The FIR-PRI Awards “Finance & Sustainability” prize for “best pedagogical innovation”: preparing future generations to fight climate change.
At EDHEC, we want to take part in the fight against climate change. Through our different programmes, our professors and researchers train students who are ever-more eager to engage actively in the…
At EDHEC, we want to take part in the fight against climate change. Through our different programmes, our professors and researchers train students who are ever-more eager to engage actively in the major transformations affecting our world. In October 2021, for example, the research work conducted by Gianfranco Gianfrate, Professor of Finance at EDHEC Business School, and Joseph Aldy, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, won the “best pedagogical innovation” prize in the 16th edition of the FIR-PRI Awards “Finance & Sustainability”. Following on from their article published in the Harvard Business Review, the prize highlighted the quality of their research into the introduction of sustainable business practices within organisations. A way to engage students in the fight against climate change.
Hello Gianfranco, congratulations to you and Joseph Aldy for winning the FIR-PRI Awards “Finance & Sustainability“ prize for pedagogical innovation! Can you tell us about the ideas you were keen to convey?
We’re delighted that our article published in the Harvard Business Review won this prize for pedagogical innovation. After all, transmitting our findings is the core objective of our research work!
Our aim with this article was to explain to businesses and the people that manage them how climate change is going to affect them. We wanted to develop a sort of guide that would provide a response to the following question: from a practical standpoint, how can a manager incorporate sustainability into an entrepreneurial strategy? Our response looks at the possibilities offered by technology, the impact of carbon taxation, the quest for operational efficiency and even the restructuring of business models. We’re proud to know that our work has now been used by numerous business schools around the world to explain to students – the future leaders of tomorrow’s world – how to tackle these big questions.
In your view, how can business help fight climate change?
At present, the big players generating carbon emissions are businesses. They’re the ones that need to transform their models, so as to ensure men and women can continue to live on earth in good conditions. And it’s possible! Our recommendation is to incorporate efficient sustainability practices into the company’s day-to-day operations. It also needs to be understood that factoring in sustainability issues does not always represent a cost for businesses. Quite the contrary, it might also mean a real opportunity to generate greater profits and particularly to reduce costs. To do this, companies need to incorporate and anticipate new regulations liable to be triggered by climate change.
Your research was conducted with Joseph Aldy, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. How did this collaboration work? What advantage is there in several people working on research together?
In the research field, it’s common practice for two academics from different institutions or continents to collaborate with each other. By working with Joseph Aldy, a specialist on public policy and a former advisor to President Obama, we were able to combine the strength of our expertise to build bridges between different specialities. By pooling our skills, we managed to create dialogue between the different points of view represented by, say, management, finance, life sciences and public policy. Lastly, we also wanted to look at the humanities side, in order to incorporate an ethical dimension into the effort to fight climate change.