Sustainability is our Business – Society & Organizations Center HEC Paris


I have a traditional academic background
I studied here at HEC strategic management but also sociology and philosophy La Sorbonne and it’s quite naturally that I came to
realize that firms influence social behavior or social aspirations and
actually mold them. I’m an HEC alumna, class of 88. and after my graduation I went to live in a slum in Chile as a volunteer for one year. And there I
discovered extreme poverty. Meanwhile, I had some friends who were creating a microfinance institution And I realized that business entrepreneurship can be
part of the solution. the first meeting between Danone and Muhammad Yunus was actually organized by Benedicte. Yunus explained the concept of social business. A business where you are not seeking profit and you’re not taking dividends
but instead you’re pursuing a cause. When HEC decided to create short two-month programs called “certificates” I came up with the idea of creating a Chair within which we would find a certificate on these issues. And in 2008 we co-created
the chair with the HEC professor Frédéric Dalsace. The financial crisis had a
extremely important role in this. I think that with many colleagues around the
world we came to realize that as business school professors we had a
responsibility. so with several colleagues coming from different departments we decided to study the shareholder value maximization model and
we decided just to meet very regularly for research seminars where we were
presenting our research. We decided to bring together all research and teaching
initiatives related to social business and sustainable development within one
Center. it is how the Society & Organizations research Center was born. The S&O Center became a true Center with the goal of integrating social and
environmental perspectives within research and teaching. We created the
Action Tank, which is an incubator of social business models for French poor
people, to make sure they can access essential goods and services I saw this Center for Society and Organizations and you see this this idea of all these
faculty involved working around this theme and creating new ideas, creating
new research. They’re gonna inform how we develop a more economically valuable
society but also a more beneficial and inclusive society and you can’t help but want to support and sustain and grow something like that. From the implementation of the three pillards “think teach act” grew the Movement for
Social and Business Impact. We call it MSBI. Of which Martin Hirsch and Emmanuel Faber are co-presidents and Muhammad Yunus honorary president. The movement for social business impact looks at challenging the lines and the paradigm in order to make sure that we have a more
inclusive, a more sustainable economic theory. Our goal is just to introduce a socially oriented mentality to business leaders. Equipped with this perspective,
they can therefore act for better world. We educate students and decision makers
on major social issues to become changemakers. I realized that what I’ve
learned in HEC could be used for social impact missions or projects. And I
decided to dedicate myself to social business. I’m quite optimistic about the
future because I can see in my job that social and environmental issues which
were before CSR or communication issues are more and more becoming strategic subjects for the companies. if we think about where we’re heading with the Center for S&O and what are we doing, we’re building a thought leader, we’re
building a group that really is going to have a voice not just in France, but
around the world about important questions of economic value. But also
think about important questions of social justice.

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