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Social and environmental impact

Think globally, act responsibly.
From the heart of Europe, we create and impart new knowledge to advance business and society.​ We develop entrepreneurial leaders who think globally and act responsibly.​

Corporate social responsibility and sustainability are topics currently at the forefront of business strategy. Here at ESMT, we help tomorrow's business leaders get involved in projects today that can positively affect some of the world's most disadvantaged and underrepresented communities and make a positive impact on our environment.

We aim to reduce our footprint, increase our handprint, and create a heartprint to foster sustainability in all of its forms at our business school. Read our sustainability strategy here.  

Sustainable Business Transformation Initiative

In June 2021, ESMT Berlin launched the Sustainable Business Transformation Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to increase our academic footprint in research and education on critical areas with impact for business and society. We want to provide innovative solutions to global environmental and social challenges. This initiative was the first step towards the establishment of the FUTURE Institute for Sustainable Transformation, launched on November 2, 2021 at the COP26 in Glasgow. The institute will strengthen partnerships with external stakeholders and expand faculty expertise in multiple thematic areas related to sustainable business. These include professorships in sustainable finance and accounting impact measurement, circular business, and energy markets and transition.

As a part of the initiative, Deutsche Bank supports the establishment of a professorship in sustainable finance at ESMT. The professorship underpins our commitment to promoting economic growth while reducing pressure on the natural environment and taking Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors into consideration. It will examine incentives and risk-sharing options, providing important insights into future policy frameworks.   

Sustainability at ESMT

Sustainability Ambassadors

The Sustainability Ambassadors at ESMT aim to transform ESMT Berlin into a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly campus, by engaging both students and staff in initiatives whereby they can educate themselves and bring sustainability initiatives to life. The ambassadors are led by Net Impact ESMT

Current initiatives

We run multiple initiatives aimed at raising sustainability awareness and incorporating sustainable choices into everyday life and drive long-term change. Here are some examples:

    Resource management

    • (Under review) Informational stickers and posters around campus that promote sustainable choices
    • (Under review) Introduction of sustainable printing solutions and environmentally friendly office supplies
    • (Ongoing) Carbon accounting: Plan A
    • (Ongoing) Providing more sustainable and healthier snack and food options on campus
    • (Completed) Introduction of re-usable coffee mugs on campus; additionally re-usable take out bowls in the cafeteria


    • (Under review) Composting on campus
    • (Under review) Recycling training/awareness
    • (Under review) Grüner Punkt - Recycling bins
    • (Completed) Introduction of a 3-bin recycling system on campus


    Climate Governance Initiative 

    ESMT Berlin, together with the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) and Board Academy e.V., has joined the World Economic Forum’s Climate Governance Initiative and coordinates its Chapter Germany. The network aims to mobilize non-executive directors and supervisory board members (“Aufsichtsräte”) to align business models with ambitious climate policy and a set of joint Climate Governance Principles. Find more information here.

    Net Impact


    Students from the MBA program at ESMT Berlin founded the first Net Impact sustainability chapter in Germany in 2018. Net Impact, a global organization focused on using business skills to combat social and environmental problems, has more than 100,000 members from 324 chapters in 40 countries around the world.

    The chapter which is made up of students, faculty, alumni, and staff from ESMT but open to anyone outside the school as well – aims to work with other business schools and universities to create a network and an “active platform” to discuss sustainability issues and their solutions and to take action.

    Learn more

    Projects and initiatives

    Net Impact ESMT has taken part in World Cleanup Day in 2018 and 2019, as well as the Clean the Spree initiative in 2021. Students have also been raising funds to support the education of three pupils in Haiti, as well as leading projects on improving sustainability on campus, such as the carbon accounting initiative. 

    More information

    Carbon accounting

    Net Impact ESMT started a data-driven carbon accounting initiative in 2021, partnering with Plan A to measure, track, and reduce the carbon emissions of our school. Since then, the school has tracked its emissions. 

    Download the ESMT Carbon Emission Report 2022 here

    Social Impact Project

    The Social Impact Project is a five-week project during the second year of the Master in Management program. It offers students the opportunity to serve as an economic or management consultant for an organization with specific social impact objectives, such as a non-profit organization, a CSR department, a social entrepreneurship venture, or a social impact project of a for-profit organization.

    Recent projects
    • Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia INC, - Supporting reintegration processes for victims of domestic violence.
    • SINA, Uganda - Plastic Upcycling in Ugandan Refugee Camp.
    • Allianz SE | Group Sustainability, Munich - Researching and setting up suitable models for further enhancing global partnerships.


    Responsible Leaders Fellowship Program

    The Responsible Leaders Fellowship Program is a postgraduate program available to graduates of the ESMT MBA program. The six-month fellowship starts immediately after graduation, allowing the graduate to take up to six months to complete a social impact project in a developing country, where they contribute their knowledge and capabilities and gain real-world business experiences. Partners of the project include Ampion, Barefoot College, German Doctors, TsiBA Education, Welthungerhilfe, and Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). 

    Learn more
    Industry Immersion program 2019 group photo

    Industry Immersion Program

    The Industry Immersion Program is a joint initiative with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry Johannesburg, as well as African and German companies. It established in 2017 to enable young university graduates in Africa to start a career, and thus sustainably enhances employability across Africa.

    The program is comprised of two academic modules and a 12-week internship with industry partners across Africa. Professors from ESMT faculty teach pro bono on topics such as business etiquette and presentation skills, corporate strategy, finance and accounting, data analytics, and organizational behavior.