International Institute of Management Development (IMD) and WBCSD announce collaboration to equip future leaders for sustainable business transformation

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01 November, 2021




Lausanne and Geneva, Switzerland, 1 November – The International Institute of Management Development (IMD) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), two leaders in their respective fields, today announced a Letter of Intent for a strategic partnership to equip business leaders with the skills to accelerate the pace of sustainable business transformation.

The two organizations will work closely together with the ambition of creating the most sustainability-centered MBA program in the world. IMD and WBCSD will also explore a collaboration to further expand the reach of Vision 2050 through short programs targeting business executives.

“Collaboration is essential if we are to tackle the climate crisis,” said Jean-François Manzoni, President of IMD. “Doing well by doing good is no longer just a ‘nice-to-have’. Sustainability is a crucial driver for the success of organizations. Executives all over the world are under the mounting pressure to adapt to rapid changes in business and society, while at the same time becoming more socially responsible and ecological sustainable. We have to arm the leaders of today and tomorrow with the skills to transform their businesses onto a sustainable path. Founded by business leaders for business leaders IMD is unwavering in our commitment to responsible leadership development. By collaborating with WBCSD and their network of leading companies, we can share insights and drive progress towards a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable world.”

WBCSD President and CEO Peter Bakker added: “Only collaboration at unprecedented levels will create the impact and speed needed to achieve our vision of a world in which 9+ billion people live well, within planetary boundaries, by 2050. Sustainability is going mainstream for governments, business, consumers and financial markets. This momentum has been building for several years and has accelerated sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why we need to help the next generation of business leaders to understand that sustainability needs to be an integral part of a company’s strategy. The collaboration with IMD, a leader in its field, will prepare the leaders of tomorrow to tackle a changing business landscape and equip them with the skills needed to implement business solutions towards net zero, nature positive and equity targets to tackle the three biggest challenges of our time: climate emergency, nature loss and mounting inequality.

The Letter of Intent reflects IMD’s long-running commitment to sustainability and builds on other partnerships that enable collaboration across sectors and geographies. IMD is one of the founding members of Business Schools for Climate Leadership (BS4CL), a group of eight European business schools, joining together to help business leaders combat the climate crisis facing the planet. It has also introduced the Master of Science in Sustainable Management and Technology program, designed to equip the next generation of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs with the knowledge and skills necessary to co-create a more resilient, environmentally responsible and inclusive economy. The program is offered by Enterprise for Society (E4S) on behalf of its three partner institutions, the University of Lausanne (UNIL), IMD, and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

The Letter of Intent follows right after WBCSD announced its new strategy for the next five years, and leadership to step up business action for system transformation. The Strategy 2022-2027 is a focused five-year strategy that is aligned with the recently launched business action agenda Vision 2050: Time to Transform and WBCSD’s membership criteria.

IMD and WBSCD hope to further establish a variety of joint working groups, linking IMD faculty and WBSCD experts. Specifically, IMD aims to integrate key sustainability management tools and frameworks developed by WBSCD into the core of its MBA program, which was ranked as the best MBA program in Europe by Bloomberg Businessweek for 2021-2022 and ranked as the #1 international one-year program by Forbes in 2019.

In the letter, both parties also agreed to explore how to formalize the relationship between WBCSD and IMD, including potential IMD membership within WBCSD and to determine areas of co-branding.