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INSEAD the business school for the world

Who We Are

As the 21st century progresses, a different sense of sustainability has evolved. Environmental issues are increasingly a part of everyday business for leaders, challenging them to make sustainability an integral part of their business model. Faculty and researchers across INSEAD study the role of environmental and social issues in the wealth-creation process by developing cutting-edge research, with the aim of establishing links between the micro level of analysis (companies), the meso level (industries, consumers, regulators) and the macro level (societies).

In order to be truly sustainable, corporations and entire industrial sectors need to simultaneously lower both economic and environmental costs, while increasing consumer value and the overall benefits to society. INSEAD Sustainability has a role to play in developing the next generation of responsible business leaders and policy-makers. We help leaders to transform environmental and social demands into Sustainable Value Innovation.
Our objectives

1. Develop empirical research and relevant theory

2. Bring more sustainability content into MBA and Executive Education programmes

3. Develop outreach activities such as the INSEAD INDEVOR

  • Sustainable Production and Consumption

We look at the productive role of natural resources in the process of economic development in an effort to identify solutions where knowledge can substitute for resources, and reduce resource dependence and environmental impacts whilst creating wealth. Beyond the implications for industry, our findings help policy makers define market-based regulatory instruments to help business and society co-evolve sustainably. Research topics have included Singapore as a sustainable city (Luk N.Van Wassenhove), the Vélib bicycle sharing service (Francis de Vericourt), the city logistics and electrical vehicle system of La Poste (Paul Kleindorfer), and stakeholder media (Mark Hunter).


  • Sustainable Operations and Strategies

We are pioneers in (a) cutting-edge research on sustainable supply chains, reverse logistics and product remanufacturing, and their impact on business models and carbon footprints; (b) moving these topics up the agenda in top journals and society as a whole (e.g. POMS). We were the key researchers of individual producer responsibility within theWaste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive (Luk N.Van Wassenhove). In the current EC-funded project “Low Carbon Industrial Manufacturing Parks”, we reexamine the structure of industrial parks using best practice benchmarks from around the globe.We focus on how to improve energy and resource efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and strengthen the business model. In another EC project we focus on sustainable development via a zero waste approach (both Luk N. Van Wassenhove).


  • Sustainable Energy

Our research looks at emerging issues such as carbon regulation, climate change, operations management and supply chain design. A recent project focused on the impact of regulations such as financial incentives and feed-in tariff schemes on technology choices, operations strategy and service delivery at Solairedirect (Francis deVericourt).We have also investigated carbon cap-and-trade regulations and the principle carbon emissions drivers which led to decisions regarding technology choice, product specification and plant locations in energy-intensive industries (Luk N.Van Wassenhove, Paul Kleindorfer).


  • Environmental Policies Design

Companies who invest in Europe are subject to carbon cap and other regulations, whereas companies outside the EU often are not. This gives the latter companies a comparative advantage which spur imports into the EU but lead to a lack of investment in Europe.We do research on the impact of environmental policies (Luk N.Van Wassenhove) and how the design of such policies can be enhanced by taking advantage of the competing interests of ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ firms (David Hemous).