The awards, which launched in 2022, are part of the FT’s move to home in on responsible business initiatives at business schools. This year the methodology focused more closely on sustainability and social impact activities.
In 2023, the FT’s ‘Student Award’ highlighted commendable examples of b-school students working on social impact projects. The ‘Teaching Award’ focused on innovation that aimed to help make sustainability-driven decisions and adapt to climate change.
Here’s a closer look at the winners.
FT Responsible Business Education Award | Student Award
Alberto Cabanes, IESE Business School
David Even, SDA Bocconi School of Management
Michael Tekabe, ESMT Berlin
Doris Woitschach, National Chengchi University College of Commerce
This category awarded students who demonstrated initiative, drive, and a keen sense of social responsibility by taking part in student-led projects alongside third-party organizations to address real climate challenges.
The spotlight was also on their institutions who introduced initiatives to make this possible.
For example, Michael Tekabe enrolled in the ESMT Berlin Responsible Leaders Fellowship after graduating from his MBA—a scheme in which MBA or master’s grads offer pro-bono support to organizations addressing social challenges in low-income countries.
In doing so, he joined Kubik, an African startup manufacturing low-carbon, low-cost building materials from difficult to recycle plastic waste.
At Kubik, Michael restructured and expanded the team and helped secure funding from US-based non-profit group Habitat for Humanity. The company also received $800k in investments.
Another winner in this category was David Even, an MBA graduate from SDA Bocconi School of Management. His startup, Primal Soles based in The Netherlands, produces recyclable shoe insoles made from natural cork, tackling the huge amount of waste from synthetic insoles.
IESE Business School EMBA student, Alberto Cabanes, also won the prize. He launched his startup, Adopta Un Abuelo (Adopt A Grandfather), in 2016 aiming to make the world a better place. The venture is a non-profit companionship program that uses an app to connect young people with elderly people in need of some company. Currently around 250,000 young people have applied and 3,200 elderly people in care homes across Spain have been ‘adopted.’
Finally, the FT also recognized Doris Woitschach, who launched her company, UpRoot, while an economics undergrad at National Chengchi University’s College of Commerce in Taiwan. The company focuses on tackling plastic waste by manufacturing bio-degradable drinking straws from vegetable peel.
FT Responsible Business Education Award | Teaching Award
Imperial College Business School, Sustainability Leadership
Antwerp Management School, Global Leadership Skills
Michigan Ross School of Business, Ellen MacArthur Foundation
ESCP Business School, Transform
In the teaching category, the FT awarded institutions with innovative approaches towards addressing environmental challenges that linked both theory and practice.
Antwerp School of Management won for its Global Leadership Skills Course, which launched in 2019 aiming to focus on sustainability in business from a global perspective.
Students on the scheme work in diverse groups to tackle one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The course allows student to boost their employability by gaining core team-work skills and self-awareness.
US-based Michigan Ross School of Business also secured a winning spot thanks to its Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in which students learn about the circular economy and how to reduce plastic waste.
France’s ESCP Business School was also awarded for its ‘Transform’ project, which brought together five universities and around 45 students who collaborated via online lectures and coaching sessions to identify innovative solutions for sustainability challenges.
Students were able to develop their own projects addressing issues such as access to clean energy.
Finally, Imperial College Business School in London was also a winner with its Sustainability Leadership executive program. This centers around the idea that meditation will help students inhabit a sustainable mindset and allow them to make ethical decisions.