Training the leaders of tomorrow with the Sustainability Case Factory

By Mathilde Cocherel, librarian. Mathilde works at publishing ESSEC Cases within the K-lab, she provides support to professors in several forms.

ESSEC and all the partner institutions involved in the Sustainability Case Factory project, including CY University, are committed to environmental and social transition, with the aim of training 100% of students in sustainable development issues by 2030, using new teaching methods, tools and content. 

As case studies are widely used in graduate and postgraduate management studies, transferring this approach to the field of socio-ecological transitions, and developing new cases and teaching materials related to these issues, is a key strategic focus.

This “case factory” contributes to the production and distribution of teaching materials enabling students, from undergraduates to continuing education students, to understand the major social and environmental challenges and their interactions with the main disciplines in their field of study, and to develop their ability to respond to these challenges in their future professional lives. 

These pedagogical tools contribute to the training of future responsible leaders, builders of a more sustainable economy, respectful of people and the environment. 

In October 2023, several cases have already been published: Eco-responsible sport shoes and equipment: sustainable development in Adidas fashion by Dorothée SIDOKPOHOU and Patrick Lenormand, Creating an Academy for activists, a new mission for Oxfam by Xavier Pavie and Patrick Lenormand, Imagreen : Never Say Never by Anne-Sophie de Gabriac and Milk Mantra: Happy Farmers = Happy Cows = Best Milk by Arijit Chatterjee

Xavier Pavie, Professor at ESSEC
“The Sustainability Case Factory is a great help when it comes to writing a case around the issues of sustainability, and in my case around responsibility and innovation too. With the Global MBAs, we had written a case and a pedagogical note: “Creating an Academy for activists” with the NGO Oxfam, which was improved by the Factory before its final publication. Given the success of this first case, regarding its production and pedagogy, I decided to join the Sustainability Case Factory as soon as we started writing the case we’re currently working on with Compagnie du Mont Blanc, about “Rethinking the destination and the mountain experience to develop responsible innovation?”. This is the 20th case I’ve written at ESSEC, and there’s no doubt that this recent support from the Factory has given us a new level of writing professionalism.”

Two other cases are under publication process : 

The case ”Eiffel IG, bridging funding gaps in the European energy transition sector” by Francis Declerck, Sofia Ramos and Patrick Lenormand : 

Sofia Ramos, Professor of Finance at ESSEC
“I’m excited to share our new case study that relies on the rich experience of EIFFEL Investment group, a partner of the chair. It blends financial assessment of renewable projects with real-world impacts, like how much carbon we can save. We have designed it to help students look at both the financial and environmental sides of these projects. It is all about understanding the unique challenges of funding green energy projects. In short, it’s a fresh, hands-on way to learn about finance in today’s changing world.”

The case ”Performance measurement and adverse effects on work : the case of France Télécom” by Ioana Lupu and Patrick Lenormand, details the crisis experienced by France Telecom between 2005 and 2011, emblematic both of the abuses associated with the brutal restructuring carried out in certain companies, and of the excesses of an employee performance appraisal focused solely on quantitative objectives. The case study extends this particular case to the issue of psychosocial risks, a dimension now systematically integrated into manager training.

The other case projects in the pipeline concern philanthropic strategy, sustainable marketing and luxury, building materials, carbon accounting and control, tourism, and biodiversity. 

A case writer has been recruited to support teachers in producing these cases on the challenges of ecological and social transition; he helps to write the case and its teaching note based on the elements already gathered by the Professor; he can also collect data by exchanging with the company in the field of the case, or in the media if it concerns public facts and documents. 

The cases are then published with the distributors of the ESSEC case collection: the CCMP, and the Case Centre.

In 2022, cases of RSE and ethics were the fifth most purchased at the CCMP at ESSEC Business School, after Accounting and before Marketing, and second after Strategy and Management in our Singapore Campus.

As a reminder: if the case is not on a sustainability topic, teacher-authors can benefit from K-lab’s support and advice on formatting, proofreading, metadata, publication, sales follow-up and royalty payments.