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INSEAD, HEC Paris Among 8 Top European Business Schools Gathering To Tackle Climate Crisis

The Business Schools for Climate Leadership Forum Second Edition saw representatives from eight top European institutions including IMD and London Business School collaborate to find climate solutions

Mon Jun 3 2024

Some of Europe’s most prestigious business schools gathered last weekend at a forum to explore the role of business in tackling the climate crisis.

Part of the Business Schools For Climate Leadership (BS4CL) project—an alliance between London Business School (LBS), IMD, Oxford Saïd Business School, INSEAD, HEC Paris, IESE Business School, University of Cambridge Judge Business School, and IE Business School—the second edition of the BS4CL Forum took place at the INSEAD Europe campus in Fontainebleau, near Paris.

Attendees heard from a range of speakers affiliated with participating schools including specialist professors, business school deans, and alumni now in leading cross-industry roles related to sustainability across the globe.

In a talk titled ‘New Era of Business Education’ the deans of INSEAD, IE Business School, and LBS highlighted the responsibility schools have in bringing about change in business.

“We send out the people who are going to drive these changes,” said Lee Newman, dean of IE. “We have this opportunity to train the next generation of students.

READ: Why Business Schools Are Collaborating On Society’s Biggest Issue


Students have revealed a growing interest in learning about issues related to sustainability in recent years. A 2024 Graduate Management Admission Council Survey found 68% of prospective students felt sustainability is important to their business school experience.

As an alliance between eight business schools that ordinarily compete for global talent, the panellists noted the importance of collaboration in tackling the climate transition.

“There is so much energy behind it [the climate transition], but how can we connect all of that energy?” asked François Ortalo-Magné, dean of London Business School. “We create a platform for great minds to come together.”

The value of schools’ alumni network, which among the participating schools combines to almost half a million professionals across the globe, was revealed during various talks featuring Executive MBA and MBA alumni alongside specialist business school professors.

Some of the topics discussed included navigating the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, devising financial innovations to drive the climate transition, and scaling new climate solutions.

Notable speakers included Gerhard Mulder, Oxford Saïd MBA grad, who is now CEO and co-founder at Climate Risk Services; Gerrit Sindermann, graduate of the IMD MBA, and executive director of the Green Digital Finance Alliance; and Larissa Pramudita Sidarto, commissioner at Green Rebel Foods, and also a graduate of the Oxford Saïd MBA.

Francisco Veloso, dean of INSEAD, hailed the impact that alumni can have in driving change across industries. “When you are training the next generation of students, it may take a few years to get to the level where they can affect change… it’s our alumni who are at the level to make changes,” he said.

The forum was the latest in a number of initiatives launched by the BS4CL alliance since its inception following the COP26 conference in November 2021. Since then, schools have partnered to create a toolkit to help business leaders assess their readiness to tackle the climate crisis, delivered a series of webinars, and hosted a conference highlighting their leading research.

While the eight founding European business schools remain the sole members of the alliance, BS4CL has also seen other regional partnerships emerge including BS4CL Africa in 2022, and BS4CL Middle East in 2023.

LSB’ François, who is one of the only deans currently in office that held the role when the alliance started, said: “It was just eight deans frustrated with the pandemic and asking what it is that we can do together to help the world.”