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Social and environmental impact

Think globally, act responsibly.
Corporate social responsibility is a topic 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.


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). Read more about the RLF here.


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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.

Industry Immersion Program

Group photo of students who started in 2019.

Industry Immersion Program

Students enjoying their first week of the Industry Immersion Program 2019

Industry Immersion Program

Students of the Industry Immersion Program 2018 at their graduation.

Industry Immersion program 2019 group photo
Industry Immersion program 2019 classroom
Graduates of the Industry Immersion Program 2019

Social Impact Project

The Social Impact Project is a five-week project during the second year of the Master’s 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. Learn more more about the social impact project here


Recent MIM Social Impact Projects include:

  • Bean Voyage, Costa Rica - Optimizing operations and marketing processes for a coffee distribution startup
  • DHL, India - Identifying opportunities to foster the collaboration between DHL and SOS Children Villages
  • UNDP, Uganda - Finding innovative solutions to make Uganda Tourism Ecosystem Platform (UTEP) financially sustainable in the mid- and long term
  • UNIDO, Ecuador - Market research project about fruit extraction and production
  • United Nations, Paraguay - Improving the sustainability of cotton farming by preserving the national culture
Social Impact project - group photo
Social Impact Project 2019
Social Impact Project highlights
social impact project Recycling
Social Impact Project highlights
Social Impact Project highlights
Social Impact Project highlights
Social Impact Project highlights

Net Impact Club

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.

Clean the Spree

In September 2018 and 2019, the Net Impact Club took part in World Cleanup Day, leading the Clean the Spree initiative. Together with 300 volunteers from around the city of Berlin, they cleaned the river Spree and its banks, recycling the removed waste. A number of social organizations such as Plan A, Flussbad, Alles im Fluss, Witschaftsjunioren Berlin, as well as companies such as and Decathlon supported the event. The students will be leading the initiative again this year. Learn more about Net Impact's ongoing programs and events here.  


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 campus staff in these initiatives. Our goal is to create a platform where students, faculty, and staff can educate themselves and bring sustainability initiatives to life. The ambassadors are led by the Net Impact Club. 

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:

  •     Introduction of a 3-bin recycling system on Campus and respective recycling training
  •     Introduction of re-usable coffee mugs on Campus
  •     Informational stickers and posters around Campus that promote sustainable choices
  •     Providing more sustainable and healthier snack and food options on campus
  •     Introduction of sustainable printing solutions

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.

Center for Sustainable Business and Leadership

The Center for Sustainable Business and Leadership at ESMT Berlin (CSBL) brings research, expertise, and initiatives to bear on issues connecting business leadership, society, and sustainability. One of its initiatives is the Sustainable Business Roundtable, a world-class, peer-to-peer learning network of global companies. Founded in 2011, the network of 25 companies, such as adidas, E.ON, Merck, and Siemens, meet biannually to discuss sustainability challenges and opportunities, inviting guest experts to join the discussion.