EDHEC mobilizes for future generations

During the school’s annual press conference, EDHEC announces creation of major research centre in climate finance, a focus on CSR in all degree programmes, and an ambitious plan to develop green campuses

Written on 19 July 2022.


Most young people entering the workforce today¹ (77%) say they want to make an impact by protecting the environment, expanding social programs, or advancing technology. EDHEC Business School is committed to helping young people reach their goals. So, it is accelerating strategic projects in climate finance, active learning, responsible entrepreneurship, and campus sustainability—all as part of the school’s 2025 strategic plan.

Making an impact on climate change

EDHEC’s dedication to launching young people into careers of impact permeates every degree and certificate programme. In 2015, EDHEC was one of the first business schools to incorporate Make an Impact into its education strategy, and it continues to be a leader in teaching students how to move forward despite complex climate and economic challenges. This year, EDHEC created the Sustainable Impact Project (SIP), which encourages bachelor students to develop community projects that address at least one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Nearly 1,000 students on EDHEC’s Lille and Nice campuses participated in a Sustainable Impact Project during the 2021-22 academic year. Together, they designed 193 projects to tackle diverse health, education, justice, and environmental issues.

CSR at the heart of business education

To ensure that students enter the workforce with the right tools to tackle complex social and climate issues, EDHEC is teaching CSR and climate change topics in all degree programmes. The school’s new Planetary Limits and Sustainable Economic Models module provides students with crucial facts about climate change and energy issues, gives them tools to analyse existing business models, and helps them envision sustainable alternatives. The course outlines the evolution of humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels, explores the link between emissions and climate change, and provides tools to measure the negative impact of specific emissions and pollutants on the planet’s biodiversity and natural resources.

EDHEC requires master’s students to take a certain number of courses dedicated to social responsibility and climate change. The school already offers courses such as Corporate Social Responsibility and From Climate Science to Climate Finance and continues to expand course offerings to meet student demand. Electives in climate and social responsibility are also being added, including courses on behavioural finance and socially responsible investing. Thanks to a partnership between EDHEC and Mines ParisTech, France’s top engineering school, master’s students can specialise in Global and Sustainable Business or Climate Change & Sustainable Finance.

20 million euros dedicated to green finance

EDHEC is strengthening its commitment to responsible finance by creating the EDHEC-Risk Climate Impact Institute (ERCII), which will build on the impressive body of research already produced by the EDHEC-Risk Institute. Following the "Research for Business" approach that sets EDHEC apart from its competitors, this new research centre will leverage finance research to contribute to the positive transformation of the global economy and society.

Over the next five years, an impressive 20 million euros will be invested in ERCII. Under the leadership of Frédéric Ducoulombier² and with a staff of 25 experts and researchers, the centre will assist investors in the transition to a low-carbon economy by helping them understand and manage the financial implications of climate change.

Kicking off this work are Irene Monasterolo, professor of Finance, senior researcher, and programme director for Impact of Finance on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, and Riccardo Rebonato, professor of finance, scientific director, and programme director for Implications of Climate Change on Asset Pricing and Investment.

ERCII will also share its expertise with all EDHEC degree and certificate programmes, as well as other research centres.

Hybridisation and entrepreneurship

In partnership with EURECOM, a graduate school and research centre in digital science, EDHEC is announcing the creation of an EDHEC x EURECOM x IMT (Institut Mines Telecom) incubator at Sophia Antipolis in Nice.

This new incubator combines the strengths of its three partner schools and aligns perfectly with EDHEC’s hybridisation strategy. It will support technology projects with high-value innovations for society in DeepTech (AI, blockchain, greentech) and digital technologies (6G, cellular networks, connected mobility, cybersecurity). This 12-month incubation programme will provide participants with a dedicated programme manager, more than 300 experts and mentors, research laboratories, and a network of professors and researchers. The incubator will welcome its first class of 10 start-ups in January 2023.

This project reflects EDHEC’s strategic goals to strengthen its presence in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region's entrepreneurial ecosystem and bolster entrepreneurship opportunities for students on its Nice campus. The existing incubator on the school’s Nice campus will be redesigned to take full advantage of economic and innovation synergies in the South of France and to offer new services focused on pre-incubation learning and support. The incubator will add 50 participants in the 2022-23 academic year.

Giving new sense to the international experience

EDHEC is partnering with big-name international partners such as UC Berkeley Haas, BI Norwegian Business School, SKK, Polimi Graduate School of Management, and Imperial College London to develop diverse and ambitious learning programmes. The school’s international model is grounded in academic excellence and includes diversity and inclusion elements that prepare future leaders to tackle social, ethical, and environmental challenges.

EDHEC is in the process of creating Global Impact Programmes as a response to these complex issues. These programmes will be the cornerstone of the school’s social impact strategy for the international experience and as such they will be fully integrated into the Grande Ecole curriculum (gap year) and BBA (3rd year).

EDHEC will offer students a Global Impact experience in one of three project categories: humanitarian and solidarity, environmental preservation, or social impact entrepreneurship. The common denominator across all programmes will be their international dimension.

In wake of this project, EDHEC is joining the international Global Business Schools Network (GBSN), where the World Bank brings together business schools that want to engage in resolving problems specific to emerging countries by pooling their research and teaching expertise.

Creating flexible and eco-friendly campuses

EDHEC is a pioneer of American-style campus life in Europe and a trailblazer in hybrid learning. EDHEC offers immersive learning experiences (EDHEC Online), mixed education courses, and shared projects. EDHEC is launching its Share & Care Campus Project, representing a 55-million-euro investment in campus renovation and expansion, including 24,000m² of new classroom and learning space by 2026.

EDHEC’s Lille campus will house the Sigma Lab, providing dedicated space for research and business innovation starting next fall. The Sigma Lab is a multidisciplinary space that will use innovation and collective intelligence to impact society and the economy positively. Furnished with state-of-the-art equipment, it will enable students and faculty researchers to conduct experiments across various disciplines (management, marketing, behavioural finance, etc.) and propose innovative solutions to EDHEC partner companies. Sigma Lab will provide synergy between experimental research and teaching.

In 2022, the Nice campus will begin constructing a 1,000m² extension to house a new Finance & Climate learning space. In addition, high-tech classrooms, student commons, and teamwork rooms will ensure that the student experience is top-notch.

A sustainable student experience

EDHEC is dedicated to creating green campuses. Following a sustainability audit, the school is analysing the carbon footprint of its campuses and developing a plan to make them environmentally responsible learning, working, and living spaces. This includes recycling rainwater, installing motion detectors for lights and heating, constructing charging stations for electric cars, encouraging low-polluting transportation for staff and students, banning pesticides, planting vegetable gardens, protecting century-old trees, and planting rare plant species.

This summer, the school is putting out a request for proposals to architecture firms interested in creating the campus of tomorrow—one that is sustainable, flexible, and collaborative.

 

¹ Study NewGen NewJob -- NewgenTalent Centre -- March 2022

² Currently ESG director at Scientific Beta, Frédéric Ducoulombier was a faculty researcher at EDHEC between 2002 and 2019. Assistant Dean of Research, he contributed to the conception and deployment of the “Research for Business” strategy. Within the EDHEC-Risk Institute, he established the continuing education programme, the PhD in Finance programme, and set up EDHEC in Asia. He also arranged a research and engagement activity centered on financial regulation and he was a contributing member of international bodies dedicated to financial innovation and climate change.

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