Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM)
"Anyone who finishes school today will work in an organization tomorrow and contribute to finding and implementing innovative solutions to meet the challenges of sustainable development. This collaboration supports a more practice-oriented approach to learning to foster operational competencies.”
Jonathan Normand, Founder & CEO of B Lab Switzerland
“This group project in collaboration with B Lab not only allowed us to gain a foothold in the corporate world but also to see how Swiss companies position themselves in terms of responsibility and reflect on what more they can do. This project gave us a sense of satisfaction and responsibility.”