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Sustainability at ESMT

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. We report on our environmental, social, and governance performance. Read our sustainability strategy here.

Sustainable Business Transformation Initiative

In June 2021, ESMT launched the Sustainable Business Transformation Initiative to expand our academic impact in research and education on critical areas affecting business and society. Our goal is to present innovative solutions to global environmental and social challenges. This initiative served as the inaugural step towards the establishment of the Institute for Sustainable Transformation, which was officially introduced on November 2, 2021, at COP26 in Glasgow. The institute strengthens collaborations with external stakeholders and enhances faculty expertise in a range of diverse thematic areas related to sustainable business.

As part of the initiative, Deutsche Bank is supporting the establishment of a professorship in sustainable finance at ESMT, with Prof. Jörg Rocholl as the chairholder. 

This professorship underscores our dedication to fostering economic growth while alleviating pressure on the natural environment and considering environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. It will explore incentives and risk-sharing options, providing valuable insights into future policy frameworks.

Furthermore, within this initiative, DHL Group is actively participating in establishing a professorship in sustainable accounting at ESMT, with Prof. Per Olsson as the chairholder. The focus of this professorship is to address the measurement and reporting of ESG components within the field of accounting.

The Sustainable Business Roundtable (SBRT)

Formed in 2011, the SBRT acts as a collaborative learning network. It brings together outstanding companies with a global presence, spearheading the sustainability revolution for clearer environmental and social impact. Learn more here.

Climate Governance Initiative 

ESMT, 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 in 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.

Reducing our carbon footprint

ESMT has installed a state-of-the-art photovoltaic (PV) system on our historic main building to reduce our carbon footprint. This system, comprising 893 highly efficient solar modules, is expected to supply around 25 percent of our campus’ energy needs. With a capacity of 366 kWp, it's the largest of its kind in central Berlin and will begin contributing to the grid in June 2024. By using dark monocrystalline high-performance modules, we've maintained the building’s historic appearance while advancing sustainability. This initiative is projected to cut our carbon emissions by about 150 tons of CO2 annually, demonstrating our commitment to environmental leadership. Key details include:

  • Total capacity: 366.13 kWp
  • Estimated annual generation: 345,000 kWh

At the start of 2024, our campus transitioned to using renewable energy, specifically green electricity.

PV system on ESMT roof with Berlin skyline in the background

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.

Social impact programs

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.

Participants of