2024-04-16 Sylvie Goulard, Francesco Perrini, Stefano Pogutz

Research, Sharing, and Impact to Address the Sustainability Challenge

Not only climate change: themes such as biodiversity conservation and the blue economy, circular economy and ESG factors, sustainable mobility, and social issues such as DEI and the fight against inequalities will be at the core of the new Sustainability section of E&M Plus. An opportunity to guide professionals and businesses through the complex challenges of the ongoing transition, sharing evidence and insights resulting from the work of the excellence in Sustainability and Governance - eSG Knowledge Platform at SDA Bocconi.

Excellence in Sustainability and Governance - eSG Knowledge Platform is the name of the SDA Bocconi platform that brings together and coordinates all research activities on these increasingly urgent topics. Sustainability, understood in an integrated and cross-cutting way, is studied starting from global challenges on environmental, social, and governance issues that lead companies, international organizations, public, and governmental institutions to rethink their future. In this perspective, the eSG Platform proposes innovative and pragmatic solutions through research activities and analysis of current and emerging trends, promoting the creation and dissemination of sustainability knowledge and skills also through observers and monitors on specific thematic or sectoral issues.

Moreover, today the need for sustainable transformation questions many of the managerial approaches and operational tools used so far to manage companies and finance. The change we are called to make is urgent and must be authentic. Sustainability is fundamental to generate value for people, businesses, and communities. This requires the integration of ESG factors into business plans to enable companies to grow responsibly and inclusively, in line with social, environmental, and governance sustainability criteria.

The eSG Platform produces scientific knowledge through quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, with the aim of supporting organizations in maintaining and renewing their market positioning, integrating social, environmental, energy, and governance challenges into their strategies and practices. Furthermore, the platform contributes to the creation of organizational and leadership capacities with the goal of fostering organizational change and technological innovation required by the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the European Green New Deal.

Last but not least, the platform will participate in the academic debate on sustainability issues through the commitment of its researchers, who will share their contributions thanks to this new opportunity offered by E&M Plus. We hope that the section inaugurated today will help SDA Bocconi in making its overall effort in the field of sustainability training and research more visible.

From this comes the idea of the new director, to whom we extend our personal thanks, of this regular appointment on sustainability aimed at providing evidence and insights to businesses and professionals facing the challenges of sustainable transformation and its impact on ecosystems, but also on governance, strategies, products, processes, and business decisions. Not only climate change: themes such as ocean conservation and the blue economy, natural capital and biodiversity, circular economy and renewable energy, sustainable mobility, ESG finance, regenerative development, gender equality, diversity and inequalities, human rights, sustainability of SMEs and supply chains - not to mention ecosystem evolutions in light of these challenges - are just some examples of the topics of analysis that will find a voice in this space.

This commitment may also extend beyond the boundaries of this section. We are proud, in fact, to have had the opportunity to contribute to the first issue of the "new" edition of the Economia & Management magazine, with a Focus dedicated to the "challenge for a sustainable planet", starting from the ocean. The guiding thread of the insights is the need to protect the blue natural capital, an initiative born in 2016 in the Sustainability Lab and developed over time thanks to collaboration with the One Ocean Foundation (OOF). Because the opportunity to improve the critical health conditions of the seas - "the most important place on Earth", essential for sustainable development, that is, for the survival and well-being of human beings - depends on greater attention from companies. Which - simplistically - on one hand, pour plastic, chemicals, and petroleum derivatives into the waters; on the other hand, they excessively exploit them.

Now it is necessary to take action by adopting concrete initiatives to protect the seas. Without forgetting that, in addition to risk mitigation, the sustainability of the ocean is linked to a series of business opportunities that are part of the blue economy.

Finally, since being a management school increasingly means having an impact, measuring it, and continuously verifying it, the Focus closes with the presentation of our initiative called the Ocean Disclosure Initiative (born from the collaboration of OOF with SDA Bocconi's Sustainability Lab, McKinsey & Co, and the Spanish CSIC - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), a new tool to activate the business community in the great challenge of the ocean.

The new research results on the blue economy will be presented on June 4th at the Blue Economy Summit, an event organized by the One Ocean Foundation with the scientific contribution of SDA Bocconi at Bocconi University, on the occasion of World Oceans Day.

We look forward to sharing them with you. And, in the meantime, enjoy reading!


Sylvie Goulard is Professor of Practice in Global affairs and Geopolitics at SDA Bocconi School of Management.

Francesco Perrini is currently Associate Dean for Sustainability at SDA Bocconi School of Management, he is also responsible for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Innovation and Corporate Entrepreneurship (ICE). Full Professor of Management at the “Management & Technology” Department at Bocconi University.

Stefano Pogutz is a Professor of Practice in Corporate Sustainability at SDA Bocconi School of Management, where he also serves as the Director of the full-time MBA program.