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ESMT Institute for Sustainable Transformation

Founded in February 2024, the ESMT Institute for Sustainable Transformation (IST) supports businesses in accelerating their sustainable transformations. With a robust agenda in sustainability education and research, the institute spearheads sustainable leadership practices that benefit individuals, businesses, and society at large.

It leads initiatives that foster connections between businesses, policymakers, and civil society, as evidenced by the Sustainable Business Roundtable, the Climate Governance Initiative Germany, and the Societal Impact Financing Initiative. Moreover, it contributes to the sustainable transformation of ESMT Berlin, leading campus decarbonization efforts. Within degree programs, the institute connects students with companies to create experiential opportunities to learn and innovate in sustainable business. 

Education for sustainability literacy

Empowering organizations for sustainable transformation

The vast majority of workers worldwide are eager to support their company's sustainability initiatives, but they often lack sustainability literacy. Through our innovative teaching methodologies, we provide every individual within the organization with the necessary knowledge and competencies to ensure the longevity of companies. Our programs are offered in various formats, including concise online learning modules for skill enhancement and customized departmental programs aimed at accelerating sustainable progress. Additionally, our executive open enrollment program "Leading Sustainable Business Transformation" empowers leaders to lead the way toward sustainable transformation.


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Sustainable transformation research

Professorships and faculty research

The institute addresses real-world environmental, social, and governance (ESG) challenges through rigorous academic research led by the institute’s professorships, including the ESMT President Jörg Rocholl, the Deutsche Bank professor in sustainable finance, and ESMT Dean of Faculty and Research Per Olsson, the DHL Group professor in sustainable accounting.  

Other key contributors include Tamer Boyaci, Professor and Michael Diekmann Chair in Management Science, Rajshri Jayaraman, Associate Professor of Economics, and Catalina Stefanescu-Cuntze, Professor of Management Science and Faculty Lead of the Master in Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Program. Research of our faculty focuses on sustainable transformation, development, finance, accounting, operations, and analytics. 

Tailored research

The institute conducts customized research projects in collaboration with companies, exploring themes closely related to our faculty focus, including sustainable transformation, development, finance, accounting, operations, and analytics. This type of research work also contributes to our teaching through the creation of case studies and equips companies with agile solutions (e.g., applets) to effectively manage sustainability data and decisions. 


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Student research

Our students conduct Master's thesis research and other engagements on sustainable business. They are supervised by our international faculty and often tackle social, environmental, and governance challenges submitted by companies in our network. 

Biodiversity action

Executive education on biodiversity
Advocacy and collaboration

Together for biodiversity

The ESMT Institute for Sustainable Transformation connects natural and business scientists, and businesses to encourage nature-positive corporate practices. We have contributed to the "Frankfurt Declaration" before CBD COP15.

Research and knowledge exchange

Faculty contribution

Our faculty contribute to interdisciplinary research and knowledge exchange on biodiversity. Through collaborative efforts spanning climate science, economics, and biodiversity studies, we strive to unlock novel insights promoting biodiversity protection.

High-level engagement

High level roundtables

ESMT IST drives discussions and actions on biodiversity conservation, hosting the Sustainable Business Roundtable and supporting biodiversity sessions at the Berlin Global Dialogue. We offer forums for exploring strategies to address biodiversity loss.

Integrating into Education

Biodiversity in education

In line with our commitment to equipping future leaders, biodiversity is central to our executive education programs. From customized corporate training to our upcoming program, "Leading Sustainable Transformation," ESMT IST empowers executives.

How are we making a change at ESMT

ESMT is committed to becoming carbon neutral in its scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 2030, a goal actively supported by the Institute for Sustainable Transformation
The installation of a photovoltaic system covering 25% of its electricity needs and exclusively purchasing green electricity for the rest highlights ESMT's dedication to environmental sustainability
The institute also supports students, faculty, and staff to act as sustainability ambassadors within the ESMT Net Impact chapter and is an active participant in the Sustainability Taskforce