Audencia x The Shift Project

The Shift Project and Audencia join forces to improve the integration of ecological issues into management courses!

As part of the "Climatsup Business project - Training the stakeholders of tomorrow's economy", The Shift Project offers an operational method for integrating ecological issues into management courses, developed in partnership with our School and several other establishments. A report published in early November 2022 is the result of this collective effort.

Training all stakeholders in the economy in ecological issues, a sine qua non for leading the transition

Managers have a critical role to play in the transition to a low-carbon, resilient society. They must mitigate the environmental impacts of their organizations and work to adapt society to the changes that are underway.

However, they are rarely trained on these issues. In 2019, only 6% of management training courses addressed ecological issues in mandatory courses. Our economic activity depends on energy and material flows, climatic conditions and ecosystems. To be sustainable, it must respect planetary limits. The leaders of tomorrow's economy must fully integrate this reality.

Management science and its practitioners are at the center of this revolution in ideas and practices. In fact, 94% of management educators believe that their institutions should train students in environmental issues. The urgency is undeniable.

The Shift Project and the Audencia School of Management joined forces in September 2021 as part of the "ClimatSup Business - Training the players of tomorrow's economy" project, to explore how to accelerate the transformation of teaching to include ecological issues in all management courses. This work follows a previous report on engineering courses and will be completed at the end of the year with a report dedicated to finance courses, published on December 15, 2022.

The report

Shift Project report

This report is the fruit of an unprecedented collaboration: more than 150 management education professionals participated in this project, and more than twenty establishments.
On the menu of this report: practical tools and recommendations for internal actors at establishments (management, educators, etc.) but also for all other stakeholders in higher education (Government, rankings and accreditations, companies...).

Focus on Audencia's role and accomplishments

Based in particular on an in-depth analysis of Audencia's 2021 course syllabuses and a survey of its teaching staff, the report highlights that two out of three programs at Audencia with a core curriculum, include a compulsory course dedicated to ecological issues, particularly within the Grande École program (PGE), which brings together the largest number of students and therefore has a high impact.

"The Economy and Energy Transition course at PGE appears to be a comprehensive introduction to environmental issues." The report "welcomes the presence of these required courses as of the first year," while in 2019, only 6% of business school programs included in the Shift Project study included a required course on energy-climate issues.

An ambitious strategy

The report also states that "Audencia has shown ambition in its strategy by including the creation of Gaïa, the internal school of ecological and social transition, among its main strategic thrusts. At the heart of Gaïa is interdisciplinarity, and in particular the integration of the natural sciences, which is essential for a sound understanding of ecological issues and their implications for organizations. For the start of the 2022 academic year, this has resulted in a full-semester course in Gaïa, which has led to the creation of a 480h catalog, i.e. 20 x 24h courses, dealing with the management of the ecological and social transition, from which students willl choose 240h. This new curriculum which Grande École students can choose to follow in the first year of the Master's program, extends a dynamic that was initiated a few years earlier with a mandatory core course for students in the first year of the Grande École program. "

Of course, the report also highlights the work that still needs to be done to reach the strategic plan goal of 100% environmental literacy.

In line with this report and in order to meet the Ecos2025 objectives, Gaïa will offer a training program for the Audencia research faculty starting in September 2023. It will enable the faculty to thoroughly integrate environmental and social issues into all courses of the Grande École program.

Christophe Germain, Managing Director of Audencia

 "The transformation to a decarbonized, sober and resilient economy and society is not a marginal change, a lick of green paint on our way of doing things, but a deep paradigm shift in the way we think about and organize our production system. The collaboration with the Shift Project, through this unprecedented project in the management school landscape, has allowed us to engage in a collective reflection, joined by many institutions in our wake, to develop a methodology for transforming teaching, shared with humility and, above all, in a virtuous way, so that we, like any stakeholder in education, can grasp it and improve or initiate a better consideration of these issues. For Audencia, this tool is a new step that will help us to continue the development of Gaïa and its impact with all our collaborators at the heart of all our programs".

Christophe Germain, Managing Director of Audencia from 2018 to 2023